Preparing For NYSSMA


1)                          Practicing Tips


a.       Daily: Make certain you practice every day. 

b.       Sustained: Practice sessions should be 30 to 45 minutes, at least. 

c.       Concentration: You must practice well to get results.  Find a quiet place to practice and concentrate.  When you make a mistake, fix it. 

d.       Repetition: Repetition of difficult passages is crucial for good practicing.  Be sure not to practice mistakes repetitiously.

e.       Go Slow: Practice difficult passages slowly many times.  Gradually increase speed until the difficult passage flows with the rest of the piece.

f.        Metronome: Use a metronome to develop a steady beat.  Find a metronome at  

g.       Time:  There is no set time limit for good practicing; however, it should be every day, sustained, and concentrated.  Good musicians can make progress with short practice sessions; however, short practice sessions require clear goals and intense concentration for best results.


2)                           Practice What? 


a.       Practice Your Scales.  Make them perfect.  Do not allow yourself to lose points on scales.  It is easy to ace the scales, if you practice them every day.  There is no partial credit on scales.


b.       Practice Your Piece. 


Learn the whole song, not just the beginning. 

Practice from the middle to the end sometimes. 

Work on just one section until you memorize it.


c.       Practice Sight Reading


            Perfect your orchestra music.

            Learn your lesson group music very well.

            Read new music every day (short phrases).  You can use the books in the orchestra folders.

            Pay attention to the key signature.

            Keep a steady beat at all times.

            Read new music straight through without stopping.


3)                          Get Help.


Attend lesson groups every week.

Attend extra help (available by appointment only).

Get tutoring from an older student (information available on request).

Take lessons from a professional educator.

Get a recording of your piece from the library or the internet.