One of the most asked questions I get from parents is this: “How do I get my child to practice their instrument?”
Well, the answer isn’t always an easy one. Not every child runs to the piano or violin, or even the guitar on their own. Most five-year-old kids don’t really understand the value of music lessons and the benefits they can add to their future development. So, naturally, parents are often discouraged when young students are not spending time practicing their instruments. This sometimes leads to parents discontinuing the lessons for their child after only a short time.
Here are a few things we suggest that will get children practicing and loving the instruments they are learning!
• Spend time practicing with your child every day, especially for the first few months. This will keep young students focused on the assignments their teachers have left for them and help get them into a steady and comfortable practice routine.
• Make sure you have a great music teacher! If you’re spending the money on piano lessons, you obviously want to ensure that you’re getting the best quality instruction, from professionals who truly love their craft. Your child’s music teacher should make piano, guitar or violin lessons fun and informative for new students. (Music to Your Home can help you with that – after all, we’re the experts!)
• Play a lot of music for your kids. In the car or at home try to expose your children to the music you love. This will help inspire them to make and learn music of their own.
• Take them to live concerts. Seeing a live show is always a great way to get kids exited about music. Music to Your Home instructors are constantly performing in some of NYC’s greatest venues. Check out our “In the News” page to see when they’ll be next!
• Give them positive reinforcement. Sometimes when learning a new instrument, students really need encouragement from their parents even if progress is slow to start. Let them know you are proud of their efforts. They are basically learning a new language, and that’s impressive! This will go a long way.
By following these simple steps you are setting your child on a musical journey that undoubtedly will bring them a lifetime of enjoyment and a feeling of incredible accomplishment. Getting your child started with piano lessons will encourage them to explore all the music options in this great city when they’re older, and one day, maybe even be part of it.
It all starts with the violin. If you live in NYC, you have access to one of the best Philharmonics in the world. The New York Philharmonic is the oldest in the U.S., founded in 1842, and today they have won twelve Grammys. If you’re growing up as a kid in NYC taking violin lessons, you have some really great examples to follow.
If you continue with your violin lessons for a few years, you’ll start to get good. If you combine that with a serious passion for the instrument, your chances of becoming a professional violinist increase dramatically. It all comes down to how hard you practice, not when you started. Even though the Suzuki method advocates that the younger kids start the better chances they have, those who begin playing violin after grade school can definitely still become pros. They may be intimidated by how younger kids show superb talent but a lot of the time, these prodigies are forced to practice between two and three hours a day for years in order to further their chances of playing professionally and wind up playing like machines, without the deep, resonant feeling originally intended for the music.
If you’ve started violin later, you can still play professionally, you just need to catch up by practicing more. It can be hard to practice more than four hours a day, but studies show that the more you practice the more you will be willing and want to play. Professional violinists practice sometimes more than eight hours a day. That’s what you have to look forward to if you’re really serious about making a career out of playing violin.
Violin Love Outweighs Tough Competition
Once you have those thousands of hours of practice under your belt, you still have to beat out the competition. Usually only three or four seats open up every year across the U.S., with hundreds of people trying out. One wrong note immediately disqualifies you, and that’s not all. You can play the violin perfectly, but if your playing lacks a certain emotion, a certain feeling for the piece, that will separate you from the best. It can be nerve-wracking playing this way, even before you’re playing on a stage, but it’s part of the game. If your playing can stand out during an audition, your chances of moving on to the next round will improve. And while competition can be stiff, sometimes playing to beat friends for a seat in an orchestra, if you love violin, if it’s part of your essence, then you have to keep playing.
The Upper East Side is typically more associated with art museums than piano lessons. But now that so many young people are moving back uptown to escape the high rents of Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and the East Village, music is springing up all over the place.
Brandy’s Piano Bar
This well-kept secret hosts performers every night of the week after 9:30 pm in what is a lot like an old time saloon. With no cover charge, there’s a 2 drink minimum per set, so it’s more affordable than other live music venues in the neighborhood. Watch how these professionals play piano and incorporate what you learn before your next piano lessons.
