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Often for music students the practice room can be a place of transcendent accomplishment as well as massive frustration. I have practice until my fingers bled, until I got exactly what I wanted, only to come back the next day and feel as if none of that work had showed up. I have also had breakthrough moments where everything seemed to fall into place, music and the world suddenly made sense as if my eyes had been opened and I was seeing in color for the first time. The truth about the practice room is this: Practice takes practice. The practice room (especially for those looking to go into music education) is like a scientist's lab. You have to be critical of not just what you're doing (did I play that note too loud? How is the clarity of my articulation?) but also WHY you you are doing it. You have to analyze why you are in the practice room, what are your goals and how are you going to reach them? It's exactly what a school teacher does to plan their lessons and that's how I learned... read more

If I could go back in time and give myself some advice ... Well, that's quite a questions. And the answers are not as easy as one might think. We are who we are based on the lessons we have learned over time. If we didn't make mistakes, we would not learn. We might avoid a pitfall here and there, but we wouldn't learn the lessons behind the lessons - the root cause, as it were, for why it was a mistake in the first place. However, one piece of advice I would like to give myself in the past is this: listen to the advice you are given. As I look back, I was given some great advice by a lot of people while I was growing up. Some of it, thankfully, I not only listened to, but took to heart. Some I didn't. When I analyze those things I have done in the past that turned out to be mistakes, I can almost always trace the root of a bad decision back to not following the advice someone had given me earlier. So, with that in mind, I would like to share two of the best pieces of... read more

We started with the basic LHB (Long Horn Band) warm up for at least 5 minutes as well as the chromatic scale. We also practiced the flat scales that are usually seen in an ATSSB try out. Then we looked at two of the trumpet pieces he is expected to learn for the fall. We practised them 4 measures at a time and repeated parts we had trouble on until they were familiar. We also discussed differences between the arrangement and the original song, and the 1st and 2nd trumpet parts. Next time I plan to bring Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Wars music to practice for sight reading. Today was a trial run for both of us to see what we really needed to work on and how to make the best of our time. We got done faster than I thought we would so next time we should focus on something more specific. We also cooled down for the last 5 minutes, playing long notes, both high and low pitches.

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