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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Introducing Children to Classical Music

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Classical music can introduce children to a whole new world of music, the music that laid the groundwork for all other artists.

Kids? musical preferences are defined by what they hear on the radio or what other kids are listening to.? While most kids have probably heard of composers like Beethoven and Mozart, they don?t know who they are.??

Here are a few ways to introduce children to classical music.

 

Playtime
Kids love listening to music, and playtime can be a great time to introduce them to classical music.? Instead of just putting on a song and having your children listen to it while they play, give them the choice of some composers and pieces.? Then, tell your kids a little bit of information about the composer and the piece before playing it.? Eventually your children will develop their own classical music preference and will request specific composers or pieces.

Wake Up
Every morning, my mom would play ?80s music throughout the house and I would wake up hearing the music.? Now, I have a soft spot for ?80s music and still listen to it every morning while I?m getting ready for work.? Instead of playing popular music or a certain genre of music every morning, play classical music.? Songs become popular because of the repletion; if you play classical music over and over again, eventually your children will like it.

Favorite
When you like a piece of music, chances are, your children will like it to.? Let your children know which composers and pieces are your favorites.? If they like the same pieces as you, introduce them to some similar composers.? Eventually their musical taste will evolve to include classical music.

Soundtrack
Kids usually love reading books just as much as they love listening to music, so why not mix the two.? When reading a story to your child, pick a piece of classical music that reflects the emotion or mood of the story and play it in the background like a soundtrack.? Reading stories this way can be a special treat you do once a week, that way your children will look forward to hearing the classical music.

Classical music is where all other artists draw inspiration (whether directly or indirectly) and everyone should be able to enjoy it!

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More Tips for Choosing the Right Instrument

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Which instrument should my child play?

That is a question many parents ask themselves when deciding to enroll their child in music lessons.? Should they rely solely on their child?s request, or listen to the recommendations of others?

There is no ?right? instrument for all children to begin playing, but there are a few things to take into consideration.

 

Age
The piano and violin are two instruments children as young as four can begin learning.? These instruments are not too big for children, like a guitar would be, and musical concepts can be learned easier on the instruments.? Guitar and drums can be learned around age eight; but vocal lessons should not be taught until the child?s vocal chords are developed (usually no younger than eight-years-old).? Vocal lessons can cause permanent damage if taught too young.

Interest
If your child is over the age of eight, then you can ask him/her which instrument they would like to learn.? Take into consideration their musical interests.? If your child likes to listen to rock music, then they would probably enjoy drum or guitar lessons versus saxophone lessons.? Children will often want to mimic their peers and play an instrument simply because one of their friend?s is.? Try to discover what kind of instrument your child would have the most fun learning and present this option to them.

Space
Always remember to think about where you live and what types of lessons you can accommodate.? If you live in an apartment complex, then drum lessons are probably going to upset your neighbors.? Similarly if you have a small house, then a piano or drum set may take up too much space.? Even if you travel elsewhere for lessons, there still needs to be practice time outside of lessons.

It is always important to take into consideration which instrument your child wants to play.? Just because you loved learning to play the guitar does not mean your child will, especially if he/she would rather be playing piano.

As long as your child is mentally and physically capable of learning an instrument, they can choose whatever instrument they would like to play.

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10 More Vocal Tips

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More ways to keep your vocal cords sounding refreshed and healthy.

1.?? ?Practice slowly and daily to keep your voice in perfect shape.? Practicing too much or trying to learn difficult techniques too quickly could strain your voice.

2.?? ?Drink a warm (not hot) soothing drink in the morning, like an herbal tea.? Anything too hot will cause your neck and throat area to swell, which affects your vocal cords.

3.?? ?Drink lemonade to clear your throat of mucus.? Lemonade is acidic and breaks down any unwanted mucus in your throat so you have a clear crisp singing voice.

4.?? ?Never hold your breath while singing.? It is important to keep air moving through your body.? Different breathing techniques will help you learn to keep breathing.

5.?? ?Never raise or hunch your shoulders when breathing.? Instead, strengthen the muscles in your rib cage and breathe from there.? This allows you to take fuller breaths and breathe longer.

6.?? ?Avoid straining and abusing your voice by knowing when to stop singing.? Never sing to the point of vocal fatigue or your voice could be out of commission for a few days.

7.?? ?Make sure to get enough sleep the night before a performance.? Fatigue will cause strain to your voice or will cause you to revert to bad habits in order to stay awake.? Caffeine and sugary sodas dehydrate the body and should be avoided.

8.?? ?Practice singing in front of a mirror.? This will help you discover any poor posture problems or bad stage habits you might have.

9.?? ?Don?t smoke, scream or talk too much, especially the day of a performance.? You want to rest your vocal cords as much as possible so you don?t overuse or abuse them.

10.?? ?Always practice the basics of singing and breathing to develop your technique.? While practicing the basics you might learn some new techniques to better your singing voice and performance.

Enroll in vocal lessons to keep your instrument in top shape!

