Being musicians ourselves, we know, through experience, that there are a few gadgets necessary to help make practicing more efficient:
Or, as most people know them, “the things that goes tik-tok”. If you’ve been using one, you’ll call it your worst/best frienemy. Whether you like using it or not, metronomes are a necessary evil when you’re practicing. No matter how accurate you think your toe-tapping is, you can’t beat the accuracy of a metronome. Like my teacher says, “Practice without accurate rhythm is worse than not practicing at all.” You can get an easy-to-operate metronome like the Yamaha ME-D1 that gives you loud and spot-on beats. Or, you can try the Korg MA-30 that gives you more rhythms, so you can practice those syncopation and triplets with more ease.
On top of practicing with right rhythm, musicians also need to practice with right pitch. Modern instruments are made to stay pretty well tuned; however, there is always that note on that third octave that just “doesn’t seem to be right.” With a tuner, like the Korg CA-40, you can pin-point what notes are you have troubles with, fix the tuning, and be ready to rehearse with everyone else! Korg also makes a combined tuner and metronome, TM-40, so you can have both of them at the same time in the palm of your hand!
The saying goes “out of sight, out of mind”. Many students will forget to practice because they keep their instruments in their case under their bed somewhere. A solution for that problem is to keep the instrument on a stand instead of inside the case. The instrument will stay assembled and ready to play whenever the mood strikes! Both Hercules and K&M make sturdy, convenient, and portable stands for various instruments. Pick one up for your instrument, and maximize your practice time!
Is your neck sore from reading your music on a flat table? Sounds like you need a music stand. Asides from preventing sore necks, music stands promote good posture while practicing to prevent injuries. While choosing a stand, make sure the stand is durable and sturdy, so you never have to chase down your scores when the stand collapses mid-rehearsal. For a sturdy stand, we suggest the Manhasset stands; they are the ones that teachers have in schools to endure years of abuse, so we know they are built to last! For those of you out there who are looking for something portable or can be easily stored, we suggest either the Rockstand or the Apex BS321. Both these stands are super durable, and can be put away to save space. The Apex BS321 even comes with its own carrying case, so you can carry it wherever you play!
Next time you’re in Cosmo, be sure to give the Band and Orchestra Department a visit, and pick up these essential tools!
Band & Orchestra