Kicking off a New Year!
Welcome back as we kick off the most exciting and challenging time of the year for our band. In the first part of the school year we learned to work and play together as a team and now it is time to push ourselves to the next level. Students will grow as individual musicians as they prepare for our Solo & Ensemble events. Meanwhile the full ensemble will begin learning the pieces we will perform in our upcoming band festivals. I am so pleased with the sounds the group is producing and can't wait to get this part of the year started!
Preparing for Solo & Ensemble ~ Playing Assignments
A few added tips to help in at-home preparations:
- Practice early! Set weekly goals and plan to be performance-ready 2 weeks before the event so you are prepared to rehearse with your accompanist or ensemble partners. Keeping up with playing assignments will ensure you do.
- Practice the difficult spots first. Don't spend time practicing what you can already play well when there are other challenges to master.
- Only play through the song once at the end of each practice session until the last 2 weeks. Repeatedly just playing through the song will only reinforce your mistakes and it is much harder to unlearn bad habits. Use your time to work out challenging spots in the music.
- Don't forget musicality. Notes and rhythms are only the beginning! Dynamics, phrasing and articulations are how we create music.
- When working on challenging spots, break it down to a few notes at a time and repeat until you can play it correctly 5 times in a row. The repetition will ensure your muscle memory kicks in even when your brain gets clouded by those pesky nerves.
- Practice performing for others as often as possible. Start with stuffed animals, the dog, then move up to friends & family.
- Record yourself, listen and self-assess. You only have to save your best takes! Delete the others and no one will ever know! ;)
While it all sounds like a lot of work (and it is), playing should also be fun! When you are well prepared, that's when the fun really begins and you can enjoy your performance and sharing the results of all your hard work!