Home
Schools

South Washington County Schools

Practicing

Please, please, please encourage your child by giving them positive comments.  They are learning new instruments as well as learning to read music at the same time.  They are also learning to bring their materials on a regular basis.  This can be frustrating at times.  Please shower them with positive comments.  Reminding them to practice and helping them find the quiet time to practice will pay off in big dividends in their development of brain connections, produce feelings of strength and confidence and enable them to have years of enjoyment as well as just plain old FUN.  Making sure your child is practicing both their method book assignment AND their concert music is essential.

Practice Steps

STEP ONE:         Survey the music for rhythms, notes, key signature, tempo, sharps/flats, etc.
                              *Ask yourself “What am I going to be playing/doing?”

                              *Write in any note names or fingerings that you don’t know IN PENCIL.

STEP TWO:         Pizzicato the piece very slow! (Even if the piece is meant to be bowed).

                               *Repeat this step 10 times.

STEP THREE:     Pizzicato the piece again up to tempo.

                               *Repeat this step 10 times.

STEP FOUR:       - If the piece is meant to be bowed (arco), then play the piece very slow
                              
with the bow. Only focus only on the notes and rhythms!
                             - If the piece is meant to be plucked (pizz.), then play the song (as written)
                               without stopping.

                               *Repeat this step 5-10 times, depending on the length of song. If it is a short
                                song, then do it more times!

STEP FIVE:          Play the piece again, very slow, adding in the “decorations” (staccato,
                              dynamics, slurs, bowings, etc.).

                              *Repeat this step 5-10 times, depending on the length of song. If it is a short
                              song, then do it more times!

STEP SIX:            Play the piece again up to tempo. Repeat this step until you
                               are able to play the song (as written) without stopping!

                              *Repeat this step 5-10 times, depending on the length of song. If it is a short
                                song, then do it more times!

Do you have the piece memorized yet?  For your belt songs, try to memorize them. This means you need to practice them over and over. It’s all about repetition and muscle memory!

What do I do during my practice time? 
1. Warm-up.  Begin with finger exercises that are scale centered.
2. Problem solve.  Use slow, careful practice to eliminate mistakes.
3. Personalize.  Add dynamics, increase tempo, go beyond the notes.  Remember, you are making music.
4. Variety.  Switch the order.  Try something by memory.  Keep it interesting.
5. Fun finish.  End with a favorite.