WHAT TO LISTEN FOR WHEN YOU PRACTICE
Here are some specific questions you should ask yourself as you set goals and monitor your musical growth during your practice session:
INTONATION & TONE QUALITY
Are you playing on the best equipment?
Are you playing every note in tune using a tuner AND your ears?
Are you focusing on the quality of the inhale?
Are you starting, sustaining, AND ending every note with proper and consistent air?
Are you playing every note with characteristic tone quality for your instrument AND the musical selection?
NOTES & RHYTHMS
Are you playing all pitches accurately?
Are you playing all notes at full and/or correct value for the style?
Are you able to play at correct tempo with and without a metronome?
Are you playing every single marked tempo?
DYNAMICS, ARTICULATIONS, RELEASES
Are you playing every single marked dynamic?
Are you playing all with dynamic contrast that is more than just two levels (louder and softer)?
Are you maintaining good tone and intonation at extreme dynamics?
Are you playing every single marked articulation with proper air, syllable, and length?
Are you holding long notes for full value and putting appropriate space for short notes?
Are your articulations and releases together?
PHRASING & STYLE
Have you identified the peak, valley, and shape of each phrase?
Have you familiarized yourself with the stylistic tendencies of the piece? (historical period, composer, & genre)
Are you playing all the stylistic varieties in this piece consistently correct?
Are you breathing in the right place?
Are you breathing with your section?
Are you playing with the correct amount of weight on each note or phrase?
Are you playing beginnings AND endings as musically as the middle?
Are you playing all sudden and gradual dynamic changes consistently?
Are you playing all sudden and gradual tempo changes consistently?
Are you playing all sudden and gradual articulation changes consistently?
Are you playing all sudden and gradual stylistic changes consistently?
Are you playing all sudden and gradual phrase changes consistently?