August 18, 2018

GREETINGS, JUNIOR SYMPHONY STUDENTS AND PARENTS!

This is our first set of Rehearsal Notes, and it comes after two terrific meetings together and a GREAT start to the season.  Ms. Brasher and I are so excited about the possibilities this year holds, and again we thank you for joining us this season.

Rehearsal Notes

Today we do not have specific Rehearsal Notes for each piece; rather, we want Junior Symphony students to begin the habit of practicing in the way that will most benefit their performance in our orchestra, but it can be applied to all their music.  Of course they are expected to carefully and thoroughly read these Rehearsal Notes weekly and focus their weekly practice outside of rehearsal on exactly what we identify in these notes.  This is above and beyond each player's individual challenges based on their instrument, individual ability and the music.  Actual practice time on Junior Symphony assignments will vary, but should generally take no less than 20-30 minutes a night.  And finally, we find the progress gained from steady, nightly practice is internalized deeper (and shown more clearly in rehearsal) than the same 20-30 minute nightly total all crammed into one long practice session.

Our preferred individual practice techniques are:

  • Use a metronome nearly every session.  Many students have "smart" devices, and metronome apps are available, some for free.  They could also use a battery-powered unit, a laptop or computer logged onto a free online metronome, or even an old-fashioned wind-up metronome!  But they must use it--it will make for much steadier and "honest" playing!
  • Practice S-L-O-W-L-Y!  This can be difficult and uncomfortable at first, but it is so much more efficient than repeatedly starting and stopping a phrase.... When you stop, it's like practicing stopping rather than practicing playing!  If you are stopping because of a note, rhythm or some other issue in a particular passage, it's a sign it should be practiced at a slower tempo.  You will learn to really enjoy the feeling of both practicing slowly but especially how it feels to play so much more accurately at faster speeds.  This is important.
  • Use a tuner.  Again, these can be downloaded on a phone or iPad, or any device that can "hear".  Some apps make tuning more fun, some are easier to read, and some don't hear quite as well as others.  There are also stand-alone digital tuners that work well.  Again, they should be used regularly.  Using one for the first time can truly be eye-opening!
  • ALL STUDENTS NEED APPROPRIATE MUTES!  We are finding the music selected this year has several muted passages (marked con sordino, muted, etc.).  If your child doesn't already own these, please pick these items up within the next two rehearsals (by Sept. 8).
  • Use a pencil to mark/circle all important aspects of the music (paying heed to the ones that should have already been marked/circled in rehearsal):
  1. Key Signature
  2. Time Signature
  3. Stylistic markings
  4. Tempo changes
  5. ANY and ALL accidentals
  6. ANY and ALL parts marked Solo or Soli (these should be practiced heavily)

Again, look for specific practice tips and suggestions (assignments, really) in our weekly Rehearsal Notes, and parents PLEASE be sure to share these with your child!  Our progress and success depends on clear communication on these weekly goals, as well as clearly showing progress on them in our rehearsals on Saturdays!  So you know, Ms. Brasher and I plan on alternating the composing of these Rehearsal Notes--today, it is Mr. Corbin writing to you!

Parents, thank you for your support of your child in music!

Sincerely,

Mr. Corbin and Ms. Brasher

 

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Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program
4407 Menaul Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110

PO Box 30961
Albuquerque, NM 87190

505-875-1319