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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Piano Lesson Myth: I Have to Practice Everyday.

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As with anything, there are plenty of myths that go along with piano lessons.

These may have started out as accepted truths in the olden days, but now we know better. Many piano students will hear these myths throughout their lives, but one might wonder if there is any truth to these myths.

Myth: You should practice the piano every day.

This is a very common myth because it seems to make sense; the more you practice, the better you will play. This is true, in a sense, because you cannot progress without practicing, however, those days of rest without practice are necessary. Similar to lifting weights, you should alternate working different parts of your body because your muscles need time to heal. With playing the piano, your brain needs time to absorb what it just learned.

Another reason not to aim to practice everyday is because some days you simply will not be able to practice. Whether you?re out of town, not feeling well or something came up, there are times when practicing the piano will not be a top priority. If you?re set on practicing seven days a week, then you might stress out about this one day of missed practice and try to ?make it up? the next day. This can lead to over exerting or rushing to practice and making errors. Learning to play the piano should be something you enjoy and look forward to. Trying to practice every day makes this a chore and will eventually be something you dislike doing. Learning to play the piano is a fun hobby and is shown to be beneficial later in life, so keep things fun!

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

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Common Mistakes Guitar Students Make When Practicing

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Learning to play the guitar can be difficult, especially if you aren?t practicing correctly. Different teachers will usually swear by different techniques, which are fine if that?s how they teach best, but practice techniques are pretty universal.

Here are some common mistakes beginning guitar students make.

Playing out of tune. The first thing you should learn to do as a guitarist is learn to learn your guitar! If you start out learning your guitar when it is not in tune, then you will become accustomed to that sound and will not even know that you are practicing incorrectly. Your guitar should always be in tune so your ear can learn what every note and chord sounds like.

Overwhelming yourself. When you?ve just learned a bunch of new techniques, you might feel the need to practice them all at once. This is especially true with new students who want to learn everything all at once. Trying to learn everything right away can cause frustration with your instrument and lead to giving up. Take things slow and pick a few new things to practice during each session, then add in a few things you already know to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Losing patience. This goes with the mistake above if you?re trying to learn everything all at once. Some new students will be so eager to master this new instrument that they forget it takes time to learn something new. All students need to have patience with their instrument; it?s normal to feel like you?re not progressing or hitting a plateau, but eventually you will progress if you keep practicing.

Playing beyond your ability. It?s easy for students to progress quickly and think they are ready to take on more difficult pieces. Some weeks beginning guitar students will progress faster than others, but this does not mean you can skip all the basics. Learning the basics and mastering techniques is essential to become a great guitar player.

A great way to make sure you’re practicing correctly is to take lessons and learn from an experienced guitarist how to practice.

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How to Keep Kids Interested in Music Lessons

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Children are notorious for getting excited about a new hobby and then becoming bored with it after a short amount of time.? What happens when you just shelled out serious money for a new instrument and music lessons for your child because they ?had? to learn to play an instrument?? After a while of forcing your child to practice, it may seem easy to let them quit.? Studies have shown that music lessons benefit children their whole lives and sticking with music lessons can teach them valuable lessons about commitment.

Here are a few ways to make music lessons fun for kids.

Music Outings.? Children might not understand that their music lessons can be something they keep the rest of their lives.? Go on field trips to local (kid-friendly) music scenes like orchestras, family oriented concerts or even musicals to show them their musical talent means something.

Switch Instructors.? If your child shows a sincere interest in music, but after beginning lessons suddenly loses interest, it might be a good idea to find another instructor.? Children learn at different paces and some kids might need a more outgoing instructor that specializes in working with younger children than someone who is more accustomed to working with adults.? Before letting your children quit music lessons, try switching instructors and see if that renews their interest.

Praise their success.? Kids love nothing more that their parents and peers recognizing something they excel at.? Reward or praise your child every time they learn a new technique or play through a new piece of music.? Eventually they will feel the accomplishment of learning new things and will not need to be praised daily.

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How Often Should You Tune Your Piano?

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In order for your piano to sound its best and play notes accurately, it must be tuned every once and a while.? What is piano tuning?? Piano tuning involves making small corrections to the tensions of the strings of a piano to properly align the intervals between their pitches so that the instrument is in tune.

