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Singing Lesson Myth: Classically Trained Singers Can?t Sing Popular Music

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Myth: Classically trained singers are not able to sing popular music without sounding strained or fake. Similarly, a pop singer would not be able to sing classical music. Think about how differently the two genres sound. Can you imagine Ke$ha singing a piece from La Traviata or Cecilia Bartoli trying to sing Ke$ha?s Tik Tok? The two styles of music are so radically different that it seems impossible the two artists could cross over. Classically trained singers are trained to focus on the vowels in the song rather than consonants. With popular music, consonants are absolutely not the afterthought and are often emphasized. The consonants are what give popular music its unique rhythm and beat. So, does that mean that the two genres cannot cross over?

Fact: Anyone can sing any genre of music, but it?s going to take a lot of practice! Classically trained singers are taught one way and in order to sing pop music, they need to forget most of what they already know. Classical singers will need to drop all their training and rules and just go with the flow to sing pop music. That sounds much easier than it is. However, half of learning something new is identifying what makes them different, which I just did above.

Here are some tips to switch from classical music to popular.

-Listen to as much pop music as you can. Try to mimic the techniques and sound like the artist.
-Understand the different techniques pop music uses. Pop singers often suppress their vibrato in most cases unlike classical singers who are taught to usually hold notes with vibrato.
-Try to sing with the emotion of the song. If you?re trying to sing a song about someone tough or seeking revenge, make your voice sound angry.
-Listen to other styles of songs and try to mimic them. The more you can add to your range and repertoire, the easier it will be to learn new techniques.

More singing lesson myths:
Vocal Lesson Myth: Singing lessons are not for me because I?m interested in singing popular songs.
Singing Lesson Myth: Singing should hurt since it?s building the muscles.
Vocal Lesson Myth: I cannot sing in pitch and therefore am tone deaf.

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Breathe Easy: 10 Tips for Vocal Students

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For most singers, it?s easy to identify problems and know when something is wrong with your voice. Singers know what their voice sounds like and feels like on a regular basis, so when something doesn?t seem right, it?s usually easy to identify the problem. While you may be able to identify vocal problems, it?s easier to prevent them than fix them.

Here are some tips for keeping your voice and vocal cords healthy.

1. Posture. Posture is one of the most important things singers need to master! In order to breathe easy and get the most air through your lungs, your rib cage needs to be open.
2. Relax. Your body and throat should never feel tense or like you are trying to force sound out. The best sound comes from relaxed singers.
3. Practice. Practice makes perfect. That saying definitely applies to singers. The only way to excel is to practice. Try to aim for 30-60 minutes 5 times a week.
4. Warm up. Vocalists need to remember to always warm up before a performance and practice! If you forget this important part, you can cause serious damage to your voice.
5. Diet. Singers should be conscious of what they are eating and drinking at all times. Some foods and drinks should be avoided before a performance. Other things, like alcohol, should be avoided at all times.
6. Tilt. Tilt your head back slightly when singing. This can open your throat and vocal cords more allowing for a relaxed sound.
7. Hydrate! Make sure to always keep your vocal cords hydrated by drinking lots of water. Dry throats will produce cracked sound and damage vocal cords.
8. Don?t clear your throat! Clearing your throat too much can irritate your vocal cords and make them hoarse. If your throat feels plugged, try drinking a glass of water and resting your voice.
9. Rest. Make sure to get plenty of sleep each night! Especially make sure to spare your voice when you?re sick. You never want to overwork your voice.
10. No smoking. Inhaling smoke, even secondhand smoke, can seriously irritate your vocal cords.

More vocal tips for students:
Dos and Don?ts for a Healthy Voice
10 Foods and Drinks Not to Consume Before a Vocal Performance
10 More Vocal Tips

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Improve your overall well being and start singing!

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I?ve already covered the mental health benefits to singing and music lessons, but there are many more reasons to learn to sing!

Emotional benefits of singing lessons:

-Singing lessons increase self-esteem and confidence because singing is something you will be able to do better than your peers.
-Singing enhances your mood. Think about when you?re feeling blue and your favorite song comes on. You can?t help but smile and sing along.
-Singing reduces stress. When you?re singing, you can?t really think about other things because you need to focus on the music and lyrics. If you?re not thinking about the things that stress you out, then you can?t be stressed.
-Singing is energizing. Most people have a playlist for when they work out of fast paced, upbeat songs to keep them energized. If you?re one of those people, think about how much faster you run when one of your favorite workout songs comes on.
-Singing can be healing and evoke emotion. Similar to songs enhancing your mood, songs can also evoke sad feelings. Sometimes that?s a good thing and can be healing if you just need a good cry.

