The Non-Glorious Part of Being a Musician - 7/29/2012

The lights, the camera, the action--performances can be so exciting and so rewarding! But how to get there? That can only be achieved by some old-fashioned hard work!

Practicing passages from band music, solo & ensemble, and scales can be tedious and time-consuming, but doing things like playing long tones with a tuner or a tuning CD and practicing excerpts slowly with a metronome and gradually speeding up are what one needs to do to truly play a piece well.

Professional musicians will spend upwards of 6 hours a day practicing; college musicians upwards of 3 hours a day; high school students should plan to spend at least an hour a day practicing; middle school students should spend at least 30 minutes a day practicing. This has to be vigorous, focused practicing--resist the urge to merely sing or play all the way through a piece. Instead, focus your time and energy on smaller parts in the music that genuinely need the work.

***Keep in mind that continuous practice over a period of time is the only way to achieve the fluidity necessary for success--just like cramming for a final exam, cramming for a performance will not work--you MUST start working hard at the beginning and not let down until the very end.

Check out the link to the Hayes Band Website, Director Tavia Zerman, for some excellent ways to spice up your practice routine!



Hot Practice Tip! - 7/22/2012


An excellent practice technique is to record yourself! You can download a free program, Audacity, at the following website:


You can simply use the internal microphone on your computer to pick up your sound! The "Record" and "Play" features are pretty user-friendly, but feel free to ask Ms. Sare for a demo if you have any questions.

Be a critical listener and evaluate yourself in the following categories: Tone, Intonation, Rhythm, Technique, and Interpretation (TIRTI, just like at Solo & Ensemble and Festival). While many people find it shocking and sometimes disappointing the first time they record themselves and then listen, you'll find that you'll rapidly improve if you listen to recordings of yourself on a regular basis! You should aim to do so approximately once a week.

Happy practicing!


Great Things to Be Practicing - 7/20/2012

First things first--there is no substitute for private lessons! If you are at all able to take private lessons, please do. See Ms. Sare if you need assistance finding a lesson teacher.

Listed below are etude (French word for "study") books that are considered top-notch for high school students. In fact, the All-State band auditions have been taken from them in recent years.

Flute - 35 Exercises for Flute (Volume 2) Koehler, O1557 - Carl Fischer

Oboe - Gekeler Method (Volume 2), Gekeler, EL00095 - Belwin/Warner Brothers

Bassoon - Method for Bassoon (green cover), Weissenborn, CU96 - Carl Fischer

Clarinet (including bass and contras) - 32 Etudes, Rose, O439 - Carl Fischer

Saxophones - 48 Famous Studies (actually an oboe book), Fehrling, B103 - Southern Music

Trumpet - 40 Progressive Etudes for Trumpet, Hering, O3309 - Carl Fischer

Horn - 335 Selected Melodious Progressive and Technical Studies for Horn (Book 1), Pottag, B-134 - Southern Music

Trombone - Selected Studies for Trombone by Himie Voxman

Euphonium - New Concert Studies - Volume 2, Steven Mead, Hal Leonard, Bass Clef - 1033495; Treble Clef - 1033404

Tuba - 40 Advanced Studies, Tyrell, 48001043 - Boosey Hawkes

Percussion - Modern School for Snare Drum, Goldenburg, 00347777 Chappell/Hal Leonard; Modern School for Xylophone, Vibraphone and Bells, Goldenberg, 00347776 - Chappell; Modern Method for Timpani, Goldman, 11424A, Belwin - Belwin/Warner Brothers