Practice records are to be submitted by 11:59am each Monday for practice that occurred the previous Monday-Sunday. Students are graded on whether or not they submit the practice form, not how much they practice.
How much practicing should I be doing?
Only by practicing every day can a student set up the good habits needed to master a musical instrument (or anything else for that matter!). There is no deep, dark secret or shortcut that will increase one’s ability overnight. Only many hours of diligent, focused practice and drill-like repetition will result in improvement. Just running through your music once (making lots of mistakes) is NOT practicing! Even though most students are extremely busy with homework, sports, and other outside activities, every student should be able to find at least a minimum amount of time each day to devote to practicing. The following is a guide showing how much students should be practicing in order to achieve the improvement they should be making throughout the school year:
Practice time & Potential Results
20 minutes per day - This should be considered the bare minimum to get by in your instrumental music class!
30 minutes per day - A average amount of practice.
60 minutes per day - This is an excellent amount of time to spend practicing... you’ll really notice improvement!
90 minutes per day - This is the amount of time that students who are 1st chair are usually practicing!
2 hours per day - This is the amount of time that students who make Honor Groups are usually practicing!
2 1/2 + hours per day - This is an outstanding amount of time to practice... All State material!
What practice time IS:
Practice time IS working with your instrument by yourself, without interruptions.
Practice time IS really trying to solve a problem or work out a difficult passage.
Practice time IS time studying your music and/or your fingerings without the instrument.
Practice time IS using a “drill-style” technique, repeating everything multiple times to build “muscle memory”.
What practice time is NOT:
Practice time is NOT just fooling around with your instrument with no goal.
Practice time is NOT the time you spend playing as a group in class.
Practice time is NOT time spent playing music for another group.
Practice time is NOT playing around on a different instrument than your regular instrument.
Practice time is NOT playing your instrument during the commercials while you watch TV.
Example of a good practice routine:
Start with a good WARM-UP on long tones and scales.
Next work on SCALES & TECHNICAL EXERCISES (at least 3-5 times each).
The bulk of your time should be spent WORKING ON DIFFICULT PASSAGES in your music, in small chunks. Use slow tempos, keeping a steady beat (preferably with a metronome). Don’t practice your mistakes by playing through everything fast and sloppy! Play the music correctly at a slow speed! Look up fingerings or symbols you don’t know. Then, once you have it down at a slow speed, gradually increase the tempo.
Finally, PLAY THROUGH YOUR MUSIC from beginning to end and try to incorporate everything you worked on during your practice time. Pay careful attention to correct speed, dynamics, articulation, style and phrasing!