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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Music Lesson Myth: Children should not begin music study until they can read.

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Myth: Children should not begin music study until they can read. This myth came about because sometimes children have trouble focusing and it?s thought that by ?reading age,? which is about 6 years old, children are able to maintain their attention and learn.? Music study also requires children to sight read and it’s believed that children who cannot read, cannot learn to sight read.

Fact: During the first year of a child?s life is when rapid brain development takes place. Music study at a young age can enhance children?s brain development and growth. Young children take in everything they hear and love to mimic others. Music requires a good, well trained ear, so the earlier you expose children to music, the more success they will likely have with music later in life.

There are music lessons for young children that focus on moving to beats, counting, clapping rhythm etc. These are group classes so children are having fun with their peers and learning at the same time. This is a form of music study and is extremely beneficial once the children are mentally capable of taking private lessons.

Children are never too young to be introduced to the world of music!

Lesson Match offers a wide variety of music lessons aimed towards younger children, some of our instructors even specialize in group lessons for children. If you think your children are capable of private lessons at a young age, contact Lesson Match for their free lesson!

More Music Myths:
Piano Lesson Myth: I Have to Practice Everyday.
Music Lesson Myth: Children learn an instrument faster than adults.
Vocal Lesson Myth: I cannot sing in pitch and therefore am tone deaf.

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Voice Lessons: How Young is too Young?

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With the success of voice talent scouting TV shows, like American Idol, children dream of becoming a famous singer before they?ve even began grade school. Parents may think a great way to improve their children?s chances is to enroll them in vocal lessons, the earlier the better. This however, is not the case. Vocal lessons should not begin until the vocal chords are fully developed, usually around puberty, to reduce the likelihood of permanent damage to the voice.

Here are some guidelines to know what age children are ready to begin voice lessons.

3-6: Vocal lessons for young children are definitely not a safe idea. However, children under 6 years of age can take other types of music lessons to immerse them in the world of music and prepare them for lessons later on in life. These music lessons will work on rhythm, recognizing pitch, counting etc.

6-8: As soon as children begin grade school, they are given opportunities to join choir and theater productions. For many schools, choir is mandatory. This is a great way to immerse children in singing lessons because choir teachers often begin with the basics and easy songs. Choirs teach children to blend and sing in harmony with others, skills that are important for adult choirs and a cappella groups.

8-10: This is the youngest age that Lesson Match recommends students begin vocal lessons. By pre-teen ages, many children have gone through or are beginning puberty and can start learning basic breathing techniques and ear training. Be wary of allowing children to work on expanding their vocal range, this can be extremely dangerous to the voice and cause permanent damage.

12-14: Many studios or vocal teachers will not even consider taking on students that are younger than 12 years old. This age is when children are often physically developed and capable of controlling their air supply to avoid straining the voice.

There are always exceptions to the rule. Many vocal instructors will accept children younger than normal if they feel the student has prodigal talent. Always keep in mind that if children strain their voices too much at a young age, there can be permanent damage that ruins their singing career before it even begins.

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Vocal Lesson Myth: I cannot sing in pitch and therefore am tone deaf.

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Myth: I cannot sing in pitch and therefore am tone deaf and will never be able to sing. Tone deafness is the inability to hear and reproduce relative pitch that is not due to lack of musical training. Tone deafness has nothing to do with actually being deaf, that means just because someone may not be able to hear how bad they are singing, they can hear you talk about how bad they are.

Fact: In reality, less than 5% of the population is tone deaf. While the ability to hear and produce relative pitch is inherent in humans, some people do need classic training in order to distinguish pitch. Someone who is unable to reproduce pitches because of lack of musical training would not be considered tone deaf. Vocal lessons can help people who are having trouble producing pitch or identifying notes sing beautifully and in-tune. Tone deafness can also be associated with other music-specific impairments, such as a lack of rhythm or inability to recognize songs. Though those impairments can appear separately, some suggest that they are more likely to appear in tone deaf people.

If you think you might be tone deaf, don?t write off singing just yet!

Contact Lesson Match to schedule your free vocal lesson and let a professional help you!

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Healing Music

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Music can be an integral part of mental healing. Most people have songs they listen to when they need a good cry, or songs that really pump them up for a night out. Music has a way of affecting our emotions like nothing else can. Music is universal in the sense that you don?t need to understand the lyrics, but the music tells the story.

