Monthly Archives: Mar 2014

Piano Lessons NYC
Music Lessons - Piano Lessons

6 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Could Rock An Instrument

If you’re trying to make it in the big city, Piano Lessons could be the difference between you booking a gig or going home empty-handed.

The city is full of incredibly talented people all vying for the same coveted jobs and positions, from acting, to finance positions, to political spots.  You’ll never know who might be impressed by your ability to play a musical instrument.

And it certainly came in handy for these famous names.  Not only does playing a musical instrument help keep your brain sharp, but demonstrating mastery of instrument shows dedication and commitment to something you voluntary chose to pursue.  You do it because you love it, and others take note of that.

So, if you want a leg up on your peers and maybe even wow your boss’s boss at a work retreat, get inspired by these multi-talented celebrities, who are well-known for various reasons, but harbor a love for music as well.

1.)  Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman can probably get a belly laugh out of you for his work in Tootsie and The Graduate, but he also knows his way around a piano pretty well.  He’s said he wanted to be a jazz pianist , and occasionally has sat down to play on screen.  Clearly, he’s someone who was always meant for the spotlight.

2.)  Meryl Streep

As if we needed more reasons to be in love with Meryl Streep, if you haven’t seen her 1999 film Music of the Heart, you probably didn’t know that’s she’s a very talented violin player.  Basically, what we’re saying is if you violin lessons in NYC, you’ll be the next Meryl Streep (sort of…).

3.)  Clint Eastwood

So if you really want to see an overachiever, look no further than Clint Eastwood.  Successful actor, professional piano player…oh wait, don’t forget to add professional composer to that list.

Yup, Clint Eastwood has done the soundtracks for movies like Million Dollar Baby and Flags of our Fathers. The man has superpowers.  Don’t worry though, we won’t hold it against you if you just choose to become a piano aficionado and maybe hold off on your career as a composer.  We know that’s a bit much.

4.)  Condolleeza Rice

Bet you didn’t expect a politician to sneak her way onto this list, did you?  Well, Condy’s actually quite the piano player.  She’s even played for the Queen of England.

We’re not sure why anyway would choose a life of politics over music, but hey, it’s not our decision. Condolleeza even had the chance to accompany renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma for the 2002 National Medal of Arts Awards.

5.)  Keanu Reeves

So if your child is absolutely hellbent on taking bass or guitar lessons in NYC, then let Keanu Reeves be the proof that hard work pays off and that knowing how to play an electric instrument is just as valuable as knowing an acoustic one.

Keanu Reeves was a member of the alternative rock group Dogstar from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s.  Apparently, he even plans to get back into the musical swing of things in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure 3.

6.)  Ryan Gosling

Because the world wasn’t in love with him enough, Ryan Gosling formed a band called Dead Man’s Bones with his friend, Zach Shields.   The band sings love songs about ghosts and monsters.  So that’s pretty adorable.

But wait, there’s more.  Gosling and Shields played every single instrument on their album, because Gosling plays piano, guitar, bass guitar, and cello.

Take a look at him here crooning and playing piano alongside a children’s choir.  Amidst the witty banter he shares with the kids at the beginning, the smooth piano skills, and the deep, scratchy singing, I think it’s safe to say he’s cemented his place as the Male American Sweetheart for eternity.

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Music Lessons

Guitar Lessons Are Worth It

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Private lessons on the guitar are fun because you can play covers of a lot of songs. It makes practice a lot easier when you like the music you’re playing. If you it’s rock ‘n’ roll you want to play, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Elvis have songs that you won’t need many guitar lessons to play.

Early guitar lessons

The guitar has been around for a long time, in different incarnations. From the lute to the electric, there are many different styles of guitar and guitar playing. Our guitar teachers know them all, from finger-picking to flamenco, and they also know, from the first few notes or chords you play, how much you’ve practiced in the week since your last lesson. Half an hour a day is a good start for most beginners.

