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Common Beginner Guitar Mistakes

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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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All About Group Piano Lessons!

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What are group piano lessons?

Group piano lessons are piano lessons that involve multiple students of similar age and skill level. If the lessons are for one family of young children, often times, only one piano is needed and the students will sit and learn together. If there are multiple students in a larger setting, multiple pianos or keyboards will be needed as three or more students cannot comfortably play and learn on the same piano.

Are group piano lessons right for my children?

Group piano lessons on one piano typically work best with smaller children and only two students should be on the piano at one time. Students need to be able to comfortably sit at the piano together and that does not work well with more than two students.

Group piano lessons also work best if the students are all at the same skill level. If one child has already had two years of lessons and the other is a beginner, then the lessons will have to cater to the beginner.

The difficult part about group piano lessons is that the children need to stay focused, as there will not be as much individual attention. If you know your children cannot concentrate when they are together, you will be wasting your money with group lessons, as the children most likely will not learn much.

Are there any benefits to group piano lessons?

Group piano lessons can be beneficial for young students that might not be able to focus for a 30-minute lesson. If your children are young and cannot focus for longer periods of time, then having their sibling next to them learning can be motivation to do well. Time will go by quicker for the student if they are not alone.

Group piano lessons are also great for students who are easily discouraged. If only one student is taking lessons and he/she is not seeing any progress, he/she could become discouraged and want to quit lessons. With group lessons, both students would see that they are progressing at the normal rate, even if they aren?t making much progress.

Children who might be shy about playing piano in front of others will quickly overcome this fear if there is always another person sitting next to them. Group piano lessons can be a great way to overcome stage fright!

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New Years Resolution: Learn to Play an Instrument.

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It?s that time of year again; the time when people makes the decision to alter their lifestyles and better themselves. One of the most common resolutions is to learn something new. Wondering what new talent you should learn? How about learn to play an instrument! Learning to play an instrument will have lasting benefits, regardless of your age, gender, demographics etc.

Where to begin learning an instrument?

First. Decide what instrument you would like to learn. Don?t just listen to your friends, or learn to play the piano simply because you have access to a piano. Take some time to think about what instrument truly interests you. You may hear that some instruments are easier to learn than others, but that?s not necessary true. If you chose an instrument that you?re actually interested in learning, then you?ll have the motivation to practice and overcome obstacles.

Second. Pick a plan of action. Are you going to take private lessons, group lessons in a classroom setting or just watch online tutorials? For some instruments, you will be able to learn the basics by watching online videos. However, I definitely recommend taking lessons. Deciding whether to take group lessons or private lessons depends on your learning abilities. Private lessons will offer a more tailored teaching method, but group lessons will allow you to take lessons with friends or peers.

Third. Invest in an instrument. If you already have a piano at your house and that?s the instrument you would like to learn, then hire a piano tuner to come and check out your piano. There?s nothing worse than trying to learn to play an instrument if it?s not in tune. If you need to buy your instrument, shop around first. Don?t jump on the first ?best deal? you find. Do some research into the instrument you?re purchasing and decide if you?re going to rent it, buy it new or buy a used one. If necessary, bring along a friend or teacher that knows more about the instrument than you since he or she will know what to look for and what questions to ask.

Learning to play an instrument is a process; it?s not something that one picks up overnight. New years resolutions are meant to be challenging, and if you?re up for the challenge, learning to play an instrument will be worth it.

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Listen up and be happy: 10 ways music improves your mood!

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1. Music provides entertainment. If you?re bored at home and can?t find anything to do, music can be a way to entertain yourself. Concerts also provide great entertainment!
2. A song can take you back in time to older, better memories. Songs have a way of taking you back to the first time you heard it, or when you heard it with someone special.
3. Music calms you down when you?re stressed. Studies show that if you?re stressed and listen to classical music, your stress will melt away as your heart rate syncs with the music.
4. Music can be a distraction from a hectic day. If you?re feeling overwhelmed or have had a bad day, listen to your favorite artist to improve your mood. When you?re singing along with the lyrics, your mind doesn?t have time to think about anything else.
5. Music can be a way to connect with lost loved ones. Think about a song you shared with that person or an instrument you both played. Playing the song or instrument can make you feel closer to them.
6. Music can help expel unwanted thoughts and emotions. If you?re feeling sad and want to get in a good cry, play some sad songs that you know will make you cry. Afterwards, you will feel refreshed and ready to move on.
7. Playing a song on an instrument can help you feel talented. Playing an instrument increases self-esteem because it?s something to excel at. If you feel like you can?t do anything right one day, pick up your instrument and show the world what you can do!
8. When performing, music can bring about strong emotions! Think about when you?re singing an emotional song and you start to smile or cry. Music has the ability to change your emotion within seconds.
9. Music can energize you in the mornings. Feeling groggy in the morning? Blast a favorite tune and just try to stop yourself from dancing! Music has a way of energizing your mind and body.
10. Music can help you feel like yourself again. Everyone?s had a bad day where they just don?t feel like themselves. Listening to or playing familiar music will help bring you back.

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Unconventional Benefits of Music Lessons

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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.

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Turn on the music and start studying!

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?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!

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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!

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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.

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Singing Your Way to Good Health

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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?

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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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