Why do we practice? I have gotten this question for many years by students and parents. Practicing is to learn how to play the instrument.
Develop technique: *Technique can be defined as the ability to play and produce the exact musical effect or note desired in a correct, efficient, and healthy way.
To understand how to produce a good tone on the instrument, to understand how the fingers should move for good technique and on a wind instrument how to produce a good air column.
You should also learn what your instrument can’t do. It is likely, no one is going to ask the baritone saxophone player to play the piccolo part on the “Stars & Stripes” it is something the baritone sax can’t do! And probably wouldn’t want to do.
The reason we need technique is simple: Technique is not an option! If you can’t play the notes, then you can’t play the music.
Practicing and playing music are very different. When we practice there is never a reason to play fast only correctly, making one note go to the next perfectly. If you play slowly and do not make mistakes, then both you mind and finger memory will be good. If you play fast and miss something then it will take a lot of time playing it right to get rid of the bad mind & finger memories.
*If you’re alone in a practice room and playing fast, who are you trying to impress. It must be yourself since there is no one else in the room. If you really want to impress yourself then play things correctly. If you establish finger patterns, a great tone and don’t make mistake when you practice, then when you need to play music you can play at an tempo without trouble and mistakes when it counts.
Students at ICom keep track of their practice with the Honor Practice Report is on a 5 day a week practice schedule. The report is based on what the student says and we take them at their word, if they are not truthful then they are only cheating themselves.
It is much more important to practice some everyday than a lot on the weekend. When you practice both your embouchure and mind remember what you practiced better with a little each day, than if you take a few days off and practice a lot on the weekend.
Consistent practice is the best way to become a good player.