Posts tagged “practice techniques”

May 19, 2017

Staying motivated for summer practicing

photo, Craig ONeal For musicians on an academic schedule, summers are often wide open. This can be a great opportunity to get ahead, or a bottomless pit of procrastination and idleness. Here are some ideas for staying motivated to get some summer practicing done.

September 22, 2016

The best practice routine

Lately I’ve been on a diet that has a weekly “cheat” day. Six days out of the week, my meals are Spartan, but on cheat day I get to eat whatever I want. My guess is that isn’t the ideal way to manage my waistline. I would be better off eating more regimented meals every day. But I ...

February 5, 2016

Practice slump checklist

Sometimes my students complain that they have had bad practicing days or weeks. Here are a few ideas for breaking out of a practicing slump.

January 11, 2016

Practicing and the two-minute rule

David Allen’s well-known book Getting Things Done is always within arm’s reach at my desk. I find its concepts and techniques valuable for managing my time and productivity. I don’t consciously use a lot of “GTD” ideas in my practicing, since practicing seems to me like a thing that is never “done.” (If any of you are ...

October 28, 2015

But I can do it in the practice room

Every week I hear students play badly, then tell me, "but I can do it in the practice room..." Here are some reasons things might go more poorly in a lesson than in a practice session, and some strategies for dealing with those problems.

September 19, 2015

FAQ: Practicing schedule

Some of the questions I am asked most frequently about woodwind doubling are about how I practice. Specifically, how often do I get to each instrument, and how do I divide up my time? The truth is that there isn’t an ideal solution, and maybe not even a good one. There are only so many ...

May 2, 2015

“Next” steps in preparing repertoire

I think many aspiring musicians pass through a phase in their development where they have “learned” fingerings, music reading skills, and other fundamentals at a basic degree of mastery, and turn their attention to developing sufficiently fluent technique (mostly finger technique) to tackle the instrument’s standard literature. Once they acquire that fluency and tackle that ...

March 6, 2015

Three stages of practicing

As my musical standards, maturity, and commitment to practice time improved, it became clear that beginning-to-end practicing was not the best use of my time.

November 25, 2014

Practicing, boredom, and guilt

I find that my students who struggle with practicing are sometimes afraid to talk to me about it, and want to brush aside talk of their declining practice hours with thin excuses about having a "busy week." But if we can address the problem honestly and openly, I can offer some suggestions to help them enjoy their practice time more and get more out of it.

October 24, 2014

Isolating problem spots

Earlier this month I posted about a fundamental practicing concept that sometimes escapes my less-experienced students. Here is another: Me: Play your D melodic minor scale. Student: [Begins D minor scale, plays a wrong note in the second octave.] Me: Whoops, remember to play B-natural. Student: Okay. [Starts over, makes same mistake.] Me: Please start ...