I recently sat in on a wonderful master class by Lance LaDuke on practicing and goal setting. He had one suggestion for the students at the University of Georgia that I thought I would pass along. It works for any age or ability level.
Turn on the radio to any song you know well and sing along. (Note: If you can't sing it, you can't play it!) Then turn the volume all the way down and keep singing. When you turn the volume back up check the following:
- Were you able to hold the pitch?
- Were you able to follow the correct form of the song?
- Did you keep good time?
This is a great and simple exercise that tests a whole lot of things. And the best part is that it's away from the horn so no part of the brain will be occupied by "horn operating."