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10 Tips for Your First Recital

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Playing your first recital can be nerve-wracking, but it?s a great way to show what you?ve learned and stay motivated with lessons.

Here are a few tips to prepare for your first recital.

 

Find out what music you?re playing. Some instructors allow you to choose what piece(s) you?d like to play during the recital; other instructors assign pieces.? If allowed to choose your own music, choose a piece that interests you.

Practice! Try to set aside time every day to practice.? Practicing for 15 minutes a day will be more effective than practicing one day for an hour.

Difficulty. Tackle the more difficult pieces you?ll be playing then move onto the easier ones.? Beginning with the harder pieces will give you more time to learn and master them.? After learning the difficult pieces you should master the easier ones in no time.

Warm up. Play through a few easy pieces and your recital piece before the recital.? Don?t over practice right before a recital though or you?ll be tired and make more mistakes.

Play in front of an audience. Practice a few times in front of your family and friends.? This will help you feel more confident playing in front of a larger audience.

Record a practice session. Record yourself, or have someone record you, playing through all your pieces.? Some musicians have bad habits that they do on stage and aren?t aware of them.? Watching yourself play will show you how you will look on stage and you can address any issues before playing in front of an audience.

Rest. Get a good night?s sleep the night before a recital.? You may be too nervous to sleep, but if you?re tired during the recital you might forget a piece or miss a note.

Breath! Many people get nervous in front of an audience and forget to breath.? Practice some breathing techniques before your recital that help calm you down.

Don?t be too hard on yourself. Everyone messes up during his or her first recital.? Usually it?s just a small mistake that only you notice, but the temptation to stop will be there.? If you make a mistake, keep playing like nothing happened.? Remember, this is your first recital; it will go better next time.

Have fun! Playing music shouldn?t be a chore.? Always remember to have fun when playing.? Performers that are having fun have better stage presence than those who are not.

For more tips about the first recital or lessons with Lesson Match, contact us!

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Introduce Music to Young Children

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Children need music in their lives too!

 

Young children are inherently curious and open to new experiences.? Parents can use fun activities to introduce music to young children.? If children are introduced to music at a young age, then they?re more likely to be interested in music as they grow up.? Studies show that children who take music lessons perform better on standardized testing and in school.? So, introduce your young child to music and they?ll do better in school.? Here are a few ways to make learning about music fun for children.

Pots and Pans
A great way to introduce music to young children is to teach them about musical concepts by using items found around the house.? Bring out the pots and pans and let your child bang on them with a wooden spoon.? Show them how varying the rhythm and pressure used to hit the pots changes the sound.

Tuned Instruments
Bells, triangles and maracas are great instruments to introduce to young children.? Let your child play with the instrument and explore the different ways they produce sound.? If you have multiple children, have one of them bang on the pots and pans and the other play the triangle and teach them about playing together.

Homemade Instruments
A great activity to teach young children about different types of instruments is to let them make their own out of recycled materials.? Drums, guitars and shakers are instruments that can be easily created using empty containers, rubber bands and other household materials.? Children will have fun making and playing with these instruments.

Listen to Music
Exposing your young children to music from different cultures and periods can get them interested in different types of music.?? Play some different types of music and afterwards ask your child if he/she can identify any of the instruments used in the song.? You can also have your child try to play along to the music with the instrument they made.

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10 Tips for Beginning Acoustic Guitar Players

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Some people are able to just pick up an acoustic guitar and instinctively know what to do with it; others might need some tips.

Here are a few tips for beginning acoustic guitar players.

 

1.? Learn how to fingerpick your guitar and play with a pick. Each technique has its place in the music world.? Finger picking is used more for classical music, while a pick is used more for rock and metal.? Learning both will make you a better acoustic guitar player.

2.? Learn how to change your own strings. Dirt and oil from your fingers break down the strings so it?s very important to change them as they lose their sound.? Washing your hands before you play and cleaning your strings after you play will lengthen the time between changing your strings.

3.? Learn how to use a capo. A capo is a clamp you can apply to different frets of your guitar to change the pitch.

4.? Learn how to tune your acoustic guitar. Playing an out of tune acoustic guitar will be a waste of practice time.

5.? Build up calluses on your fingers. Playing the guitar, especially the acoustic guitar, will hurt your fingers at first, but after a while you?ll build up calluses and the pain will go away.? The more you practice, the quicker you?ll build up calluses.

6.? Stretch and warm up your fingers before you play. Warm ups are important for all instruments to make sure you don?t injure yourself during practice.? Loose stretched fingers will also make for better guitar playing.

7.? Learn the parts of your guitar. Being a good guitar player means knowing the ins and outs of your acoustic guitar.

8.? Don?t over do it. Practicing and playing too much can cause extreme discomfort in your hands and might take some time to recover.

9.? Go to live performances. You can learn a lot by watching professionals play the guitar.? Live performances can teach you new techniques to better your skills.

10. Find a good guitar instructor. While it is possible to learn using books and online tutorials, guitar instructors will be able to give you guided practice and recognize your strengths and weaknesses.? A guitar instructor is a must for beginners.

