This practice routine is for the student that may be unlikely to even sit at the piano or take out their instrument. Have you ever had a child that just doesn’t want to practice at all? I have used this with a handful of students, and some actually do it! And it works if they do. This example 5 minute routine is written with a horn player in mind, but a piano player or guitar player could still do long tones. In fact, it would be beneficial for practicing counting and very slowly reading notes.


See explanation below:

2 minutes of long tones:

Take deep long breaths starting with four beat long breaths and playing for at least 8 beats on easy, comfortable notes. Focus on a warm and centered sound and work hard to keep it consistent. Say the name of each note in your mind as you play. Try to add four beats to the note each time, extending your length you can hold the note. A clock also works great. Start with ten seconds, add five seconds each time.


For piano our guitar, do the same, maybe read an exercise or section of a piece very slowly, playing each note as a long tone.

Either way, count out every beat.

Breathe 2, 3, 4, Play Bb, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4

Breathe 2, 3, 4, Play F, , 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4



If you have time, add the tongue and separate the notes into quarter notes.

1 minute: 5-8 note scale (s)

Spend one minute playing up the scale, slowly at first, again, naming every note in your mind as you go up and down. Gradually pick up the speed. Legato tongue  the notes (smoothly).


2 minutes: Exercises from the method book

Spend the last two minutes working slowly from the assigned works in your method book. Play through one first, note any rhythms or intervals you struggle with. Count the rhythms carefully and play them very slowly until you get them. Same with the intervals, play them slowly over and over, listening very carefully, and then play the whole piece through.


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