We've all heard the phrase "practice makes perfect." A more accurate statement would be "practice makes permanent." In whatever skill an individual is acquiring, repetition leads to creating habits. Therefore, practicing creates a permanence in any given skill. For us, practicing is a mastery of an instrument and musical competency. If we practice properly, we climb the ladder to higher levels of performance, to a deeper understanding of music. Once we get beyond the mechanics of playing the instrument, we're able to do more than just push down fingers and play pitches--we're able to create art.
"But I'm too busy to practice......"
Practicing doesn't have to consume your life. It's more about practicing consistently than putting in a lot of hours. For example, it is better to practice 10 minutes a day than to practice for an hour once a week. Just like studying for a test, the more often you revisit information, the better your brain will retain it.
Again, it's all about consistency. Practice a little each day to make a big difference.
No, not on an iPhone. Play your instrument. You use a specific set of muscles to play your instrument. Whether it be brass, woodwinds, or percussion, you must fine tune your muscles. You also must "stretch" and "exercise" your muscles! Think about how it feels to pay after holiday where you didn't play very much. It takes a while to regain your strength. Also, think about how tired your muscles are after a long rehearsal.
Think about how finely tuned a professional golfer's swing is...we must fine tune as well. And then create music. Golfers spend a lot of time at the driving range, we need to spend a lot of time in the practice room...which could actually be anywhere. You could even practice at the driving range, though I don't think the golfers would like that very much.
Just get more FaceTime..
Practice More to Enjoy Band More
Students that practice their instruments enjoy band more. I don't need to quote some official music education study to know this fact, I've seen it with my own eyes every year since I started teaching.
Students that practice tend to enjoy band.
The students that don't practice, don't typically enjoy band as much and often end up quitting :(
WHY IS THIS???
The answer is simple. It comes down to engagement. To illustrate this point, let's make an analogy.
Story Time with McAllister
Let's say there's a really tall mountain and your group of friends is hiking to the top. You know that the view will be extraordinary! Well, you set out and realize that this is a really tough hike. You get tired. You get fatigued. You're thirsty. Your legs hurt. You sit down to rest for a second. You catch your breath and look up only to realize all of your friends are gone! They literally left you behind. Suddenly a difficult hike is made worse because you didn't keep up. Disheartened, you wait for your friends to come back down. They talk about how awesome the view was and show you pictures. You're faced with the fact that you just didn't make it. And you decided to never go hiking again. Because hiking is not fun. Because you're out of shape. And your friends are not.
** BUT WHAT IF YOU DECIDED TO GET IN SHAPE AND HIKE THE MOUNTAIN AGAIN?? **
Instead of giving up, you decide to be determined. You exercise every day, walking/hiking/running just a little bit further each time. You're smart about it too. You know it's all up hill, so you find the steepest hill around and hike it 2, 3, 4....10 times. You build your stamina. Then you go to that group of friends and say let's hike that mountain again. This time you're ready. You are at the front of the pack. In fact, you're so in shape, it's easy. And when you get to the top, the view is even better that you ever could have imagined. It looks just like the pictures... but it FEELS like accomplishment. And suddenly you realize that quitting band would be ridiculous... worst decision ever. Because you pushed past your limits and got something glorious in return. And then you decide to hike a taller mountain. And play a more difficult piece.
A great piece of music is like a beautiful landscape. Maybe you like mountains. Maybe you like valleys. Maybe you like the city skyline. Maybe you like the countryside. Music comes in all forms. But in order to FULLY experience it, you have to make it to the top.
Playing an instrument requires tenacity. So be tenacious. Go after it. Get good at this. Really good. You may not play your instrument forever, but you can certainly take your determination with you. You can take the practice skills learned and apply them to your next passion. Who knows, maybe you'll be the next Edmund Hillary.