This historic hotel has music nights throughout the year. Front row seats can cost a little more than general admission, but the quality these performers is akin to a private concert at Lincoln Center. Nightly jazz seated at the bar has a $15 cover charge, a pretty good value to see the Chris Gillespie Trio. Bemelmans Bar is named after the illustrator of the famous Madeline books, who also painted the interior.
The Armory on Park Ave.
Most of us think of Lincoln Center across the park when it comes to great classical music, but The Armory has teamed up with that bastion of culture to bring the Berlin Philharmoniker to NYC’s Upper East Side. On October 7th and 8th, they’re going to perform Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion for their U.S. premiere. The Armory also plays host to art installations as well as contemporary masters: The xx played a show there a few months ago. The only potential problem is getting tickets! There’s limited availability for the October performance, so if you want to go, call now.
read the the feature here.
Alon Nechushtan has covered some ground to get where he is today. The 30something jazz pianist will be here next week to perform at Avram in Jerusalem (August 18) and the Shablul Club in Tel Aviv (August 19), bringing a hefty musical-cultural arsenal with him.
Jerusalem-born Nechushtan has been living in the US for around a decade and, by all accounts, appears to have made the most of his time there. Following sage advice from fellow Jerusalem-born pianist Yitzhak Yedid, Nechushtan enrolled at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston and studied with such masters as pianists Ran Blake and Paul Bley, who had also tutored Yedid.
Opting for NEC was something of a seismic career and artistic shift for Nechushtan. “I had no idea what contemporary improvisation was before I went to NEC,” says Nechushtan. “When I was at the academy, all I knew about [outside pure classical music] was third stream.” The latter is a term coined by composer Gunther Schuller in the late 1950s, which relates to a fusion of classical music and jazz.
“I took a klezmer course, too,” he says. “That definitely broadened my horizons. Before that, I thought it was Eastern European music played at weddings. I never thought I could seriously study klezmer repertoire.” While at the Boston school, Nechushtan got some hands-on experience of the genre and played in the New England Conservatory Klezmer Band.
“That is one of the most acclaimed klezmer ensembles in the world, alongside the Klezmatics,” he notes.
World-famous Jewish New Yorker trumpeter Frank London, a member of the Klezmatics, will present a workshop at the annual Klezmer Festival, which will take place in Safed from August 18 to 20, and will also perform at the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival early next month.
The breadth of Nechushtan’s stylistic hinterland certainly comes across in his latest release, Venture Bound, which came out a couple of months ago. The nine self-penned tracks cover expansive sonic and dynamic ground. In “Dark Damsel,” the pianist delves deep into Middle Eastern territory, enlisting the help of Moroccan-born oud player Brahim Bigbane. And there are several quotes from “Morenica,” an old Ladino song best known for the versions by Esther Ofarim, Ofra Haza and Habreira Hativit.
The “Haunted Blues” cut on Venture Bound is just that, and the melody is steeped with heady blues textures and rhythms, with the odd rock-inclined departure. The closing number of the album, “Serpentrails,” references one of Nechushtan’s primary sources of inspiration – iconic bebop pioneer pianist Thelonious Monk.
Nechushtan has clearly ventured far and wide since his days at the academy in Jerusalem.
“When I told people there that I wanted to do a master’s degree in improvised music, there were quite a few raised eyebrows,” he recounts.
“Most of the people there thought that if you started studying in a particular direction, you should complete it.” Mind you, that doesn’t mean that the pianist has forsaken his musical roots.
“I continue to write classical music and orchestral works,” he says, “but I also incorporate jazz and improvised sections. It feels right to delve into different areas, and it feels more complete.” Nechushtan says it is very much a two-way street and that he plies his offerings across all kinds of domains.
“I include improvised passages in my classical works and, of course, there are many written parts in jazz works. I am considering releasing an album in the near future with [trumpeter] Roy Campbell and [bassist] William Parker. ” The pianist says that he increasingly goes with the flow.
“There is no particular direction that is the right one to follow. If something feels right for me – and that can be just a matter of intuition – I will go for it. I have around four hours of music I played with Roy Campbell and William Parker, and Daniel Carter who plays on practically every wind instrument in existence. Nothing of the music was written down. It is improvisation from beginning to end, and there is lots of interesting stuff in there. I’ll probably release it as a double album,” he says.
