Practice makes Perfect..... Right....?

Posted by Nicole Smith on 10/19/2019

Hello Flutes and Clarinets!

We are still working with the 5 notes at the top of page 6 in your book.  The songs we are currently playing are #14 Rolling Along, #25 Lightly Row, #27 Reaching Higher and the option of #31 Mozart Melody if all of the previous songs are being played with ease. 

But let's focus first on your practice routine.  How DO you practice?

1. Set aside some time specifically for practice.  No distractions, no TV or music blaring in the background.  A quiet space for you to focus on the task undisturbed.

2. A chair and music stand.  No couchy slouching, floor sitting, or bean bag chairs, please.  If you don't have a music stand, make sure you are in an area where you can somehow prop your book up, putting in flat on the floor will NOT do, because then your chin will be towards your chest as you look down, changing the angle you are playing your instrument at and making everything about 1 million times more difficult.

3. Assemble instrument and sit properly (feet flat on ground, no slouching!)  Hold your instrument properly. Flutes, no shoulder balancing! Hold that thing up!  Neutral chin, eyes forward, don't look down. Clarinets, watch those "lego man hands" ("c" shape, stay away from side keys, do NOT brace your right, bottom hand on the side keys, use only your thumb rest.  Left hand plays up top, and cover holes completely while staying away from that pesky top side key!

4. ***Clarinets, start with long tones.  Get a timer and see how long you can hold each note for, try it for all 5 notes at the top of page 6.  Lots of cold, fast air, all the way through the Clarinet, think about filling the Clarinet up with air from the bottom all the way to the top.  Your sound should be constant, not "stoppy starty" when you are playing one LONG note. 10 seconds is a good beginner length, and if you can build up to play longer that is great.
****Flutes, bring the flute to your face, not your face to the flute (yes it makes a huge difference! Do not jut your chin and face out towards the instrument, have a neutral spine (sit straight) and bring the flute up to YOU.  Find the center of the emboucher hole by placing it over the middle of your closed lips and roll down to playing position (middle of emboucher hole under or slightly on your lower lip depending on what works for you. Start with long tones.  On flute, even 3 seconds is a great start. Remember not to over blow, and keep the space between your lips as closed as possible to let as little air escape as possible while still creating a sound. RELAX. I know flute is frustrating, but if you tense up it gets even more difficult!

5.  After playing your long tones on EVERY NOTE, choose a piece to work on.  Work on the fingerings and rhythms. After you can play the song BY ITSELF, Use the Essential Elements interactive                            
You need the code from your book (inside the front cover on the first page) and an adult to help you set up an individual student account the first time, and thereafter you will be able to access it with your username and password .

6.  Try to practice several times a week.  The more often you repeat the practice process, the more quickly you will improve.  Playing your instrument only during music class or "cramming" one 30 minute practice session in a week will not help you progress as quickly or consistently as a repeated, structured practice routine!