Archives for 27 Nov,2008

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Many of my students are traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, which necessitated a plan for make up lessons.  This year, I decided to present a master class entitled “How to Practice” as a group make up lesson.  Here’s what I passed out to my students.  I hope you find this helpful for your own students.  Feel free to copy it if you’d like.  It’s currently geared toward percussion students, but 5 minutes of editing could make it applicable to any instrument.

Step One: Ask “Why Am I Practicing?”

Clarity is the key to effective, efficient practice.  Every time you pick up a pair of drumsticks, ask yourself “what am I trying to accomplish?”.  Be as specific as possible.  Here is a list of potential reasons to practice (not all inclusive):

To work on a specific technique

  • To work on a specific piece of music
  • To explore a certain style of music
  • To work on speed
  • To work on endurance
  • To increase your independence (one limb or four)
  • To improve your sight reading
  • To prepare for a specific performance
  • To work on showmanship
  • To relax
  • To have fun

It’s perfectly okay to go into a practice session with the intent to relax and have fun.  Playing your favorite songs and just messing around can be a great way to relieve stress.  Make sure, however, that you’re aware you’re practicing to have fun and not to “get better.”   [···]

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What are you thankful for?  Here in the United States, we have set aside a day to remember our blessings., dating back to the pilgrims’ giving thanks for the food and provision they had after suffering a terrible winter of death and tragedy.

My family has its traditions; turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie (my favorite is apple), and delicious homemade bread.  We sit in the living room and sing songs related to Thanksgiving, harvest, and gathering together.  For the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of playing for such an event.

Though I am terribly busy with college studies and teaching, I wanted to write here about truly being thankful for our studios and the families that come our way.

What are you thankful for today? [···]

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