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310-453-7617

Why Choose Us?

  • Professional 'Floating Marley Dance Floors' reduce fatigue and prevent injury
  • Small class sizes
  • Customer service - desk staff available during class times for assistance
  • Wide selection of class times to fit your busy schedule
  • University trained teachers
  • Instructions in rock, classical, pop, jazz and more
  • Optional, low pressure recitals

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Testimonials

  • My daughter has been taking various dance lessons here since they opened. She loves the instructors who are all awesome and great with the kids. Every summer, they have dance recitals that are wonderfully organized and coordinated. Santa Monica School of Dance and Music rocks!

    Kristine D.

  • My daughter has taken lessons for 2 years. It is a wonderful studio with wonderful teachers! We also love the summer camps, especially the all-in-one camp. The studio is well kept and the staff are always friendly. The annual recital is amazing!

    Sharon D.

  • The dance instructors are really amazing with children! They have so much positive energy! Additionally, they have a ton of classes throughout the week and are extremely flexible with make ups. Everyone goes out of their way to be friendly and accommodating. Overall it's been a really great experience!

    M.P.

  • The classes are smaller than other dance studios, so there is more opportunity for one-on-one instruction. I have recommended this studio to many of my friends with kids and would recommend it anyone who is looking for a dance studio. This studio is definitely the best dance and music school in Santa Monica!

    Krista P.

  • Santa Monica School of Dance and Music has been such a wonderful dance studio. The staff is friendly and kind. Easy to get to. Parking right in front. It's not your play around and do a few dance moves. It's serious but applicable to their age. We love this dance studio!

    Ybarra F.

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Brand new to dance classes or music lessons? Find out what you need to know!

- 5 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Choosing a Dance Studio

- 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of the Music Lessons

 


These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching and our experiences with teaching hundreds of students each year.

 

1. HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG - STARTING AT THE RIGHT AGE

Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing.

For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience that could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. The following are guidelines we have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.

Piano/Keyboard
At our school 5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in private piano lessons. At this age they start to develop longer attention spans, have better physical hand abilities, and can retain material with ease. (But if you’d like to start you 4½ year old on their musical journey, call to set up a single lesson to see if your child is ready for private lessons.)

Guitar - Acoustic, Electric and Bass
Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. At age 8, children’s hands generally start to be big enough to play a standard sized guitar comfortably.  But for 4½ - 7  year olds, we offer Guitar Jr. to get a head start on learning using a smaller guitar. This program is made to introduce the children to beginning theory, playing simple rhythms and songs with a single string and with easy chords. Bass guitar students are generally at least 10 years old.

Voice Lessons
7 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique. For children younger than 7, we recommend a children’s choir or a preschool singing program that teaches them how to use their voices properly, in a fun, relaxed environment.  But if you'd like your younger musician to start taking Voice lessons as early as 4½ years old, you can add Piano to your lesson and split your time between both Piano AND Voice.  This option is great if you have an interest in both, or are trying to decide between the two for your younger musician.  Taking Piano and Voice together provides a basic foundation of music, such as ear training, while keeping the student engaged.

Violin
We accept violin students from the age of 4½. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but experience has shown that the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 4½ or older.

2. INSIST ON PRIVATE LESSONS WHEN LEARNING A SPECIFIC INSTRUMENT

Group classes work well for preschool music programs and theory lessons. However, when actually learning how to play an instrument, private lessons are far superior to a group lessons since privates give the student the opportunity to learn at their own pace so they don’t miss key points. This also means that the teacher does not have to teach a class at a middle-of–the-road level, but has the time and focus to work on the individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. For that lesson period, the student is the primary focus of the teacher. The teachers also enjoy this as they do not have to divide their attention between 5 - 10 students at a time and can help the student be the best they can be.


3. TAKE LESSONS IN A PROFESSIONAL TEACHING ENVIRONMENT

Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but also having an environment that is focused on music education. In a professional school environment a student cannot be distracted by TV, pets, ringing phones, siblings, etc. With only 30 minutes to one hour of lesson time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results since the only focus at that time is learning music. Students in a school environment are also motivated by hearing peers who are at different levels and by being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. In a music school, the lessons are not just a hobby or sideline for the teacher but a responsibility, which is taken very seriously.


4. MAKE PRACTICING EASIER

As with anything, improving in music takes practice. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways to make practicing easier:

TIME 
Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.

REPETITION
We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child, 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example, "practice this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day". The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but knows if they are on repetition number 3 they are almost finished.

REWARDS
This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with a cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there just is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes we all have a week with little practicing...in that case there is always next week.

HAVE FUN!
Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.

5. USE RECOGNIZED TEACHING MATERIALS

There are some excellent materials developed by professional music educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can inadvertently be left out. If you ever have to move to a different city or state, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.

Santa Monica School of Dance and Music - 310-453-7617


Santa Monica School of Dance & Music provides dance classes and music lessons to the greater West LA area for all ages in a professional and friendly environment.

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