by Alyssa Cowell, The Catoctin School of Music
While everyone is at home under quarantine, now is the time to get in some extra practice!
Build practice into your new routine: As the days at home feel longer and longer, try creating a new schedule that incorporates scheduled practice time. See how many days in a row you can practice without missing any days. If you have trouble practicing daily, try starting with 15 minutes and work your way up from there five extra minutes at a time!
Get your other family members involved: Students who have done their practice for the day can try teaching family members how to play too! Siblings can try trading instruments and giving each other beginner lessons on a different instrument. Families could all learn the same song to try playing together.
Perform Concerts for each other: Practice performing your pieces for someone! Prepare some music for a family member and play it for them! Try using Zoom meeting or other video sharing services to perform for family that doesn’t live in your house or zoom your friends! Try setting up a group meeting with friends/peers that can give you feedback like a music lab.
Spend your screen time wisely: Make sure that you use those screens for good! Try running some musictheory.net drills, join sightreadingfactory.com, or the staff wars app! There are plenty of opportunities to incorporate music into your screen time! If you work with an apple brand device, you can give Garage Band a try to learn how to mix music.
Ask your music teacher for some listening assignments: Now’s the time to actually listen to those songs your teachers recommend! Use spotify or youtube to listen to the works of great composers. Try listening to an entire album all the way through without distractions. Sit back, close your eyes and really focus on the sounds! See how many instruments you can identify, pay attention to the dynamics you hear, the tone quality of the instruments and really think about what makes the music GOOD. Listen to different artist renditions of the same song and think about what each artist does differently/better.
Quarantine doesn’t have to be miserable – it can be an opportunity to reestablish music’s role in your day-to-day life and make the time fly by while you’re at home! While we’re all trying to find some extra calm in the midst of all the chaos, music can sustain and soothe. Make the most of your free time and see what kind of progress you can make on your instrument!