#5 Rhy-No Practice Technique.
“That’s enough rehearsal for today. Take the music home and work on it,” says the frustrated music teacher to the students.
Unfortunately, teachers often fail to teach students how to actually practice and prepare music. I recently came up with a simple system for preparing music. (FYI, here’s some of my other practice ideas and a video.)
The system is simple, just break a passage into two parts: rhythms and notes. Work on each separately and slowly, and then put them together. Hence, Rhythm-Notes or Rhy-No Practice!
Here’s how Rhy-No Practice works:
1. Pick out a hard passage – a measure or two.
2. Clap, sing, yodel (only yodel alone!) etc. the rhythm of the passage. Go as slow as needed to accurately learn the counting. A metronome is essential, of course. Gradually increase the tempo until the rhythm is correctly ingrained at desired speed.
3. Play the notes of the passage out of time very slowly and deliberately. (If students don’t understand this, just have them play all notes as slow half notes.) Concentrate on finger movement, tone quality, note connections, etc. Repeat several times making sure that all notes speak well and there no breaks in sound – esp. “Over The Break.”
4. Play the passage with rhythms and notes combined.
It seems to help my students to sing the music as best they can after Step 3 above, i.e. before playing it in Step 4. When demonstrating this in lessons, students are often shy to sing. So, I sing with them loudly. This generally encourages them to sing, at least a little!
Also, freely combine the Rhy-No technique with other practice methods (see hyperlinks above).
ClarinetMike says, “Teach your students how to practice. Rhy-No!”
NOTE: The above image is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceratotherium_simum_kwh_2.jpg