How to Practice

Part II: Creating Efficient Sessions

A student holding a trumpet will practice his music

In Part I, we discussed how your student should practice their instrument. This this section, we’ll talk about all of the things surrounding rehearsal: preparation, focus, distractions and more.

Once your student has mastered the art of practicing, take a step back and make sure that all of their rehearsal needs are being met too.

Prepare for Rehearsal

Ticket sub with title Preparation: the ticket to success

1: Find your space

Do you:

  • Study well in a timed session?
  • Work better with a large block of rehearsal time or smaller sessions throughout the day?
  • Prefer silence when practicing? White noise?
  • Prefer to be alone or work in groups?

Try practicing in the same type of environment as you study.

2: Be Prepared

Do you have:

  • Water
  • Spare reeds
  • Music
  • Metronome and tuner
  • Any other tools or equipment needed for your rehearsal

3: Have a plan (or a practice journal)

Pick the sections that you want to work on and have your music organized.

PS…Practice journals are an easy way to plan your practice sessions as well as track your progress

4: Set Reasonable Goals

Work on what your director assigned. Working ahead is great, but don’t wast time working on what you haven’t learned when you could be perfecting what you have been assigned.

Practice a reasonable amount. Though your instructor will admire your tenacity, don’t try to rehearse more often than manageable. It’s better to have a few productive sessions than dozens of unproductive ones.

Efficient Rehearsal

Phrase

1: Start Slow

You won’t play perfectly after one session. It takes time to develop your ability, so don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do everything perfectly the first time.

2: Write Everything Down

Write in your music to remember to fix mistakes:

  • Accidentals
  • Tempo
  • Fingerings
  • Dynamic reminders
  • Comments or notes from your practice journal

3: Focus on the task at hand

Shut down all possible distractions such as:

  • Electronics
  • Interruptions
  • Other duties or chores

4: Change as needed

When you feel frustrated, take a break. Negative rehearsal will not be productive.

When things are getting tedious, reward yourself for achieving daily goals.

If you’re getting bored with your routine, break up your sessions differently. Devote each session to something specific: music, rhythms, listening, etc. Shake up your schedule, try studying in a different space, or ask your director for more challenging exercises or music.

Always remember that this is not a sprint. It will take time and practice to get things right, and that’s normal. If you’re using your practice time wisely, your director will be pleased with your success!