REACHING OVER 36,000 INSTRUMENTAL AND VOCAL MUSIC EDUCATORS EACH MONTH IN PRINT/DIGITAL. SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! CLICK HERE!

Playing Tips

  • Positive Vibrations

    Mike Lawson | 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.

    Read More...
  • Out of Sight, Dude…

    Mike Lawson | July 5, 2019

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

    Read More...
  • Student Band Manager!

    Mike Lawson | 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.

    Read More...
  • Expansion and Contraction

    Mike Lawson | May 8, 2019

    I like to use a Hoberman sphere (http://goo.gl/GTEmXh) as a tool to show my students how to play effective dynamics.

    Read More...
  • Seated, Settled, Solfège

    Mike Lawson | 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.

    Read More...
  • Warm Up the Percussionists

    Mike Lawson | March 1, 2019

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

    Read More...
  • Weighing in on Scale Degrees

    Mike Lawson | 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.

    Read More...
  • For the Record

    Mike Lawson | 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.

    Read More...
  • Time on Your Side

    Mike Lawson | December 4, 2018

    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...
  • Drawing Straws

    Mike Lawson | November 4, 2018

    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...
  • Scaling the Slur

    Mike Lawson | October 1, 2018

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

    Read More...
  • Drummers: Ready and Engaged

    Mike Lawson | August 30, 2018

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