Winter break practicing

Posted by
Erin Nichols
Date
 December 20, 2016
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You’ve made it through the first half of the school year! For many of you, that means you’ve probably played a few concerts, recently completed your marching band season, or maybe you’re headed to the Rose Parade. With winter comes the thrill of pep band, the improvisation of jazz band, the spinning of winter guard, or the rhythms of winter percussion. You know by now, being a musician is a never-ending process with performances and rehearsals perpetually around the corner.

With so much going on, you’re probably ecstatic to have a few weeks of winter break to take a break from all the commotion. While it’s great to take a break from any activity that takes up so much of your time, it’s important to incorporate a little bit of practice during your off-time to maintain your peak condition. Many professional athletes can attest to the same thing: just maintaining your physical state during the off-season makes it much easier to perform at your best when it’s game time.

Here are few tips for musicians to maintain their “chops” during the off-season:

Long tones
For a few minutes a day, simply play a few long tones. This will get your air moving and will help you keep the embouchure you’ve developed.
Scales
Working your way through a few scales a day will keep your fingers flexible and coordinated. Any scale (major, minor, chromatic, and etc.) will work!
Harmonics
Harmonics are my favorite thing that were taught to me by Karen Moratz, the principal flutist of the ISO! A quick explanation: finger and play a low (middle) C on your flute, then gradually increase your air stream until you begin to “overblow” to higher partials. Do this as high as you can, and then work your way back down.

Do any combination of the above for 10 minutes a day and you’ll be able ease back into your normal rehearsal routine and perform your best in 2017!

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