Social benefits of singing lessons:

-Singing enables you to meet new people. Local choirs, church choirs etc. have different people coming together to sing. This is a great outlet to meet new people with similar interests.
-Singing provides support. Choirs often act like support groups where everyone in the choir is supportive of others. The people you meet while singing can become a great place to turn to in times of need.
-Singing brings people together and creates a sense of community. Think about how you feel if you?ve ever watched a choir perform. Often the audience sings or claps along because they feel engaged by the performers.

More singing lesson articles:
Dos and Don?ts for a Healthy Voice
Music lessons = Better Communication Skills
Singing Promotes Youth

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Making the Most of Music Lessons

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Music lessons can be an expensive investment; you have to pay for the instrument and materials that go along with it, upkeep, lessons etc.? With the money you?re spending on lessons, it?s definitely a good idea to make sure you?re making the most of each lesson!

Here are some tips to make the most of music lessons.

1. Begin music lessons at the right age.? Adults can begin lessons at anytime because their success is based on their dedication.? For children, they need to be mentally and physically able to play an instrument.? Starting a three year old out with vocal lessons isn?t a great idea because they aren?t developed enough to get everything from the lessons.?
2. Take private in home music lessons.? With group lessons or lessons in a classroom setting, students do not get much one-on-one time.? If you?re trying to get the most you can out of each music lesson, private lessons are the way to go.
3. Make sure you have a qualified instructor.? If you want to learn to play the piano like a professional but you?re getting music lessons from someone only qualified to teach beginners, then you won?t progress past beginner level.? Not qualified instructors could also teach you bad habits, which would be hard to break later.? It?s best to learn from a qualified instructor from the beginning if you would like to progress quickly and efficiently.
4. Use practice time wisely.? Don?t sit and practice your instrument in front of the TV or try to cram in practice right before bed.? Set aside designated time each day to practice your instrument and always practice in the same place.? If you?re practicing at the same time in the same place, practice will become routine.
5. Have fun!? If you hate practicing or taking music lessons, then you?re not going to want to progress.? Try finding a different teacher that uses different techniques before giving up on lessons.? Sometimes a new teacher can make things fun again!

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10 Piano Practice Tips

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There are lots of ways to maximize your piano practice time. With all the other activities you or your children are involved in, finding time to efficiently practice can be difficult.

Here are some piano practice tips to make sure you are practicing efficiently and using your time to maximize results.

1. Create a practice area. Make sure your area is clear of distractions and is someplace comfortable where you can practice daily.
2. Get organized! Not only should your piano practice materials be in order, your piano practice schedule should be organized as well. If you?re having trouble figuring out what to practice, your piano instructor will be able to help you create a practice schedule.
3. Don?t become discouraged. Everyone struggles with piano lessons and piano practice at one point or another. The key to success is to not get discouraged and realize that even if you?ve hit a plateau, you will begin progressing again soon.
4. Dedicate time to piano practice. Set aside time each day when you know you can practice. If you don?t have time to practice or you aren?t focused on the instrument, then don?t practice. If you?re practicing in the wrong frame of mind, you can pick up bad habits and not progress at all.
5. Focus on one area of study at a time. If you?ve been trying to get through a Mozart piece for the past couple practice sessions, don?t move onto another composer before you?ve finished this piece. While it might be nice to take a break from a piece, going back and forth between composers and pieces will waste more time.
6. Always warm up! Take a few minutes before each piano practice session to warm up by playing a few scales.
7. Don?t make mistakes! Everyone will make mistakes when they?re starting out, but once you?ve been taking lessons for a while, mistakes happen because you?re being careless or going too fast. If you make a mistake, stop, start over and slow down.
8. Break it down. If you?re playing a piece but constantly getting stuck on one part, break the piece up. Don?t keep playing from the beginning and starting over if you?re constantly messing up in the same place. Take the section you?re having trouble with and practice that separately until you master it.
9. Keep a piano practice log. Not only of the time you practice, but also of what you practiced and what you had trouble with. You may think that you?ll remember how you overcame a difficult piece or a tip you just learned, but keeping a practice journal will ensure you remember everything you do.
10. Don?t only practice with the piano. Some things can be done without the distraction of the piano. If you are trying to work on ear training or analyzing a piece, step away from the piano and give the task your full attention. This will also help you learn to practice when you do not have access to a piano.

