The "I Should Have" Practicer

April 2, 2016

During my twenty years of private teaching, the most commonly used phrase I hear from my students regarding practicing is “I should have…” Most kids know exactly what they SHOULD practice, but for some reason, don’t.  Instead of saying, “I should have”, I encourage all my students to be “I did” practicers.  Remember, the rate of improvement is directly proportional to the amount of quality practice.  By incorporating the following things into your practice, you will improve very fast and see amazing results.  Try to add one or two each time you practice.


  • Have a practice plan before you practice

  • Sit balanced and bring your instrument to your face, not your face to your instrument

  • Practice relaxed breathing

  • Mark your music with a pencil

  • Be focused while you practice

  • Strive to be as relaxed as possible

  • Take breaks

  • Practice in small chunks

  • Hear what you want to play before you play

  • Buzz your mouthpiece

  • Sing and conduct

  • Record yourself and listen back

  • Practice fundamentals (long tones, lips slurs, tonguing, range, scales and arpeggios)

  • Use a tuner during your practice

  • Use a metronome during your practice

  • Practice your piece subdivided

  • Gliss your piece (no tongue)

  • Play your piece all on 1 note

  • Perform for people

  • HAVE FUN!!










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