Working on solos is one of the most beneficial activities you will do in band. It will reinforce the things you have already learned and expand your skills with new knowledge. Another added benefit of playing a solo is helping you gain confidence in your playing. It is perfectly normal to have some anxiety about playing by yourself, but through hard work preparing solos in class and at home, you will face those fears and become a stronger player. Here are a few hints to help you prepare and enjoy the process of learning a solo.
1. STAY CALM!
Students often get a little nervous when they are working on their solo. The steps below will help them (and you) stay relaxed. Remind them that although their solo may seem like a scary task at first. PREPARATION is the key to achieving their goal.
2. Break the solo into manageable parts
Students should work on their solo section by section. Have them divide up the work into manageable pieces. It is overwhelming to try to tackle complete solo in one session. Each practice session students can set a goal of working on one section and in the next practice session they can work on the next.
3. Start slow and simple
Students should begin their work slowly and simply – figuring out rhythms and notes first. Once a student is confident in these areas they can move on to articulations (tonguing/sticking), dynamics, tone, etc. Once the first steps are done slowly students can begin working on picking up the tempo and mastering the nuances of their piece.
4. Ask for help
If you or your student have questions I am available! Often students will forget what they wanted to ask me about when they get to class. Have them circle problem areas on their solo to ask me about or write down their questions. That way I can be sure that they get the answers they need each week. Parents, feel free to call or email me as well if you have questions.
Parents, remember to listen to your child as they learn their solo. Your interest will encourage them to keep up the good work. Good luck!