Guitar lessons begin with the basics of how to hold the instrument and how to strum. Keeping time is one of the most difficult parts of playing guitar, especially when you don’t know how to read music. This is where it really helps to have guitar lessons, because it is difficult and often frustrating to work with a metronome to get your playing to sound really good. It’s kind of like singing and hearing how you sound, which if you want to play rock music, is closely tied to guitar lessons—how you hear yourself is not how everyone else hears you. That’s why it’s nice to have a guitar instructor guide you to play properly, in terms of timing, strumming and fingering, the same way you might be encouraged to sing higher or lower to be more in tune with the song you’re playing.

Playing guitar like Slash

This is a process, as is learning the chords that make up a lot of simple songs. Many famous songs are easier than you thought—”Free Falling,” by Tom Petty, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” either the Guns ‘n’ Roses version or the Bob Dylan version, and “I Should Have Known Better,” by the Beatles. The easy songs are mostly three chords and after a few lessons in your New York City home, you will be able to play them!

All the greatest guitarists in modern history became so good thanks to practicing a huge amount. Slash, from Guns ‘n’ Roses, used to practice 12 hours a day, dropping out of high school to pursue his dream. Rumor has it that Jimi Hendrix used to play until his fingers bled. Not all of us can do that, though, which is why if you live in New York or New Jersey it’s so important to have lessons.

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Piano Lessons

Why Choose Piano Lessons in NYC

Gould, Chopin, Brahms: the greatest pianists of all time have always had private musical lessons, either at home or at an academy. When these students began playing piano in their childhood, a teacher or mentor often taught them the basics, cultivating their love for piano, before they went on to teach themselves more advanced music principles. But not all of us are Glenn Gould, and even when we approach a level of mastery, it’s great to have someone who can guide and shape us to become the best pianists we can be.

Becoming a Master Pianist

To learn to play the piano is easy, but to become a pianist who plays concerts is very hard. It requires thousands of hours of practice before you can consider yourself an expert. Practicing by yourself without the weekly guidance of one of our teachers will delay your expertise. To find out what you are doing wrong in order to improve and see faster progress, work with our professional piano teachers. With lessons in New York City at your door, you will learn everything from technique to arpeggios and concert pieces, much faster than if you taught yourself.

What Piano Lessons Teach

When you book piano lessons in NYC, you can learn how to warm up your hands in order to build strength in all of your fingers. You may already know how Chopin used to bend his wrists forward and backward before playing, or that you should let your arms hang by your side before hitting the ivory. But more subtle nuances, such as setting your hands the right distance apart, and pressing the keys with the right force, are harder to master without piano lessons. You may remind yourself to keep your wrist above your hand and your elbows six inches from the body, but it’s easy to slide back into bad habits without the guidance of a piano lesson instructor.

Making Music Fun

One of Chopin’s greatest interpreters, Alfred Cortot, was well aware of the difficulty young students face in practicing: the weight of their arms. Playing for hours at a time can be painful for younger students, which is why he advocated that the seat be modified to the height of the player to avoid unnatural angles and uncomfortable positions, the bane of piano students for hundreds of years. Our piano lesson instructors are aware of the historical resistance by youths against their professors, their distrust of daily practice, and tendencies to dislike being forced to do what is good for their musical careers. That’s why we work hard to make piano lessons better than the other guys—we’re dedicated to making music fun.

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Piano Lessons

Bach: A Profile From Your Fave NYC Piano Lesson Teachers

Bach is widely considered to be the greatest classical composer of all time. Mozart gets a lot of street cred and Beethoven’s riffs are pretty famous, but in terms of true originality and genius, Bach trumps them all.

Born in Eisenach, a town in today’s central Germany, Bach received piano lessons, (which were really organ or harpsichord lessons) from his brother, father and second cousin, who were all musicians. He became an organist after his preliminary education, and worked hard to learn his craft. During his 20s he began to write what would become known as The Well-Tempered Clavier, one of the most influential works in Western Classical Music.

Bach incorporated Italian styles of composition from famous violinists such as Vivaldi and Corelli into his music. Solos during orchestral movements were new at the time, and Bach used these techniques to his advantage. He bounced around German cities such as Weimar and Kothen before settling in Leipzig.

At this time Handel, (you know, Ha-lleluJAH) was very famous. He was born just 80 miles from Bach, and traveled all over the continent, performing and eventually settling in London. Bach and Handel were supposed to hang out in Germany but it never happened.

