When teaching sight-reading skills, a new solo, or learning a song form, the key is thinking ahead. A racecar driver needs to continuously look at what’s coming up ahead. When he approaches a turn, he already knows how to handle it since he knew it was coming up. Those crazy rally drivers that race on unpaved winding roads in the mountains must maintain intense focus and continuously “peer around the corner”. Yo-Yo Ma, the world-renowned cellist, was asked how he was able to play through such difficult and fast pieces without making a mistake. His response seemed so simple. He said “always think about the next note before you play it.”
Now when you are in band rehearsal or even practicing a new scale on your own, think about what is coming up next. Whether it’s the bridge in a song or a simple position shift in a scale or lick, consider it like driving through the mountains, keep your focus and keep looking as far around the corner as you can. The more you practice this technique, the more it will become natural. Go for it!