Putting the A-C-T in Practice

For our first tuba euphonium studio masterclass of the semester , I presented the following outline to encourage good practice habits. I thought that I should share it here:

“Putting the A-C-T in Practice: Appraise, Correct, Train”
A Masterclass Outline Presented by Professor John Manning
University of Iowa School of Music
August 30, 2012

Appraise your goals
Appraise your schedule and practice habits
Appraise your strengths and weaknesses

Once you get into the practice room…

  1. Assess your playing critically and identify challenges
    • Acknowledge mistakes and take note of them
    • Activate your inner critic; become your own teacher
    • Avoid becoming hypercritical, frustrated or distracted
  2. Can’t play it?
    • Can you sing it?
    • Can you buzz it?
    • Can you simplify it?
  3. Troubleshoot
    • Take time to isolate and diagnose
    • Try, Treat, Trace,
    • Transform

Correct your approach
Correct your mistakes
Correct your methods

  1. Assault problems and issues aggressively
    • Alternate working on small cells, and testing your progress in context
    • Allow enough time for real improvement
    • Anticipate progress but don’t be discouraged by small setbacks
  2. Conquer ChallengesTake your time…
    1. Circle the problem areas
    2. Concentrate on what you DON’T play well
    3. Change the most challenging aspects of the music to simplify
  3. Train yourself to…
    • …to learn it correctly
    • …, then increase difficulty
    • …and keep your cool

Train yourself to practice regularly, efficiently, and effectively
Train for success
Train like an Olympic athlete – with consistency, discipline, and dedication

  1. Act like a teacher to yourself
    • Access your “inner critic”, but not while performing
    • Alter your approach and change your perspective
    • Acknowledge mistakes, it’s how we learn
  2. Consistency
    • Consistent playing comes from consistent practicing.
    • Create good habits to override bad habits.
    • Challenge yourself to Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose & Serve
  3. Tenacity
    • Treat music like a project, complete with tasks and due dates
    • Trust your instincts
    • “Try not. Do, or do not”. – Yoda