Students must be prepared with their instrument, all
their music, and a pencil at every band class. A
calendar is issued each month
listing band days. It is a good idea to put band materials out
the night before so they are not forgotten in the morning rush.
Another option is to post a note with a checklist for the day of
Students need to practice every day (6-7 days a
week. It is best if a routine is established that
includes practice as part of the day. For example, practicing
could occur at 4:00 every afternoon, or right after dinner.
Practice must become an automatic habit. Without daily
reinforcement, musical progress will be very difficult.
When practicing, students should use a four step process
to learn a song or exercise: 1) count the rhythm 2) say the
notes in rhythm 3) say the notes in rhythm while fingering the
note on the instrument and 4) playing the exercise with correct
notes and rhythms.
Students should be able to clap and count through the
exercise with a steady beat. A
metronome can help
students maintain a steady tempo. If students have questions
about how rhythms are counted or played, they should contact me
using the contact information given.
The letter names of the notes need to be memorized. The
students have a chart listing five notes which they must know by
heart and without hesitation. The best way to practice
is by pointing to notes in the book and quickly saying the name
of the note. Students should go through the exercise pointing
to the note and saying the note name. This should be repeated
as many times as necessary to be able to do it without
hesitation. Creating flash cards is another good way to
practice this. Students should not write the letter
names in their book as this will serve as a crutch and
prevent them from learning the note names. Students may
copy a page out of the book in order to label the note names as
an exercise, but should never practice off a sheet with the note
names written in as they need to learn to recognize the musical
Students need to be sure they are correctly fingering each
note. They should know at least five different notes—each
one should sound different from the other. If there is still
confusion about this, talk to Mr. Peske.
Each week the students receive a homework sheet that
lists their general practice assignments. They should use this
as a guide during their practice time.
Students should have goals for their practice time, such
as “I want to be able to play number 10 perfectly,” or “I want
to play the note C three times in a row.” Students should
practice about 15-20 minutes daily, but accomplishing their
goals and making progress is more important than simply “putting
in the time.”
When students practice, their goal must be perfection.
They need to be very picky with themselves and not be content to
just be “close” because then they will not be able to play along
with other people. The entire band will not sound good unless
everyone is exactly together.
Once students have played something correctly, they should not
move on to another goal until they can do it correctly three
times in a row. This rule of thumb is extremely
important and will help students achieve success.