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Common Beginner Guitar Mistakes


Learning a new instrument can be difficult. It takes time and motivation to stay on track. The guitar is one of the most popular instruments because it has a nice acoustic sound and is popular in bands. Beginning guitar students (or any beginning instrument student) might become discouraged easily or make avoidable mistakes.

Here are some common guitar mistakes that new students should be aware of.

1. Giving up too soon. Learning a new instrument is not an easy task. It takes time, effort and dedication. Most people will not be able to pick up a new instrument and instantly learn to play it. It?s important to keep in mind that learning a new instrument is a journey and everyone who can plan an instrument has gone through it.
2. Only practicing one chord at a time. This is an easy habit to fall into because it makes sense. But think about learning anything new, often starting out by trying to learn several things at once will be more effective. Instead of learning one chord at a time, try learning three.
3. Buying the wrong guitar. It may seem silly that there is a wrong guitar out there, but there are different sizes. Smaller students should not get a huge acoustic guitar. Students learning guitar to play heavy metal in a band should probably start out on an electric guitar. Every guitar has a purpose.
4. Not changing guitar strings. Dirt and oil from fingers will eventually build up on guitar strings. They need to be changed periodically to maintain clear sound.
5. Taking it too slow because of sore fingers. All guitar players need to build up calluses on their fingers so they can play longer. It might seem like a good idea to take a break because of sore fingers initially, but the more a student practices, the faster the calluses will develop.

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Unconventional Benefits of Music Lessons


Music lessons can be fun for kids and help them excel in school and standardized testing, but those aren?t the only reasons to enroll your children in music lessons.

Here are some more benefits of music lessons.

Slow and steady. When first beginning music lessons, there are lots of techniques to learn. Children are used to trying something and, if not seeing immediate results, quitting. Music lessons are a slow progression that ultimately will give results if the students practice and take lessons seriously. Music lessons teach children the importance of sticking with something even if they don?t see immediate results.

Persistence pays off. Music lessons and practicing an instrument are not always going to be fun. Sometimes it will hurt and sometimes it will be boring. That?s life and that?s going to continue to happen. Eventually, children will learn the importance of pushing through the hard stuff to get to the end, but why not start young with music lessons. If children learn young that persistence pays off, then they will save themselves lots of regret by sticking with activities that might not be easy at first.

Self-esteem boost. Self-esteem can be an inherent trait that children come by naturally. For others, developing and excelling at a talent can help raise children?s self-esteem. Kids need to know that they are good at something and music lessons are something that anyone can excel at given enough practice. Not only will music lessons raise children?s self-esteem just by giving them a talent, they will have a built-in group of friends once they are able to join school band. Clubs are a great way for children to make friends and get involved.

Most children will not become a world-class musician, but they will benefit from music lessons for the rest of their lives.

More articles about the benefits of music lessons:
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Turn on the music and start studying!


?Turn off that music and do your homework!? Sound familiar? Most of us have heard that at one time or another; someone yelling at us to turn off the music so we can focus. But is this actually counter productive? You may have heard that listening to music can actually make you focus better and it’s true.

Here are some reasons why listening to music while studying can help you focus.

Distractions: While studying, people often find that they are easily distracted by background noises. Traffic, pen clicking, the hum of the refrigerator running etc. are all sounds that people cannot control. These are the sounds most likely to annoy and distract you when you are trying to focus. If you find yourself becoming distracted by sounds that you cannot control, drown out those sounds with something you can control and would prefer to listen to?music! Choose a type of music that is not going to distract you from your studies, but instead distract you from the annoying sounds of life.

Relaxation: Studying is a time when your mind should be shut off from the outside world and completely focused on the task at hand. But how often does that really happen. When you?re trying to make your brain focus on one thing, of course all the other things you?re worried about are going to creep into your thoughts??Did I pay those bills? I better take a break and check.? If you try to study in complete silence, then the worries in your mind are going to seem much louder. Instead of trying to study with complete silence, put on some relaxing music in the background. Classical music is shown to relax most people, but that doesn?t mean it will relax you. Choose a type of music you know will relax you and allow you to focus on your studies.

