Falcon HS Band and Orchestra

5 Tips For How To Have A Successful Solo and Ensemble Experience

5 Tips For How To Have A Successful Solo & Ensemble Experience


1. Practice     

I know this first tip sounds obvious, but so often teenagers try to “wing it.” Winging it is for the birds! Consistent practice 5 days a week will make you better. Cramming in a large amount of practice the week of festival does not do much good. Often, a small ensemble such as a duet or trio will be the guiltiest in this. The members all think “I’ve got my part down…we don’t need to practice.” In these cases, I have seen the ensemble fail in staying together rhythmically.


2. Schedule time to practice.

Everybody reading this eats, showers and brushes their teeth (I hope). If you wait until all your homework is finished before practicing, you probably won’t get around to it.


3. Get feedback

Have your peers listen to you and give you feedback on your performance. I bet your director is available for extra help if you just ask. Many of you have relatives who performed in school.


4. Set-up a mock festival

Set a time to get together with others. Set the room up with an area for the "judge", performer and accompanist just like at festival.  Actually go through the process as if you were at festival. Here are some things to do:

         - Walk into the room

         - Set up the stand comfortably so you can see your accompanist

         - Introduce yourself and your accompanist to the judge

         - State the name of the piece you will be playing (practice it)

         - Begin playing when the judge is ready.


5. Have Fun

Relax. You get to play an instrument and get to play at festival!


Hope these tips are helpful as you prepare for festival.


James Divine teaches band, orchestra and guitar at Falcon High School in Falcon, Colorado.  


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