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Music Lesson Myth: I can?t learn to play the piano well because I only have a keyboard.

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Benefits of In Home Piano Lessons

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Besides wondering whether or not to sign their children up with piano lessons, parents have to decide whether to do in home piano lessons or lessons in a studio. As with anything else, there are pros and cons to taking in home piano lessons or studio lessons. With in home piano lessons, the benefits simply cannot be overlooked.

Here are some benefits of in home piano lessons.

Prepared. How many times have you gotten your children to school or practice and they have forgotten an integral part of their gear or homework? This happens to all parents and children periodically. If you show up to piano lessons and your child has forgotten his/her piano book, then lessons for the day will have to be review rather than something new. With in home piano lessons, there?s no way the student cannot be prepared! Everything needed for lessons will already be in your home.

Involved. With in home piano lessons, parents have the chance to get involved with their children?s lessons. At a studio you would most likely have to wait outside or observe from another room, but with in home piano lessons, you can sit in the same room. This will allow you to hear the progress you child is making and help them with homework the teacher assigns them.

Money. Time is money! So, if you?re spending 15 minutes driving to and from piano lessons and another 30-60 minutes waiting for the lesson to end, you?re spending a lot more on lessons than you would if the only time you lost was the time the instructor was at your house for in home piano lessons. While the upfront cost of in home piano lessons might be more expensive, if you add up driving time and gas spent driving to and from the lesson, odds are you?re spending more in the long run driving to a studio.

Familiar. When lessons are in a studio setting but practice takes place at home, there is never a chance to become familiar with a lesson on a piano. Different pianos could play a little differently or one piano bench might not be comfortable. When you?re having a lesson and practicing on the same piano, things seem familiar. Similarly, if you don?t play piano so you don?t know if your piano is out of tune, your child will be practicing songs and techniques with an out of tune piano and progress will be very slow.

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10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Practice Area

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It?s easy to become distracted, especially if you have a lot of other things on your mind. If you want to learn to play a musical instrument, you need to focus and practice. Learning an instrument doesn?t happen overnight. One thing that can help motivate you to practice is creating the perfect practice area.

Here are some tips for creating the perfect practice area.

1. Choose a place where you can practice every day. If your sibling watches TV shows every other day for a few hours, don?t practice in a room where there will always be other people.
2. Pick a place where you can have your lessons and practice. If you?re taking lessons in the same place you practice, things will become familiar and you?ll be more likely to remember your lessons when practicing.
3. Rid the area of distractions. Don?t choose the family room as your practice area because that?s a room that has a lot of traffic.
4. Choose a place you feel comfortable in. The living room will probably be much more comfortable than the kitchen.
5. Make sure the room you choose has adequate lighting. You don?t want to have to strain your eyes to see the music.
6. Don?t practice near the kitchen if you?re going to practice around dinnertime. You?re more likely to become distracted if you?re hungry and can smell dinner cooking.
7. Choose a quiet area. If there are lots of noises around you, you may easily become distracted without even knowing it.
8. Don?t pick a small area! You need to have enough room to create a nice sound and to move around if your instrument requires it. If you play the french horn and are trying to practice in the corner of the kitchen, you?re probably going to hate practicing and not want to do it anymore.
9. If your learning an instrument that?s stationary, like the piano, set up practice times every day and make sure your family knows they are not allowed to interrupt you during that time.
10. Make sure all the tools you need to practice are in your area. Keep your music stored in the area and have a glass of water near by. You want to make sure you have everything you may need handy so that you do not need to get up and leave the area.

More practice tips:
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10 Piano Tips for Beginners

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Learning to play piano is great endeavor.

It may be challenging and frustrating at times, but the benefits greatly out weight the difficulties! Most beginning piano students will be excited and nervous about beginning lessons because the piano is an intimidating instrument. With enough practice and piano lessons, anyone can learn to play piano!

Here are some tips for beginning piano players.

