Specific information beyond advocacy for the parent of a beginning music students
Guidelines for Effective Practicing
To learn a musical instrument you must learn to master many physical skills. Your brain is reading notes on a page, while your fingers are contemplating which keys to press, all while your lungs are taking a big breath to blow through your instrument to create a sound. A music student’s job is to excercise those skills, remember what you’ve learned, and have fun in the process!
Helpful tips for your practice session:
- Warm up carefully. Warm your embouchure (lip & mouth position) and instrument for good tone production.
- Select a time of day that is free from interruptions and use this time each day.
- Choose a place to practice that is free from distractions
- Set a goal for the session: a scale; an exercise; specific sections of a piece; or even a measure that is giving you trouble. Work on it slowly, then build up to speed gradually. Before leaving put it together with the rest of the line.
- Repetition of a problem area reinforces muscle memory.
- Use a metronome. (see below)
Practice Information Links
On-line links that can help you and your child achieve!
- Note Trainer – www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/musictheory/trainers/html/id82_en.html
- Band Instrument Care – www.musiccenters.com/care.html
- Online Metronome – www.metronomeonline.com/
- Woodwind Fingering Charts – www.wfg.woodwind.org/
- Brass Fingering Charts – www.bandworld.org/pdfs/BWBrassChart.pdf
- MORE Fingering Charts – www.fingering-charts.com/
- Music Theory practice and lessons – www.musictheory.net/
- Percussion Rudiments – www.vicfirth.com/education/rudiments.php
- WAY MORE percussion stuff – www.vicfirth.com/education/
- Music Racer – www.musicracer.com/
- SpeedNote for Keyboard – www.vicfirth.com/education/keyboard/speednotereading.html
- Theta Music Trainer – trainer.thetamusic.com/
- Breathing Gym – www.jwpepper.com/9542666.item
- Instrument Care and Maintenance – www.hornsmasher.com/maintenancevideos.html
- SmartMusic practice system (the very best) – www.smartmusic.com/
- SmartMusic Videos for help – www.youtube.com/user/SmartMusicOfficial
What’s a Metronome?
Want to make your practice more effective? Practice with a metronome. A metronome is a device that can be set to make a ticking sound at different rates of speed used to set the tempo for playing a musical piece. For example, if you set the metronome to 60, you will hear 60 ticks(beats) every minute. If you set the metronome to 120, you will hear 120 ticks(beats) in every minute. So a setting of 120 is twice as fast as a setting of 60. The higher the number the faster the tempo.
A metronome helps you keep a steady beat. It’s like having the director next to you clapping the tempo. When practicing a hard section, set the metronome slower to maintain a consistent tempo until the section is mastered, then slowly move the metronome up to the suggested tempo.
Metronomes can be purchased at any music retailer. Or, a FREE online metronome is available for use. Remember the practice sessions should be free of distractions, so no “instant messaging” while using the online metronome!
The NAMM Foundation: Best Communities for Music Education
The NAMM Foundation acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their commitment to and support for music education as part of the core curriculum in schools. Congratulations to those communities who have Achieved this prestigious designation.
A concert is a formal event, even if held in the school’s gymnasium. A lot of preparation is involved by the teachers and students to make it enjoyable for the audience and performers. There is even a fun quiz, provided by MENC, to pass out at your next concert to help educate others.
- “Mom, how do I play a G#?” A Parents Guide for the Young Musicians Practice Experience (248.22 kB)
Many parents want to help their child learn to play an instrument, but have never had any musical training themselves and do not know where to begin. Marc Whitlock, band director for Discovery Middle School and formerly a band director with the award winning Plymouth Canton Educational Park, MI and Marian Catholic H.S., gives parents detailed guidelines for home practice to help their child succeed.