General Posts

Preparing A Solo

 

Welcome back from winter break! I hope you enjoyed your time off and are ready to tackle Solo & Ensemble.

Much of the performance year is focused on group ensembles but ISSMA Solo and Ensemble gives you a great opportunity to focus on your individual playing. Mastering solos is an essential part of every musician’s career. Solos are a great way to improve your technical and expressive musical qualities and a great opportunity to become confident performing by yourself in front of others.

Practicing and performing solos requires a great deal of discipline. Unlike your band or orchestra class, you have to make time to not only practice your solo, but you need to schedule practice times with your accompanist, make sure that you know every part of your solo, and you have to balance this with any other activity (such as another ensemble) musical or otherwise.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of your solo:

  1. Master the notes and rhythms. This advice may seem basic but the first step in performing at the highest level is to master the basic components of the piece. In addition to notes and rhythm, work hard on making every note sound great!
  2. One you master the notes and rhythms, experiment with tempos in various sections. Part of a great solo (and general musicianship) is to have control over changes in tempo. While being able to stay with a metronome is important in practice, your performance will be much more musical if you allow tempos to fluctuate. Now this doesn’t mean change tempos whenever you want, rather, follow the various tempo markings throughout the piece but don’t be afraid to make the changes dramatic.
  3. Like the previous tip, don’t be afraid to be dramatic with dynamics. In a solo, you have to provide all of the dynamic (volume) changes, so if it’s a forte, make sure it’s dramatically different from piano.
  4. Work with your accompanist and make sure you are on the same page when it comes to tempos, dynamics and playing in sync with one another. The more you practice with your accompanist, the more natural the performance will be!
  5. As always, practice exactly how you want to perform. Never change the way you play when it’s a performance situation.

One final tip is to work on your solo with a private instructor. A private instructor will push you hard and will be able to help you master your instrument with their extreme attention to every aspect of your playing. They can also assist you with the above tips and getting the most out of your solo!

Practicing Over Winter Break

You’ve made it through the first half of the school year! For many of you, that means you’ve probably played a few concerts, recently completed your marching band season, or maybe you’re headed to the Rose Parade. With winter comes the thrill of pep band, the improvisation of jazz band, the spinning of winter guard, or the rhythms of winter percussion. You know by now, being a musician is a never-ending process with performances and rehearsals perpetually around the corner.

With so much going on, you’re probably ecstatic to have a few weeks of winter break to take a break from all the commotion. While it’s great to take a break from any activity that takes up so much of your time, it’s important to incorporate a little bit of practice during your off-time to maintain your peak condition. Many professional athletes can attest to the same thing: just maintaining your physical state during the off-season makes it much easier to perform at your best when it’s game time.

Here are few tips for musicians to maintain their “chops” during the off-season:

Long tones

For a few minutes a day, simply play a few long tones. This will get your air moving and will help you keep the embouchure you’ve developed (brass and woodwinds).

Scales

Working your way through a few scales a day will keep your fingers flexible and coordinated. Any scale (major, minor, chromatic, and etc.) will work!

Lip Slurs (brass)

A few lip slurs will go a long way over winter break. For the purposes of winter break, choose a few simple slurs and take it nice and slow.

Do any combination of the above for 10 minutes a day and you’ll be able ease back into your normal rehearsal routine and perform your best in 2017!

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Paige's Music.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Paige’s Music.

It’s late November. There is a chill in air but it’s made warm in this time of thanks. We at Paige’s Music wish to give thanks to so much:

We are thankful to be in one of the greatest cities for music education in the country.

We are thankful to serve some of the country’s most prestigious music programs.

We are thankful to work with so many schools and teachers committed to music education and making music available to everyone.

We are thankful for our friends and families who make Paige’s Music an inspiring place to work.

Most of all, we are thankful for you, our loyal customers who make it possible for us to support music education for every student across Indiana!

2016 November Super Sale!

super-sale-16

The “Super Sale” at Paige’s Music is one of our biggest sales of the year. If you are thinking of “stepping” up to an intermediate or advanced level instrument this is the best time to do it. We would love to help you find the best instrument for your advancing student or answer any questions about this special promotion.

Here’s how it works – Come to the store and draw a coupon that will allow you to “SUPER SIZE” your savings. The coupons range from 5%-50% OFF* our already low prices!

OR – If you would rather not use the coupon that you selected, you can use our 12 months same-as-cash* option. There’s no interest as long as your balance is paid in full within 12 months. There are minimum payments due each month and our retail staff can help estimate what those might be.

Meet Our New Repair Technician Ben Bruemmer

Ben Bruemmer

Meet our new repair technician Benjamin Bruemmer

Ben has been working as a repair technician since graduating from the Red Wing Technicial College Musical Instrument Repair program in 2013.

Having graduated from high school in Nelson, Minnesota he attended Bob Jones University, in Greenville North Carolina, where he graduating with a BA in French Horn Performance.

After graduation from Red Wing College he worked at a music store in Olathe, Kansas for three years.

Now that he has joined our repair team here at Paige’s Music he is looking forward to advancing his repair career and playing French horn in one of our many community bands around Indianapolis.

Welcome Ben!