Keep in mind, that listening to music while studying will not work for everyone. In fact, sometimes you can become so distracted by the music that you might not remember anything you had learned in the past hour. Take some time to figure out what works best for you. But don?t think that just because you?re listening to music, you?re not efficiently studying.

More articles about music and the brain:
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Volunteer: Do your part and spread some cheer!


The holidays are a great time to volunteer. People are always looking to give to those less fortunate, but you might be stuck on how to volunteer. Local soup kitchens and food drives are always looking for volunteers this time of year, but there are also ways you can spread your talent and put your music lessons to good use. Volunteer at a hospital or local shelter and sing or play an instrument.

Here are some places to volunteer and why to play your music there.

Sing at a hospital. More and more hospitals around the country are incorporating the arts into their therapy and treatment options. That?s because people heavily exposed to music are shown to be happier and healthier. During the holidays, hospitals are flooded with carolers, but the rest of the year is lacking volunteers. Hospitals are filled with people who can be cheered up and what better to brighten their spirits than to sing to them. It may seem like a meaningless gesture, but even the smallest gestures are welcomed on the holidays.

Carol in your neighborhood. The number of people who carol around the holidays has significantly decreased in recent years. Our society is based around the idea that others should bring things to us. Caroling around your neighborhood is a simple way to spread joy to others. Get a few friends together and walk around the neighborhood singing. If you?re nervous about going door to door, start out by visiting your friends and family members. Or put up fliers and spread the word that you will be caroling one night so that people can be prepared and make sure they are home to hear you.

Put on a concert at a nursing home. Typically in nursing homes, the time between lunch and supper is reserved for activities. Speaking from experience (since I used to work and volunteer in a nursing home), nursing home activity coordinators are always looking for new and exciting ways to entertain the seniors. Often times, during small concerts, the seniors will join in and sing or clap along. If you?re worried about imposing with your caroling in a busy setting, then a nursing home is the perfect place to volunteer.

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Improve your overall well being and start singing!


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.

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Singing Your Way to Good Health


Singing isn’t just for fun anymore! Studies show that singing actually improves your health and can help with some chronic conditions. But how?

Here are some ways singing can improve your health.

1. Asthma. This is one benefit that definitely makes sense. Proper singing requires deep breaths and breathing techniques. It?s no surprise that this helps people who suffer from asthma or other chronic respiratory illnesses.
2. Aging. Singing promotes youth for lots of reasons! Think about all the muscles in your face that you?re working by singing. You also feel younger since singing makes your feel happier and reduces stress.
3. Memory. Learning to play any instrument helps with your cognitive skills, but singing especially requires you to memorize lyrics and notes. This helps with your overall memory.
4. Immune system. Everyone knows that you?re more susceptible to illnesses when you?re stressed out. Singing reduces stress; therefore singing increases immune system health and keeps you healthier.
5. Posture. This may not seem like a great benefit, but good posture means better breathing and healthier muscles and joints. Slouching is not good for your body in any way and singing doesn?t allow for bad posture.
6. Self-confidence. When you feel better about yourself, you instantly feel healthier. Confidence plays a big part in your health because there are parts of illnesses and recovery that are mental. If you want to feel good, then the majority of the time, you will. Singing increases self-confidence because you?re not stressed, you?re meeting new people and you?re in a good mood.
7. Healthy diet. Believe it or not, there is a vocal health diet. Singers cannot be constantly eating processed foods and ice cream because it messes with their vocal chords. A diet for vocal health includes lots of water, no alcohol or caffeine and lots of healthy foods. You need to keep your body healthy in order to sing properly.

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Acoustic vs. Electric: Which guitar is right for you?


Definitely a big decision for beginning guitarists?should you purchase an electric guitar or an acoustic. Everyone will have an opinion for you, your friend who plays in a band and loves his/her electric guitar will likely push you towards that, the salesperson you are purchasing the instrument from will have an opinion based on how much commission he receives. So how do you know which guitar to choose?

