Dice games, adding some spice to practice

As I have been doing the accountable practice project (Read more here about that) one thing I have done a lot of, and has had some questions asked about it is the use of dice. I love using dice to add spontaneity and to keep me on my toes when it comes to working on technique. 

How does it work?

There are a few ways I do this, and I'll outline them here. You will need 3 dice, a 12 sided die, an 8 sided die, and another one (I use a 10 sided since it was handy). You can add any others as well at times I use a 20 sided die to chose how many times I have to attack a note, repeat a passage, etc.


The basic approach I have been using on my twitch stream is using the 12 sided dice to chose the scale, the 8 sided dice to pick either 1) the scale degree to begin from or 2) the scale degree to go to. (If you are feeling cheeky, you could do both). I like this approach as it gets us out of our usual scale routine. The use of the 10 sided dice is as to determine major or minor, make one odds and one even, then roll and go. One side goal is how fast can you go from rolling to playing. Working scale fluency is a big thing for me.

At times, to mix it up I'll use a 4 sided dice to determin how many octaves to take the scale through. Really, the sky is the limit with this. If you can assign a variable to it, you can get after it. 

Other ideas for dice use

As I said there are tons of possibilities, so here is a quick list of things I have been doing in the past little while.

  • Scales using dice to determine range etc.
  • How many times to attack a note for accuracy (vs the usual do it 10 times in a row.)
  • How many harmonics to ascend in lip slurs.
  • How many times to repeat a passage or exercise. 
  • What dynamic (like scales, we assign dynamics to each face of the dice I usually use a 5 sided (pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff)
  • What articulations or articulation patterns to use.

Again, these are just things I have done in the past week or so, there are plenty of things you can do.

I usually stream a 11am MDT on http://www.twitch.tv/matjamhorn as long as the schedule allows. If not, I'll change it.