How to Practice?!?
Many times, we are told to practice practice practice! But what does that mean to you? How do you organize your practice time? There are many helpful books out there to help you create and then assess your practice routine. Some of these are "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle, "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner, and "Performance Success" by Don Greene, Ph.D. For audition practicing, I highly recommend Sharon Sparrow's "6 Weeks to Finals".
When we are just beginning our practice session, we need to get a bit of focus, so we can achieve our practice goals. Journals are great to up your game: note your goals for the short and long term. Time your sessions so that you are efficient. Quality practice is better than quantity practice.
My session is divided into segments: 1. Long tones to get your air and your focus going.
2. The Maquarre Scales were redone for oboe by Stevens Hewitt. They are good for continuing your warm-up throughout your range, and reviewing scales in melodic pattern. 3. Then add in technical exercises, Salviani, Debondue, some kind of pattern work. 4. Melodic Etudes for phrasing practice. 5. Music you have to prepare. and for dessert, 6. Music you want to play!
Remember to take time off to rest and stretch your muscles and your mind! Also, don't forget the power of mental practice. If you can finger it on a pencil and sing it, you'll be able to play it!