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Do you know enough about playing practice?

It all began when Erja Joukamo-Ampuja gave a lesson to a group of students eager to learn more about practice for brass musicians and how to develop the upper register. They discussed various aspects of technique and studied literature on the topic. When they couldn’t find the answers to all of their questions, Erja visited the library to search for more information. It looked like she had found a coaching manual – in the sports section. Sports medicine has long delved into training. Later, at a board meeting of the Finnish Society for Musician’s Medicine, she talked with Jouko Heiskanen, a physician specialised in the field, and all the pieces started to fall into place.

A development grant from the Sibelius Academy enabled Erja Joukamo-Ampuja and Jouko Heiskanen to begin preparing lecture material on the topic ‘How to practice sensibly’, and the following year it was reformatted as an online course. Although the material originated among brass musicians, it has been expanded to cater to all those studying to be professional musicians – other students felt the need to plan their practice, too.

A group of new musician’s medicine experts joined the project when additional funding was granted for the online version: Päivi Arjas, who added material on the mental aspects of practice, Katarina Porander, who wrote the ergonomics section, and Miikka Peltomaa, who expanded the scope to cover hearing protection and the specialised issues faced by singers. Although practice involves many things, such as style, phrasing, interpretation and technique, this material will mainly focus on the physical and mental aspects of practice and guidelines for planning long-term practice programmes. There are also plenty of practical tips, as well as hints on getting started.

We believe this to be a vital and fundamental topic in a professional musician’s education, and we hope the information contained herein will help prevent repetitive strain injuries and overtraining.

We hope you enjoy reading this guide – and putting it into practice.

Erja, Jouko, Päivi, Katarina and Miikka

Published: 24 February 2009

Last updated: 24 February 2009



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Updated May 4, 2009