Classical Music Tips: Part 1

Here are a few tips for my music friends that I have been collecting for the past 9-10 years.

  1. Record your practicing so you can assess things that you really can't while performing. Your brain can only remember so much.

  2. You need physical, mental, and emotional stamina to perform at your best. Practice performing all of the way through your program/piece.

  3. Practice your music from "macro to micro to macro." Basically, this means to learn the piece as a whole in the beginning, then work in sections, piece together those sections, and then look at the whole again.

  4. Practice the stuff that needs the most work at the beginning of your practicing. If time runs out unexpectedly, you know you at least got to look at that gnarly 14-measure run!

  5. Conduct through sections of your music. This is an incredible tool that I use regularly. It's not about being great at conducting; it's about kinesthetic learning.

  6. Use dark lead to write in your music.

  7. Taking notes during your practice will help you decide what to spend time on and for how long the next time you get your instrument out.

  8. Don't practice only when you are feeling inspired. Decide when you will practice and just do it.

  9. Mental and physical health come FIRST.

  10. Orchestral audition tip: Know what happens before and after your part, know who all you would be playing with... basically, score study, friend.

  11. Schedule breaks in your day to just exist in the world.

  12. Hey, wind players, plan where you are going to breathe and include just-in-case breaths.

  13. A lot of younger students actually take in too much air, raise their heart rate, and trigger their body/brain to go into panic mode, which results in them playing way faster than they're able. Use those breath marks to exhale and get rid of some of that air.

  14. Practicing smaller amounts over several days is better than cramming hours into one day.

  15. Sightreading hack: Before you warm up, grab an etude book at random, select a random page, and play it without any stops. Make it your goal to play as musically as possible.

  16. Before I perform, I use this to help control my anxiety.


That's all for now, gotta have content for another day ;)

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