Something for Nothing...
There is no such thing. Home Practice is expected and required of my students. No improvement in tone quality, technique or playing level comes from leaving an instrument on the shelf at school!!!! THESE ENSEMBLES BELONG TO THE STUDENTS AND THE LEVEL OF THE ENTIRE ENSEMBLE IS DICTATED BY OUR WEAKEST PLAYERS.
IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN PLAY AN INSTRUMENT WITHOUT ROUTINE PRACTICE THEN YOU MUST ALSO BELIEVE THAT.....
AIM FOR PERFECTION AND SETTLE FOR GREAT...
Student expectations for themselves and their fellow musicians should be above where they are currently playing. You should never be satified with your current playing level...always practice, always improve and NEVER stop learning. None of you "have arrrived," and as your director...neither have I!!! I am commited to improving as a musician, educator and conductor and have the same expectation for you.
Even with everyday practice...DISCOVER HOW TO PRACTICE. Disappointment, frustration and negativity are all products of incorrect practice. Some basic rules to follow:
Establish a practice routine and space...same time, same place.
Always incorporate long tones, chromatics, interval practice and technical scale studies to maintain good tone and technique...notice all of these are for warm-up and maintenance, not improvement.
Always use one legato and one detached study (etude)...these can improve your technique, tone, phrasing and promote proper breathing. These may be new or repeated etudes.
New Material...identify and practice difficult passages slowly. Isolate them from the rest of the music, then incorporate them back into the music when the passage can be played in tempo. Playing through a piece and skipping difficult passages or crashing routinely in the same spot teaches you only to avoid improvement OR teaches you how to crash!
Isolate - Slow Down - Conquer.
AND IF PERSONAL SUCCESS ISN'T ENOUGH,
CHECK THIS OUT:
Music students out-perform non-music on achievement tests in reading and math. Skills such as reading, anticipating, memory, listening, forecasting, recall, and concentration are developed in musical performance, and these skills are valuable to students in math, reading, and science.
- B. Friedman, “An Evaluation of the Achievement in Reading and Arithmetic of Pupils in Elementary
School Instrumental Music Classes,” Dissertation Abstracts International.