Fermoy is filled with music right now, hopefully Fermoy is also filled with the sound of even more music being practiced and rehearsed! Practice is the only way to improve at your instrument. The results are huge. Pretty soon you’ll realise that the better you play your instrument, the more you’ll enjoy it. It’s a never ending cycle that all starts with taking out your instrument daily between music lessons and playing it!
“I don’t know how to practice?”
Unfortunately. this is a common thought among students everywhere, and I’ve been there myself. Practicing takes many different shapes and forms, but it’s most simple version is sitting down with your instrument and playing it. Each week in music lessons in Fermoy, students will have covered different topics, materials and pieces in their lessons. These will cover the technical side of learning and playing, (building “technique”) and also some pieces or songs which allow students to put these techniques to use. The ideal practice session should cover both of these aspects! (For more and videos on the ideas here, check out our facebook page where we post daily. Our instagram is also growing in its mission to spread music practice in Fermoy!)
Let’s look at some examples of practicing your music instrument..
Each piano student covers technical exercises such as scales, arpeggios and much, much more. For younger students elements of music theory, such as recognising music symbols, note names and fingers are revised weekly in their music lessons in Fermoy. Why shouldn’t all of this be revised at home?! So…
For me, the perfect piano practice starts with a few minutes revising every scale hands separately and then together. This not only allows the scales to improve (remember all music pieces and songs are made up of these scales!) but also allows the hands to warm-up and gets the fingers moving.
Next, the songs/pieces! Work through hands separately making sure you’re really confident each section has no mistakes. Only when I feel that I’m hugely confident I can work through all the music in my separate hands do I begin to SLOWLY bring the two hands playing together. Why waste time making extra mistakes by rushing to get both hands playing together?
We don’t need to knock be perfect every single time we sit down at the piano. The aim is that each time we sit down it feels easier than the last time.. Progress!
In their weekly guitar lessons in Fermoy, students learn the technical aspects of identifying strings, frets and chords. We also learn how to read both Guitar Chord Diagrams and also Guitar Tabs (we’re really trying to produce fully literate musicians!) Songs are being introduced in both chord and tab formats, to try and put all the knowledge we’ve learned to good use. When we sit down with a guitar ideally we should practice all of these things. For November, this is how I would practice at home:
I begin by revising all of my chords. Each time I play a chord I make sure to play string by string instead of a complete strum. This lets me hear where the problems might be (if there are any!), and so I can fix them. For example: In Eminor I can hear a weird noise on the 5th string, but nowhere else. This means my finger on the 5th string is the source of my problem. If I can fix this, I’ve fixed the chord!
Next I would practice playing different chords in different sequences, or progressions. How smoothly can I move from Eminor – Cmajor- Aminor7. Why not put on a timer! How many times I can I do it correctly in 1 minute. Remember that every song you’ll ever play is made up of these chords, so let’s get them correct now and have them right forever more!
Next, take a look at your Guitar tabs. If the song is quite long, set the goal of just playing the first line correctly three times in a row. If that went well maybe try the next line. Either way, the next line will still be there tomorrow. Try and progress where you feel comfortable playing the correct fingers on the correct frets. Make sure you log your practice on our practice challenge for full recognition of the music practice in Fermoy!
Just like the pianists and guitarists, our singers learn technique. This means that when push comes to shove in performance, our voice is able to do what we want it to do! In every singing lesson in Fermoy we spend time warming up the voice and building these technical habits. What we do to improve singing high notes in the warm-up can be used in exactly the same way on the highest notes in our favourite songs! There are tons of vocal warm-up videos on youtube. Check some out here!
You’ve been working on different songs from different styles in your lessons. Sing them! If it helps to learn the words off by heart straight away, then learn the words off by heart. If there’s something in your performance you don’t quite like the sound of, think about it and figure out what the issue might be. Is the note high or low? Is it at the beginning, middle or end of a phrase? Did I breathe correctly? Did I breathe at all?! Answer these questions and you’ll be most of the way there to fixing the problems!
What we can do to help in Fermoy
If you have any ideas make sure to get in touch with us here. For details about our lessons and what we can offer click here to view our individual lessons and group classes! Let’s keep the music practice in Fermoy going!