Practice Expectations

• All orchestra students are expected to practice at home.
• Good practice habits are important to the success of any player and to any orchestra.

• Find time to play every day. Practice 15 to 30 minutes.
• If you do not feel you have time or do not want to practice:  Do it anyway!
• If you are in a slump, don’t get discouraged. Even professionals go through them.
• With continued effort and new skills, any obstacle can be overcome.

• Find the right atmosphere for practice (a place free from interruptions).
• Make sure you have enough space to play.
• Make it easier on your eyes…play where there is good lighting.
• For a change of pace, try practicing with a friend or playing into a tape recorder.
• From time to time, perform your favorite pieces for parents, friends and relatives.

• Play assigned scales, exercises and drills for solid technique.
• Play assigned pieces. Make sure to work them out, not just “play-throughs.”
• Work out the hard parts of your orchestra music.
• Take time to review old favorites at the end of your practice time. It will prevent slumps by giving you a feeling of accomplishment.

• Always use your “best” posture and position.
• Stand or sit the way you would play at a lesson or a concert.
• Use a music stand. It will allow you to read the music at the correct height.
• Keep your fingernails short. It is impossible to play correctly with long fingernails.
• Always work towards a good tone and warm sound when playing.
• Don’t worry about people hearing you.
• Follow these procedures to improve the parts of the music that give you trouble:
          • Work for correct tempos, rhythms, pitches, dynamics, tone and playing in tune.
          • Write in notes or fingerings.
          • Learn the hard parts without the instrument first.
          • Try to sing the rhythms and pitches or play it on the piano.
          • Practice difficult rhythm or bowing patterns, patterns on the Open String Cycle, scales or arpeggios.
          • Try slowing the tempo down or working on shorter sections of the piece.
          • Play each difficult part at least three times in a row correctly before moving on.
• If you do not know a word, symbol or note, look it up or ask your teacher.
• Keep a pencil in your folder or case. Use it to mark your music.
• Mark a “W” next to the parts you need to work out.
• Be accurate and honest. Do not cheat on your practice habits.
• Remember: When you practice, you are the teacher.
• End your practice session with your favorite music, it will help you return to your instrument in a positive way next time.
• Always take time to take care of your instrument. Keep it clean and in good repair.
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