7 Ways to Improve Your Practicing!

ClarinetMike with a cool new work he premiered in Italy this past summer!

I know many of you are practicing feverishly preparing for all-region, all-state, lessons, concerts, orchestra auditions, concerto competitions, university auditions, recital hearings, juries, etc. Below are some tips that will help you make the most of your practice sessions.

7 Ways to Improve Your Practicing! by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Practice First: There’s a famous maxim in time management that says “Works expands to fill the time available for its completion.” (Parkinson’s Law) This means if you wait until you finish all your homework (or housework, etc.) to practice, then you won’t practice because you’ll run out of time. So, my suggestion to my students [and myself, yikes!] is that they practice first for at least one practice session before starting work on homework after school. This way they’ll get at least some practice in every day.
  2. Let There Be Light: Make sure you have adequate light in your practice space. FYI, you should own a couple of stand lights. Always take them with you to a gig – I used 2 stand lights on my stand last Friday night at an outside orchestra concert in a park!
  3. Care About the Chair: Get a good chair to sit in that is comfortable and the right height for you. Similarly, make sure you have a quality music stand that is adjustable.
  4. Straighten Up and Fly Right: Be sure you sit up or stand with good, relaxed posture – NO slouching, leaning over, leg crisscrossing, etc.
  5. No Fan of Fans: Do not have a ceiling fan (or similar) going above your head or near you while practicing. The fan will blow your sound around and you will not be able to accurately hear yourself.
  6. Turn Off the Dang Phone: Limit distractions by turning off all beeps, buzzers, and bells on cellphones, tablets, laptops, computers, etc.
  7. No Baseball: Do not do something else while practicing. I know someone who listens to baseball games while practicing. NO! Another friend warms up on his instrument while reading email. NO!

ClarinetMike says, “Check out the excellent book Deep Work by Cal Newport. The book discusses the need for improving our ability to do sustained Deep Work: ‘the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task [like practice!].’ (from the dust jacket flap copy of Deep Work by Cal Newport)”

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 Canada, Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will again return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival 2019. 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. Dr. Dean has given more than 500 clinics, master classes and performances at high schools, universities, conferences and other venues. For 11 years he was a clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony and he's also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-viewed ClarinetMike Blog, the Internet’s #1 clarinet blog read in 150 countries on 6 continents: clarinetmike.wordpress.com. After a successful 25 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas 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, and Bob Ackerman. 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.
This entry was posted in All, All-State, Performance & Pedagogy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 7 Ways to Improve Your Practicing!

  1. Tom F says:

    Thank you. All good suggestions. I’m past the homework part of my life but the other suggestions are always good reminders of what to do

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s