Remember to Practice Daily!
Practice records are due MONTHLY. Practice 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) per week. Try not to do it in one day. Late submissions are deducted 5 points a day. Get them in on time. DUE THE FIRST SCHOOL DAY OF THE MONTH. (ie September practice record is due the first school day in October)
I recommend that students practice the most difficult measures and phrases of any piece as many times as their age. It is really easy to practice only the music that already sounds good and think that you have put in good practice. This is not always the case. When students do this, they often stop getting better and are only practicing maintaining their proficiency on that section. The only way to move forward is to work on those sections that are difficult.
Practice times should be spread out through the week, ideally with practice at least 5 days of the week. Students may skip practice at home two days a week, but not two days in a row. (for example: If you skip Wednesday night, then you must practice Thursday night.)
*Always warm-up with a scale. Use slow/long notes and progress to faster rhythms. Use your Daily Warm-up Exercises.
* Learn to use a metronome. (Check out my links for a free online metronome.)
*COUNT in your head to make sure you are playing accurately.
*Do not simply play through… practice is repetition of areas slowly until you have them learned and can play them “up to tempo.”
*Create a practice HABIT. Same time daily.
*Use a music stand.
*Remember your posture.
Sometimes students get stuck, bored, and/or discouraged with practicing. At times like this, I recommend taking a break. This doesn’t mean that students should stop practicing. They should instead focus some attention on songs that are purely for fun. Look through your book, search popular music online, or go to your local music store to find something that grabs your attention. Remember you can play anything on your instrument. If you cannot find the music you probably can figure it out.
Another practice incentive can be a fun music gadget as a reward for your hard work. There are lots of fun music items that can be purchased. Like an electric instrument, colored stand, metronome, Disney movie sheet music, Kun shoulder rest, or decorated music bag. Go to your local music store or www.sharmusic.com for ideas.
Search free sheet music or visit sites such as www.8notes.com.
Listen to a Recording!
Always find a recording of your songs. You can find recordings on YouTube as well as www.Jwpepper.com. Search for the name of the song as well as the composer/arranger.
Use a Metronome!
A metronome is a device used by musicians to help keep correct tempo. The mechanical metronome is an upside-down pendulum that emits audible clicks with each stroke. Its tempo can be adjusted by moving a counterweight on the pendulum. Electronic metronomes are fine too.
A novice practices until they get it right;
A master practices until they can't get it wrong.
Which one are you?