The Easiest Way to Practice

By Hollie Bennett, Intern at The Lesson Studio

I promise there really is an easy way to practice. You don’t always have to woodshed those runs or burn those shifts into your muscle memory. Even get at this: you can practice without having to even get your instrument out of its case (sorry for you vocalists and pianists out there that I’m excluding by saying that). Sometimes you just can sit back, relax and listen. No really, I am completely serious in saying this. No metaphorical speaking here. Listening to music can help you become even more expressive and musical when you play. Anything and everything can help you learn about musicality and that is a absolutely wonderful base that anyone can build off of.

Listening to music can help so much especially with younger children. When I was growing up, I remember listening to Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev and just anticipating the portrayal of the bird because I knew one day that was the instrument that I wanted to play. Once I got my first little Gemeinhardt student flute with the curved head joint and was a master player of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Jingle Bells” my mother bought three flute CDs. From that point on I was convinced that I wanted to be James Galway, but without the beard. Of course, at that point in time I also wanted to an astronaut, ballerina, vet and firefighter, but a girl can dream, right? Anyways, I had that exact sound of what I wanted to sound like cemented into my memory and it set a definite goal for me. Think of that, an eight year old with a goal: pretty epic.

Listening to recordings of a piece you’re working on can help with phrase direction and knowing what exactly you want to do with everything the composer has handed you. It can also help with tone color, style, tempo, and rhythm. It can also help by helping you decide what you do and don’t want to do. Listening to music that isn’t your specific instrument also is very helpful. Bach cello suites, Stravinsky ballets, Wagner operas, African drums, French flute music, Japanese Folk music, and all kinds of chamber ensembles from string quartet to who knows what are just a few that you can choose from. YouTube has so much but while there is lots of good, there is also lots of bad. Libraries are great places to find CDs that you can check out listen to. Also, Naxos Music Library is a great way to access all kinds of music. There is a subscription fee, but if you are a CU-Boulder student, you can access this for free on campus. ITunes has a broad range of all kinds of music as well as your local Barnes & Noble or Borders book store. So many options are out there and just so you can have an easy practice day.


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2 Responses to “The Easiest Way to Practice”

  1. Music Practice Links 29th March 2010How To Practice | How To Practice Says:

    […] The Easiest way to practice includes a lot of listening according to The lesson studio. […]

  2. Mike's Home on the web | Music Practice Links 29th March 2010 - Trombones, house renovation, music practice and murmurings from Mike. Says:

    […] The Easiest way to practice includes a lot of listening according to The lesson studio. […]

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