Recommended Apps and
for Middle School Students
Practice Tips for Elementary Band
Here are some great apps that can help
you as you practice:
(Mr. Peske has all these apps, so
you can try them out for free.)
Tonal Enery Tuner: MY
FAVORITE! and now for both iOS and Android. It
smiles at you when you are in tune; transposes for your
instrument, has a metronome, records you, and more.
Treble Cat/Bass Cat:
teaches you the notes in treble clef or bass clef
Rhythm Cat: (iOS/Android) helps you
get more precise with your rhythm reading
you notes and you can play your instrument with it. This works
better for some instruments than others.
Music Tutor: free app
for iOS and Android that quizzes
you on note names for ALL instruments
is a great app to help you
note names for JUST YOUR instrument.
for iOS and Android is a FUN way to review your note names.
They have a new version (StaffWars Live) where you can PLAY the note that it shows to
This FREE app for iOS/Android/Kindle is a tuner that shows you
exactly which note you are playing. Highly recommended for brass
lets you slow down audio or video files without changing pitch. Have
you ever heard a recording that you wanted to try to copy? But
the tempo was too fast and you couldn't keep up, so you wished you
could slow it down? Now you can. From the makers of
Practice your fingerings in this fun iOS ninja-themed app.
Great for beginners.
11. For intermediate level
students, try the Racer App series (for iOS) from
At Play Music
you drive your car faster by playing the notes on the screen. It
starts off with easy notes but gets harder as you go. Separate
apps for each instrument: Clarinet Racer, Trumpet Racer, etc.
Urban Play: For
more advanced students, search the app store for this app from the
Buffet company. This FREE app for iOS and Android gives you
both music and back-up tracks to play along with.
Check out the promo video.
The key to success in band is focused,
consistent, and daily practice. The question is not whether a
student is talented. All students can develop musical skill through
deliberate practice. When students practice, they should be working
on the places where they are having trouble. Skill growth comes from
the struggle to correct errors and the repetition of the correct
action. Break it down into smaller chunks, practicing each one
slowly until perfectly correct; pay careful attention to every
detail; and repeat the correct action until it is automatic. The
more time that students devote to this very careful practice, the
better they will become. Simply running through a song will not make
a student better and mistakes that are not fixed will become bad
habits. (For more on practice, read Daniel Coyle’s book The
Be sure to spend time practicing scales and
rhythm exercises, as well as your band music. Set goals for
yourself in your practice time, such as "I want to learn the Ab
scale," or "I want to be able to play from measure 20-30 in this
Whatever you are working on when you practice, your goal is to play
it correctly three or more times
in a row. If you have trouble playing it correctly, slow down
and try one of
these ideas. Use a
metronome and be very picky with yourself. If you practice
carefully and regularly, you will become a great musician.
Tips for practicing scales:
Don't play faster than you can play with zero
mistakes. Play the scale in whole notes if needed.
Say the name of each sharp or flat and finger
those notes. Look up any unfamiliar fingerings in your
Say each note name up and down the scale.
Sing and finger the scale.
Play the scale three times in a row perfectly,
then speed up the tempo.
Be sure you know how the scale is supposed to
sound so that you can tell if you are making a mistake. You
don't want to learn the scale with mistakes!
Tips for practicing rhythms:
Write in the rhythm if you aren't sure. Ask
for help if you don't know what to write.
Clap and count the rhythm with a metronome.
Be sure that every time you say a number, the metronome is beeping.
Start with a slow tempo. Only speed it up
once you can do it perfectly three times in a row.
Listen to the exercises being performed by the
computer on the rhythm drills page. Play along.
Once you can play the rhythm well, try playing it
while changing the notes.
Be sure to hold notes full value and keep
counting carefully through the rests.
How to learn a difficult piece
Go through and find easy measures or sections.
Play those parts.
Look for any parts that get repeated. Learn
Work on the difficult parts. Count the
rhythms carefully and work out the notes.
Work piece by piece and put the whole piece
together. Use a metronome to learn it at a slow tempo before
trying to speed it up. Remember, Perfect Practice makes
Tips for practicing a
difficult part in the music:
Count and clap the rhythm; say the notes in rhythm; finger them as you say
them; play the passage (Count, Say, Finger, Play)
Play the rhythm on only one note, then play it as written (add
Sing the passage; finger the notes while singing; then play it
Sing the passage with proper
articulation/dynamics/expression/phrasing and then play it.
Using a metronome, slow the entire passage down and play it at a
slow tempo with accurate rhythm, then speed it up a few notches at a
Play each note slowly out of rhythm, then play very slowly in
Play one measure of the phrase at a time
In a fast passage of even notes, vary the rhythm, then play it
LSLSLS (Long, short, long, short: like a dotted eighth-sixteenth)
SLSLSL (Short, Long...)
Also try varying the articulation and then with the correct
Record yourself playing and then listen to yourself
Play for your parents. This is good for when you are