Self-Paced Practice Reports

It's time to get into some "self-paced" practice sessions. For these, I simply assign you a certain amount of time in which I want you to practice whatever you want. Then I want you to write down a brief report on what you did and how it went. Here are some ideas on what to do.

Basic Practice:

scalar patterns (our basic warm-up routine)
practicing "syllablizing" melodies
working on new, challenging melodies from the book
sight-reading old, easy materials
practicing rhythmic reading and conducting

singing a familiar song in solfège
writing down a familiar song
practicing "web dictation," on my site (

Working With a Partner:

Working with a partner counts as time for both parties, even if it is in a tutor-tutee relationship. In general students do not work together enough, so I am always impressed when it does happen.

With a partner you can more effectively check each other's singing for accuracy, and do dictation exercises like we do in class. Plus you can play games like our "call and response" exercise.

Getting Ambitious:

If you feel comfortable with your basic skill level you can work ahead on the melodies and rhythms in the book, or try applying solfège to some "real" music. You could even start a transcription project, writing down a melody off of a recording. I'd be happy to check your results (though you will probably have to make me a copy of the recording as well.)

Another nice challenge is to work on singing and playing piano (or guitar, cello, etc.) Try making up harmonic accompaniments for the melodies in the book. Or do a duet (or even a canon!) by singing one line and playing the other.

Things I don't really want:

I know jazz musicians do transcriptions all of the time, so I am always a little disappointed when they do more of the same for self-paced time. (Jazz majors usually need work on their solfège syllables, not dictation.) Maybe if you attempted to go for long stretches without the aid of an instrument that would be cool.

Plus, I am always bummed when people use the self-paced time to simply practice the graded melodies assigned in Ottman. This is your chance to really explore your own abilities - don't spend the whole time just doing the minimum assignment.

Just playing your instrument doesn't count. Nor does singing along to the car radio while you drive to campus.

Hopefully you will have fun during your session and get some good work done! I can't wait to read all about it.