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.

A great practice method is the Penny Game. There are three versions of this, so it can be tailored to the student. Put ten pennies on the left lip of your music stand. The goal is to get all ten pennies to the right. Easy version: If it's played accurately, move one to the right. If it isn't accurate, leave one to the left. Hard version: Accurate = move right; inaccurate = move one back to the left. Sudden Death version: Accurate = move right; inaccurate = move ALL pennies back to the left, and start over again!

Liz Harwood
Kasson-Mantorville Middle School
Kasson, Minnesota

Most sax players use too little mouthpiece in the mouth. I use my "rule of thumb": have them put their thumb in their mouth so their bottom teeth are at the bottom of their thumbnail. That's how much mouthpiece should be in their mouth. If they match that to their mouthpiece, it will open up their sound and help with their pitch.

Dan Hodgkins
Torrington Middle School
Torrington, CT

Play loud, and act confident until you are confident with your playing.

Razan A. Badr
Riverdale High School
Jefferson, Louisiana

Never play to "impress" others! I have seen dozens of musicians tie themselves in knots at auditions, performances and even rehearsals trying to impress someone else — the conductor perhaps, the anonymous committee at auditions or even people in the audience! Play for the joy of the music, the composer and for yourself!

Stephen Heyde
Baylor University

To accelerate learning for B above the break, I put 1/4" round color coding labels on both pinky keys. Students learn that B is the bulls eye of the music staff and played with both pinky's.

 

Michel Nadeau

Burr Intermediate School

East Northport, NY

The dot makes a note longer by half the notes value. I first teach the dotted half note, then the dotted whole note. Learning to read the dotted quarter note becomes much easier for students to grasp the concept of augmentation dots.

Michel Nadeau
Burr Intermediate School
Commack, New York

Before playing your flute, take the mouthpiece only and do a few slurring exercises (going from the lower octaves to the high octave) and play around with your sound a little while looking into a mirror. Listen carefully how your sound changes by either pushing more air from your stomach, or loosening/tightening your embouchure. Make sure that your bottom lip is covering half of the mouthpiece! Do this as a 5-minute-warm-up and it should improve your tone quality!

Anahi Nanez
New Caney High School
New Caney, Texas

Tip: I always start my practice with a stretch of my hand. By doing this, I can play more efficiently and easily with my hand not cramping up. To protect my hand from any strain, I also rub out my hand when I am through.

Nicole Reed

Bartlett High School

Anchorage, Alaska

Play it again!

Often in rehearsal, we are quick to stop playing and "fix" something. Many times, simply playing a passage again and getting some repetitions in will "fix" the problem we wanted to stop and work on. Our students can "iron out the kinks" pretty well themselves if we give them the time and opportunity!

Lloyd McDonald
Feagin Mill Middle School
Warner Robins, GA

Practice articulations by using visual representations. Draw a picture of staccato.

Read more: Picture This…

 


On the Road

Do you have a story to tell about taking your school music groups on the road? SBO wants to hear about it!

Click Here to Submit Your Story

Directors who make a Difference

Do you know a fantastic K-12 instrumental music educator who is deserving of recognition in SBO?

Click here to nominate a director 

and tell us why he or she should be featured in SBO’s annual "Directors Who Make a Difference" report.

SBO Web Poll

This year, our primary major band travel is for:

Festival Competitions - 42.5%
Public Performances - 30%
Educational Workshops - 5%
Some of All of the Above - 20%

Sign up for the SBO newsletter

SBO App

Get the SBO App!

Get the latest issues on your mobile device!

 

 

College Search & Career Guide