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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tips for Buying Used Musical Instruments

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Buying a full priced instrument can be a big investment, especially if you?re not completely sure you want to learn the instrument.? There are tons of musical instruments out there and chances are you won?t like the first instrument you pick up.? Buying used instruments can be a great way to save money, however, there are a few risks involved in purchasing a used instrument.

Be aware of who and where you?re buying the instrument. If you?re buying an instrument at a garage sale, see if you can talk to the owner of the instrument and find out why they are selling it or how long it was used.? If you?re buying a used instrument online, be sure to read some customer reviews or make sure they have a good customer satisfaction rating.? Try to ask as many questions as possible from the person you?re buying the instrument from.

Bring along a friend who knows a lot about music/musical instruments.
A musician would be able to help you determine the overall condition of the instrument.? He/she would also know what types of questions to ask the seller.

Make sure you?re getting your money?s worth. Before buying a used instrument, make sure what you?re paying for the instrument is worth it.? Find out how much that particular instrument sells for brand new, or how much others are selling it for used.

Spend some time looking at the instrument. If an instrument has significant external damage, chances are it will have some internal damage as well.?? With some instruments, like the keyboard, you should play the instrument before purchasing.? Both examining the external condition and playing the instrument can tell you a lot about the instrument.

Don?t be in a hurry! Spend some time looking into different options.? Learn to tell the difference between broken instruments and used instruments that are nearly new.? Taking your time will also allow you to ensure you?re getting a good quality used instrument for a decent price.

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10 Tips for Teaching Students with Special Needs

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Teaching children with special needs is a constant learning process because all children learn and grow differently.? Below are just a few tips that can make your teaching experience go a little smoother.

Do your homework. Do some research and learn about your student?s disability.? The more you know about the disability, the better you?ll understand the student and their learning process.

Switch it up. Students with special needs are often easily distracted.? Try alternating between different teaching approaches during lessons to keep the student interested.

No distractions. Simple things can distract students with special needs and it?s important to rid of all possible distractions.? For some special needs children, a metronome can be very distracting.? Instead of using a metronome when teaching, try using your hand to keep rhythm.? Removing simple distractions, like the metronome, will help the student stay focused so both of you can get the most out of lessons.

Back up plan. After working with a student for some time, you?ll learn what methods work best to teach them.? Keep those methods in your back pocket and when lessons just aren?t going well; revert back to those methods to ensure your student gets something out of each lesson.

Positive reinforcement. All children respond better with positive reinforcement.? Constantly remind the student how well they?re doing or how great that song was.? Don?t underestimate the power of a simple ?Good Job!?

Practice reinforcement. Students with special needs may have a harder time practicing outside of lessons.? Make sure the student?s parents understand how to help their child practice.

Keep it simple. Just like with younger students, keep the language you use simple.? Avoid difficult and abstract language that will only confuse the student.

Be patient! Patience is an absolute necessity when working with students with special needs. With encouragement and patience, any student can learn an instrument.

Let them think. Some students with disabilities need extra, uninterrupted time to think and process new techniques.? After teaching the child a new technique, give them a moment to process the information.

Make it fun. All children, not just those with special needs, have a hard time staying focused.? Try to make lessons as fun and engaging as possible.

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Making the Most of Music Lessons

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Once you or your child has decided to take music lessons, it?s important to figure out how to make the most out of lessons.? 30-60 minute weekly lessons are going to fly by so it?s important to maximize that time with the instructor.

Find the right instructor.
While all instructors may be qualified, that does not mean they are all right for you or your child.? When teachers and students don?t click, valuable learning time can be lost.? Working with the right teacher will help students get the most out of their lessons.? Here at LessonMatch, we have a wide variety of teachers so all students are sure to make a connection with someone.

Start at the right age.
For adults it?s easy; their success depends on their commitment to lessons and practice.? For kids it?s a little different.? If a child is put into lessons too soon then they may feel overwhelmed and get a bad taste for that instrument or music lessons in general.? There is no right age that applies to all children.? It all depends on how developed and focused your child is.? However, many teachers do have a minimum age limit before they will begin lessons.

Be prepared.
Take a few minutes before each lesson to relax your voice or hands for playing music.? Make sure you?re in a place where you feel comfortable and can focus during your lesson.

Practice!
Practicing outside of lessons is a must to succeed in learning an instrument.? Practicing between lessons helps because students can figure out what they?re having trouble learning and bring these concerns to the teacher?s attention.? Private lessons give students the ability to customize lessons to fit their specific learning style and pace, so don?t be afraid to tell the teacher if you?re having trouble with something.

Have fun!
Music shouldn?t be a chore for anyone!? Music is something people keep with them and enjoy their entire lives.? Deadlines and unrealistic expectations will not make you or your child a better musician.? The main thing to remember about music lessons is to always enjoy the musical journey.

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Finding the Right Teacher

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The right teacher can make all the difference in children developing a passion for music or quitting lessons as soon as their parents will let them.? It?s important to find a teacher that can work well with individual students.