1. Set aside time to practice everyday. You don?t need to practice everyday, but it?s a good habit to get into. If you pick a time that you know you?ll have about 30 minutes free most days, try to practice at that same time everyday. Creating a routine is the best way to keep up with lessons.
2. Create a practice area. A practice area should be one free of distractions where you can let loose and practice uninterrupted.
3. Get rid of all distractions. When you are going to practice, don?t have the TV on in the background or your sibling watching you. Make sure your phone is off and distractions are at bay while you?re practicing. It?s easy to become distracted, especially for beginners, when practicing.
4. Ask your teacher to give you some homework or let you know what you should be practicing. Sometimes you might feel like you don?t know what to practice so you just wait until your next lesson. If you ask your teacher to write down some things for you to practice, you?ll be more apt to actually follow through.
5. Break down difficult pieces. Rather than looking at a piece of music and letting it scare you, break it down into smaller parts and work on it bit by bit.
6. Listen to a wide variety of music. Popular songs on the radio aren?t usually instrument centric. Try listening to different kinds of music, like jazz or classical to broaden your musical taste.
7. If you don?t understand something your teacher has taught you or if you have questions, don?t be afraid to ask! There are no stupid questions. Piano teachers are there to help you and want to see you succeed.
8. Use a metronome. Keeping proper count and rhythm is crucial to learning to play the piano.
9. Don?t get discouraged! Learning to play an instrument will not happen over night. At times, you will probably hit a plateau. Just remember that even the great piano players were beginners like you at some point.
10. Play for your family and friends. Family and friends are great at giving compliments and telling you how great you?re doing. To avoid becoming discouraged, play a small recital for your family members. You may be surprised by how well you play.

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Music Lesson Myth: I?m not musical and incapable of learning an instrument.

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Myth: I?ve taken lessons before and am just not musical; therefore, I cannot learn any instrument.? This is a common but damaging myth.? Many people assume that since they were forced to play the piano as a child, or hated playing the flute in elementary school, that they just aren?t musical.

Fact: By nature, humans are musical.? If you can sing along in the car or tap your foot to the sound of a drum, guess what?? You can learn a musical instrument.? Learning to play an instrument is difficult for most people.? There are a number of reasons as to why previous lessons didn?t work out.? Maybe your teacher did not understand your learning style or maybe your parents didn?t encourage you to practice enough.? Sometimes young children do not have the maturity level or dedication to learn an instrument without constant encouragement, especially if they aren?t interested in learning the instrument in the first place.

If you?re worried you might not be musical, take a second and think about an instrument that you would actually like to play.? If you hated the piano, maybe you?ll love the guitar.? If you love jazz music, maybe you?ll enjoy the saxophone or the piano.? There are many instruments out there so everyone can find something they are interested in.? Don?t give up on lessons just because things aren?t working out with a specific instrument or instructor.? Both can be switched and you should not let one bad experience ruin music lessons for you!

Everyone is musical!

Sign up for your free lesson today and find out just how musical you are!

More Music Myths:
Music Lesson Myth: I can?t learn to play the piano well because I only have a keyboard.
Music Lesson Myth: Children should learn to play the piano before any other instrument.
Music Lesson Myth: Children should not begin music study until they can read.

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More Tips for Starting Your Own Band

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Start a band.

Sounds easy enough, right? Find musicians, pick a cool name and start jamming together.

Starting your own band might sound easy, and to some extent it is, but there are some obstacles to overcome before your first gig.

1. Find people to join your band that you work well with and make decisions together. Band always have a front man, but all decisions should be a consensus. If half the band wants to do one thing and the other half wants to do something else, work together to find a solution. If some band members are constantly losing battles and being walked over, eventually they?ll leave, and probably not at a convenient time.

2. Have clear goals! Make sure all band members are there for the same reason. If some members only want to play and have fun and others want to work hard and play gigs, there is going to be some nasty disagreements. Things might work with your band at first if you?re trying to prove playing gigs and making records is worth it, but eventually things can go bad and you?ll be back to square one.

3. Deal with problems right away instead of hoping they?ll fizzle out. If one of your band mates is a stage hog or refuses to practice the basics even though they should, these issues should be handled right away. Bands are a team effort and if one person feels like it?s their band, there will be more problems and power struggles later on.

4. Remember that things take time! Just because you read an article about a band that became famous over night does not mean that will be your band. Keep practicing and working towards your goals and don?t give up! Many famous bands had doors slammed in their faces early on, but they were persistent and determined and it paid off.

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