31 Mar 2017

Music – Instrumental Practice

Guide to Instrumental Practice 

“Little bits lots” is a good way to start when beginning to learn an instrument.

5 minutes at the start of the day, 5 minutes when you come home from school and another 5 minutes after dinner.

Leaving the instrument unpacked but in a safe place, especially if it takes a while to set up.

Playing through pieces is not practicing. Questions to ask – what are they going to get better at during this practice. Get them to play the tricky section to you before they work on it and then again at the end of the practice.

String instruments – remember it is the bow that makes the sound. The bow needs to stroke the strings but not push down into the strings. Left hand needs to be in a good shape and fingers go down firmly.

Wind Instruments (woodwind and brass) – at first the muscles around the mouth will get tired and if the boys are breathing in before every note they play, they will get dizzy. Remember to blow all the air out before they breathe in again.

The following guide is just a guide, especially with the length of time. It is proportional. I know that weekdays can get very busy. I get my sons to think of weekends as catch up days. Don’t do extra long practices to make up for missed ones – do a couple in a day – at the start and end of the day.

String Instruments

Warm up – at least 5 minutes

Long bows – 4 on each string making sure that it is the best sound, the bow is straight and the bow hold is correctScales – putting fingers down on each string going up and going down – Left wrist away from the neck of the (violin and viola), elbow at the correct angle for cellos and basses. Making sure fingertips are being used.

Improvisation (playing anything) – 2 minutes

Before reading music, playing anything they like but with a good sound, varying rhythm.

Pieces – about 10 minutes

Practice the harder sections first.

Play these sections at least 5 times correctly.

Say rhythms first. Changing strings is a little tricky so practice these passages.

Play the harder section in context of the piece (not necessarily the whole piece).

Depending on time it might be only one hard section done a practice.

Performance Practice – 2 minutes

Play through pieces that you know well and try and perform them.

Wind Instruments

Warm up – at least 5 minutes

Buzzing on mouthpieces for brass instruments

Long sustained notes

Create a beautiful round sound that plays a note that doesn’t change (or wobble)

Scales – playing as many notes as you know going up and down making a beautiful sound.

Improvisation (playing anything) – 2 minutes

Before reading music, playing anything they like but with a good sound, varying rhythm.

Pieces – about 10 minutes

Practice the harder sections first.

Play these sections at least 5 times correctly.

Say rhythms first.

Changing pitch for brass players and keeping the same valves or slides can be tricky. Get to know how much air, what tension lips need to be to do this.

Changing notes can be challenging for the woodwind players. Playing the note is easy, moving between the notes is tricky. Practice the harder changes within the pieces.

Performance Practice – 2 minutes

Play through pieces that you know well and try and perform them.

 

Vanessa South – Music Mistress

Newington

26 Northcote Road
Lindfield NSW 2070
+61 2 9416 4280

lindfield@newington.nsw.edu.au
www.newington.nsw.edu.au

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