Getting the most benefit from limited practice time is a goal every musician shares, as our lives grow busier and more hectic. We all have to juggle practice goals with friends, family, school, work, and yes…even fun. Being pulled in so many directions at once can lead to practice that feels rushed, tense, and all too often; unproductive. Fear not! BuzzReed has some tips to help you maximize your practice sessions.
Before You Play
Because the time we have available to devote to practice is limited, it makes sense that we should jump right into playing and get right to work. This is also wrong. The things we do before we actually start playing makes a huge impact on how much we will accomplish during a practice session. If you rush to the goal there’s the risk that you’ll end up working against yourself by using more effort than needed. To help avoid this tendency, before you even play a note, take a few deep, relaxed, slow breaths. This gives you the opportunity to chill out, bring your attention to how you’re using your body, and focus on the most important thing to any wind player – air!
Once you have a clear mind and a relaxed breathing you’re ready to start playing! But what should you play? Bridging the divide between your newly relaxed self and playing is best done with long tones. A few minutes of slow long tones, focusing on the level of effort you’re using, where that effort is coming from, and what it feels like to produce your best sound in a relaxed way can help you hone in on raising your overall quality of playing.
At this point you’re ready to move on to scales, solos, etudes, ensemble music, or whatever else may be on your practice stand.
Some of you may be thinking that a warm-up before you practice is taking precious time away from your already limited practice session but give it a try – you may find that you feel better AND accomplish more when you practice!