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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Practice assignment for orchestra students of all ages

My 2nd year players have been working on a really difficult piece.  They love it and they are quite motivated, but still need a little push to keep working on the measures that are most challenging.  This practice tip helped students learn to study the music and figure out what makes certain passages so hard.  By identifying the skills necessary to master the music, students were empowered to practice more effectively. 

I began our rehearsal by showing this clip to students (skipping through the dialogue so it didn't take very long).

We then had a discussion about the skills we have to master to learn our music.  When playing an instrument you have to be able to do all sorts of cool skills!  What makes certain measures hard?  Is it bowing, shifting, fingering, etc? Once students can figure out specific skills in challenging passages, they can target their practice to master those skills.

Students can use this worksheet to map out their practice:

Another idea is you can have students practice in small groups to help each other identify the skills and practice effectively.

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