The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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Creative Practice Tips of the Day

March 30th, 2009 · No Comments

When young trombonists think of practice, they may think of running through their band music or scales. The problem here is, the scales are usually run the same way every time, and the band music is often just played through, top to bottom. To become a great trombonist, it’s wise to mix things up in your practice!

Here are two simple ways to get creative with your practice:
1. Play your scales backwards. Composers use scales as building blocks for their pieces. Like kids with Legos, composers don’t put their blocks together in the same way every time; in music, you’ll see scales played backwards, forwards, and mixed up. If you mix up your scale practice, you prepare yourself to play whatever the composer throws at you!

2. Start someplace other than the beginning. When we prepare our band music by always starting at the beginning of each piece, we end up with a great sounding first half but a lousy finale. Try beefing up your piece like a weightlifter would build muscle–focus on specific parts of the piece until they’re strong. And THEN run it from the top.

When you approach your scales and band music in different ways, it’s like looking at your house from an airplane–you get a different perspective on something familiar, and that new perspective makes everyday things more exciting.

Mixing up your practice also shows you what you need to learn. Remember, you don’t know your scales until you can play them backwards and in different rhythms, and your piece isn’t finished until you can play it starting from any measure with no problems. Make these your goals, and reach them by practicing creatively!

Tags: creativity · music education · Practice Tips · Trombones

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