Beginner Band Plans for Remote Schooling Period

  • Ideally, I would like to be able to give my Beginning Band students personalized feedback on their playing throughout the time we will not be meeting at school. Unfortunately there is no easy and universal way for students to submit audio recordings of their practicing to me at this point in time. I am looking into ways to do this for the upcoming week(s) if necessary. In the meantime, students should follow the guidelines below to best improve their musical abilties:
    Practice Minutes:
    Signed practice logs will be collected upon our return to school. Make sure you spend additional time on your instrument that you were usually getting from morning band and lessons.

    *Hint: Just during their time with me at school, students have been playing their instruments for about 2 hours a week. That means we're expecting at least 120-180 minutes of practice time a week, if not more. (20 minutes a day = 140 for the week. It's really not as much as it seems!)

    Just remember, you are practicing to help yourself improve and also to help the band grow as a whole. The better you get, the more fun practicing becomes!
    I have created a practicing checklist below to help students focus and achieve small goals during their practice sessions. While they do not have to do each one every day, this will help give them options of ways to get better little by little over the course of these few weeks.
    1. Practice your concert Bb scale, making sure you have the right fingers down and each note is correct.
    2. Do your notes in the scale have a good sound? If not, work on whatever notes are giving you trouble. Is it a fingering issue? Is something wrong with your embouchure?
    3. Pick a section of your music that you are having trouble with (1 measure to 4 measures long). What do you want to fix today?
    4. Can you count the rhythms? Can you count out loud while clapping the rhythm?
    5. Can you say the notes while moving your fingers at the right time?
    6. Can someone count outloud for you while you play your part? Can you tap your foot to the beat while you play?
    7. How long can you get in your piece of music before you have to breathe? Are you taking too many breaths? Not enough?
    8. Are you tonguing each note when you are supposed to? Are you connecting the notes when you see a slur?
    9. Play through an entire piece without stopping. Are your lungs or lips tired after playing for that long? 
    Students can also play along to professional recordings of the pieces we will be performing in the concert! See below:
    Additional Band Resources and Games:
    While nothing replaces time spent on a musical instrument, there are other ways for young band students to get better at their craft. See below for some other ways to practice when students want something new to work on, or when their parents' ears need a break!
    As always, if you have any questions, or if your child is struggling on something in their music or with their instrument. Please do not hesitate to contact me at