Practice what you don’t do well!


Know what to practice before each practice session.


Be sure to determine how much time you want to spend on each category before you practice.


Keep a record of what you practiced, how much time you spent on it, and at what tempo you practiced.


Record your practice session, listen to it and take notes.


Practice your piece subdivided.


Perform for people as often as possible.


Take breaks!


Be sure to use great practice tools such as a metronome, tuner, mirror, and recording device when you practice.


When you very first learn a piece, play it slowly.


When practicing, break the piece up into smaller sections. Make flash cards for any challenging lick to isolate it further.


Slow down tempo – play 1 note at a time!


Speed tempo up slightly – play all rhythms as quarter notes.


Drop a high lick down an octave.


Raise a low lick up an octave.


Play an entire phrase all on 1 note (to work on rhythms, articulations, dynamics and phrasing).


Play an entire lick with no tongue.






Hear what you want to play before you play.


Analyze a lick – is it a pattern that you might recognize such as a scale or arpeggio?


Play a lick backwards slowly.


Make a sequence out of a lick – raise it or lower it by half step.


Listen to recordings and then play along with them if you are able.


At some point in every practice session, play straight through a piece – don’t stop!


Make short, medium, and long-range goals for yourself to help evaluate progress.


Simplify! Focus on 1 or 2 things at a time such as tone, intonation, rhythm, articulations, dynamics, and phrasing.


Relax! We perform at a much higher level and for a longer period when relaxed.


Always strive for better breath control and efficiency - blow constant and steady!


Blow! Always strive for a deep, quiet, relaxed, constant inhale. Be sure to make your breath as natural as possible. What goes in, comes out! (Bad breath in - bad sound out. Great breath in - great sound out).


Posture - sit balanced! Bring your instrument up to your face, not your face down to your instrument.


Mark your music with a pencil.


Practice your entire range every time you practice. This should include dynamics (ppp-fff), tonguing (staccato, legato, marcato, tenuto), tonguing speed (slow-fast, single, double, triple) and range (low notes - high notes).


Listen to as much music as possible (live concerts, television, recordings, and movies), particularly of great musicians. Be sure to listen to singers and other instrumentalists (not just brass!). Always try to go to live concerts as often as possible!


End your practice session on a positive note - play something that you really like and that you play well.



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© 2016 by Sean Reusch. Created by Williams Consulting.