Practice Smarter Not Harder

A clinic for musicians
by Thomas Bacon

Target audience: Musicians at any level wanting to improve their practice habits; anyone interested in creative problem solving.

Duration: Two hours

In the first part of the clinic, Mr. Bacon talks about the various aspects of practice, and demonstrates specific practice techniques that will be on the handout that is given to the audience. Then he asks the question: "Who wants to play something now that they have been working on, and learn how they can practice it better?"

A marvelous moment follows as they discover for themselves how much more effective their practice can be. With a heightened awareness they learn how to turn a problem into a solution! The title of the event is "Practice Smarter, not Harder" because too many musicians waste time in the practice room by practicing bad habits over and over.

In this clinic they learn:

  • how to maximize their practice time, through a series of well defined rules and practice "games"
  • how to listen more acutely
  • how to practice the "right stuff"
  • how to identify problem areas in one's playing, and create a solution to overcome them
  • how to overcome practice frustration
  • how to practice more efficiently, getting greater results than ever before.
Mr. Bacon has presented the Clinic Practice Smarter Not Harder at:

Angelo State University

Arizona State University

Augustana College

Baylor University

Bemidji MusiCamp

Byron Center High School

Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music

Colorado Music Educators Association

Del Mar College

East Tennessee State University

Grand Valley State University

Henderson State University

Hutchinson (KS) Community College

Indiana University

Interlochen Arts Academy

Jacksonville State University

Lawrence University

Mansfield University

Midwest Clinic

Michigan State University

Morehead State University

New Mexico State University

New York Brass Conference

Northern Arizona University

Northwestern University

Oklahoma Baptist University

San Jacinto College Summer Brass Camp

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Texas Tech University

Traverse City East Junior High School

University of Arizona

University of Central Arkansas

University of Evansville

University of Louisville

University of Memphis

University of Nebraska at Omaha

University of New Mexico

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of Oklahoma

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Wayne State College (Nebraska)

West Texas A&M University

Wichita State University

Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestra

What people are saying:

East Tennessee State University
"I have been using the Practice clinic methods. And I can tell you that I have experienced tremendous progress. I used to DESPISE the metronome... Now I can't stand not having it with me in practice because that method works so well for me." Rich Oakley, horn student

Morehead State University
"I have been practicing my multiple tonguing, and as a result have petted the pussycat many times in the last week :) In fact I got complimented on my improvement in my lesson on Thursday. ... my teacher also loved your clinic and has been using the metronome game with all of his students and he is very excited about the results that have come from that." Craig Tweddell, trumpet student

Indiana University
"You address the issues that need to be addressed, and your verbalization of it is just marvelous ... you had them all mesmerized." Michael Hatfield, Professor of Horn

Northwestern University
"It's a very beneficial clinic for any musician ... really explains the 'how to' of practicing." Gail Williams, Professor of Horn

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
"... the best clinic I've ever heard on developing practice technique ..."  David Hastings, Professor of Saxophone

Baylor University
"The clinic was extremely well packaged and enthusiastically presented. In it Mr. Bacon shared the great wisdom of his extensive experience on how to practice more effectively and prepare for performances. Everyone present - students, teachers, young and old - benefited greatly from it."  Jeffrey S. Powers, Professor of Horn

Texas Tech University
“It's weeks later and they're still talking about it. It was a great clinic and you made quite an impression here. Thanks for coming to Tech!" Will Strieder, Professor of Trumpet

West Texas A & M University,
"I enjoyed your clinic at WTAMU very much. It was one the best that I have ever attended. ... Your practice method allows a less advanced musician to have a taste of what it feels like to really master their instrument." Don Lefevre Director of Bands

Henderson State University
"... it was a GREAT clinic!"  Dr. James Buckner, Professor of Trumpet

Henderson State University
"It was a great clinic, with something for everyone. Stressing the need to practice the right stuff -- even down to practicing one note to perfection -- seems so basic, though is so often forgotten or avoided. But it's especially important for us percussionists because often our big solo is just one note!"
Dr. Rick Dimond, Professor of Percussion

University of New Mexico:
"Thanks for a wonderful class. I have heard nothing but positive comments from people that attended."
  Karl Hinterbichler, Professor of Trombone

Jacksonville State University
"Mr. Bacon has changed many students' lives with his unique approach to practicing. His seminars are absolutely amazing."  Kenneth Bodiford, Director of Bands

Jacksonville State University
"Hi Mr. Bodiford!
...I just wanted to thank you informally for having Mr. Bacon come to JSU. It certainly had an impact on the students here. Also thanks to Mr. Gillespie for allowing Wind Ensemble to attend such a wonderful seminar. Mr. Bacon even gave one-on-one lessons with some students as examples of how to practice. Just the other day I heard Mr. Bacon's practice session routine being used in a practice room. It seems that more people are realizing the huge importance of practicing -- myself included."
  Heather Miller, horn student

University of Central Arkansas:
"We sure did enjoy having you here in Conway. You generated a really substantial audience, and music students of all stripes have been noticeably discussing and implementing your practicing ideas. Thanks for the time, energy and personal interest you showed in this project!"  Brent Shires, Instructor of Horn

Arizona Intrastate Retreat for Horns:
"...gave us both great viewpoints on how to manage practice time, the diligent approach to take, and how even tedious 'chunking' can have benefits far beyond the bit of music being practiced. We're both taking his advice to heart in our practice from now on."  Dave and Lisa Tuttle, participants at AIR Horns, 2003

Northern Arizona University:
"After your 'Practice' master class, improvement in my studio sky-rocketed! The light bulbs definitely went off in these young minds and the difference is astounding. They immediately saw the benefits of employing your techniques and are more excited about practicing than ever! Thank you, Tom, for sharing your wisdom!"  Dr. Karen McGale Fiehler, Lecturer of Horn

University of Memphis:
"...positive comments from students and faculty alike. It was especially nice to hear so many students saying how much they felt they learned from it."  Dan Phillips, Professor of Horn

Thomas Bacon is a Yamaha Performing Artist

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