Get Your Musical House in Order

A photo of Jeff Conner.

Whether you are well into marching season or beginning your concert season, the new academic year gives you the opportunity to get your “house” in order.

Maintain Your Instrument

Clean your instrument and mouthpiece as well as oil your valves and slides. Ask your band director if you need help. This maintenance is easy, inexpensive and important. You want to be sure your instrument is in good working condition.

Restock Your Case

Clean and empty your case. Then restock your case with a few sharpened pencils that have working erasers along with valve/slide oil.

Trumpet players: Never put your music in your case on top of your instrument. The pressure from shutting the case will bend the second valve slide, causing the valve to no longer work.

Check Your Gear

Make sure you have a metronome and tuner app on your mobile phone or new batteries in the devices. A working music stand is also important to get your season off to a great start.

Create a Practice Routine

The beginning of the season is a perfect time to create a practice schedule and stick to it, no matter what kind of day you have. Having a consistent routine is one of the keys for success.

First, create a consistent place to practice. Then, try these ideas to get you going:

  • Play the warm-ups and some of your favorite tunes from last season.
  • When you practice, keep your sessions short.

I saw a great quote at a baseball field this summer: “Proceed as if success in inevitable.”

Set your short- and long-term goals. List them on paper and have them where you can see them every time you practice.

The gap between dreams and reality is called discipline. Have a great start to your year!