Monthly Archives: Apr 2014

Music Lessons - Violin Lessons

The Best Violinists of All Time

nyc violin lessons

Paganini, by Ingres.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

What makes a great violinist? Just like most things in life, it helps to practice a lot. Once you have gained enough confidence from your violin training, you should have a broad capacity for bowing, dynamics, sound and color. It may take years, even decades, but if you really love violin, you can start offering violin lessons of your own, and maybe even start composing and aiming to topple the big names, three of which are featured below.

Violin Practice Makes Perfect

Paganini is considered one of the best violinists of all time. Why? Because he was so well-practiced. Talk about violin lessons: Paginini used to play ten hours a day. When he died, many assumed he was supernatural, and thought he would have extra cartilage in his fingers; however, the cartilage in his hands was worn down, much like that in a marathon runner’s knee, from playing so much. He is known for having never missed a note on his Guarneri violin, made in 1743, and for playing his entire Caprices on one string. Here’s one of his most famous ones:

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Corelli was born in 1653 and is known for having influenced a number of violin techniques, such as posture, bowing form, and fingering. He was known for despising high notes, and for rarely playing above the D string. In one famous anecdote, Corelli refused to play an overture that included an altissimo A in Handel’s oratorio, The Triumph of Time and Truth. He was offended when the composer, 32 years his junior, played it anyway. Bach was heavily influenced by Corelli too.

The Perennial Four Seasons

Vivaldi is another great baroque violinist, and today is probably the second most popular baroque composer only to Bach. In fact, Bach drew upon the bright melodies of Vivaldi’s concerti, of which The Four Seasons is a prime example, in his St. Matthew’s Passion, St. John’s Passion and cantatas. Bizarrely, despite Vivaldi’s fame while alive, after his death his work passed into obscurity. It was not until the 20th century that a resurgence in popularity for Vivaldi arrived.

Hopefully, listening to these amazing compositions will inspire you to continue with your NYC violin lessons, or to start them if you haven’t already!

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Guitar Lessons - Music Lessons

The First Step in Becoming a Guitar God


Getting guitar training is the first step in becoming a guitar god. Well, after you buy a guitar. The next part, the key to getting really good at guitar, is practice. Guitar lessons offer a mentor and way to stay on track. Think of each lesson as a weekly test that will keep you determined to impress your teacher. Your guitar lesson instructor can correct any mistakes you may be making, and challenge you to learn harder songs and techniques. After that hour of guitar lessons, it’s on you to love your instrument and play every day, to prepare for next week.

Guitar Gods of the Past

To give you an idea of how past guitar gods have made reached the pantheon, look at Eddie Van Halen. He used to strap his guitar around his neck and sit on his bed playing for hours at a time. When other kids were going out to party, he was practicing. That’s dedication. Eventually he become one of the world’s greatest.

NYC guitar lessons are super helpful when you have questions about technique, when you think you’re doing something wrong, or when you want to learn a new song or style of playing. Sometimes playing really slowly, making sure you hit all the right notes, or making sure that your strum pattern is perfect and everything else is right is the best way to practice by yourself. Listening to your favorite guitar solos can inspire you to learn them, bringing out your love for music even more and making it easy to practice guitar for half an hour a day. You can find tabs for solos and your favorite songs online. Also try to listen to classical music, to appreciate the foundation for awesome riffs and sick solos. Eddie Van Halen was a student of classical piano before he ever picked up a guitar. Reading music can help too.

Different (Guitar) Strokes

Stevie Ray Vaughan—a blues guitar god—didn’t know how to read sheet music. Then again, he also had cocaine and whiskey for breakfast during his later years—not exactly a role model. Some guitar gods reach their status through a natural amount of talent. Music theory is also important, and because of its difficulty, it’s a great subject to explore with your mentor during guitar lessons.

Another guitar great who played as much as he could was Jimi Hendrix. He couldn’t afford guitar lessons, since he was so poor growing up in Seattle, so he took guitar lessons from blues masters. Jimi is perhaps best known for how he used distortion so originally. He was also famous for doing crazy tricks while performing, like biting and smashing his guitar. Some people say that he was sloppy, that he would take tabs of acid and put them in his headband, so that while he performed his pores opened and he became high. But one night he was challenged to play sober, and he played the same way to a standing ovation. Because his hands were so big, he was able to use his thumb over the fretboard to fret the lower E string, thereby creating melodies that are otherwise difficult or impossible to play. Though this technique existed before Jimi, in the early days of blues guitar, it was probably he who popularized it.

