One of the biggest challenges for young musicians is learning how to practice. It isn't just pulling out your instrument and playing through the music you have. Practice should always involve goals like what you want to improve on, and what skills you want to master.

Schedule your practice time like you schedule a doctor's appointment or a soccer practice. When you leave it up to a what time opens up, it often is the first thing that doesn't get done.

Make goals for what you want to accomplish. Both short-term and long-term goals are helpful. When you write them down and hang them near where you practice, you are reminded of why you are doing this.
USING A metronome

Practicing with a metronome helps you keep a steady tempo and can alert you when you are miscounting rhythms. Don't be afraid to start at a slow tempo; it's always better to do something slowly well rather than something fast inaccurately.

Scales are a wonderful way get warmed up. Focus on your intonation, your tone quality, your technique, just about everything!

Sometimes the hardest thing about practicing is just opening your case. Tell yourself you are just starting with 10 minutes, and then gradually increase your practice time day by day. A good goal for most elementary school-aged students is 30 minutes daily, at least 5 days a week.
Here at Elemental Music, our goal is to provide you with whatever tools you need to have a successful and positive relationship with music! Although enrollment in our programs will certainly provide your child with solid music instruction, we strongly encourage that families supplement their music education with private lessons. One-on-one time with a qualified private teacher can give your child specific instruction that can support their learning in our programs as well as at school.

There is a wide range for private teachers that is often, but not always, determined by their experience. Other considerations might include whether they make house calls. We can even help find you a Mentor from SAMOHI who can provide free private lessons for current Elemental Strings and Elemental Band students.

It is important to select a teacher that actually plays the instrument! Often, it is also helpful to find a private teacher who is well-connected to the school district. They will know what opportunities might be coming up, and have a good relationship with your child's music teachers at school.
Chemistry between teacher and student

Not every teacher will be a good fit. Some teachers are more nurturing, others more demanding. Some focus on technique and fundamentals, others on having fun playing music. Some focus more on classical style, others on pop music. There isn't one right answer, but it is important to consider what YOU are looking for in a teacher.

Students learn best when they can work with a teacher on a regular basis. The teacher will be able to monitor progress and make sure that the student is doing things correctly along the way.
Getting ready for an audition? Whether it is auditioning for one of our programs or for school, there are a number of helpful tips that can help you play your best on that important day!
Do your research

When you find out about the audition, figure out when it will be and what components will be included. The usual suspects include a few scales, a solo piece of your choice, and some sightreading.
Plan ahead

Start preparing right away. The more time you have to practice, the more prepared you will be for the audition.
Be well-rested

Be sure to get a good night's sleep the night before, and, if you can, avoid having too many activities during the day of the audition so you have plenty of energy.
Fuel up

Be sure to eat a real meal before the audition, and it is even a good idea to pack some snacks in case you get hungry before you have to play (woodwind and brass students should also bring a toothbrush if you plan to eat).
Breathing is good

Take your time when you go in to your audition. Think through what you are about to play and consider whether there are any key things to remember (such as the key signature or tricky rhythms).
Practice your audition

In your preparation, practice playing through everything for teachers, family members and friends. The more you get to play, the more comfortable you will be on that big day.