Where to start...

Help them create a practice environment. This should be a space free from distractions that will allow them to concentrate(No TV, no other music playing, no video games, etc.) They should sit in a straight backed chair or stand. Sitting on a bed or couch makes good posture and breath support challenging.

Look through the music before they start. Is there a section that looks difficult? Did the band director have them mark a spot to practice or tell them what to practice?

Play through the music once to help find difficult spots. Don’t use a “run-though” for the entire practice session. Play through the music once and if there are areas of hesitation or strange sounds, that may be a good place to work on!

Encourage them! Give your student praise when they are working diligently or creating a nice sound! You may often think this, but if you don’t communicate that to them, they will never know!

Help them find time to practice. Divide their practice minute requirements into a few smaller segments. Help them think about their schedule or write down their weekly activities to find days that would be good practice days. Children like routine and are often successful with a regular agenda. Set a timer or have them practice before a favorite TV show so they are sure they finish their work before their leisure activity. 

Look at their music for pencil markings. The music is theirs to keep! If they have trouble remembering a finger or dynamic, write it in or circle it. Write it whatever helps remember the difficult spots when performing the piece.

Ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask the director for help or practice ideas. They know and can tell you how things are going in class. Remember: if you don’t ask, we won’t know to help you. It’s up to you! 

If they are nervous for a playing quiz or concert, play for family or friends to practice! Students can also record themselves in a boom box or microphone and listen to it. Then have them fill the role of a teacher and give themselves a pretend practice grade to find spots in the music to work on. 

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 Music Education Services
1041 Bonaventure Drive
Elk Grove Village, IL

Fax 847-805-1900 

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Music Education Services (MES) provides comprehensive band programs to elementary schools.