How do you know when it?s time to tune your piano?

A good rule of thumb when it comes to piano tuning is to tune it twice a year.? Temperature and humidity levels change when you turn on your heat for the winter and off for the spring so those are good times to tune your piano.? However, some pianos may require more or less tuning.

Here are some good indicators that it is time to tune your piano.

1. Older and brand-new pianos might need to be tuned more often.? Older pianos need to be tuned simply because, as with anything, the instrument will sustain wear and tear with age.? This causes the piano to lose its crisp sound faster than newer pianos.? Similarly, brand-new pianos will need to be tuned several times during the first year because of the instrument?s new strings.? New strings will stretch and settle during the first year.
2. Pianos should be kept in a stable environment where the temperature and humidity does not vary greatly.? If you?re piano is not in a stable environment, it may need to be tuned more often to compensate for extreme temperature changes.
3. The more often you tune your piano, the less often you will need to tune it in the future.? Tuning a piano manipulates the strings and the instrument so the more you tune your piano, the better it will hold its sound.
4. Keep in mind that just because you?re not playing your instrument does not mean you can go years without tuning it.? A piano that sits without being played or turned for a significant amount of time will be that much harder to tune in the future.

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Finding the Perfect Private Music Teacher

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Finding the perfect private music teacher is crucial to a student?s success with that instrument.? For new students, sometimes learning an instrument can be frustrating.? Music teachers need to be able to keep students on track and motivate them, even when the student is frustrated.

Here are some traits to look for in a private music teacher.

1. Consistency.? Weekly lessons during the same time slot helps the student create a routine.? If the teacher is constantly changing the lesson time, the student can easily forget lessons and techniques.? Don?t worry if every once and a while you need to reschedule a lesson, but for the most part lessons should be consistent.
2. Communication.? All good teachers will communicate the student?s progress with the parents.? If there is a technique the student should be focusing more on during practice time, the parents should be aware of this.
3. Standards.? Private music teachers should always be challenging their students.? If the student is not being challenged or is being taught below their skill level, they will lose focus, plateau and eventually develop a bad taste for music.? It may seem like the teacher is being difficult on the student, but challenge is necessary for progress.
4. Student?s Needs.? Most students have an idea of what they would like to get out of music lessons when they enroll.? A good private music teacher will work with the student to make sure his/her needs and wants are being addressed.? If students are not having fun, they will get bored and want to quit lessons.
5. Relationship.? Students should be able to build a bond with their music teacher.? If after a couple months of lessons your student still feels like his/her private music teacher is a stranger, then something is not right.? It?s natural for relationships to form from learning an activity and spending time together.? Students should look forward to seeing their instructor and having lessons each week.

To schedule music lessons with the perfect private music teacher, contact Lesson Match!

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10 Tips to be an Environmentally Friendly Musician

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More and more artists are raising awareness about the importance in being environmentally friendly.

There are many ways for musicians to become environmentally friendly and below are some tips.

1. If you tour often, odds are you go through lots of water bottles!? Instead of buying new water bottles each time, reuse the ones you have.? Better yet, buy a refillable water bottle (ex: Nalgene).

2. Turn off lights and other electronics!? When you?re not using an amp, light or other electronic, turn it off.

3. Use digital sheet music or download music to a laptop or ipad.? Then you don?t waste paper by printing out each new song you would like to play.

4. Write songs about the environment to raise awareness about the benefits of being a ?green? musician.

5. Buy music online instead of driving to the store to purchase a packaged CD.

6. Get involved in the communities you?re touring by donating part of your profits to groups you support in the area.

7. Use rechargeable batteries for equipment and even tour bus amenities!

8. Recycle your own garbage, but also let your fans know the importance of recycling.? When you?re on stage, make sure to point out recycling bins and let your fans know you care about the environment.

9. Encourage your fans to carpool to your shows.? One way to do this could be to reduce ticket prices to all fans that come to your show in larger groups.

10. Make sure your whole band is embracing being environmentally friendly.? Just one person can make a difference, but you can encourage band members and friends to join you in your efforts.

For more information about becoming an environmentally friendly musician, contact Lesson Match!

