10 All-State Practice Tips!

ClarinetMike says, “Practice Smart, Don’t Practice Stupid!”

Here are 10 general practice tips for preparing the All-State audition etudes (or any music). More All-State help coming soon from ClarinetMike!

  1. Go Slow. Load correct information only! Go slow and learn the rhythm and notes correctly the first time and every time.
  2. 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.
  3. Ornaments First Time and Every Time! In preparing the etude, YOU MUST learn it the right way slowly every single time. DO NOT skip grace notes, trills, turns, etc. and think you will add those later. BAD IDEA! Your “muscle memory” will be messed up and you’ll be relearning those spots forever.
  4. 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!
  5. Note Grouping. Practice Note Grouping Concept for fast passages. It is described in a Note Grouping video HERE.
  6. 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.
  7. Practice Routine. Work on basics and scales every day as you work on the all-state music. Use an organized Practice Routine. Put special attention on tonguing every day – check out my “Betty” post.
  8. Sight-Reading. Do some sight-reading (and work on other music) every day to keep your playing fresh.
  9. 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 etude. Do not get “Metronome Addiction.” This is where a person can play an etude well only with a metronome. Common Sense is also a VERY valuable tool.
  10. Practice Rhy-No. Check out Rhy-No Practice,  Feed The Rhy-NoThe Fast Way, and other practice techniques from this blog – Click Here.

NOTE: The above is a slightly revised version of a previous post.

About ClarinetMike

American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise such as "world-class clarinetist and pedagogue," "consummate performer," "inspirational," "outstanding teacher," "super," "brilliant performer," and "one of the best clinicians I have ever seen." His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2017. He is featured on 5 commercial CD's and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new clarinet CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He's performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-read ClarinetMike Blog, clarinetmike.wordpress.com-viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents. He was recently a tenured Associate Professor of Clarinet for 11 years at Southeast Missouri State University. He returned to his native Texas in 2012 due to family concerns. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, Bob Ackerman, and Pam Youngblood. His web page, clarinetmike.com, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD's and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.
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One Response to 10 All-State Practice Tips!

  1. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Outline | ClarinetMike Blog

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