Consistent Practice = Muscle Memory

Practicing Cartoon

Is there a good reason to practice YOUR INSTRUMENT everyday on a consistent basis? (not FB or texting!)
Yes, so that you begin to create “muscle memory” – the automatic response of your lungs, lips, tongue and arm when you pick up and play your trombone.

Why is that important?
Because your end goal for playing any instrument should be to become an attentive, responsive, and well-rounded musician! And in order to do that, you must ultimately not focus on yourself and your own playing, but rather overall musicianship and communication with others, whether performing in an ensemble or even as a soloist. Ideally your instrumental skills and fundamentals must be at a level of “autopilot” so that you can concentrate on more important things…like making music!

How do you achieve this muscle memory status?
Slow repetition.

Incidentally, the same principles apply to reading music. Notes, rhythms, and key signatures are not the music. They are only indications and suggestions of how to play the music. This is similar to how words are not complete ideas when speaking a language. You really must treat basic music elements the same as letters, words and sentences in any language. Music is the universal language, but knowing staves, clefs and accidentals are not the end goal. Certainly the markings above and below a music staff – articulations and dynamics – are more advanced musical suggestions. However, the actual process of making music comes from listening. Listening to your heart, to your surroundings, to other musicians onstage, and then blending and adapting to what you hear so that you can express your feelings and be part of something bigger than yourself. Creating sound and emotion – THAT is music. How can you possibly be in that necessary state of relaxed concentration when you’re worried about what position F# is in? smile emoticon

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