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!
Alright, alright, you know what day it is. As if the red and pink balloons and hearts all over the place didn’t give it away already, we wanted to make sure you knew that it that it was Valentine’s Day!
All clichés aside, we really do love this day. We despise the fact that Valentine’s Day has become all about whether you have a significant other to celebrate it with or not. It’s a day about love and celebrating all of the love you have in your life — not being reminded of whatever it is that you don’t have. And as music teachers, we love Valentine’s Day even more for all the great love songs that have been created over the years that celebrate love the way it’s meant to be. So whether you’ve got big plans or are kicking back with a rom-com tonight, make sure you take a moment to listen to some great music (that just so happens to be about love) — it’ll be just the thing to give you that warm, fuzzy feeling. Here are our top 10 picks of the most romantic songs of all time (in no particular order, of course). Make sure you share yours with us in the comments!
1. Forever and For Always, Shania Twain
A modern classic for sure, there’s just something about a country girl singing a love song that we can’t resist. All the 90’s kids will appreciate this sweet country-pop ballad!
2. Wicked Game, Chris Isaak
Is that Elvis? No! It’s the equally heart-melting voice of Chris Isaak. Who ever said that love songs were only happy and sappy? This sensual number [and its singer] is one of the most underrated in the love song category.
3. Push, Sarah McLachlan
While she’s plenty well-known for her tear-jerking “Angel”, Sarah McLachlan has penned, played and sung one of the most beautiful love songs you’ve probably never heard. No sad animals here!
4. God Only Knows, The Beach Boys
Okay, now who doesn’t love The Beach Boys? How can even resist the melodies and sweet harmonies of the original heartthrobs?! You can’t, that’s how. A list about the top love songs wouldn’t be complete without a Beach Boys number.
5. Just in Time, Nina Simone
There’s something about a jazz singer singing a love song that makes you feel like they’re truly singing the language of Love. And no one could convince us of that better than the legendary Nina Simone and her classic number.
6. Halo, Beyoncé
You had to have been living under a rock five years ago to not have been swept away by one of Beyoncé’s most popular ballads. Her incredible vocals, beautiful harmonies and instrumentals are the perfect combination to bring to life the lyrics penned by Ryan Tedder, songwriter and lead band member of OneRepublic. Tell us this isn’t a love song for the books.
7. The Way You Look Tonight, Frank Sinatra
You didn’t think we’d have a list of the most romantic love songs of all time and not have at least one of Frank Sinatra’s beautiful ballads? Every note that came out of this man’s mouth was the epitome of love, and this one is one of our particular favorites.
8. Let’s Dance, David Bowie
Another one of those atypical songs that is equal amounts of sensuality as it is love, this one will speak to all those 80’s kids out there. Get up and dance!
9. Perfect Day, Lou Reed
Ah, Lou Reed — no one can sing so fondly about a simple day and turn it into one of the best love songs of all time. That’s what love will do to you!
10. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston
This list would just be incomplete without this iconic love song that was not only originally sung by the incredible Dolly Parton but also by the unforgettable, late Whitney Houston. This pick just gives us the chills, and we love both versions equally because when it comes to a great love song, there’s just no picking favorites.
So, what did you think of our list? Did your your top love song make it on the list? Tell us in the comments and happy Valentine’s Day from the team at Music To Your Home!
So, unless you live under a rock (that’s sound-proof) you probably know that the 56th Grammy Awards were on TV last night. As much as we love our day jobs offering private music lessons in NYC and the surrounding area, we are musicians first and foremost. (Did you see the nod that one of piano instructors, Steven Feifke, received by The Boston Globe?!) With that said, you can only imagine how excited we get when any music awards show is on! But musical talent is all over the place — not just at an awards show. After all, people like Beyoncé, Madonna and John Legend were all just kids once upon a time learning their first musical notes on the piano or training their voices to get the right pitch and tone. And just look at them now!
One of the truly amazing things about technology these days is that showcasing your talent is easier than ever. What we really enjoy seeing is the creativity that everyday people put into creating covers for songs that we all know and love and then uploading them to YouTube. What better way is there to showcase your passion and talent for the world to see? After suffering from the Post-Grammy Blues this year, we decided to find the best covers out to inspire us and keep us entertained until the next music awards show. Here are the 5 best Grammys covers that we can’t — and we you know YOU won’t be able to stop listening to!
1. Royals, Lorde: Piano Cover by Tom Reading
All we can say is, wow…just wow. 13 separate tracks and using only one finger at a time to create this super complex and beautiful cover! Love.