For more tips or to sign up with acoustic guitar lessons, call Lesson Match at 612-460-7653!

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Why Take Private Music Lessons with Band Instruments

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If your child is enrolled in band class at school, then you might think there is no reason to enroll them in private music lessons.

Students that take private music lessons on an instrument will improve faster than if they are only learning in the classroom.? It is difficult to get individualized attention and guidance in a classroom setting because there are many students.

If your child has a genuine interest in an instrument, or maybe their band teacher thinks they have special musical talent, then you should consider enrolling your child in private music lessons.

Better Ensembles
Typically, the more students enrolled in private music lessons, the better the ensemble sounds.? If a few students are taking private music lessons and excelling at their instrument, other parents might see that and enroll their children as well.? Band ensembles often compete in competitions and if the majority of the students are also taking private lessons the ensemble should do well.

Individualized Attention
If your child has an interest in learning an instrument, then school band classes may not be cutting it.? Students interested in learning an instrument will typically practice more outside of class and be genuinely interested in learning the instrument.? Some students in band classes may only be taking the class to socialize and therefore slow the progress of the entire group down.? Private music lessons will give your child the training they need.

Musical Talent
All children learn at different speeds, and it can be discouraging if children see their peers excelling at something that is taking them more time to learn.? Private music lessons can speed up a slower learner because a private instructor can address issues the student may be having with learning, or teach him/her better ways to practice.

Innate Ability
If your child has a serious interest in music and would like to pursue music as a career, then private lessons are a must.? Music schools and ensembles (even youth ensembles) are extremely competitive and children will have to take private music lessons to ensure they are getting the proper training.

Enroll in private music lessons today with Lesson Match!

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Always Ask a Piano Salesperson These Questions!

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A piano is a great instrument to invest in if you’re truly interested in learning it.

 

If you don?t know a whole lot about pianos or buying pianos, here are a few questions to ask the salesperson that will tell you a lot about the piano you?re buying.

 

How long since the piano was last tuned?
This is an important question to ask because problems can arise if a piano has gone too long without tuning.? If you purchase a piano that has not been tuned in over a year, be prepared to pay for repairs.

Has it had any serious issues or repairs?

Be sure to ask if the instrumebnt has had any previous problems, special tunings or serious repairs.? Always consider the piano?s ago when asking these questions.? A 40-year-old piano has probably had some work done and might play just fine.? A 10-year-old piano that has had serious repairs done is suspicious and something to watch out for.? If you purchase a beat-up piano, be prepared to pay for repairs and upkeep.

How long has the piano been in its current environment?
Pianos are sensitive to temperature and light; take note of where the it is currently being housed and find out where else it had been before.? A consistent, stable environment out of direct light and humidity is the best place for a piano.? Be cautious if it has ever been housed in a less than desirable climate.

How has the piano been cleaned and maintained?
Pianos are delicate instruments that need to be cleaned with care; otherwise they can suffer interior and exterior damage.? If your buying a used piano, ask how the piano has been cleaned in the past.? If any harsh chemicals have been used on the piano, it could have internal damage.

Who is responsible for moving?
Most piano retailers will help you make arrangements to move the piano.? If you?re buying from a private seller, you will most likely be responsible for moving the piano yourself.? If you have to move the piano yourself, it is important to hire professions to make sure your new piano is not damaged.

For more information about pianos and piano lessons, contact Lesson Match!

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Tips for a Healthy Singing Voice

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Keeping your voice healthy means keeping your body healthy.

 

Here are a few tips to keep your singing voice sounding its best.

 

Drink water.
Drink lots of water!? Keeping your body hydrated is the most important thing you can do for your voice.? Water helps your body create the lubrication that allows your vocal cords to function properly.? Try to drink at least the recommended amount of water each day, but drink more if you can.

Quit Smoking.
Smoking removes the necessary moisture that allows your vocal cords to function properly.? Smoking also reduces normal breathing capacity, so if you smoke, you may not be able to hold those notes as long.

Warm up.
Your vocal cords require a warm up before each time you sing.? Singing for long periods of time can cause permanent damage.? Always try to warm up for at least 10 minutes before each performance to stretch and relax your vocal cords.

Reduce dairy consumption.
Dairy products coat your throat and reduce your vocal range.? You don?t have to completely cut out dairy products, but avoid them right before a performance.

Limit alcohol and soda.
Do not be fooled by thinking since you?re drinking a soda you?re hydrating your body; alcohol and sodas dehydrate your body.? Dehydration is the worst thing for your voice.? Limit your alcohol and soda consumption, but if you do need a soda or a beer, try to balance it out by drinking an extra glass of water.? Just remember to always stay hydrated!

Exercise.
Exercise improves your core muscles and allows you to sing better.? Exercises like yoga will improve your posture and teach you breathing techniques.? Remember, a healthy body means a healthy singing voice.

Your voice is a delicate instrument, keep it healthy to ensure top performance.

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