Bach became a Cantor in Leipzig, which meant that he had to write and perform cantatas for every feast day and every Sunday. He wrote a new one every week for three years. These eventually led to the Mass in B Minor, akin to Metallica of the 18th century in intensity, and all about the glory of God.

When Bach was older, his national fame led him to Potsdam, where the German king, Friedrich II, lived. He challenged Bach to improvise something on his piano and Bach played a nasty fugue and totally impressed the king. Kind of like the rap battles of today, organ battles were common in the baroque era. Pretty cool to think that Eminem is the inheritor of a tradition that began with a dude named Johann.

But after he died, Bach fell into relative obscurity. Composers thought he was old-fashioned. Eventually though, he came back. Beethoven loved Bach and called him “the father of harmony.” In the 20th century, certain advertisers used his music to make his work more famous than it ever has been.

Now we’re not saying that we can make you the next Johann Sebastian Bach, but we sure can teach you how to play his music when you sign-up for lessons on the piano.

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Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - Piano Lessons

How to Get Your NYC Kids Excited About Piano Lessons

New York City kids — they’re a breed of their own. For better or for worse, they grow up seeing and experiencing more culture and diversity at every corner than many other people will in their entire lives. From the second they touch pavement, New York City kids are bombarded with sights and sounds unrivaled by any other city in the country — maybe even the world. One of the most unique of these experiences is the wide variety of music they’ll hear. Whether it’s passing through Grand Central Station and catching the tunes of one of the many locals showcasing their talents in the terminal or attending a free concert in the park in the summer months, music is readily available to New York City youth!

Of course listening to music is a lot less daunting (and tedious) than spending hours learning to play, so don’t be discouraged if and when your kids are resistant to learn. When it’s time to enroll your kids in their NYC piano lessons (or any other instrument they want to play!), there are a handful of ways you can get them pumped to get started. Try these ideas to get your NYC kids excited about piano lessons!

Buy Tickets to the Orchestra

One of the best ways to encourage your kids to get excited about learning music is to expose them to people who have an immense passion for it — so much so that they do it for a living. New York City offers so many opportunities for your kids to see some of the best, world renown musicians that they won’t get anywhere else! Take them out for a night to the orchestra, and let them see the glamour and excitement of the orchestra; expose them to a formal side of music and give them insight on how the musicians onstage got their own start. If they can think that their own piano lessons can help to get on a grand stage one day, they will be more excited to learn! Try a night listening to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra or the New York City Symphony and tell us if you don’t have a blast!

Goof Around at Home

Whether they’re NYC kids or not, kids are kids nonetheless. And that means that they want to have FUN! The only way your kids are going to assume that their piano lessons aren’t another homework assignment is if you make them fun to begin with. Let your kids tickle the ivories and create a song of their own making — and then you do the same. You’ll also show them that you’re willing to be silly and have fun, and that’s always a great example to set from the get-go! Try this before they start their piano lessons and during them, so it mixes up the formal training with some fun. Your kids will get better at learning and start building on their new knowledge without even realizing it!  Remember: Music should be an expression of a person’s own creativity, not a chore you have to do — so don’t make it seem like that and you’re golden!

Hire a Private Tutor

One of the most daunting things about learning anything — whether it’s music or math — is doing it with about 20 other kids. The pressure of standing out in a group or being too shy to ask for help can impact both your child’s learning experience and how much he/she will enjoy it. Both of these problems can be easily resolved with private music lessons. Obviously we’re big believers that this is the best way to learn music, but it’s also because we, as instructors and musicians, enjoy that one-on-one time we get with our pupils. There’s just nothing like passing on the gift of music and getting to witness that first moment when one of our students lights up because he or she hit the right notes in the right order. What a magical experience it is! Private lessons is also a unique bonding experience for teacher and student, and just as we fondly remember our first music teachers, we strive hard to make learning music an enriching experience so that our students will have those same memories to cherish for years to come!

Do you have any useful tips to help your kids to get your kids excited for piano lessons? Share them with us in the comments below or via our social media channels!

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