Summerglen Band Blog

Fun and helpful musical info for elementary band students and their families.

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Common Practice Mistakes – Part 1

February 1st, 2020 · No Comments

In band class, we talk often about how to practice…but did you know that it can also be helpful to learn how NOT to practice? In this 3-part series, we’ll present several not-so-good practice habits that you’ll want to stay away from!

1. Practicing Too Little
The #1 mistake people make with practice is practicing too little. If you feel stuck in your playing and are frustrated that you’re not improving, you may want to ask yourself how much you’ve been practicing. Often, you’ll discover that you’re not improving simply because you’re not putting in enough time.

Learning to play music is like getting to know a new friend; if you don’t devote enough time to either pursuit, you’re not going to get very far. Practice creates results but it requires time and effort; there’s no shortcut to learning an instrument.

2. Inconsistent Practice
Practice produces the best results when we do a little bit every day. Practicing 5 hours one day and then taking a week off is about as helpful as feasting on Monday and eating nothing the rest of the week! Just as eating regularly keeps us well-nourished, practicing regularly helps us stay in shape and retain what we’ve learned.

3. Time-Wasting Pseudo-Practice
Practicing is work, and often, work is the last thing we want to do. When we feel lazy, it can be tempting to engage in timewasting pseudo-practice. In pseudo-practice, we try to look like we’re working hard when we’re really not. We might polish our horn for 15 minutes to get it “just right” before playing, practice with the television on, or organize our music instead of practicing. These activities may fool our parents into thinking we’ve practiced, but will they help our playing?

Have any of these poor habits showed up in YOUR practice? If so, try doing their opposite instead! You’ll end up with much less frustration in your life…and a lot more musical progress!

Tags: practice

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