5 Important Rules for Rehearsals

prepared rehearsal notebooks

I’m in a new city, with a new performance crowd, and in a bunch of new ensembles. It has opened my eyes to some habits that I had started to ignore at my undergrad. Stuff I had started ignoring as just character traits of people I’d performed with for years now leaps out as unprofessional behavior. A lot of it comes from adults long out of school, too, so keep…

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What Is a Graduate Diagnostic Exam

graduate diagnostic exam notebook

So, friends. I’ve been busy recently, and not writing a lot. I have just moved 80% of my belongings by volume a hundred miles (the other 20% are coming this weekends). I have started a new job, and I have done like 7 orientations for graduate school. And scariest of all – I took a thing called the Graduate Diagnostic Exam. Dun dun DUNN. I’ll admit, until I took those…

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How to Practice In Spite of Everything

Anonymous asked: I’m preparing for college auditions right now and I have a problem that is even more relevant now. I want to be practicing a lot more but I have always had a problem with practice because I am constantly tired. My doctor can’t tie it back to an actual cause, and has suggested some lifestyle adjustments. While this helps a bit, practicing my instrument always makes me really…

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How to Boost Self-Confidence

proanotherworkgress asked: How do you work on having more self-confidence in yourself as a musician and in your work? Basically how do you prevent yourself from selling yourself short?   Confidence is such a huge and delicate part of being a good musician. Without it, plenty of talented individuals with great potential end up dropping their musical dreams, convinced they’re awful. With too much, other musicians sometimes burn bridges or…

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How to Make a Schedule and Stick To It

schedule hand iphone writing

The question I received recently from tumblr user @life-of-mack was this:  “How to make a practice/work/school schedule and stick to it?” That’s certainly a tough venture, sometimes. The short answer? Discipline. If only it were so simple, right? If the only reason we don’t stick to schedules was because we didn’t realize it takes discipline to do so, then the world would be a much more organized place. However, there…

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Top Ten Tips for Freshmen

freshmen year bagpipe player crowd

Anonymous asked: Hey. I’ve been following your blog for awhile. Super cool and informative! I’m going to be a freshman in college this fall and I’m kinda nervous (like anyone would be) I’m gonna major in Music Ed. Any tips for incoming freshmen??? Congratulations on getting in! Honestly, that’s a great question. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Music Freshmen Schedule in time to practice. Practice is no longer…

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How to Set Goals in Music

set goals hand writing list

An anonymous person asked: I don’t know if you’ve written about this but how do you set goals? With there being so many different things to work on (ear training, sight singing, technique, composing, arranging, playing with others, etc) I’ve been having trouble actually making (or maybe tracking) progress in any of these areas. Great question! It’s simple to set goals, but not necessarily easy. The thing is that goals…

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How to Make a Schedule and Stick to It

I have a Patreon! Please consider supporting this blog. The question I received recently from tumblr user @life-of-mack was this:  “How to make a practice/work/school schedule and stick to it?” That’s certainly a tough venture, sometimes.   The short answer? Discipline.   If only it were so simple, right? If the only reason we don’t stick to schedules was because we didn’t realize it takes discipline to do so, then…

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How to Meet a New Music Teacher

Something I didn’t realize when I was younger was how often I was going to study music under someone new. If you’ve played music for more than a year, you’ve probably already had at least one “new” musical mentor, either as a new teacher, an additional teacher, or a new director. And every time, it’s stressful until I figure out what the new person is like. Every teacher is different,…

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What To Do When Music Shouldn’t Be Your Career

Something that a lot of prospective music majors discover in their first year or two at college is this: a music career isn’t for everyone. Music is mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding. It is incredibly competitive. There is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll ever “succeed” in a performance career, no matter how good a player you are. You might lack the stamina or dedication or sheer cussedness required to audition…

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