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.

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: Student Band Manager!

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: Expansion and Contraction

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: Seated, Settled, Solfège

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

Read more: Warm Up the Percussionists

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

Directors who make a Difference

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Click here to nominate a director 

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