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Perform 97% Better By Following These 17 Pencil Drawing Techniques

Pencil Drawing Techniques – How can the following 17 rehearsal techniques using a pencil help you become a better musician? First, think about how can you improve. Are you a seasoned musician that performs for a living? Or perhaps you are a beginning music student in your school? Regardless of where your musical career is, the power of the pencil markings has a magical effect on improving your playing ability.

  • Accidentals, Expression Markings
  • Highlight Articulation Markings
  • Circle Dynamics
  • Write Down Note Names for Hard to Read Divisi Parts
  • Rhythm Counting
  • Who to Listen to (Melody, Countermelody, Balance, Pitch)
  • When to Look Up at the Conductor
  • Add Measure Numbers
  • Breath Marks
  • Fingerings
  • Stylistic Cues (Performance Reminders)
  • Indicate Pitch Tendency (Sharp, Flat -use arrows)
  • Arrows or Signs to Direct the Eyes Where to Look (D.S. al Coda/ Dal Segno)
  • Break Up Long Multi-Measure Rests (To Match Musical Sections)
  • Add Rehearsal Sections (Into Smaller Parts. ie A1, A2, B1, B2)
  • Highlight Articulation Bowings
  • Any Location that Directs to Use Subito
  • Bowings

The Challenge

The goal is to find a way to improve yourself or your students, as a musical performer during rehearsal. Challenge yourself to create a checklist of specific and practical ways to create helpful pencil markings. If the pencil markings do not help you improve, then do not include them in your list. You’ll know you have created a quality checklist when you can prove to yourself, beyond a doubt, that it is proven to work.


In my personal experience, I have heard all sorts of reasons why students don’t have a pencil or why they haven’t marked their music. Even as a student, I found it tough to always notate everything in my music that would have helped me.

Pencil Shading Techniques

Often my excuses were lame and unsupported. When I did have a pencil, I often found my pencil would get lost after rehearsal or the lead would break halfway through the class.

What Educators Are Saying

Virtually every music educator will agree that having and using a pencil in rehearsal is a necessary tool in a music rehearsal. It is not a particularly fancy technology but fulfills a particular need. It is convenient, and professionals are always doing it. So I ask, why not make this an expectation during every class?

Survey Your Students

Do you continue to perform as a music educator? Do you practice what you preach? Can you expect your students to live up to a rehearsal expectation if you can’t? Take a moment, survey your students, and ask or have them prove to you that they know how to mark their music effectively. Do the markings make them perform better? Or, are they just going through the actions because you asked them?

Get Personal

If requiring pencil usage is not a reinforced expectation of yours. Try to communicate on a personal level with your students. Take the extra needed time to mark music together, the right way. This could easily take up the whole class period. If they learn to do a quality job consistently, your students may have adopted a life skill.

A Few Thoughts

In conclusion, a pencil is a magical piece of technology. It is like a wand to a wizard as it is a magical tool to a musician. You can quickly get your monies worth in use, and functionality and it reinforces skills that lead to a plethora of intrinsic and extrinsic benefits. Be sure to get yours today!



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