Planning an effective practice session is very important for students to get the most out of their time spent with the horn. Below is a list of tools that aid in focusing a practice session.
1. Practice Journal - I encourage all of my students to write down what they will work on prior to the practice session beginning. This gives the student a structured plan on what he or she needs to do that day. It also creates a record that shows what the student is spending his or her time on. Periodically, this can be reevaluated in order to ensure a balanced practice regimen.
2. Practice Notes - It's important for students to jot down a few notes on how practice sessions have been going. Perhaps they notice that at the end of each session their high range is not working very well. I encourage students to not only make these observations, but to write them down so we can discuss them in lessons and figure out a plan of action.
3. Time for Fun - At the end of the day, playing horn should be fun! Planning in "fun practice," whatever that is for the particular student, is very important. Some students find enjoyment in playing through movie music or pop songs; some find enjoyment playing through peppy band tunes. Practicing is hard work, and it's always a great reminder to play something you love at the end of your session to celebrate your hard work!
-- Dr. Sally Podrebarac