Mark Calima – Tips for Musicians in Large Bands or Ensembles

Mark Calima is a band director who has been working hard for fourteen years in the Houston, Texas area. Being a musician in a band, as Calima knows, can be challenging; here are some useful tips to help.

Mark Calima

Learn all you can about your instrument. Learning how to use and operate you instrument is one thing, but it’s also important to understand how your instrument works as well. If you play a string instrument, make sure you know how to tune it and change the strings. Conversely, if you play a brass instrument, figure out what it needs to sound its best, like emptying the spit valve or lubing the slides.

Practice daily. Practicing with your band or in class simply isn’t enough, you have to be willing to practice on your own if you want to truly improve. Practice makes perfect is a tired saying, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Professional musicians who are at the top of their careers spend hours each day practicing so that they can continue to improve and develop as players.

Play in front of others often. Playing in front of people can cause anyone to be nervous, but the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes. You need to play in front of people as much as possible so that you learn how to calm your nerves down when it really matters.

Mark Calima realizes that musicians need to practice, learn their instruments, and play in front of others.


Mark Calima – Tips for Teaching Music

Mark Calima is a successful band director who has worked hard in order to achieve the success he currently enjoys. He has developed a reputation in the area for being able to take programs to new heights. Here are some useful tips for other professionals teaching music.

Mark Calima

Mark Calima

Don’t overload your student or students at the beginning. This is especially true for educators who are teaching music to students who have very little experience. Start with the basics so that the student can master those before moving on to something more complex. The basics are easy, but they set the foundation for the rest of the student’s musical career; they must be perfected before moving on.

If you are teaching a class for a school or other program, take an inventory of all your equipment, music, and facilities. You need to familiarize yourself with what you’ll have to work with before you really get going. This will also give you the chance to see what you need more of, and to see what you have too much of. Figure out who your band or instrument dealer will be so you can request what you need.

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Keep practices short, but frequent, especially in the beginning. There will be a lot of information to digest for a student who is just starting to learn music, which means long practices will be too much to keep together. Thirty minutes twice a week should be plenty for the start of your lessons.

Mark Calima understands how students learn and understand music over time.