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Practice Tips

  • Have a GOAL!  Know before your begin what you want to have accomplished by the end of your practice time.  For example, I will correctly play line 13 in the lesson book or I will correctly play measures 15-20 in my music.  Make the goal something you can accomplish within your practice session.

  • Practice at home a minimum of 5-6 days each week for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. 
    • Warm up for 1-3 minutes (play long tones and more advanced students should also play scales).  
    • Play a fun, familiar piece or passage for about 5 minutes.  
    • Work on a difficult section of music for 15-20 minutes.  
    • At the end play through something fun!

  • Learn at least one new difficult passage a day.  Look a part of the music that you are having difficulty with and divide it into small pieces.  Practice each piece slowly and over and over again until it can be played successfully three times in a row.  It is important to practice slowly and to avoid continued unsuccessful repetitions of a problem passage.  Any mistakes made will tend to be repeated until it is discovered and corrected.  The muscles learn the wrong physical coordination and must be retrained.  To correct the problem passage, practice slowly at first.  Then slowly speed up, never faster than you can do correctly.   A metronome can be a useful tool to help learn to play passaged more quickly or with a steady beat.

  • Beginning Band Students:  Use the audio and video DVD that comes with your Tradition of Excellence book.  Using the Interactive Practice Studio (IPS) offers a great resource for extra help and can be very helpful in adding to the enjoyment of your practice session.