1. Environment– Find a quiet and comfortable spot to practice.
2. Posture– Try to avoid sitting on your bed when practicing. Sitting on a chair with good posture will give wind players better breath support and give percussionists better sticking control.
3. Warm-up– This is like stretching before running. Long tones, lip slurs, and then scales is a great sequence to warming up. This increases the player’s endurance and makes practicing more effective.
4. Tackle the monster– Don’t practice sections you already know well. Practice the measures you don’t know well SLOWLY in 2-4 measure chunks as many times as it takes until you have it. If it still does not sound right, practice it even slower until you can do it evenly. Once you have it learned, reinforce it at least 3 times and then gradually try it a little faster.
5. Time Trouble-Practicing with a metronome is a great way of separating the ordinary musicians from the exceptional musicians. A metronome keeps our tempo honest and prevents us from rushing and/or dragging the tempo.
6. End on a High Note– Always end your practice session by playing something fun. It doesn’t matter what it is. As long as you enjoy playing it, it will put you in a good mood and the right frame of mind for when you sit down to practice again.