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Playing Tips

  • June 2021, Playing Tips: Policing the Posture

    SBO Staff | June 11, 2021When students sit up, their chest cavity will be more open and allow them to take in even more air. To demonstrate this, hold up an empty disposable 12oz plastic water bottle, which represents their lungs. Squeeze the water bottle with your hand to resemble our lungs when we are sitting with poor posture. With […] Read More...
  • Clarinet “B for Bulls Eye and Both Pinkies”

    SBO Staff | April 6, 2021To 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 pinkies’. Michel Nadeau Burr Intermediate School East Northport, NY   For a PDF of this playing tip, with SBO’s Tone […] Read More...
  • Practice Stretching

    Mike Lawson | January 8, 2016Tip: 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 Read More...
  • Playing Tip of The Month: Play it Again!

    Mike Lawson | December 11, 2015Play 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 […] Read More...
  • A Long Tone Warming Up in Half Steps

    Mike Lawson | September 15, 2015

    For a well-rounded tone quality, I am convinced you need to warm-up the band always using long tones from B flat concert and play half steps down to low F concert and back up using half steps. It results in better tone and better tuning. It’s simple, but it works over a period of time.

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  • Playing Tips: Keep the Tips Close

    Mike Lawson | November 23, 2014

    To ensure young percussionists are playing with their stick beads close together, take a quarter or a fifty-cent piece and place it directly in the center of the drum head. Then take a pencil and trace a circle around the coin so your students can see the circle when they start to play. Instruct them to play within the circle. This will train them to play with their stick beads close together. This produces a more consistent sound on the drum. You can also draw a circle toward the front edge of the drum head for softer playing zones.”

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