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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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It?s December; time to tune the piano.

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Piano owners know that a piano should be tuned twice a year (once a year at the very least) to keep the piano at top performance. But do you know the best times to tune your piano? A good rule of thumb is two weeks after you turn your heat on in the winter and two weeks after you turn it off in the spring.

Why are those the best times to tune your piano?

Well, here are some reasons why your piano will need to be tuned:
–Humidity changes
–Temperature changes
–Heavy hands
–Frequent moves

Humidity and temperature changes affect the tune of the piano more than anything else. When the seasons change, specifically from fall to winter and winter to spring, the humidity levels severely change in your home. Less moisture in the air shrinks the wooden structure of the piano causing it to lose its tune. Similarly, when you turn off your heat in the spring and moisture is back in the air, your piano will soak up the new moisture and the wood will swell. This also causes the piano to drift out of tune.

There are some ways to maintain moisture in your home, which could mean that you can tune your piano any two times per year. However, if you?re planning on trying to regulate the humidity for instrument care, make sure you are up for the challenge. Your humidifier needs to be constantly monitored to be sure it does not dry out. You also need a thermometer to monitor the temperate and humidity to make sure the levels are consistent. If you forget about your humidifier, then the levels will severely drop causing more harm to your piano than the gradual climate shift that happens naturally.

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Case Closed: Winter Instrument Care Tips

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Just like your skin gets dry and cracked in the winter, your instrument will too, especially instruments made of wood.? But applying lotion directly to your instrument isn?t the answer.? Instead, you need to take precautions to prevent your instrument from drying out.

Here are some winter instrument care tips:

Regulate: Instruments need consistent temperature and humidity for best upkeep.? In the winter, the humidity levels severely drop (that?s why your hair is frizzier in the summer and more static-y in the winter) which is what dries out your instrument.
–To regulate the humidity, you need to know the humidity levels in your room.? A hygrometer monitors relative humidity.? When buying one, be sure to do some research to be sure you purchase an accurate one.? Inactive readings will be of no help in regulating the humidity.
Humidify: A room humidifier adds moisture into the air.? If you?re going to use a humidifier, it?s important to store your instrument in that room only.? Humidifiers require constant upkeep to be sure they do not dry out.
–WARNING: If you?re thinking of using a humidifier, make sure you are prepared to constantly keep an eye on it.? If your instrument gets too much moisture, it can do more damage than too little moisture.? Similarly, if you let your humidifier dry out, then your instrument will experience extreme climate changes, which can severely damage your instrument.
Case closed: For instruments, the case is their defense against weather, water and damage.? Take advantage of the fact that your instrument has a case by leaving the case closed whenever possible.? If your case protects your instrument from water, then it should be able to lock in moisture keeping your instrument from drying out.
Acclimate: If you?ve ever owned a fish, you know that you can?t simply buy a new fish and drop it in your tank.? You need to put the fish and its current water and container in the tank to acclimate the fish to the new temperature.? I know that instruments are not living things, but they can take just as much care as pets sometimes.? When going to a lesson, arrive early and let your instrument sit in the case for a while.? Then, open the case slightly and let your instrument slowly adapt to the climate changes.
–To make more sense of this, think about when you?re inside your warm house and have to go outside.? The second you get outside; you?re freezing cold.? Your skin tightens and your muscles tense.? Instruments experience this as well, except instead of shivering, they crack.

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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 Lessons Help Raise Children’s Self Esteem

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Self esteem is an issue that parent?s worry about for their children. Children are constantly comparing themselves and being compared to other children. In school, students are trying to be the best and find their niche. Music lessons can be something that children excel at or it can help with their hand eye coordination with sports. Music lessons benefit children in immeasurable ways!

Here are some ways music lessons help children?s self esteem.

Music lessons help children make friends!
Just like all clubs and organized sports, music lessons bring together groups of children with similar interests. Even if your children take private lessons, you can still enroll them in recitals or music programs through school. Lasting friendships are made when people have similar interest. Making new friends and bonding with others over common interests will help raise your child?s self esteem.

Music lessons could be where your child shines!
Most schools have talent shows at the end of the year or solos in choirs. Singing lessons can help prepare your child for their talent show performance or land them the lead in the school musical. Children who are singled out for their talents will often have higher self esteem. Even if your children have natural musical talent, music lessons can take their skills to the next level and refine their techniques.

Music lessons make kids smarter!
Okay, so music lessons don?t necessarily make kids smarter, but they do help with standardized testing, listening skills, hand eye coordination, spatial reasoning etc. Like I said before, children will have higher self esteem if they are excelling at something; that includes school classes. Music lessons can help your children excel in school and find their niche among other students who excel in school.

Music lessons show children a whole new world of music!
Well-rounded, cultured children will be more open minded to change and new challenges. Music lessons introduce children to different cultures and genres of music. Kids love being right and feeling like they know more than others, and they will definitely know more than others if they are interested to new things with each music lesson.

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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.

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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 a beginner so I don?t need an experienced music instructor.

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Myth: I?m a beginning music student so I do not need an experienced music instructor yet. Sounds right, doesn?t it? Since you?re a beginner yourself, why spend more money on an accomplished music instructor when you?re just starting out? There are plenty of high school students looking to make extra money teaching piano lessons and that seems like it would be perfect for beginning music students.

Fact: When you?re a beginner is the most important time to have an experienced instructor! Beginning music students are going to start out learning the basics and the foundations of their instrument. Instructors that only have basic knowledge of an instrument are only going to be able to teach you what they know, rather than teach you why techniques are important and create a lesson plan tailored to you. If your instructor has only has one teacher in the past, he/she will only be able to teach you how he/she was taught rather than creating a teaching approach specific to your needs.

Sometimes having an inexperienced teacher can harm your learning ability. Inexperienced teachers may have picked up bad habits unintentionally simply because they do not have a broad range of experience. You don?t want to pick up back music habits because they could either turn you off of music for good or make it so you have to start over once you get a new instructor. It?s better to learn things right the first time than to have to condition bad habits.

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Making Musical Instruments with Household Items

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Kids love music and making noise! When you have young children, it may seem silly to buy them a drum set or a guitar. Household items can be used to make musical instruments that are age appropriate for young children.

Here are some musical instruments you can make with items you already have in your home.

Paper plate shaker: These are one of the easiest musical instruments to make! Take a paper plate and set it upright on the table (as if you were going to eat off it). Add a handful of beads or beans to the plate and place another plate right over the top. Staple the plates all around the edges and it is ready to play! You can add a popsicle stick to the end of it so it can be played like maracas. You can also decorate these musical instruments with paint and glitter for a fun project.

Drum set: Drum sets are also easy musical instruments to make because everyone has these items around the house. Take empty coffee cans or any empty canister that has a lit and you have a drum. Drums can be played with your hands, chop sticks, spoons etc. Another way to make a drum is to take an empty canister and take the lid off. Then criss-cross electrical tape over the top of the can until the whole top is covered and you have a drum.

Natural maracas: These are great for this time of year! Buy some gourds or squash and let them dry out. Once they?re completely dry, the exterior will be hard and when you shake them, the seeds will bounce around creating a nice rattle. These musical instruments can also be painted and decorated for a fun activity.

Musical glasses: Line up a row of glasses filled with different amounts of water. When you tap them with a stick or spoon, they will make different sounds. You can also wet your finger and gently trace it around the rim of the glass to create a glass harmonica. These musical instruments are a little more challenging to play as it takes some time to figure out the pressure you need to use to create the sound, but the end result is beautiful.

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