Here are some ways that music can help with mental healing.

Energy Boost!
Think about it, it?s a Sunday and you have a million things to do but no energy to do them. You play some music that always motivates you and suddenly you have enough energy to anything you set your mind to. Upbeat energizing songs have the ability to motivate us to do things. Listening to certain music can clear our minds and allow us to compartmentalize our tasks in manageable ways.

Relaxation.
Whether you?re aware of it or not, relaxing music can slow down your heartbeat allowing stress and anxiety to leave your body. Our bodies have a way of mimicking the music we are listening to. Therefore, slower beats will slow down our bodies and faster, more upbeat music will energize us.

Familiar Music.
Everyone has songs that remind them of specific events or people. It could be your wedding song, the song that was playing when met a good friend etc. When you hear these songs again, you are immediately transported back to that time with those feelings. Familiar music can bring us back to a time when we were really happy or a time when we had no stress.

If you?re going to use music as a way of healing, then it?s important to understand what type of healing you need. First figure out if you?re stressed out and need to relax or if you?re irritable and maybe need an upbeat song to bring you out of a funk. Healing music can be very effective in tricking our bodies to be calm or happy.

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10 Music Performance Tips

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A music performance can be very nerve-wracking.

Here are some tips to make sure you have a great performance.

1. When you first walk out on stage for a performance, introduce yourself and make eye contact with some friendly faces in the crowd. Always smile and convey confidence, even if your nerves are getting the best of you.
2. Exude confidence! Even some of the best performers have terrible stage freight, but their love of music helps them overcome these fears. You?re the one with the talent who has the courage to be on stage, so show it. Remember that you can still have a great performance even if everything wasn?t perfect.
3. A music performer is similar to a public speaker, in that they have to engage the audience in the first 10 seconds. If the crowd isn?t hooked right away, it sets the tone for the rest of the performance.
4. Make sure your first piece is one that you truly enjoy. Again, this is the time to ?hook? your audience. You will perform a piece better if you actually like it. Your audience will be able to tell if this song is one you love performing or one that you are forced to play.
5. Play or sing your piece as if it?s a journey. Introduce the piece if it required introduction and begin with great energy and enthusiasm. During the climax, use the highest amount of expression and emotion. End the performance as you would end a journey-with resolution.
6. Visualize yourself as an entertainer rather than just a performer. Entertainers engage the audience and try to see their performance through the eyes of the audience. This will greatly improve your performance because you?ll be focusing on the needs of the audience.
7. Be unique. Even if you?re doing a cover rather than playing your own songs, do something different. No one else can play or sing exactly how you do, so don?t try to mimic the original artist. Take everything you play and make it your own.
8. Perform your piece as you would like it to be performed. The audience doesn?t expect a perfect performance, but they did come to be entertained. Use full energy and keep the audience engaged, otherwise your audience numbers will dwindle as you continue to perform.
9. Remember the lyrics! This seems like a no-brainer, but it?s very embarrassing for a performer to sing the wrong lyrics, or sing them in the wrong order.
10. Chat up the audience in between songs. If you aren?t able to engage the audience during your songs, you might be able to grab them in between. This is a great way to build a relationship with the crowd during a performance.

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Recording Music Lessons

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You?ve probably had this happen before during practice sessions or music lessons. You?re playing/singing a piece of music and it sounds great, but luckily you decided to record it to critique it later. Once you listen to it, you realize that it really doesn?t sound as great as you though. This is a common occurrence because of perception and typically people are too busy trying to play/sing the piece and can?t focus on listening to what they are performing.

As teachers, you know how your students sound during music lessons, but is that what the students are hearing?

Recording music lessons is a great way to be sure the students are on the same page as the teachers. You don?t have to let the student know they are being recorded, but once they are having success with a piece, or you think there is a technique they should be working on, record the session and play it back at the end. For some students, this can be discouraging since in their minds they could think they sound amazing. Recording music lessons an be a great way to point out smaller flaws in the sound that the student cannot hear while they are playing, or point out a part that they are excelling at.

Recording music lessons can also be a great way to show the students how far they?ve come. Students often get discouraged and feel like they?re not making any progress. If you?ve recorded one of their earlier lessons, you can play it when they feel like they?ve hit a wall. Record the student playing a current piece of music and then play it right after listening to the older lesson.

