Preparing for All-State Auditions

Kelsey Tamayo

It’s that time of year when the weather starts to get cooler, the leaves begin to change colors, and my students prepare for All-District and All-State. Like every District and State audition I’ve ever experienced, the music is challenging and preparation time is limited. Not to mention, Missouri All-State auditions are extremely well-rounded and require students to audition on each percussion area (Snare, Mallets, Timpani, and Auxiliary Percussion). For those auditioning for the first time, it’s a lot to process. However, it is not impossible. The following are some tips to help prepare:

Organize your time and make a routine.

School has just started. You’re probably in marching band. You probably have lots of homework. You’re probably working a part-time job. Do what you have to do to organize your time. Get a calendar. Mark the audition dates. Figure out a time each day to practice, even if it’s only…

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Developing a Basic Practice Routine

A musician is like an athlete, requiring some sort of exercise to prepare mentally and physically. Every one of my students begins by developing the following routine. I understand that students have busy schedules with sports, family, marching band, etc. Thus, this routine takes about 10-15 minutes a day and requires minimal equipment. Basic Warm-Up … Continue reading Developing a Basic Practice Routine

Be your own teacher: How to use Audio/Video Technology in the Practice Room

Kelsey Tamayo

Throughout my musical studies, I’ve had many professors tell me, “Record!” I’d record full practice sessions of monotonous excerpts. At the end of a long practice session, I’d record run-throughs of pieces. Every practicum and student teaching moment was regretfully reviewed and carefully examined for improvement. Every conducting session was over-analyzed to make sure I was successfully communicating musical ideas. And, every performance is saved somewhere on a CD and DVD to haunt me for the rest of my days. 

Well, it’s not that bad. At one time, it did feel that bad. Recording puts a person in a very vulnerable position, since every failure and success is documented. I’ve noticed many of my students share the same repulsion and apprehension to these useful devices. However, recording is an effective and necessary practice tool because it gives the student another way to self-evaluate and self-teach. In other words, recordings allow…

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The metronome does not lie.

Kelsey Tamayo

It’s marching band season again, and I’ve had the pleasure of working at band camp for the past two weeks. This means that I subjected my drumline and front ensemble students to some of the most disciplined chop-out routines and intense rehearsal sessions. My students learned quickly that I am strict when it comes to technique and musicality. I set the bar high and they rose to the challenge. However, their biggest frustration was with the metronome. And their most loathed Dr. T mantra was (drum roll, please):

The metronome does not lie.

One of the many reasons I love percussion is that it is a versatile group of instruments with endless sonic and stylistic possibilities. However, no percussionist can escape the basic fact that they must have good time. Once you put that metronome on, everything is exposed. Dr. Beat has no human error. You’re either with the click, or…

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