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Keep Kids Interested in Music Lessons During the Summer

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Summer is a time when kids play and have no worries! For some kids, practicing their instruments is a no-brainer, but for others, the last thing on their mind is doing something they equate with school and homework. Parents can help keep their kids interested in music lessons to make sure their skills do not decline and they get behind in the fall.

Check out these tips for parents to keep kids interested in music lessons during their summer vacation.

1. It?s easy for kids to say they will practice another day, but if they take the whole summer off from music lessons, they will see their skills decline. Instead of allowing your kids to ?practice tomorrow,? set weekly goals for them to make sure they keep up with practice.

2. Take music inspired field trips! Field trips do not only have to be school year activities. Summer music festivals take place all around the U.S. and many are family oriented. Take the day off work or find a friend (nanny, babysitter) to take your kids to a music festival. Kids are easily inspired and could find a renewed interest in their instrument if they see a musician rocking out.

3. Give incentives to practice. Kids love games and prizes! Create a chart and set ?point values? to hours practiced. These points will become the money to buy tickets to water parks, movies or other activities children might want to take. Let them know when each event will take place and tell them how many points they will need to earn the trip. It?s helpful to break it down to a set number of hours practiced per week.

4. Enroll kids in in-home music lessons. During the summer months, most kids do not have music lessons. Signing them up for weekly lessons will keep them on track so they are learning new things and not just getting bored with the same things they learned during the school year.

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Songs that Celebrate Patriotism on the 4th of July!

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Songs to kick start any patriotic party!

For Americans, the 4th of July is a time to set aside political, religious and social differences to celebrate the birth of our nation.? Most people will participate in some type of patriotic 4th of July activity-barbeques with the family, boating on the lake, watching fireworks etc.? These get-togethers are a great time to listen to patriotic music that celebrates our nation.

Here are some songs to bring about a patriotic spirit.

1. Star Spangled Banner- A staple at all major sporting events, this song (originally a poem by Francis Scott Key) is the United States? national anthem.? Looking for a more modern version of the anthem?? Check out versions by R&B and country singers.

2. America the Beautiful- Also originally a poem, written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1895, this song is one of the most beloved national tunes.? Popular artist renditions include, Ray Charles and Elvis Presley.

3. Living in the Promiseland- written by David Lynn Jones and performed by Willie Nelson.? This song spent 20 weeks on the country charts in 1986.

4.?You?re a Grand Old Flag- written by George M. Cohan in 1906 for his musical George Washington, Jr.? This song has an upbeat tempo and is one we?re all familiar with having performed it in elementary school choirs.

5. Yankee Doodle- dating back to the 1770s, this is a song that does not be accompaniment.? Start singing this tune and others will join in!

Let us know what you?re favorite patriotic songs are!

For more information about how you can learn to play and sing these patriotic songs, contact Lesson Match today!

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Summer Instrument Care

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Most musicians know the basics of caring for their instrument.? However, summer months especially can be unkind to instruments if they are not cared for properly.? The heat and humidity can be extremely damaging to them.? To make sure your instrument plays the best and lasts a long time, make sure you are taking proper care of it.

Below are some tips to care for your instrument in the summer.

Pegs.? Pegs need to be changed with the seasons.? During the summer, pegs expand from the heat and humidity and could start to stick or become difficult to turn.

Transportation.? Never leave your instrument in your car or trunk for extended periods of time during the summer!? The heat and humidity can bubble the varnish or dry out the glue joints.? Always plan ahead if you need to go someplace right after a gig or lessons.? See if you can leave your instrument with a friend or bring it inside with you.

Storage.? When storing your instrument at home during the summer, be wary of its placement.? Never store your instrument near radiators, humidifiers or vents.? All of these things change the environment and can be harmful to your instrument.? Try to keep your instrument in a cool place away from constantly changing temperatures.

Cleaning.? Cleaning your instrument after each use is a must during any month!? Summer months can be especially damaging to your instruments, especially if you?re playing or practicing outdoors.? Always remember to wipe down your instrument after each use!

Be Prepared.? It’s always nice to sit outside and practice your instrument during the summer!? It’s okay to go to the park and play your instrument, but be prepared to maintain your instrument in the heat.? Bring along a cloth to wipe down your instrument and your instrument case to store it when you’re not playing it.

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