Should be worth the wait.
There are out-and-out avant-garde artists whose work is generally considered to be too challenging for people who prefer to get their musical kicks from the commercial and mainstream areas of entertainment.
But Nechushtan swings – frequently literally, in a musical sense – all ways.
“I write and play very communicative music and also noncommunicative music and written music and music without a written score,” he notes. “My upbringing in classical music and jazz enables me to enjoy the best of all worlds.”
Venture Bound represents a degree of closure and summation for Nechushtan.
“The CD is a sort of homage to the almost 10 years I have spent in New York, so the album is a salute to pianists whom I have heard in New York and pianists and composers that have influenced me,” he explains.
“One of them is [late French pianist Michel] Petrucciani, and there’s Thelonious Monk as well, whom I strongly reference on the album. I have lots of influences, including Israeli and Jewish influences. It all flows through me and infuses my music.”
For more information 077- 445-0701 and www.avrambar.co.il (Jerusalem); (03) 546-1891 and www.shabluljazz.com (Tel Aviv)
If you’re free this upcoming Monday, I have a performance that I’d love for you to attend. I’ll be returning with my trio to Somethin Jazz Club, where I’m in the process of laying down the foundations of my personal compositional and improvisational style. I’ve been lucky to have some wonderful partners in this endeavor and this time around will be no exception, as I will be joined by bassist Danny Weller and drummer Jay Sawyer. We’ll play a mixture of my own material and some choice selections from the Great American and Jazz songbooks.
I hope you can join the three of us and watch this process unfold.
Somethin Jazz Club is located at 212 E. 52nd Street (on the third floor). There IS a $10 cover along with a $10 drink minimum. We play two sets, from 9pm till 10:45pm. Once again, the show is this coming Monday, August 18th.
All the best,
P.S. If you want to REALLY be in the loop, please click the link below to follow me on Facebook!
It seems unfair that we have to wait until the decade is over to get a comprehensive review of the best music that has come out over the past ten years. It all seems pretty arbitrary, you know? I mean, let’s say you’re a fifteen-year-old living in NYC’s Upper East Side and you start guitar lessons mid-decade. This year, in fact. Chances are you were probably inspired by some favorites of yore. But after a couple of years of guitar lessons, you may want to play newer music, start your own band, and learn the best of what’s going on in the scene. This could help you draw from the contemporary greats and make your own music. That’s why we decided to create this list, so you don’t have to wait another five years before a comprehensive review of the decade’s best albums. Who knows where you’d find your influences by then. Anyway, this list intends to show you some of the more popular (and hidden) rock gems of the past five years. Perfect for playing at your next guitar lesson.
10. The Black Keys, El Camino
This band has been around for at least the past decade, though with 2010’s Brothers and 2011’s El Camino they hit their breakthrough, their moment of Late Night shows and Grammy wins. Their influences are bluesy, garage band-y, and pure American rock. Definitely a band worth listening to.
9. The National, Trouble Will Find Me
Want to learn soft, fingerpicking melodies? The National’s 2013 album is another addition to an already robust discography of somber love songs and reflective rock. If you’re unfamiliar with this band, take a listen and choose your favorite song to play at your next guitar lesson.
8. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
This band graduated just a little farther uptown than the Upper East Side, from Columbia. Their smart, unexpected lyrics are rich and deep, and their melodies are poppy and fun. Since their debut in 2007, they’ve been critically acclaimed, but last year’s Modern Vampires kept them as one of those bands that has to be mentioned when talking about the best of our era.
7. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
Kurt Vile’s (see below) former bandmate, Adam Granduciel has done well with the project the two founded together back in 2008. 2014’s Lost in the Dream will surely be in the top 10 of most critic’s best of lists this year. The long guitar solos are reminiscent of the ’70s rock that produced so many strong singles, but when you listen to the album all the way through, you’ll see it’s so much more.
6. Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Though the 2011 record is a follow-up to 2007’s debut For Emma, Forever Ago, it won the Grammy for Best New Artist. With good reason. The band’s name, which comes from the French for “good winter,” is reflective of this album, whose soundtrack you would play waking up in midwinter in a wood cabin as you boil water for coffee and enjoy a breakfast, watching the snow fall. Talk about passion, not only can Justin Vernon sing, he’s a helluva musician.
5. Kurt Vile, Waking on a Pretty Daze
Philly-raised Kurt Vile has been making music on his own since he was 17. Now in his mid-30s with a wife and daughter, 2013’s Waking on a Pretty Daze was his breakthrough. Though it wasn’t as commercial as other albums on this list, it signaled the arrival of an accomplished guitarist, who we can probably expect many more melodic and lyrically simple albums from.
4. Beach House, Teen Dream
The third album by this female-led duo is a masterpiece. The soaring voice of Victoria Legrand matches the hazy, dreamy melodies her guitarist Alex Scally plays. Somewhere in between the sounds of beachy surf and the ambient waves of an acid trip, this album is a great place to start if you want to explore this band’s discography.
3. LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening
The final album from James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem joins the immemorial ranks of those produced by bands that ended their careers too soon. Though much of the music on this album is not guitar-based, it’s worth including on this list because of its dance and electronic influence on subsequent records in rock music.
2. Tame Impala, Lonerism
This Australian band found success in the U.S. with their psychedelic 2012 album, though they’ve been well known for a while down under. Reminiscent of the classic Beatles, the lyrics and melodies on this album are wide-ranging and diverse, including comments on the passage of time and the deceptive nature of perception. A great band to listen to and learn from.
1. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
The third album by this Quebecois band was a major success in 2010. It won Album of the Year at the Grammys and helped establish them as one of the best bands around. While their self-referential Reflektor album in 2013 was also a critical success, it was The Suburbs that set the bar highest and made it hard to beat.
Kids love music. It’s a great way to have them learn responsibility (through daily practice), art (by learning about their music) and joy (by actually playing). Our music teaching lessons are perfect for kids because our teachers are professionals who know how to engage kids and make them excited about playing.
To prove our point about how kids love music, we asked a couple of boys who take piano lessons on the Upper East Side, aged 10 and 12, to choose their favorite music infographics and why. Here is what they said.
1. How Guitars Work
I liked how this infographic shows how guitars make music. Before I saw this, I didn’t know how guitars worked.
2. Guitar vs. Violin
I liked this infographic because it shows the details about each part of the violin. It also shows how different guitar and violin are.
3. Electric Guitar Timeline
I like how it shows the evolved electric guitars. They really changed a lot since 1931!
4. Complicated Guitars
I liked how this one because it shows all the parts that go into a guitar. It’s complicated.
5.Piano Teacher Facts
I liked it because it talks about teaching to play the piano and how piano teachers are.
6. Guitar Parts
I liked this one because it shows what each part of a guitar is used for and how different guitars look.
7. The Piano’s Evolution
This historical infographic shows the evolution of the piano, all the way to synthesizers and piano boxes.
8. Violin Sizes
This infographic shows that violins come in different sizes. My little brother would have to use a 3/4 size violin.
9. The World’s Most Expensive Guitars
This infographic guitars are really expensive yet people have bought them. The most expensive ones belonged to musicians like Jimi Hendrix.
10. Air Guitar
I liked this infographic because it shows what musicians do to entertain their audience. It also shows that air guitar is a sport.
News from KROM:
In New York, we are thrilled to be playing the opening night ofSubCulture’s annual Pianofest onSeptember 10th! SubCulture is a state-of-the-art new theater in Manhattan, and this two-week festival will be celebrating piano music of all genres. We will be performing in a triple bill with New York pianist Danny Fox, and renown organist Cory Henry (of Bruce Springsteen, P. Diddy, and Snarky Puppy fame among others). SubCulture is located at 45 Bleecker Street, and the show is at 8:00 pm on September 10th. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.
And in other news, we are FINALLY coming to the Chicago area to play a CD Release Concert! We will be performing for the first time at the Sherman Avenue Theater in Evanston onSaturday, October 4th at 7:00 pm. The theater is located at 1702 Sherman Ave in Evanston. We will be playing music from our latest album, as well as a lot of great new songs. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS. Chicago friends please spread the word :).
