Practice. Band students soon learn, that only with regular practice, do "those notes on the page" get easier. One of the benefits of instrumental music education is that students learn that only with regular practice, do they achieve success. This is something that they have done and should be proud of the hard work it has taken to become better at their skill.

I've often heard it said, "Well that person must be so talented in music." It's been my understanding that talent can only take you so far. For someone to become really successful at music, like any skill, it takes regular practice. As the American inventor Thomas Edison told us, "Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration." 

My dad, being a former band director, and my mom being an elementary music teacher knew their kids had to practice, but we also knew that our parents deserved a little peace after a long days work. So as kids, we usually tried to do our practice before our parents got home from work or found a place where we could close the door. In our lessons, I always encourage our students to find a time and a place where they can practice their lessons, but also respect their families "peace of mind."

I usually encourage our students to practice at the same time each day. Students have heard "Mr.Rutt" ask them, "Do you eat each day, do you wake up each day?" Of course the students have gotten into a routine and that's the point of my questions. If you can find a time of day that works best to practice, then try do do that at the same time each day. Of course each day has its own challenges, but even a short practice can be beneficial. 

The quality of the practice is also important. One of my college professors who was a great trumpet player and music arranger admonished us with the phrase, "valuable repetitions." When you practice something be it music or any skill, it matters not only to make it regular but make it "your best" each time. In this way, we are "training our brain" to do things the right way each time. 

And finally, the best advice I can give is something I tell our students each week. Practice "small things." Yes, it's a good idea to play a song all the way to the end. But if you want to really learn a piece, you need to break it down to 1 and 2 measure pieces. Play those things correctly four or five times. Then add some more to your "small piece." After a bit, you'll have put together most of your piece. 

Please contact me if I may be of any help or if you have any good suggestions you'd like to share with our students about ways to encourage more practice.


Mr. Rutt

Iowa Great Lakes Lutheran School web site:http://www.iglls.org/

Spencer Community Schools: http://www.spenceriowaschools.com/

IGLLS Band on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/igllsband/

First English Lutheran Church: http://spencer-church.com/

Christ the King Lutheran Church: http://www.ctkspencer.com/

Note Trainer: http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/musictheory/trainers/html/id82_en.html