2. Drunk in Love, Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z: Acoustic Cover by Lea Bailey
Not only is this cover incredibly interesting and beautiful as an acoustic version to Queen Bey’s catchy single featuring hip-hop hubby Jay-Z, but we truly respect this girl’s ability to play, sing and rap all the parts to the song! Who’s the triple threat now?
3. All of Me, John Legend: Cover by Joey Busse & Jack Feeny
Ah, there’s just very little to say about why we love this one. These guys do John Legend justice with their awesome duet of his swooner, “All of Me”.
4. Radioactive, Imagine Dragons: Cover by Lindsey Stirling & Pentatonix
We were already HUGE fans of violinist, composer, performer, all-star musician Lindsey Stirling who tends to blow our minds with the different genres in which you can incorporate the violin — but now this…WOW. This song was one of our faves from 2013 anyway, but the vocals lent by Pentatonix just repurposed it into a whole new song that we can’t listen to enough!
5. Brave, Sarah Bareilles & Roar, Katy Perry: Mashup Cover by Nathan Parrett & Pip
Okay, so we had to end this list with this totally brilliant mashup of two feel-good songs that always make us feel like we can take on the world. These guys do a beyond amazing job seamlessly blending two awesome jams into one (and what awesome voices!). Can we download this somewhere, please?!
What did you think of our favorite Grammys covers? Tell us your thoughts in the comments and share some of your other faves! ‘Till next time, play and sing like no one’s watching. 😉
Okay parents: We’ll be honest; even we have some sour memories of being forced into taking music lessons as kids — the long hours practicing indoors, the decrepit (not to mention ridiculously strict) teachers, the isolation from our friends playing music that just reminded us of funerals and horror film soundtracks! ‘Why, oh why? Why are our parents subjecting us to this!’ We wondered with desperation.
And now look at what we are doing, ourselves. 😉
But really — as much as we hate to admit it, our parents totally knew what they were doing. And as that old saying goes, we really did appreciate how music touched our lives from such a young age — it just took us a while to appreciate those music lessons. The instructors at Music To Your Home live, breathe and sleep music, though, and we definitely don’t want our young clients to take YEARS to love and appreciate music! And to that point, you know what other old saying we love?
Practice what you preach.
Now, before you go assuming that we’re just trying to get you to sign up for some fancy-schmancy NYC music lessons with your kids, you should know that you’re only half right. Seriously — we’re not as fancy-schmancy as you think. 😉
Now, as far as signing up for those music lessons with your children…well, why not? Oh okay, you need some convincing. Here’s a few more-than-fantastic reasons why enrolling in music lessons with your kids could be one of the best decisions you make for both you and them.
1. Keep Your Mind Young and Sharp
You may know that learning to play a musical instrument can help your children perform better in school, be more disciplined and be exposed to the creative arts from a young age. There is definitely research to back all these claims, but what you should also know is that Sudoku isn’t the only way to keep your brain working hard.
One study conducted at The University of St. Andrews and published in the journal Neuropsychologia found that, “musical activity could be used as an effective intervention to slow, stop or even reverse age, or illness, related decline in mental functioning.”
The research also concluded that people who played instruments were also quicker to recognize mistakes and correct them faster than those who didn’t! This is enough to make us want to get back in the studio right now.
2. Discover a Hobby to Keep You Healthy
Many people complain that as they get older, they find it harder to find a hobby they are truly passionate about [that doesn’t cost a fortune to maintain] and that can they do for themselves. Don’t be under the impression that learning a new musical instrument is just for kids. On any given day you can find any of us just walking to the beat of our own drum (sorry, no pun intended)!
Playing music has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, lessen anxiety and depression and possibly even help you fight off viruses better! Happiness and health all in one package?! Do you really need any more convincing that this is a fantastic hobby to pick up?
3. Set a Good Example for Your Kids
Think back of when you were a child and your parents didn’t allow you to do “grownup” things like stay up late or watch certain movies. They were trivial restrictions, but it’s often these things that left us feeling separated from their world. Learning to play music together doesn’t have to be that way!
Music lessons are a great way to do something with your children that’s beyond watching the latest movie. It promotes healthy bonding, combines your adult world with their adolescent — and did you read reasons one and two up there? And let’s not forget kids learn best by example. Showing them that you’re never too old to learn something new and work hard to achieve something you’ve never done before (not to mention the mistakes you’ll make and learn from along the way) is a priceless value you can instill in them. And didn’t you know that you’re never too old to act like a kid? 🙂
Ready to start you own little family band? Here’s some of the awesome instruments we can teach you and your family right in the privacy of your own home. (After all, it isn’t NYC if you can’t get music lessons delivered to your home, right?)
