Your practice session will vary depending on the assignments. The more consistent you are with practice time, structure, and climate, the better your results will be. Efficient use of time is important in your busy schedule!
Practice Card Guidelines
Your practice card is designed to help you establish an organized routine for daily practice. A practice card is not needed to be able to tell if you have practiced!! How you improve from day to day and week to week reveals that fact. Honesty is the best policy concerning practice time. It is helpful forparents to be involved in the student's practice and progress. Your encouragement and support is important for their success.
1. Write down the total number of minutes per week. the card for a grade.2. A parent must sign
3. Turn in your card every Monday.
4. Late practice cards will not be accepted.
5. The lowest practice record grade will be dropped each six weeks.
6. All time outside of class may be counted on your practice card; for example: private lessons, sectionals, extra rehearsals, concerts, clinics, etc.
PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS
IT'S HOW YOU PRACTICE THAT COUNTS
Incorrect habits are sometimes more easily developed than correct habits, and a habit is hard to change so THINK when you practice. Avoid simply going through the motions! Remember that the playing of your instrument comes through development of coordination, just like any athlete. Patience is a virtue for the ambitious player.
1. Warm up correctly. Each instrument should have a separate warm up for home practice that differs from the band warm up. Use a mirror and concentrate on tone qualityand embouchure during the long tone warm ups.
2. Set a goal for the practice session. Don't try to do too much at one sitting.
3. Isolate a problem or a section in a piece of music. It may be a rhythm, a measure, or a line of music. Repeat it over and over many times - just like shooting baskets in the basketball goal. Practice it slowly at first, and then gradually build up the speedusing a metronome. Before you finish the practice session, play the difficult measures with the rest of the line or exercise.
4. Repetition of a problem area reinforces muscle and mental memory.
5. In difficult technical passages, change the rhythms and articulations in the practice session to develop even, accurate, and fluid technique.
6. Practice involves learning and reinforcing areas that are difficult for the student. Practice, therefore, is not always fun because you must play music that you have not yet mastered. Try to end each practice session with something that is fun to play and that has already been mastered!
7. Structure your practice session to get the most benefit out of your time!
Warm up and daily drill - 10 minutes - Fundamental development, long tones, scales, arpeggios, thirds, tonguing, vibrato, etc
New material and assignments - 10 minutes - Develop new technique, increase range, expand capability of student
Previous and continuing material - 5 minutes - Improvement of finger dexterity, tonguing, tone, musicality, etc.
Personal music choices - 5 - Enjoyment!
Your child's progress in band will depend a great deal on what is achieved during daily home practice sessions. Learning takes place in school, but proficiency is gained at home. You can use the following guidelines to help your youngster at home.
A half-hour a day is the minimum amount of practice time recommended for the average student. Practicing at the same time every day is good, but some flexibility should be built into this schedule. Don't bring the world to a halt at 6:30 PM every evening because it's practice time - kids need time for fun and relaxation just as adults do. If the situation allows, reschedule the practice session to an earlier or later time.
Practicing should be done in an area that is free of distractions away from the TV, radio, stereo, and family traffic. Good lighting, a straight-backed chair, mirror, metronome, and a music stand are definite assets. Reed players should have several reeds available during the practice session.
Spend some time listening to your youngster practice. Offer constructive criticisms. You do not need to be a former band member or musician to be able to hear improvement. Encourage them to play assignments and tests for you. Each time the student plays for a friend or relative, it helps them to feel more comfortable with a performance or competitive event.
IS YOUR CHILD PROGRESSING?
For the beginning band student, the field of instrumental music is new for your child. He is learning to use his facial muscles in a different way and his breathing apparatusfor a different purpose. There is a new language of symbols (notes) that require the use of his mind and body to translate this into musical sounds. All this takes time!Even parents who have had former instrumental experience have probably forgotten the struggle of producing those first few notes and songs.
Parents can evaluate practice sessions by asking:
1. What is your assignment for today?
2. Am I hearing the same daily warm up each day? It is important to play the same daily warm up and drill before beginning the assigned material.
3. Am I hearing music that they can already play, or am I hearing attempts at new material?
4. Is the tone quality becoming more characteristic of the instrument, or is the tone harsh, unmusical, and unpleasant?
5. Does the familiar tune or exercise move along steadily with some sort of fluent rhythm, or is it halting and jerky with no steady rhythm?
Learning how to practice is an important part of playing an instrument!