Category Archives: Practicing & Studying

How to practice effectively

News about effective practicing based on research by Annie Bosler & Don Greene. The link is to a TED ED video that is very compelling. I think the explanation of the biology of how the brain and the nervous system … Continue reading

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Starting the conversation . . .

This week, we’ll be focusing on practice routines. What are your favorite patterns for warm up or technical exercise? Here is a 1990 article by an old friend from grad school: http://www.idrs.org/publications/controlled/DR/DR13.1/DR13.1.Allison.Practice.html I think it is very important to take … Continue reading

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Conditioning: Tuning Long Tones

Practicing long tones with a tuner is a very good way to recondition our wind playing apparatus: embouchure, oral cavity, breath support, and ears. Hardware tuners work very well. Most are adjusted to slightly “average” the pitch produced to make … Continue reading

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Teach Yourself

Interestingly, students spend many more hours in the practice room alone than in rehearsals or private lessons working with teachers. How can we spend that alone time in the practice room to greatest benefit? We learn to teach ourselves! Young … Continue reading

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Dancing fingers

Unless we are very secure in our “digital” technique, we may encounter fast, technically difficult passages and experience the nauseating feeling of “digital” overload! If the speed we can manage with confident manual dexterity is exceeded, fingers twitch and dance … Continue reading

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Practicing slowly

Many great performers have much to say about practicing slowly. Orchestral musicians especially have the habit of setting the metronome at a slow speed (maybe half tempo) and gradually increasing the tempo a notch at a time to eventually bring … Continue reading

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Wide leaps

As we are working on tuning/voicing/articulating passages featuring wide leaps, a little etude is in order 🙂 I’ve provided multiple keys to cover more interval content. I suggest practicing this exercise with varied tonguing and slurring patterns. Of particular importance … Continue reading

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Milde op. 24

I like Ludwig Milde’s Twenty-Four Scale and Arpeggio Studies, op. 24. These etudes are great for daily maintenance and workout. I don’t know what it is, but I really like #8–it’s probably because the upper middle register slurs are good … Continue reading

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Caprices by Karl (Carl) Jacobi

An early edition of Karl Jacobi’s Six Caprices op. 16 (1836) is available on IMSLP. These technical etudes are challenging, virtuosic, and enjoyable to play! The Caprices make great reading material, and they allow for ample expression in addition to requiring considerable … Continue reading

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Musical solutions to technical problems

The concept of solving technical problems by applying musical solutions (dynamics, rubato, expression) is not new. Very often, focusing on a musical goal makes the technique challenges fade by comparison. But, how does one decide on the particular musical approach … Continue reading

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