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Music Lesson Myth: Children learn an instrument faster than adults.

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Myth: It?s easier for children to learn an instrument than adults. Children tend to pick new things up faster than adults, but that is due to the fact that they have all the time in the world to practice, they don?t have stress or other commitments in their lives that would keep them from sticking with something. Most children have their parents? there to keep them motivated and make them practice an instrument. When learning a new instrument, there is a constant overload of information that might be difficult for adults to compartmentalize when adults are paying bills, working, running a household etc. Adults are more likely to become frustrated with an instrument since they have heard the piece or the instrument and know how it is supposed to sound and could become discouraged or stressed if they do not feel they are making quick progress.

Fact: Children and adults of all ages have the same chance of learning an instrument within a certain amount of time. The biggest key to learning a new instrument is motivation. Given serious motivation, adults actually have a better chance of learning an instrument because they can comprehend things quicker since children typically lack the desire to learn an instrument. All the obstacles listed above (frustration, exhaustion, other commitments) can affect your progress, but if you are motivated, then there is no reason you cannot learn an instrument just as quickly as a child.

Private in-home music lessons are a great way to make sure you are keeping up with practicing your instrument.

For more information about music lessons with Lesson Match, contact us today!

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Diet for Vocal Health

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Most singers know to avoid smoke and keep their vocal chords hydrated and in good vocal health, but not everyone knows that the foods you eat can have just as much effect on the sound of your voice as a cold would. In order to maintain vocal health, it?s important to maintain a healthy diet.

Here are some foods to avoid for a vocal health.

1. Foods with high fat content (fast food, chocolate desserts etc.). Foods with high fat content can trigger the acid in your stomach to over-produce to digest these foods. This can cause heartburn and swollen vocal chords making it difficult and unpleasant to sing correctly.

2. Alcohol and caffeine. These are ones you?ve probably heard of, but maybe don?t know why to avoid them. Alcohol and caffeine have similar effects on the body and dehydrate you. Both increase acid production in your stomach, which can cause acid reflux and is damaging for vocal health.

3. Salty and spicy foods (Mexican and Chinese foods). These aren?t ones to cut out of your diet completely, but definitely before a performance and practice session and definitely only eat in moderation. Both these foods can cause dehydration and swollen vocal chords. Your body needs to use more water to metabolize salty and spicy foods, so when eating these foods it?s important to have a glass of water nearby.

4. Dairy before a performance. Growing up singing in choirs, this was always my favorite thing to tell my parents I had to avoid since I hated milk. Dairy products are essential to body and vocal health and should not be cut out of a diet completely, but performers should definitely steer clear of them before a performance or practice session. Dairy products cause excess mucus production and make it difficult to get a crisp clear sound when singing.

The most important thing to remember about vocal health is keeping a well-balanced, healthy diet.

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Singing Promotes Youth

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People love singing! Whether it?s in the shower, along with the radio in the car or belting out a silly karaoke tune, generally, people love to sing. There are many reasons why people sing; favorite song comes on the radio, sad and just want to belt out a song of angst etc., but I bet there?s one reason you never thought to sing before: to stay young!

Here are some reasons why singing might keep your body young and in good health.

1. Singing makes you happy. As mentioned above, singing can be quite a stress reliever and can be a very emotional experience. Singing causes your brain to produce endorphins (the same ones produced during a workout or when you eat chocolate). These endorphins make you experience a feeling of happiness and well-being.

2. Singing is a good work out! A vigorous session of classical singing can equate to a Pilates class or core fitness training. The muscles used to project the voice are the same core muscles worked during a fitness class. Combined with a healthy singing voice diet, vocal training can be a weight loss program in itself.

3. Singing trains your breathing and makes your lung healthier. The effort required to hold long notes and produce great sound expands your lung capacity. Good breathing techniques can allow you to breathe and sleep better. A good night?s sleep definitely makes you look and feel younger.

4. Singing makes you look younger. Think about all the muscles you move in your face while your singing, all these movements are gently exercising your facial muscles?this can help reduce the onset of wrinkles.

Overall singing creates a sense of well-being and improved mental state. So whether you believe singing keeps wrinkles at bay, you probably can?t deny how great you feel after a vocal session.

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