Mr Henrys Music Practice Tips!

Mr Henry, our woodwind and piano teacher gives the lowdown on how to get some great practice done during lockdown!!

So whereas I would usually say to students that regular practice is important

and given their busy lifestyle if they can realistically do 15 minutes

practice every day then that is better than nothing, now I would say that it

is perfectly possible for them to do one or two hours a day and sometimes

even more!

How could 2/3 hours be possible? Well - it is possible if you have a

structure and repertoire to keep you interested.

1. 3 hours practice could be an hour in the morning, an hour in the middle

of the day and an hour at the end of the day. Also you could do different

activities from this list on different days.

2. Start the day with scales and arpeggios.

3. Play pieces you can already play so that all the hard work you did

learning those pieces isn't forgotten.

4. Record you yourself playing and send it to me so that I can give you some

feedback. Just audio, or video, or possibly schedule a zoom performance -

but check permissions first with this option.

5. Sightreading. Either do controlled sightreading of specimen sightreading

material, or just play through lots of relatively simple repertoire which

can be downloaded off the internet.

6. Start working on repertoire at your difficulty level or the next level

up. Again there's a lot on the internet both free and to purchase.

7. Develop your aural skills. Try to sing what you hear. Try transcibing

what you hear i.e. writing down music you've heard. Try playing "by ear"

i.e. Playing something you've heard.

8. Start making up your own pieces. Try to come up with melodies, chord

progressions, broken chord patterns etc.. Instead of just playing scales,

try improvising in a given key. If playing the piano or keyboard, play a

chord in the left hand and improvise a melodic line in the right hand. If

playing a monophonic instrument you could create backing tracks to play

along to, using Garageband or Logic.  Then try to record your ideas on your

phone or using software or try to write them down by hand - so they're not


9. Writing music by hand. This is like a graphic art. Try using different

pens and pencils - B or 2B is best. If you have calligraphic pens or felt

tips that will look good. This will help familiarise you with the

conventions of notation. If you don't have manuscript paper you can get some

(scrap) paper and rule staves on the back. If you have a piece of dowel (?)

then you can rule parallel lines quite easily.