EPN Travel Services proudly presents: The Playing Tip of the Month!

Enter your warm-up, rehearsal, performance, or teaching tip for a chance to win a special prize from EPN Travel Services!

Winning Playing Tips will be published in School Band & Orchestra magazine.

Once a student learns the first five tones, I like to teach them scale degrees as well. Doing this allows students to learn both the blues chord progression and easily identify intervals.

Read more: Weighing in on Scale Degrees

My favorite rehearsal tip to share with directors is to record your ensemble weekly. This works for marching band, concert band and jazz ensemble. At any given time, our ensembles are performing many, many different things simultaneously.

Read more: For the Record

Use a stopwatch to time transition events. For concert band rehearsals, use a site like online-stopwatch.com to show the students they have X-number of seconds to be ready after the bell, or you have X-number of time to practice this scale.

Read more: Time on Your Side

When you have that student who just can’t understand how to tongue on the clarinet or sax, take a drinking straw and have them stop and start the air with their tongue on the straw.

Read more: Drawing Straws

Descending lip slurs are a piece of cake, and almost no young brass student struggles with that skill.

Read more: Scaling the Slur

Take at least one or two minutes to warm up the percussion section when beginning class. Having them do sixteenth notes without accents in stick patterns RLRL, RRLL, RLRRLRLL on drums or pads.

Read more: Drummers: Ready and Engaged

During the warm-up chorale, I point to my ear periodically to remind students that it is THEIR job to play in tune.

Read more: That’s So Random

Still fighting the time battle? Nearly every student in your band program has their own smart phone or a tablet.

Read more: Time for Timers

Assign a method book exercise that gets the fingers/slides moving.

Read more: Have a Time Trial

Set your metronome to 60 bpm (beats per minute), one note each second.

Read more: Improving Your Speed Using a Metronome

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