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.

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…

Characteristic tone and tuning start with air. Unrestricted air requires use of the diaphragm, posture that allows for expansion in the abdomen, a relaxed and open throat, and no tension in the shoulders or neck. Good air should move a piece of paper held in front of the face from vertical to horizontal.

Carolyn Ireland

Dr. John Folks Middle School

San Antonio, Texas

 


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