Chemistry.
It is important for teachers to click with the students they are teaching.? A teacher may be nice and talented, but if he/she does not fit well with a student; then it?s time to look for another teacher. Before allowing a child to quit music lessons, try out a different teacher and see if that helps.

Expectations.
These days children are just as busy as adults and music lessons are probably not the only thing they have going on after school.? It?s important for a teacher to figure out the rate in which a student will learn.? The teacher needs to work with the student?s schedule and realize that not all students will be able to have as much practice time outside of lessons as others.

Motivation.
It?s not only the parent?s job to motivate students; teachers need to play a big part in student motivation as well.? Teachers should be able to find what motivates individual students and use that to get them excited about practicing their instrument outside of lessons.

Private or Group Lessons.
Music class is a great way for students to practice their instrument, but unless they?re getting one on one time, it should not be the only way they are learning.? Private lessons allow students to get music lessons customized to their specific needs and learning rate.

Trust your instincts! If a student or parent is thinking about switching teachers, the answer is almost always that you should.? It?s better to find a new teacher before a child finds a new interest.

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LessonMatch Welcomes Andrea DeOtis!

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Duluth 2010

Music has been a part of Andrea DeOtis?s life for as long as she can remember.? She started playing the clarinet when she was 10 years old and fell in love with it instantly.? She has played various types of clarinets, including the bass clarinet.? When Andrea was a teenager she taught herself how to play the flute because it was an instrument she had always wanted to learn.? Her freshmen year of high school Andrea was a part of the Robbinsdale City Marching Band.? She also played in the Robbinsdale City Concert Band.? During college, Andrea decided to take on the alto-sax.? Throughout her life, Andrea has enjoyed playing her instruments in musicals and in church.

This is not Andrea?s first time teaching private music lessons; during the summers she has taught lessons in the Orono School District.? Her goal is to help her students achieve their fullest potential and won?t let them settle for anything less than their best.? Andrea is a talented musician and looks forward to teaching her skills to new students.

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How to Motivate Kids During Music Lessons

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Determining a student?s level of motivation early on in music lessons helps to avoid pitfalls later.? Asking simple questions during the first lesson can determine what value a student places on learning.
??? ?Why do you want to take music lessons?
??? ?How many days a week do you expect to practice?
??? ?What do you want to achieve with music lessons?
??? ?What are your favorite types of music?
If these answers lead you to believe the student is not interested in music lessons, that does not mean they aren?t ready to learn an instrument, it just means the teacher is going to have to use different motivation techniques.

Keep kids interested.
Kids work harder if they?re interested in what they?re learning.? Pick out a few appropriate level pieces and let the student choose which piece they would like to learn.? A student will work harder at this piece because they chose to learn it.

Support and encouragement.
Parental support can be the difference between a student keeping up with music lessons and quitting.? Kids need to feel encouragement from their parents and teachers to feel like they?re accomplishing something.

Manageable learning.
Break down the more complex material into more manageable parts so the student is not overwhelmed.? If a student looks at a piece of music and can tell it?s more difficult than what they?re used to, then they could become discouraged.? It?s the teacher?s job to make the?music seem possible to learn.

Short-term goals.
Set attainable short-term goals for the student to achieve.? If a student feels like they are actually accomplishing something they will become motivated to achieve more difficult goals.

Different techniques.
Have a student try various techniques to figure out what works best for them.? Be sure they know that just because a specific strategy works for their friend, it will not necessarily work for them.

All students need different types of motivation, but as the teacher, it?s your job to get to know your student and what works for them.

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Tips to Avoid Becoming Discouraged

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Realizing the difference between the level you play an instrument at and the level you would like to be at can be discouraging.? Learning to play an instrument takes time.? Results will happen; you just need to be patient.? It is important to stay positive and realize that you?re learning a difficult task and everyone learns things at a different pace.? Children and adults both get discouraged, but often for different reasons.? These tips to avoid discouragement can be tailored to keep you or your children from becoming discouraged.

Realize where you are.? Realize how far you have come with your lessons and focus on that.? Accept the abilities and skills you have developed and realize you are still learning.? People tend to focus on where they want to be rather than where they are.? Be proud of what you have accomplished.

Look to the future.? While it is important to focus on how far you?ve come, it?s also important not to lose sight of your goal.? Realize how far you have come and what it?s going to take to go all the way.

Look elsewhere for inspiration.? Others have accomplished exactly what you would like to, so look to them for inspiration.? Try to avoid comparing yourself to them simply because they have already accomplished what you would like to; instead realize that these other people went through the same things you?re going through now and they persevered.

Learning to play an instrument is a difficult journey that comes with great reward.? People keep their music skills with them for the rest of their lives.? Most people will become discouraged at one point or another but it?s important to have patience and keep at it.? Everyone wants the accomplishment without the effort, but for most of us, that?s not realistic.? With the right determination and effort, anyone can arrive at their desired destination, just take things one step at a time.

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10 Tips to Become a Successful Musician

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1.?? Have an Objective: Figure out what you want to accomplish with your music.? Do you want to teach?? Be a song writer?? Play in a band?? Figure out what it is you want to achieve and create a plan to make it happen.? Knowing what you want to accomplish is the first step.

