10 Tips For Structured Ocarina Practice
Just like any instrument, the ocarina takes a lot of patience, persistance and most importantly, practice! Although talent is always helpful, consistent practice is the key to being a skilled musician. The greatest musicians of our time didn’t just wake up that way, they made an effort every day to hone their skills. It is important to practice as often as you can– ideally, every day. We all get busy, but even just spending a good, structured ten minutes with your ocarina is better than not practicing at all. But keep in mind the “good, structured” part. Practices should be thought-out and purposeful to achieve your desired skills.
If you’re wondering where to start, don’y worry, we’ve got you covered!
Here are our top ten tips for holding your own structured practice sessions:
1. Set Long-Term Goals Motivate yourself by targeting what it is you want to gain from your ocarina practice. Do you want to learn your favorite song? Maybe you’re gearing up for a performance with your Friends? Knowing what you want to accomplish and by when is the best way to drive your practice sessions and keep them consistant.
2. Set Individual Session Goals Each practice session should have its own goal, whether it is to master the bridge of the song that you’ve been practicing or to be able to recognize certain notes by ear. Whatever your goal is, you will find strength in being able to concentrate on a target you’ve set for yourself.
3. First, Warm-Up You wouldn’t start doing gymnastics without stretching first, and the same goes for your music making! You and your ocarina need to get warmed up before diving into your practice session. Ocarinas are sensitive to temperatures and when they are cold, their sound is harder to control. Taking time to do warm-up exercises such as running through scales and improvising not only heats up your oc’, but also you, your fingers, your ears and your mindset!
4. Make Sure To Learn The Correct Notes It doesn’t help to practice if you’re learning the pieces wrong. Take time with each piece and give yourself the patience to absorb each segment and its notes with precision. Learning songs is very much like muscle memory and you don’t want your muscles remembering the wrong notes. Remember, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right!
5. Work On Segments & Pieces, Not Whole Songs Forget playing songs all the way through. Skip the easy parts and get to the parts that are tougher. Slow those parts down and really concentrate on nailing them. When all the parts are easy, then put them all together. This ties into our previous tip because you do not want to get into the habit of playing half of a song beautifully and half of a song sloppily.
6. Don’t Practice The Same Things, The Same Way, Every Day It is very beneficial to mix up the way you practice from day to day. Touching on muscle memory again, if you practice the same way every day, you will build up a pattern that is sometimes hard to break. Practicing in a different order each day helps keep you on your toes and learn the song thoroughly in & out without any crutches. Mixing it up is also great for your performance and improv skills too!
7. If There Is Something You’re Having A Lot Of Trouble With, Find An Exercise For It & Add It To Your Warm-Up Is one high note getting you every time? Ask an instructor or look up on the internet an exercise to help that specific issue and add it to your warm-up routine, this way you’ll be that much more prepared for your practice session.
8. Cool-Down Not to beat you guys with the athletic analogies, but you can’t spend an hour in an aerobics class without cooling down and the same is applied for your practice session. Not only is it imperative for your muscles, but it is also good for your spirit. During practice sessions, there’s a good chance you can become frustrated or tense. Release your stresses by playing your favorite song you have mastered, with the best technique you can apply. This not only bolsters your collection of songs you can perform, but it’s a great way to always end your session on a high note.
9. Evaluate Objectively assess your practice session. Here are some good questions to ask yourself:
• Did you achieve your session goal?
• Did your session proactively work towards your long-term goal?
• What are you still having trouble on?
• What did you master?
Use these questions to gauge what your next session’s goal should be. If you’ve mastered a song completely, add it to the list of songs you use for your Cool-Down. If you’re having trouble assessing your progress while you’re practicing, record yourself and listen to it later and take notes.
10. Keep The Instrument In A Place Where You Can See It Ever heard of the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Well, that won’t be you because you are going to put your ocarina in a place you can see it everyday to remind you not only to practice, but of your love of music.
And one more thing:
Always keep a positive attitude! Just like we said in the first paragraph, no one wakes up one day and is amazing, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not where you want to be yet. Know that you are proactively working towards your goals and you WILL get there! Practice isn’t magic, you will see results! Give yourself the time, encouragement and confidence to achieve your goals because you can do it!