Do you want to boost your piccolo practice?
Just what is the one thing that can help get your playing to the next level? Practice! However, not just playing the same thing again, and again, and again. You can find a method to practice efficiently – and included in our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Piccolo’, we’ll show you the tips and tricks to make you practice better, not longer.
Why Longer Piccolo Practice Doesn't Equal Good Practice
Practice. If you do it regularly enough, you will be excellent. Everybody knows this. So why is practice so difficult?
Motivation is key. Without motivation, you will not thrust yourself to return to the instrument every single day. How do you get motivated?
By winning. Yes, that is correct. Winning. You’re in continual competition with yourself, and when things go perfectly, you really feel like you’re winning. When you’re in this particular mind-set, it is simple to practice. It’s the circle of life – winning more will give you even more motivation, which means you practice even more. Practising even more usually means you win more, so it gives you a lot more motivation. And this continues exponentially.
So if it’s so easy, exactly why is practice still so hard?
The answer? Because it’s not really that easy! Just practising isn’t sufficient. You might practice for three hours each day but not progress.
If it’s not the quantity of practice that puts you in the circle of life, precisely what does?
The level of quality.
Practising for 15 minutes a day, focused, use good quality practice is significantly more effective than 6 hours of unfocused, ‘auto-pilot’ practice.
So you only need high-quality practice in order to hop aboard the circle of life train?
Erm… Now.! It is never that easy. Merge quantity and quality, and you’ll finally be a first-class passenger.
Please read on to see how to get your first-class ticket, and how to continue on the train for as long as you want…
Structure Your Piccolo Practice
How long should you be practising each and every day?
15 to 20 mins is a good starting point, and in all likelihood not any more than 45 minutes at the same time. After that length of time, all of us human beings usually zone out – and then the practising gets to be much less efficient. As a rule of thumb, whenever you experience your concentration waning, stop. Always be happy that you just showed up to your practice session, and don’t fear the length of time you practice for.
How frequently do I need to be practising the piccolo?
This one is a straightforward answer – practice every day. Like this, you’ll change your piccolo practice into a habit. A fairly short, specific everyday practice is a lot more advantageous than twice every week 1 hour at a time. And bear in mind, if you’re wondering “but how can I spare the time to carry out twenty minutes on a daily basis? !? ” – just grab some of your energy and time from social media over to the piccolo. We do, after all, spend on average 142 minutes on social media per day!
When should I be practicing?
It makes no significant difference whenever you practice, just simply provided that you do practice. Try out making a fixed schedule for yourself as opposed to simply being ad-hok. See which options work best, and stay with it.
Piccolo Practice Top Tips
1. Remove Potential Disruptions
Imagine your practice moment as ‘you time’. You will be hopefully playing the piccolo because it’s an enjoyable hobby for you; so shut down your mobile phone, tablet pc, laptop, watch, or any other device that’ll distract you!
2. Get Really Comfy
As time passes, you’ll be spending a tremendous amount of time together with your instrument, hence it’s really important that you become as comfy as possible. You should definitely have some water, a pen and a piece of paper for creating notes.
3. Set up Targets
Choose what you wish to achieve, and make it something you are able to accomplish during the session. By centering on the end result, you will get there faster and a lot more proficiently.
As a bit of advice, Monday you might set up one objective, subsequently Tuesday another. Wednesday may well be a day of merging your triumphs of Monday and Tuesday. Thursday could be the last ambitious objective, with Friday your day of getting all the things together. However you assign your desired goals or objectives, be consistent – and above all, always be strong with yourself to keep your technique going. As a benefit, make sure you treat yourself to a box of chocolates or something that is reddish coloured in a glass…
4. Say Hello To Undesirable Habits
No-one is perfect the first time. Consciously understand that until you’ve repeated a section a couple of times, you’ll make mistakes. Be as methodical as possible handling these mistakes, because if you don’t, you will find bad habits start to creep in.
If you see a undesirable habit showing out of no-where, shout out a nice big HELLO to it. Then swat it like the most annoying fly.
The same thing goes for solving technical problems with things such as posture and your technique. Even though it usually takes longer in advance, it’ll fork out benefits down the road and could help you save a ton of time.
5. Don't Switch On Auto-Pilot
Have you ever been driving a car, and suddenly realized that you can’t remember the last half an hour? Or been on a journey which lasts several hours, however, you are only able to recall specific parts? This is what I call being on ‘auto-pilot’. It is precisely what we should steer clear of during practice.
Should you practice exactly the same way every time, your development will slow down, your motivation will decrease, and the piccolo will end up a chore. You can actually fight this very little annoying fact by alternating your practice techniques.
This really is as simple as messing around with your eyes closed. Accomplishing one hand only. Missing out every other note. Omitting every note that your thumb plays. Performing every little thing really gently, or extremely noisy. The list is limitless. Get inventive. Plus whatever you do – don’t ‘just’ play the same again, and all over again, and again…
6. Be Your Personal Tutor
There is a good reason most people go to school; and it’s because we understand best when we have a instructor standing over us, pushing us to progress. But unless you happen to be Founder of Microsoft, you’re extremely unlikely to be able to afford a teacher 365 days of the year. Will it matter? Absolutely not! You happen to be your own personal mentor – and you come at no cost!