2.?? ?Have a Role Model: Most recording artists cite other artists as inspiration for their music.? Looking to someone else for inspiration will help keep you focused on your goal.

3.?? ?Build an Audience: These days everyone seems to have some type of musical ability and wants to share it with the world.? Play your music for your friends and family; they can give advice and constructive criticism to make you a better musician.

4.?? ?Play Live: Playing in front of others goes along with building an audience.? Get your friends and family interested in your music by setting up concerts to get others interested in your music.

5.?? ?Engage With Your Fans: Include your family and friends in your creative process.? That doesn?t mean asking each and every distant family member to help, but gather a few people that you trust to help you develop your skills and sound.? Outsiders can often see or hear things that you miss that could take your sound one step further.

6.?? ?Know Your Instrument: Have you ever been playing your instrument and hit the chord wrong but it still sounded really cool?? This is how musicians become successful, developing new sounds.? Learn your instrument inside and out so you can figure out new techniques.

7.?? ?Write Your Own Music: Once you?ve perfected your instrument and are looking for a new challenge, try writing your own music.? Writing music may seem difficult at first, but similar to learning to play the instrument, it will get easier.

8.?? ?Collaborate: I keep going back to including others in your music, but it?s a very helpful tool.? Once you?ve written a song, meet with another musician and see if they have any advice or want to collaborate with you on this track.? Artists, like Nicki Minaj, are famous for doing collaborations.

9.?? ?Think Big: Don?t settle.? If you want to become a famous/successful musician then don?t let anything stop you.? Do your research and find out how to make your dreams come true.

10.?? ?Share Your Music: Websites like Twitter, youtube, facebook, etc. have helped countless artists become recognized.? Think Justin Bieber, his mom uploaded videos of him singing to youtube and now he?s one of the most successful recording artists today.

Play your music!

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10 Tips to Become More Confident Playing in Front of an Audience

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1.?? ?Play in front of friends and family members that you trust to give you constructive criticism rather than harsh comments.? The point of this is perfecting your sound and techniques; others will hear things you may not hear.

2.?? ?Try to create a similar practice area to the one you will be performing in.? This will make you more comfortable in front of large groups of people because you can visualize yourself in your practice area which takes some of the pressure off.

3.?? ?Practice the same way you will be performing.? If you?ll be performing standing up then practice that way.

4.?? ?Videotape/record yourself playing and watch it to see if there?s anything you need to work on; any bad habits like fidgeting or playing with your hair will become evident and you can work on not doing those things.

5.?? ?Invite your friends to watch you practice so you can become comfortable playing in a distracting environment.

6.?? ?Relax.? Take some time off before the performance and try not to worry about it.? Constantly thinking about it will make you more nervous and prone to mistakes on stage.

7.?? ?Always warm up right before performing.? Regardless of what instrument you play, you should always spend a little time before each performance warming up.? Even during practice sessions I?m sure you notice that it takes a little while to get back into the swing of things.

8.?? ?Try to make eye-contact with a friend or family member while you?re on stage.? This should give you positive reinforcement and make you feel better.

9.?? ?Wear something you feel comfortable in.? You want to feel as comfortable as possible on stage, whether that?s comfort with the music you?re playing or what you?re wearing; comfort is essential to confidence.

10.?? ?Practice incessantly.? The more confident you are with the music, the better you?ll feel and play on stage.

The first time you play in front of people will be nerve-racking regardless, but practicing these tips should minimize the surprises and make you a little more comfortable.

Play your music!

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10 Practice Tips for Musicians

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1.?? ?Prepare: Prepare your body for a practice session by stretching.? Tight muscles can become tense during a long practice session so make sure you are properly stretched out to avoid any discomfort.

2.?? ?Practice Area: Choose a quiet place where you can practice without distractions or disturbances.

3.?? ?Commit: Commit to practicing a certain amount of time each week.? It doesn?t have to be every day, but setting goals will assure you practice enough.

4.?? ?Practice: Find out what works for you, whether it?s practicing everyday for a short period of time or a few days a week for longer periods.? Although studies show that practicing for 20 minutes every day is more effective for learning; that may not be what works best for you.

5.?? ?Metronome: Always practice with a metronome!? This assures you are playing at a consistent tempo and makes your music sound professional.

6.?? ?Tune: Always tune your instrument before playing it.? If you?re instrument is your voice, then always be sure to warm up before singing.

7.?? ?Moderation: Don?t try to learn too many things in a single practice session.? Taking on too much could overwhelm and discourage you.? Take things one step at a time.

8.?? ?Practice: Don?t just practice the parts you know, tackle the more difficult parts.? This may sound like a no-brainer, but it?s easier for people to play what they know because it has instant reward.? The reward will be much greater though once you learn something new.

9.?? ?Warm Up: Split your practice time between playing songs and exercises.? Sometimes you need a break from constantly playing songs, and doing exercises is a good way to keep yourself balanced.

10.?? ?Play: Set aside sometime to just play with your instrument.? This is a great way to learn every aspect of your instrument and develop new techniques.

Always remember to practice icon smile 10 Practice Tips for Musicians

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