Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of School Band & Orchestra. CLICK HERE to signup now!

Playing Tips

  • Keys to Practice

    Michael Hendrix | November 1, 2019

    The warmup process is one the most important factors in developing musicians.

  • Do you know the way to Carnegie Hall?

    Dan Fairchild | October 3, 2019

    We all worry about how much students practice. For the last 47 years I have asked band students if they are [also] athletes, and how much they practice.

  • Attack Tuning

    Michael Knight | August 29, 2019

    When tuning, lightly articulate your tuning pitch a few times. Not only will this allow you to hear if you are above or below the reference pitch more easily, but it also ensures that you are in tune at the attack and not relying on embouchure or air adjustments to stay in tune.

  • Positive Vibrations

    Mike Iapicca | August 2, 2019

    Saxophone and clarinet players: look in the mirror, place the mouthpiece in your mouth with your normal embouchure and DON’T PLAY.

  • Out of Sight, Dude…

    Judy Burmeister | July 5, 2019

    When practicing at home, leave your case open, with your instrument ready to play.

  • Student Band Manager!

    Jeff Brown | June 6, 2019

    Some of the logistics of running an ensemble can be cumbersome. To alleviate this, I hire a student in the ensemble to serve as the Band Manager for the school year.

  • Expansion and Contraction

    Keith Ozsvath | May 8, 2019

    I like to use a Hoberman sphere ( as a tool to show my students how to play effective dynamics.

  • Seated, Settled, Solfège

    Cynthia Plank | April 9, 2019

    I have over ninety students in one sixth grade beginning band class, and it always takes a little longer to get them seated and settled.

  • Warm Up the Percussionists

    Hal Sargent | March 1, 2019

    Have your percussion section warm-up for about thirty seconds to a minute at the beginning of class.

  • Weighing in on Scale Degrees

    Michel Nadeau | February 8, 2019

    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.

  • For the Record

    Travis Coakley | January 9, 2019

    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.

  • Time on Your Side

    Kevin Wood | December 4, 2018

    Use a stopwatch to time transition events. For concert band rehearsals, use a site like 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.

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!