Learning guitar is hard work. That’s no secret.
It takes a special kind of dedication to sit down on your own once your guitar teacher leaves, thunking and clunking your way through a piece you could’ve sworn sounded way better when your instructor was around to help you.
So it begs the question: how do these new fangled Xbox instructors like “Rocksmith 2014” compare to taking traditional guitar lessons? Does having a virtual instructor at your fingertips really replace someone coming in, sitting down, and walking you through a piece?
Virtual Guitar Teaching
Rocksmith claims to monitor how you are progressing as a student, and dynamically changes its methods as you improve. It’s literally Guitar Hero for the real thing. You plug in, follow the tabs, and boom: you’re playing guitar. Guitar lessons were never so accessible.
It’s undoubtedly fast. And if you’re trying to impress your lady friend with your beautiful rendition of “Blitzkreig Bop” by next Wednesday, Rocksmith just might be the way to do it.
Are you really “learning?”
But hold on. Tabs, or tablatures, which basically tell you what fret to hold on what string, might be easy, but there’s a whole lot more to guitar than just what fret to put your finger on. Things like the pace of the piece all the way down to the subtle nuances of notes aren’t covered with tabs. You’re basically given an outline of a song, with the caveat that you’ll figure the rest out on your own.
Learning actual sheet music is an invaluable skill. It’ll help you transfer over much more easily, should you want to pick up another instrument. Learning an instrument is no different than learning math. You need the basic building blocks to get started.
Rocksmith can take you through the motions until you’ve got a song down by muscle memory, but having an instructor makes sure you understand what you are playing.
It’s like memorizing your flashcards versus actually understanding the material. You might pass the test, but you’ll have trouble applying the knowledge later on down the road if you never learned it to begin with.
It’s the longer, more difficult path to success. But trust us, your friends will be more impressed with your ability to sit down with any acoustic guitar and sight-read sheet music than if you plugged into Rocksmith and followed along to “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
Music isn’t rocket science.
That said, it’s not exactly something you can pick up and learn in a few weeks. It takes studying. It takes dedication. It takes lots and lots of practice.
Have you ever wanted to learn an instrument, but keep putting it off because the time isn’t right? Do you have a son or daughter who you want to teach discipline and self-motivation to? Do you just want to impress all your coworkers at the next holiday party with your incredible oboe skills? (Maybe not…)
Guitar and Piano Lessons are just the beginning
The first step is getting your hands on an instrument, but learning to play goes beyond that, too. You need to understand music as a culture. The different genres, the major players, the major news in the industry, any information you can get your hands on. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to become a master of your craft.
That’s what we’re here for. We want you to learn with us in real life and in virtual life. Taking piano lessons is a great stepping-stone, but if you want to hear live jazz on a random weeknight, where can you go?
When the music instructor leaves your place, you should have an outlet to continue honing the skills you were taught and learning more about those not yet covered.
The Internet is an absolutely amazing resource, and a great tool if you ever get stuck on a particularly difficult part of a song. For example, check out this guy who will teach you how to write a melody that goes with a chorus. This comes with the caveat that watching Youtube videos is NOT a substitute for live, in-person lessons. Youtube is a great resource to expand your musical knowledge, but you can’t interact with Youtube the way you can with an instructor.
Or this little girl absolutely killing it on the guitar. If you ever need inspiration to practice, take this girl’s video to heart.
The Internet is a place where you can take what you’ve learned and find the resources for real life application. Combined with the NYC guitar lessons or piano lessons you’re taking, it’s like having thousands of teachers at your fingertips.
Make music your best friend
Don’t let the learning stop when the lesson ends.
At Music to Your Home, we’re obsessed with music. We’re so obsessed with it we’ve made it our livelihood, and we want you to get obsessed with it, too. There’s more than enough blogs out there addressing things like music reviews, or where to catch some great live music. However, if you want a music outlet you can trust, while still learning the craft, then we’re the place for you.
Check back here a few times a week to see what we’re cooking up, be sure to follow us here on Twitter: https://twitter.com/musictoyourhome, and here on Facebook: www.facebook.com/musictoyourhome, so you’re always up on the latest news. If you’re looking for inspiration to finally learn the ins and outs of music, this is the place to start.
Just take that first step.