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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 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.

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Music Lesson Myth: Band instruments are gender specified.

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Myth: Band instruments are gender specified-girls should play woodwind instruments and boys should play brass and percussion. If you look at a school band ensemble, typically the girl will be playing the flutes and clarinets and the boys will be playing the drums and brass instruments. Seems legit right? If you look at a school band, most of the flute players are girls and very rarely will a female be playing the drums or tuba. So it would seem that girls should play woodwind instruments and boys should play brass instruments and percussion instruments.

Fact: Instruments are not gender specified, but instead, gender stereotyped. Boys can definitely play the flute and in fact, some of the best flute players in the world are men. The myth came about because the flute and other woodwind instruments are smaller and create a lighter, higher pitched sound; all things that are thought to be more appealing to females. While on the other hand, brass instruments are larger and create bigger sounds, things that males are thought to be more interested in.

In reality, both males and females can play any instrument. All instruments require practice and some children might be more talented at one instrument than another. If a girl has had piano lessons, she will most likely excel at playing the drums over a boy that has never taken piano lessons. Don?t limit yourself or your children to certain instruments simply because of gender stereotypes in music.

More music lesson myths:
Music Myth: Listening to classical music makes you smarter.
Music Lesson Myth: I?m not musical and incapable of learning an instrument.
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Music Lesson Myth: Listening to classical music makes you smarter.

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Myth: Listening to classical music automatically makes you smarter. Parents always want the best for their children and try to follow rules and myths they?ve heard about making their children smarter. Listening to classical music will make you feel more cultured, like you?re on the same level as great composers like Mozart and Bach. Even movie companies are selling intelligence by stating that watching their movies (that involve lots of colors and classical music) will enhance children?s cognitive development.

Fact: Only listening to classical music will not automatically make children smarter. This myth was born because studies show that students who listen to classical music before a standardized test will score better than their peers who do not listen to classical music. That isn?t because they are getting smarter from the classical music, but rather increased performance on certain special-temporal tasks. Classical music is also shown to slow heart rates and reduce stress levels, so if students are nervous about an exam, classical music could calm them down so they perform better on the exam.

While just listening to classical music will not make you smarter, taking music lessons will. Students who have taken some type of music lessons (even short term lessons) perform better on standardized tests, have better listening and communication skills and have the capacity to learn new languages with ease. However, students do not need to be classically trained or playing classical music to get these benefits; any type of music training will make you smarter.

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10 tips for cleaning your drum set

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Just like other instruments, drum sets need to be cleaned regularly to maintain the best sound. Unlike other instruments, drum sets have many parts that need to be cleaned different ways.

Here are some tips for cleaning your drum set.

1. Compressed air. Use a can of compressed air to get dust out of those hard to reach places that your drum set is filled with!
2. Goo Gone. Use Goo Gone to get the tape residue off your cymbals or drum stand!
3. Use Gaffers Tape. This is definitely more expensive than duct tape, but it doesn?t leave the residue that other tapes leave. If you don?t want to waste time and money trying to get tape residue off your drum set, invest in Gaffers Tape.
4. Don?t clean your cymbals. At least think about it before you do! Some musicians swear by their dirty old cymbals. They think it gives the cymbals a warm sound and adds character giving their music a unique sound.
5. Furniture polish. This is probably the quickest way to clean your drum set. The antistatic properties help keep dust from sticking and finger prints wipe off easily with a cloth.
6. Damp cloth. Don?t use a sopping wet cloth! Rather, wet a cloth and wring it out, then wipe down your drums. Don?t use a wet cloth on the metal stands unless it is almost dry.
7. Dry cloth. If you?re drum set is already set up for a show and you don?t want to disturb it, but you still want to clean off your drum set, use a dry cloth. Instead of wiping your drum set, stand back and whip the drum with the dry cloth. This will create a breeze to blow away the dust and force dust out from hard to reach places.
8. Remove the drum heads. Rather than trying to clean around them. This does not need to be done every time, but for a thorough cleaning, the drum heads should be removed to clean inside the shell.
9. Keep the stands free of moisture. The metal parts of your drum and stands should always stay dry and free of moisture to prevent rust. Wipe down all metal parts after practice and performances.
10. Don?t use abrasive cleaners! Abrasive cleaners can damage your drums. You may think you?re getting a better clean, but this damage is permanent and your drums will not last as long.

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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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When to Buy a Used Musical Instrument

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Parents of musical students know that buying a new musical instrument is quite an investment.

Pianos can cost upwards of $10,000, guitarists will easily spend $500 on the guitar alone (not to mention equipment and upkeep). So when should you buy a used instrument rather than a brand new one?

It may be tough to know when to buy the used trombone instead of buying the used one from your neighbor. Children often get very excited about a new hobby and are convinced they will stick with it forever and become a famous orchestra member. It becomes difficult as well when required school band classes force parents to go out and buy the instrument their child is assigned to play. When I was in school, I desperately wanted to play the saxophone (like my mom played), but instead I was assigned the flute. My parents knew I did not want to play this instrument, but I had no choice. This is a common occurrence in schools where some instruments are more sought after than other. So what is a parent to do when their child has to learn an instrument that they are not particularly interested in? This is definitely a good time to buy a used instrument. If you know your child will only play this instrument for a year and then switch, it?s probably not the wisest to purchase a brand new instrument.