We will also soon be releasing some new videos, so to stay posted you can always check www.kromtrio.com or like our Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/kromtrio.
NEW YORK TICKETS
Amazingly, neither John, Paul, George or Ringo ever took drum, guitar or piano lessons. Harrison took sitar lessons when in the mountains of India, McCartney hired a private music teacher as an adult, and Lennon picked up Donovan’s clawhammer technique. But for the most part, these four musicians created some of the world’s best music simply by learning the basics on their own and practicing a lot. For being so famous and so good, it’s amazing that they learned music by teaching themselves.
For most people, however, it’s much more difficult to sustain that kind of determination and practice. And eventually they learned from each other, and from playing together for hours every day in Hamburg, where they used to perform in the Red Light District. It was after this two-year stint that they came to the world’s attention and went on to record some of the best albums in Western music. Out of all of The Beatles records, it’s hard to pinpoint a certain album that’s the absolute best. Let’s take a look at some contenders.
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
This album features some of the most famous early Beatles’ songs that helped inspire Beatlemania, such as “I Should’ve Known Better,” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” The pop-melodies on this record blend elements of folk and rock ‘n’ roll to create an early Beatles classic, defining the best of their teeny-bopper period.
Rubber Soul (1965)
This is the album I like to think of as firing off the classic Beatles era. With “Norwegian Wood” and “Michelle,” here the Beatles take on different sounds that move away from the pop they were traditionally associated with, and toward the experimental songs of later records. On Rubber Soul, we have a record that shifts through different moods and subject matter to create a complete and total work of art.
A continuation and further exploration of darker subject matter, this album was named the best album of all time in the hardcover book 1000 All-Time Top Albums. The opening tracks, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Taxman,” set a standard that the rest of the album lives up to musically. More rock-heavy than Rubber Soul and diverse than their previous work, here the Beatles began to explore and define a new genre: psychedelic rock.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Typically regarded as the best Beatles album, and the best album of all time, it’s easy to join in with the critics and make the case for this record as the best of the Beatles. With tracks like “With a Little Help From My Friends,” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” it’s easy to see why. But what makes this album so esteemed is its use of wide influences, ranging from vaudeville to a self-referential take on the pop of their early music. Altogether, Sgt. Pepper can be construed as the first concept album, and it’s one that’s delightfully easy to listen to.
The Beatles (White Album) (1968)
Perhaps the most divisive album this band ever made, both according to critical reception and the general attitude within the band at the time, today The White Album has many more fans today than it did in in 1968. At that time world politics were reaching a new pitch. Many critics wrote that the album deliberately avoided seriousness and instead reached for pastiche as an easier way to make a record. But songs such as “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” “Hey Jude,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” strike a melancholy chord that is hard to ignore. It’s as though the Beatles as well as the rest of the world knew that their days of peace were gone, and they were about to define a new era. In retrospect, it’s easy to see that this album helps to write the definition. This is my personal favorite.
Abbey Road (1969)
The best-selling Beatles album and perhaps the one with the most iconic album art, this record was the last recorded before the band’s dissolution, though Let it Be was released later, the following year. Although critical reception was at first largely negative, considering the use of synthesized tones on the album, today it is the most popular Beatles album. Classics such as “Something” and “You Never Give Me Your Money,” are just a couple of the most recognizable songs on this album, which seems like it is composed entirely of singles when we listen to it today.
All this Beatles talk makes us want to listen to—or play—our favorite songs. Thing is, because the Beatles never took music lessons, their songs aren’t composed of simple chords, but are variations, making them notoriously more difficult to play. That said, you may need some guitar lessons to play your favorite songs. What are they? Which album are they on? Feel free to let us know in the comments. And remember that unless you’ve got the dedication of a Lennon, McCartney, Harrison or Starr, it’s time to learn how to play the guitar.
On Friday, August 15th at 7:00pm, The Swingaroos will headline at The Metropolitan Room (34 W 22nd) with an autobiographical story of life as a 1940s Territory Band – as told through their original songs and personal favorites from the Swing-Era Hit Parade.