These are meant to be etudes in the sense that you are to take the (usually simple) idea and use it as a beginning point. You are to use the idea as a theme and develop it into a landscape in which you can improvise.
If you are playing an MMe (Marimba Micro-etude) and your recent technical work has included parallel octaves, then you might choose to include them in your exercise today. I think of these as technical sub-routines (SubR’s) and they are meant to serve/surf the etudes. Here are some examples of SubR’s that can be applied to any of these etudes:
- Parallel Intervals
- A music theory topic from class yesterday.
- One-handed Rolls
- Time Independence