Last week, I had the honor of interviewing Lisa Chippendale, the string orchestra director/conductor for Quarry Hill Elementary, Walt Disney Elementary, Charles Boehm Middle School, the assistant orchestra director for Pennsbury High School, and author of two biographies and another book. She shared some tips with me for young musicians.
What is the secret to a good practice?
Mrs. Chippendale said that to actually benefit from a practice you must work on the music in chunks rather than playing through the whole piece at once. You must work on the hardest parts until you are able to start several measures ahead of the hard sections and still play these parts well. You must make sure that you are practicing correctly. She said, “Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.”
If you could restart, what instrument would you choose and why?
Mrs. Chippendale said she would choose violin, which was her first instrument to learn in real life. “I really enjoy the sound of it,” she said. She also says that the violin is very versatile, so there is a wide variety of genres of music that can be played on it, from classical to fiddle to contemporary.
If you could give only one tip to a young musician who hopes to pursue a job in music, what would it be?
Mrs. Chippendale says that you must be completely devoted to music if you want to become a professional musician (conductor, music teacher, instrumentalist). She advised, “Love what you do. Love music above everything else.”