Here are 10 general practice tips for preparing the All-State etudes, solos, or any music. Hey Teachers! I have marked a few spots, [BAD PEDAGOGY], to indicated opportunities for teachers to correct and upgrade their instruction. Watch for MORE All-State help coming soon from ClarinetMike!
10 Practice Tips for Preparing All-State, Solos, and Everything!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
- Go Slow. Load correct information only! Go slow and learn the rhythm and notes correctly the first time and every time.
- MORE Go Slow. Generally, begin work on an etude by counting in eighth notes, i.e. twice as slow or three times as slow if in 6/8, where one eighth note gets one beat, one quarter note gets two counts, dotted quarter note gets three counts, etc.
- DYNAMICS! DYNAMICS!, DYNAMICS!!, DYNAMICS!!! every step of the way! Learn dynamics as you learn the rhythm and notes. Adding dynamics later does NOT work very well. Check out my ADD BOLD DYNAMICS! post. [Dynamics Later = BAD PEDAGOGY]
- Ornaments First Time and Every Time! In preparing the etude, YOU MUST learn it the right way slowly every time. DO NOT skip grace notes, trills, turns, etc. and think you will add those at a later time. BAD IDEA! Your “muscle memory” will be messed up and you’ll be relearning those spots forever. [Ornaments Later = BAD PEDAGOGY]
- Performance Tone. Learn etude with a “performance tone,” not a “practice tone.” In fact, never use a “practice tone.” [This idea comes from the Note Grouping video directly below.] A bad tone always sounds BAD!
- Note Grouping. The Note Grouping Concept works great for fast passages. It is described in a Note Grouping video featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Nathan Cole HERE.
- Practice Routine. Work on basics and scales every day as you work on the all-state etudes, solos, etc. Use an organized Practice Routine. Put special attention on tonguing every day – check out my “Betty” post.
- Sight-Reading. Do some sight-reading (and work on other music) every day to keep your playing fresh.
- Metronome. The metronome is a valuable tool and should be used a lot. Do not use it 100% of the time when you practice an all-state etude, solo, etc. Do not get “Metronome Addiction.” This is where a person can play an etude or solo well only with a metronome. Common Sense is also a VERY valuable tool. [Metronome Overuse = BAD PEDAGOGY]
- Practice Rhy-No. Check out Rhy-No Practice, Feed The Rhy-No, The Fast Way, and other practice techniques from this blog – Click Here.