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Practice Suggestions


An effective practice session consists of a variety of elements. Dedicated time for fundamentals is a must! Here is a sample practice session. I recommend that you focus on 1-3 items under each category per practice session. You don't have to do everything everyday. Rotate exercises and repertoire to keep your practice session fresh! Always have good body awareness when you practice.



Tone (10-20 min)
  • Long Tones

  • Tone Color

  • Vibrato

  • Dynamics

  • Pitch

  • Breathing


Technique (10-20 min)
  • Scales

  • Intervals

  • Articulation

  • Sight Reading


Literature (15-60 min)
  • Etudes

  • Solos

  • Ensembles

  • Band Music

  • Pretty Pieces that you like


Listen and Watch (5-30 min)
  • Listen to recordings of your pieces by professional musicians to learn how the ensemble of your piece fits together. Have the full score in front of you!

  • Listen to recordings of different pieces by the same composer of your pieces to get a better understanding of the style of the composer and period. 

  • Record yourself and listen to it with the music in front of you. Take notes on what you liked and what you would like to do better. Notice if you can hear all the things you think you are doing.

  • Watch videos of professional musicians and notice their physical use.

  • Watch videos of yourself playing and notice your physical use. Are you balanced? Are you free?


Keep a Practice Journal
  • Write down your assignments for the next day.

  • Write down your observations on your practice.

  • Keep a list of the pieces you are working on and when they have to be ready.

  • If you have too much music to practice in one day rotate your music but keep track of what you do each day so you don’t forget pieces.

  • When preparing for a competition or performance create a tempo chart with deadlines for specific tempos.


Other Suggestions for Practice
  • Practice with specific goals in mind.

  • Be creative. Practicing the same way every time will yield the exact same results. If you need a boost try something new.

  • Don’t always start at the beginning. Practice sections and concepts.

  • Allow yourself time to rest.

  • Analyze your music to the best of your ability: Key, Form, Motives, Repetition/Patterns, Variations, and Melody/Accompaniment

  •  Be sure you have the proper equipment: Well maintained instrument, Chair, Music Stand, Tuner, Metronome, Mirror, Recording Device

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