When I moved to Hawaii in 2004, I never got around to getting a TV, I was busy with church and to be honest it didn’t really interest me at the time….fast forward to 2010….my new Husband broke his foot in Montana, and I stayed home and nursed him back to health….we had just discovered Netflix and so my Hub and I started watching TV and….lots of it, since he was couch ridden!
We enjoyed watching all the seasons of shows like Lost, the Office, and Parenthood from the first season and first episode, and with the lovely bonus of no commercials!
Friday Night Lights
As of late we have taken on a new show called Friday Night Lights. Set in small West Texas town that is all about its High School Football, it is now my favorite show! As I have watched it, for the first time, I have found football to be quite clever and entertaining. And as I watched Coach Taylor train his Football team, I had a spontaneous idea (my best stuff certainly comes to me on the go) during one of my lessons: Musical Suicides!
In sports, suicides are a conditioning training where the team lines up at a certain point and runs 10 yards forwards, 10 yards back. 20 Yards forward, 20 yards back. 30 yards forward, 30 yards back and repeat. These suicides are sometimes referred to as ladders or blood and guts according to the Internet….
One of my greatest strengths and joys as a teacher are sculpting my students into massive star sight-readers! My students place well in their seating often because they are such good readers. One of my secret techniques that I often use is to have students play their pieces backwards, especially if they have accidentally memorized the piece and are no longer really “reading” the notes. If they play it backwards, there is absolutely no melody and nothing for the brain to attach to and memorize. It is a great for students who are more prone to learning by ear instead of reading notes. Both skills are super important in music.
So here’s the practice tip: Musical Suicides!
Suicidal practice for deadly results …Go Lions! Start on the last note of the piece, play backwards 1 measure, and then forwards 1 measure. Then backwards 2 measures, and then forwards two measures, and etc.
I notice my students groan just as a football team would when coach says do suicides! But I do think my students have seen first hand how it improves their note reading skill set ….and then they literally know their song backwards and forwards! 🙂
Now to get them to know their music in their sleep….that will be the next task!
Until next time! It is because of you that I keep at it every day, doing what I can to help you create a Thriving Studio! As always ~ many thanks for taking the time to read this week’s blog! If you like what you read, please consider joining my once a month newsletter for more tips just like this!
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