To begin with, it is more than probable that at least 50% of the time you are playing the piccolo, you’re too occupied concentrating instead of actually listening to what you are playing! It sounds silly, I am aware. But it’s true… Now that you’re mindful of it, fix it! Hear your playing WHILST you play…
Next, with the wonders of modern technology, it’s now incredibly easy to record your playing. So get your phone out, record, and critique yourself.
And even if the world’s wealthiest people wanted to hire my own teacher, they couldn’t manage to pay for it!
7. Start out At The End
You read a book, you find page one. It’s totally normal. You play a sheet of music, you start out at the beginning. Once again, absolutely normal. But with regards to practising, it’s not recommended. You’ll turn out to be phenomenally proficient at the first few notes, and pretty terrible at the rest. So change it up. Begin at the end, or halfway through. Then tomorrow, opt for another different place to start your practice. But whatever you do, don’t always start at the start!
8. Playing The Easy Bits
It feels good to play parts we know perfectly well. On the other hand, if that’s the only thing you ever play, you will have half the piece to a superb standard, but the tougher half will be a failure. And yes, you will naturally end up being interested in the easy parts, which in turn leaves the bothersome bit out in the cold. All alone. Shivering for some comfort and love.
Now consider this rationally. If you decide to consciously select what requires more practice, it would be the difficult part. Correct? That requires much more love and attention. The straightforward element will look after itself.
So don’t dismiss this. Go discover that complicated part and warm it up…
9. Don't Perfect The Piece
One of the greatest techniques you can learn is sight-reading. But precisely what is sight-reading? It’s playing anything that is put before you, instantly and without hassle. The objective isn’t to be perfect. It’s to get through it as best as you can whilst trying to keep the beat.
10. Use The Clock, Tick Tock
The metronome is there as your friend, not foe. So use it and abuse it.
For speedier, tough passages, set your tempo at 50% of the ‘finished’ speed. Practice the segment each day, and every day increase the speed by 5 beats (BPM). You’ll have so gradually increased the tempo, that pretty soon, you’ll be at full speed.
Added bonus Suggestion: For faster areas, make an attempt to get comfortable playing the tricky parts ten percent faster than you will need – this way, once you come back to the speed you really want to play it at, it should actually feel nice and easy!
11. The Very Best Bit...
Did you detect in point number three that I talked about a treat? Well, I believe it’s essential I’m bringing up it twice! Make sure you make it rewarding…
Exercises are such a hassle. We have to do them in sports to warm-up, and playing the piccolo is absolutely a sport for your fingers (and mind). There are many different exercises that strengthen your fingers and lungs, but the main one is:
There are many piccolo books which offer a complete method for your practice. Find one which fits your style and use it daily to develop all areas of your piccolo playing – think of it as your piccolo gym!
Some of the most popular are:
- Andrew Lane – Piccolo Craft
- Trevor Wye and Patricia Morris – Practice Book For The Piccolo
- Danielle Eden – Piccolo! Piccolo!
- Don’t be afraid to use any flute technique books you already have for your piccolo practice – the same goes for repertoire!
Piccolo Practice Bonus Tips
1. Make The Branch Stronger
Each time you choose to do something totally new, your brain learns something about it and produces a neuron. This neuron is like a branch of a tree, and the more times you replicate the neuron process, you enhance it. To put it differently, the branch of the tree gets stronger and more powerful. This only transpires though should you do the EXACT same thing, again and again.
However, whenever you alter something, a completely new branch is produced. If you play the very same passage of music four times, and each time you use a different fingering or are not completely consistent, you’re creating four branches.
So is that a problem? Without a doubt! A branch is a choice. Once you come to a performance and reach the related segment, if the brain has a choice of many different neurons available, it could possibly choose the wrong one. It can pick the one that has a blunder inside. For once, the choice isn’t a good thing. When you have only one neuron that is accurate, your brain provides no preference – it has just one single option – the best one.
To become consistently correct from the 1st time of playing something. Discover stuff at a pace it is possible to work well. And be aware of your neurons!
2. Recommended Reading
Here are some great books that really helped me when I was starting out and I regularly recommend them to students to this day.
Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering your Instrument like a professional
I also highly recommend you include How to Read Music in 30 Days in your must-read list. If haven’t already read our guide on How To Read Sheet Music, then do check that out as well.
Piccolo Practice - Summary
If you have discovered one important thing within this page, it has to be:
Practice is the central factor with studying a musical instrument. Don’t leave it to chance. Build a practice process. Mix it up. Print off this web page and continue referring to it. And be sure you treat yourself…
Remember that variety is the spice of life…. Try not to get stuck on the same thing for too long in your practice as you will just get bored!
Always make music, even when you are just practising techniques or studies, even scales can be expressive!
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