Some parents might argue that giving a sub-par instrument to a child to learn is setting them up for failure. Parents typically have a good idea about whether or not their child can/will stick with an instrument. A good way to test out the water is to rent an instrument. You can typically rent instruments from local stores (or possibly even your child?s school) to see if your child warms to the instrument. If they still hate their instrument, don?t purchase it?find a used instrument to get them through the year and then once they decide what instrument is their true passion, then you can shell out the big bucks for that instrument.

The best way to ensure that your children succeed with any instrument is to sign them up with private lessons! Children who are progressing at learning an instrument will be more apt to continue with that instrument.

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Music Lesson Myth: Children should learn to play the piano before any other instrument.

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Myth: The first instrument a child should learn to play is the piano. This is a common myth that seems to make sense because when children are young, it may be easiest for them to play the piano. It?s simple; you just sit down and play. When learning other instruments, such as the guitar or trumpet at a young age, it can be difficult for students to press down the guitar strings hard enough or produce enough sound with the trumpet.

Fact: While the piano may seem like the easiest instrument to learn, children do not need to know how to play the piano before they can play another instrument. School band class typically begins around 5th grade and many students entering band have never picked up an instrument. It?s true that many band teachers will require drum students to have basic piano skills, but that?s the only instrument. In fact, the piano is not an instrument that band students can take so if your child has never had piano lessons before, they will have to begin playing a different band instrument.

For young children, the piano is not the only instrument they are capable of learning. Many young children begin music lessons by playing the violin, thanks to the Suzuki method created by Japanese violinist Shin’ichi Suzuki. The Suzuki method does not require children to learn to read music, they listen and play what they hear. This method works well for young children around the age of three because often they cannot read yet. While this method can be taught on any instrument, for young children, the violin is the easiest for them to play besides the piano.

Children can learn any instrument at a any age; not just the piano!

Listen to your children and see what instrument they would like to play or what you think they are capable of learning and enroll them in music lessons!

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Music lessons = Better Communication Skills

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The benefits of music lessons for children are numerous.

Many of these benefits can be seen right away in school classes like math, where children who have taken music lessons show greater ability to solve more advanced mathematical problems. Music lessons do not only benefit children in the short term, music lessons give students skills that will last them a lifetime.

You may think that music lessons are a waste of time because your child does not stick with new activities; and actually most students will not continue lessons after secondary school. That does not mean that there are not lifelong benefits of music lessons.

Here are some lifelong benefits of short-term music lessons.

-Better scores on standardized tests. This may not seem like a lifelong benefit, but when children perform better in school and on SATs/ACTs, they will have their futures set for them.
-Enhanced listening and learning skills throughout life.
-Better understanding of frequencies and noise in loud situations. Similar to better listening skills, adults who have had at least some musical training will be able to converse in noisy situations better than those who have no music background.
-It?s easier for children and adults to learn new languages.

The benefits above are only some of the benefits of music lessons! Music lessons benefit each child in many different ways!

Give your children a chance to get ahead of the game by signing them up for in-home music lessons!

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10 Tips to Motivate Students to Practice Music

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Now that school?s started again, children?s practice schedules just got hectic.? Kids have their favorite after school activities and hobbies that they can easily make time to practice.? After the school day ends, kids have after school clubs or sports (which can last hours), homework and dinner.? By the time night falls, kids are exhausted and just want to relax.? So, how can you motivate them to make some time to practice their instrument?

Here are some tips to keep kids motivated to practice their instrument.

1. Aim to practice everyday.? This might seem daunting, but practicing everyday can shorten practice times so it doesn?t seem like such a chore.
2. Praise their efforts.? Kids get bored and discouraged easily.? If they feel they aren?t making any progress with their instrument, they won?t even want to try.? By commending them for their hard work, they may become more motivated.
3. Keep a set schedule.? Set aside 15-20 minutes every day at the same time everyday for your children to practice.? After awhile, this routine will become second nature.
4. Create a practice area.? Not many students are going to want to practice the piano when their sibling is sitting on the couch in the same room watching TV.? Separate practice areas from common areas so they are comfortable and free of distractions.
5. Remove distractions.? Try to make it so your children aren?t thinking about other things, like food or sports by having music be the last thing they focus on before homework.? After sport practice, make a snack and have your child sit down for a couple minutes to practice.? If they know homework comes right after practice, they won?t want to rush through it.
6. Reward practice.? Keep a calendar of all the days or minutes that your children practice their instruments and have a reward (pizza party, new movie etc.) at the end of a set amount of time.
7. Sign them up for recitals.? Kids will practice much better if they know they are going to be playing their instrument in front of people.
8. Create a musical home.? Play music while cleaning or making dinner.? This will put your children in the music mind set so music and practice seem second nature.
9. Make sure they are practicing efficiently.? Since kids get bored easily, if they are not making progress, they will not want to continue.? Speak with their band teacher or private instructor to make sure they are maximizing their practice time.
10. Take private lessons.? If children know they have an instructor coming to their home weekly to see what they?ve accomplished and teach them new things, they might be more apt to practice to impress their instructor.

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