Guitar Lessons are Still Your Best Bet

Keep in mind that a lot of the guitar gods who didn’t take guitar lessons were troubled souls who often died young. Who knows—maybe it was easier for them to follow a path of destruction without a guitar mentor to guide them along the way.

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Music Lessons

Why Mozart Matters For NYC Piano Lessons


Mozart is one of the greatest musical geniuses the world has ever known. A piece from his Magic Flute opera was incorporated onto the Voyager Golden Record, which was sent into space in 1977 to represent the different forms of life that exist here on earth. The movie “Amadeus,” based on Mozart’s life won Best Picture at the 1984 Oscars. You can still hear Mozart’s music scattered throughout pop culture. Mozart’s legacy is still so prevalent that you might be surprised learning certain pieces were composed by him almost three hundred years ago!

Wolfgang’s Piano Lessons

A prodigy from the age of three, Mozart started playing the piano from the age of four. Little Mozart watched his father give his sister piano lessons, which were actually clavier lessons, and he would stand on tiptoe to play when they were finished. Leopold, his father, taught him to play minuets and would end his lesson after a half hour despite little Mozart’s desire to keep playing.

At seven, his father took him and his sister on a Grand European Tour to show off their family’s exceptional talent. Mozart musical memory was so good, that at 14 he heard a sacred piece of music performed in the Vatican, which not even the choir was allowed to practice beforehand because of its sanctity. After the performance, Mozart ran home, and copied out all of the notes from memory. The next day he heard it again, fixed some small errors in his manuscript and hid it in his hat.

When word got out that a boy from Salzburg had a version of this music, Pope Clement requested to know how he had found it. He called the choirmaster to examine the manuscript and confirm that it was accurate. Of course, it was and when Mozart said that he’d written out the entire piece from memory the Pope was so impressed he gave the young boy a gold medal and made him a Knight of the Golden Spur. Mozart loved music so much that he focused all of his energy into learning it by heart.

Why Mozart Matters Today

As Mozart continued to play and compose, he incorporated the contrapuntal complexities of the Baroque era from masters such as Bach, into a new milieu, with refined clarity and harmonious tonics to define the Classical style. Mozart wrote all kinds of music: opera, symphonies, sonatas, solo concerto, chamber music, masses and dances.

All of this genius came at a price, however; Wolfgang gave up an ordinary childhood, much like Michael Jackson did, to pursue music and become one of the greatest of all time. He died young, in his forties. His friend Joseph Haydn said that the world would not see another musical genius for at least a hundred years.

Not everyone can be like Mozart, but one thing’s for sure: if you can get excited about your NYC piano lessons, it makes it a lot easier to practice every day. Try listening to Mozart so that you can ask your piano lesson teacher to help you play select pieces!

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Music Lessons

Violin Lessons in NYC Make a Difference

Even before Antonio Stradivari made his first violin, violin lessons consisted of teaching the student proper technique and guiding him through more difficult pieces of music. Today, lessons may be in a different language, but not much else has changed.

Violin lessons primer

There are four strings on a violin: the G, D, A, and E. It can be plucked or played with a bow, played solo or with an orchestra. And because of its loud sound, the violin is the instrument that carries themelody in groups of musicians.

Otherwise known as the fiddle, the violin comes from a family of stringed bow instruments, originally from Persia. The first violin strings and bows were made of horsehair, and today’s horsehair bows show the legacy of those original violins. Although violins had their heyday in the baroque era, today the violin is making a comeback, and is used to play jazz and pop as well as classical music.

Violin lessons are good for beginners, intermediate and advanced players. But for those starting out, who aren’t sure if they want to keep playing violin, it’s a good idea to rent an instrument first. Keep in mind that violins come in different sizes for children and adults, so it’s good to have the person playing nearby for a fitting. Once you have an instrument, call our violin teachers, who have dozens of years collectively under their belt. They have played all over the world in different settings and venues and know how to play in a variety of styles.

Fundamentals of violin

As in playing any instrument, it’s crucial to have the fundamentals in place before progressing onto different and more complicated pieces. Good posture, square feet placement, and holding the instrument upright are important to reaching the next level of playing. This is why violin lessons are so important—instructors help students get into the right habits early on. Another potential pitfall young violinists face is resting the neck of the violin in their palm, which prevents proper fingering.

Handling the bow is just as important. The bow typically goes left to right, which is called a down-bow. Inverting bow-strokes, i.e. sliding down when it should be up, is another common problem beginners face. But with violin lessons these potential pitfalls can easily be corrected. The bow should also slide smoothly along the strings and not bounce over them, which can cause harsh, scratchy sounds. These mistakes and others like them can be easily avoided by booking booking a lessons today.

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