practice ideas

Fun Ways for Music Students to Stay in Shape in the Summer

Many music students take a break from music lessons in the summer. These are some fun ways musicians can retain their skills and knowledge over the summer.

Time Saving Technique Practice Idea

Are you stuck between studying for tests and logging in much needed time on practicing technique? Try this idea that came up during one of my lessons last week.

Using the Circle of Fifths to Practice Technique

This popped into my head while I was teaching a lesson  last week. I asked my student to play her Grade 8 piano technique by going through the Circle of Fifths. Not only was it quickly evident that my student needs to review her key signatures, but it also was clear that she was used to practicing her technique in a certain order. However, during a music examination, you have no clue which of the required technical elements you will be asked to play. It is important to mix things up regularly.

In this piano lesson tutorial, I demonstrate what how my student practiced her piano technique using the Circle of Fifths approach.

White-Out on Music? Why Not?

This is a nifty tip I learned from my colleague, RCM examiner Colleen Athparia: If you keep coming to a dead halt at the barline, get rid of the barlines! Use white-out to get rid of barlines. You'll be surprised at how well it works. Photo by R-M Arca.

I've tried this with a few students recently with songs in triple meter, or in the above case, in 6/8 time. It works like a charm!

Of course, you want to make sure that you know your rhythms and time signature well. This is best used when you are trying to get the music flowing.

Music Practicing 101: Every Other Bar Drill

This week, I've been working with my students to either increase the tempo of their repertoire or improve on the flow in their music. This is a drill that I did learn about at a piano teaching workshop or conference - the Every Other Bar Drill.

It also works well if you do every other beat.

Another Way to Practice Technique

This is more for the advanced students, music teachers and anyone who wants to learn jazz chords and scales. The bottom line is that instead of practicing your technical exercises by key, you are practicing them by their shared root: Getting Started on Jazz Technique - Musespeak Studio