What to practice?
Always make sure that you are covering the work your teacher has set you. Keep a practice diary where both your teacher and you can make notes to help remind you of the repertoire you are to work on between lessons.
At the start of your practice session, it is good habit to begin with a warm up using scales and arpeggios. Start with the ones which are familiar to you and continue by moving on to less familiar or new ones. Keep practicing old scales and arpeggios once you have learnt them to keep them fresh.
When working on your pieces, try to identify the difficult passages that need extra work. You may need to play very short phrases over and over many times, so set yourself a goal of perfecting just a few bars during each practice session. This is a more effective way of learning a new piece, since playing a piece through from the beginning to the end is only really beneficial once the piece is already polished.
Alongside practicing your pieces and scales, try your hand at improvising, sight-reading new pieces or revisiting old pieces you have previously learnt. Most importantly, try to use your practice time productively.
Support from parents
Practicing is a lonely activity and a lot of children benefit from encouragement and support from their parents. Parents’ company and praise is especially useful in the early stages. Take an active interest in your child’s playing and try to periodically sit in and listen to their practice sessions. Create opportunities for your child to perform by playing to family or friends. Perhaps ask your child to teach you something they are currently working on in their lessons?
I hope that these suggestions will be useful to students and parents and that they will help to establish habits through which good progress can be made.
Li Boberg trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and at the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen. She is currently teaching around Berkshire and she freelances as a double bassist with many of the UK’s major orchestras
The Circus Café, St Mary’s Street Edinburgh, was the venue for the latest Most Entertaining gig in February. Osman Celik, the owner opened the Café especially for us. The gig kicked off at around 8pm with the guitar group and around 10 guitarists featuring experienced and new guitarists. They did a selection of old and new tunes, all getting the chance on “lead”.
We singers did four songs, our own “Transatlantic Session”. We started with Down to the River, made famous in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou which featured George Clooney, and finished with I Can’t Stand the Rain, which Maeve the tutor arranged for us, based on a soul version by Seal. The singer pianist Woodstock Tailor made a guest appearance at the gig, and did a moody version of My Funny Valentine – most appropriate for 15 February.
The two tutors closed the show, Maeve Mackinnon, with a spine chilling Gaelic number, followed by Chris Day the guitar tutor singing and playing. The next singing and guitar workshops are planned to start in May, with a gig in June. Before then on Sunday 1 April, 2012 there will be a performance from some of Most Entertaining students who take one to one music lessons.
Margaret Fletcher, piano and vocal workshop student with Most Entertaining since 2006.
The Mansfield University Jazz Ensemble is a select group of 16-18 students under the direction of Michael Galloway. This outstanding ensemble has been an award winning band at the Villanova Jazz Festival and has also been honored with two appearances at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association State Conference, as well an MENC Regional Convention in Rochester, New York. They have also been featured in a performance in Harrisburg in a concert sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz and have been guests at several Pennsylvania and New York Jazz Festivals.
The MU Jazz Ensemble also hosts the annual MU Jazz Festival, as well as having other jazz greats as guest soloists with the band. The list of visiting jazz artists reads like a “Who’s Who” in jazz and includes Lew Soloff, Bob Mintzer, Jiggs Whigham, Randy Brecker, Kenny Warner, The Airmen of Note, DIVA, Ryan Kisor, Denis DiBlasio, Ingrid Jensen, Michael Davis, The Commodores, Wayne Bergeron, and many others!
The Mansfieldians numbers eight singers who specialize in vocal jazz. Under the direction of Sheryl Monkelien, their performances have included Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Eastern PA, and in the 2006 Vocal Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall with conductor, Phil Mattson. Two summers ago they won the Jazz Vocal a Cappella Category at the 2008 World Choir Games in Graz, Austria. They have also hosted the internationally acclaimed vocal jazz artists The REAL GROUP in concert.
Concert sponsored by Most Entertaining Music Tuition
Venue: Main Auditorium – Tynecastle High School, 2 Macleod Street, Edinburgh
Concert Time: 8pm (music on from Edinburgh Schools Symphony Orchestra will play from 7pm)
Date: 12th March
Cost: FREE ENTRY
Call our office to book your place 0131 477 7821 or email [email protected]
As an instrumental teacher I am often asked by parents how much time their child should spend practicing between lessons. When taking up an instrument it is important to create good habits of practice from the beginning therefore I have put together some suggestions which I hope will be helpful:
Find a regular time slot for practice and try as far as you can to keep that time. Don’t leave the practice until the end of the day as you maybe too tired by then. Schedule your practice time for when you are fresh, perhaps in the morning before leaving for school.
Regularity is the key here, not the amount. Much more will be achieved with 20 minutes practice a day throughout the week then trying to do a marathon practice session the night before the next lesson. For young beginners, 5-10 minutes a day can be sufficient. When students get to grades 4 or 5 they should be aiming to do at least 30 minutes a day.
Li Boberg trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and at the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen. She is currently teaching around Berkshire and she freelances as a double bassist with many of the UK’s major orchestras.