Here are some tips for choosing the right guitar.

Use. What are you using the instrument for? If you?re going to be playing in a rock band, then an acoustic guitar will not produce enough sound. If you want an instrument that you can play anywhere that doesn?t require a lot of equipment, then an acoustic is the way to go. Decide what you will use this instrument for the most, and buy according to that. Eventually you can purchase another guitar, but that might not be a feasible option when you?re just starting out.

Sound. The acoustic and electric guitars produce different sounds. An acoustic guitar will have a natural sound that is uninhibited by electronics. On the other hand, an electric guitar will be able to use modern advances and electronics to amplify and enhance sound. You will be able to create louder and different sounds with an electric guitar.

Difficulty. The electric guitar is easier to play than the acoustic guitar because it is able to use electronics to amplify the sound. Therefore, you don?t need to push down as hard on the strings and your strings can be lighter. Acoustic guitars don?t use amps and require heavier strings to make louder sound. You will need to use more energy to play the acoustic.

What it really comes down to is: which guitar do you want to play. If you?ve had your heart set on playing the acoustic guitar, then that?s what you should get. If you want to play an instrument, then you?ll be motivated to find ways to play that instrument.

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Should You Be Practicing the Guitar Right Now?


There is no right amount of time per day that everyone should be practicing the guitar. Practice duration depends on a number of factors:

-What do you want to get out of guitar lessons?
-How motivated are you?
-How much time per day do you have to practice?

You probably know someone who practices for hours everyday and is making quick progress, but that doesn?t mean you need to practice six hours a day to achieve the same results.

Here are some guitar practice tips.

Identify your goals. Figure out what you?re trying to get out of guitar lessons. Are you trying to join a band or have a real love for the guitar? Or are you just looking for a new hobby? Once you decide what you?re trying to get from the guitar, it?ll be easier to figure out how long you should practice per day. If you?re friends are starting a band and need a guitar player in three months, you should probably be practicing for a couple hours a day. If learning to play the guitar is on your bucket list, then you can leisurely practice for 30-60 minutes per day, or however long you get enjoyment from it.

Motivation. If you?re determined to learn to play the guitar and you?re practicing efficiently, then there is no reason you need to practice for hours every day. If you know what you?re doing, then efficiently practicing for 30 minutes a day will yield the same results and someone less motivated who practices for two hours a day.

Stay positive and have fun! If you enjoy playing the guitar, then you?re more likely to enjoy the journey than if you?re learning the guitar for someone else. If you want to progress quickly but cannot stay motivated for a three-hour practice session, break up your practice through out the day. Wake up a little bit earlier in the morning and practice, then right after school and maybe again before bed. Regardless of when you?re practicing, always have fun!

More guitar practice tips:
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Music Lesson Myth: Listening to classical music makes you smarter.


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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Piano Lesson Myth: My hands are too small to play the piano.


Myth: My hands are too small to be able to play the piano. This is a common myth that many people have probably heard. In fact, when I was younger and wanted to take piano lessons, my parents told me that my sister had ?piano fingers? but I didn?t because my hands were too small. The myth makes sense since sometimes there are songs that require you to be able to reach distant keys at the same time, but this doesn?t mean you need to count out piano lessons in general.

Fact: Just because you have small hands does not mean there are no songs you will be able to play! Small hands are considered to be less than a span of eight inches. If your hands are smaller than that, then you may have a more difficult time learning to play piano. A good test to see if your hands are really too small is to stretch out your hand and try to play a C with your thumb and the above C with your pinky. If you can do that, then you will be able to play most any song! If you can?t reach both keys, don?t fret; there are still plenty of songs you will be able to play!

Pianists with small hands will learn to be able to stretch their fingers further with practice. Just because you start out not able to reach a full octave, does not mean you will not be able to reach this feat. There are also smaller keyboards that are built for people with small hands. Small keyboards are 7/8 the size of a regular piano and still have the required amount of keys.

Small hands might be a bit of a burden when first learning the piano, but eventually you will be able to overcome this and make beautiful music!

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