No one ever seems to have a lot of time to practice, so it is essential to be as effective as possible to get the most done in the shortest amount of time. Each practice session should include time on fundamental technique, etudes, and repertoire. The fundamentals of playing clarinet include:

  1. Long tones
  2. Scales and arpeggios
  3. Articulation

Key habits for effective and efficient practice are:

  1. Put practice times in your daily schedule. Just like you schedule classes, also schedule practice time.
  2. Plan out your practicing. If you only have a half hour to practice plan that time so you are doing the fundemantals and repertoire
  3. Set goals. Since you know how long your will practice, set goals for each task. Make sure the goals are realistic for the time frame and if you don’t achieve the goal, carry it over to the next practice session.
  4. Take notes. Keep a notebook that details you practice session and your successes and challenges during each session.
  5. Don’t practice things you can play well. Focus your practice time on problem areas.
  6. Slow Practice.  Practice with a metronome to keep from playing fast. Learning difficult passages slowly and correctly will save you time.
  7. Revisit difficult passage regularly. Once you learn a difficult passage, revisit it daily to make sure it stays in your fingers.
  8. Practice smart! Remove distractions like cellphones and computers. Are you actively listening while you play or going on autopilot?
  9. Use a mirror. Practicing in front of a mirror helps you to monitor embouchure and hand position.
  10. Use your metronome and tuner.
  11. Use your metronome and tuner. (This is so important I put it twice!)
  12. Record yourself. Often times what we hear when we are playing is not the same as what others hear in the audience. Record short passages and listen back regularly to be sure that the product you are putting out is the same as what you think you hear. Even a cellphone voice recorder will work in a pinch.