Hi everyone, welcome back. Today, we are going to talk about what to practice when you practice. We know we need to practice, but what is it
that we should be practicing? Is there an order of repertoire, scales, exercises, or even a warm-up that we should follow each day?
Take a look at the list I have created:
1) Long Tones
This is a basic guide to help you structure your practice sessions each day. Always check with your private lesson teacher before starting a new practice regime. He or she will be able to help you choose the right books, etudes, and repertoire that will suit your level of playing.
1) Long Tones
Long tones for wind players is like stretching for athletes. It gets our embouchure muscles ready to go, in addition to our brain and fingers. Most importantly, it gets our lungs ready for a great practice session. I recommend playing scales slowly from very soft to very loud, always maintaining full air support, firm embouchure and good posture. Do this at the beginning of each day for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Scales! I like to think of scales as my musical breakfast of the day, meaning scales are among the first things I practice. If you are ever short on practice time, never skip your scales, kind of like how you would not want to skip breakfast. In this segment, focus on hand and finger position, you are imprinting these patterns into your muscle memory. Practice out of a book that suits your level of playing for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Etudes are musical exercises that focus on improving certain aspects of playing, such as, legato, staccato, interpretation and other topics. Harmonically and melodically, etudes are more interesting to play than scales, which makes phrasing more natural as well. I recommend choosing two etudes per week to focus on, a slow etude and a fast etude. Practice each one 15 to 30 minutes each day, depending on your level of playing.
Now it’s time for my favorite part, repertoire! This can be your band, orchestra music, solo repertoire, chamber music, or whatever else you are preparing to play for a performance. Save repertoire for when your mind and body is fully warmed up. Spend at least 15 to 30 minutes practicing each piece.
If you do not take private lessons already and need help developing your own practice regime, please leave me a message or contact me through my website, www.callyclarinet.com. Stay tuned for upcoming videos featuring practice tips and technique. But for now, happy practicing!