Child playing piano
Adult Music Lessons - Drum Lessons - Guitar Lessons - health - Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - Performance - Piano Lessons - wellness

5 Ways Playing A Musical Instrument Can Benefit Your Health

 

Besides being fun, learning and playing a musical instrument can have many positive effects on your health and mental wellness. Research shows that these benefits can occur at any age and come from playing any instrument. Keep reading to see why people are playing instruments to improve their general health.

Stress Relief – Playing an instrument can help refocus bad energy into something positive and enjoyable, which in turn can help alleviate stress. Reduced stress levels lead to slowing down your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. Research shows that playing and composing music can reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels.

Improves respiratory system – Whether you’re singing show tunes or blowing into a saxophone or oboe, one of the most important things you can learn is how to breathe properly. Producing a good sound on any wind instrument is dependent on your breath, making breathing with the proper technique a must.  So while you are in the pursuit of becoming a great singer or woodwind player you are actually also improving your respiratory system.

Exercise – Playing an instrument can be a great form of physical activity. Playing the piano, guitar or drums takes a lot of upper body strength and playing  for extended periods of time can help build muscle while also improving your posture and increasing your stamina.

Improves Cognitive Performance – It has been shown that playing and listening to music can help improve memory in  people suffering from  Alzheimer’s disease. Playing music has even been shown to help people recover from strokes as well as slow down the onset of dementia and Alzheimers.

Improved Immune System -Research between Tenovus Cancer Care and the Royal College of Music has found that singing for an hour can increase levels of immune proteins, reduce stress and improve people’s mood. Studies have also shown that making music enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses.

 

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Online Music Lessons - Performance - Piano Lessons - Piano Recital

 3 Reasons Why Your Child Must Take Piano Lessons

 

Between baseball, soccer, karate and cell phones, our children’s schedules are packed with  fun activities. If you were on the fence about adding piano lessons into the weekly grind, here are a few reasons why piano lessons might be an important activity for your child to be involved in.

  1. Learning to play the piano helps teach children how to concentrate, focus and be patient. During a piano lesson so many different skills are being learned. Students are essentially learning how to read an entirely new language. Children are learning to be present and in the moment and to focus on the music and the technique it takes to make the music.  It’s a great way for kids to clear their minds of stress for an hour a week and concentrate on an amazing art. Piano lessons are also a great way to challenge kids into learning a new skill. Learning how to sit down and focus on a task will help them in many different ways as they get older.
  1. Piano lessons help develop speech, cognitive skills and social abilities. Music study requires a high degree of precision in auditory processing: being almost in tune is not good enough. This means that musically trained children are better able to distinguish subtle details of speech, leading to improved reading, better comprehension, and also a greater ability to interpret what other people– children and adults – are really saying.” (The Royal Conservatory) https://www.rcmusic.com/sites/default/files/files/RCM_MusicEducationBenefits.pdf

     3)  Piano lessons boost self-esteem.

Piano lessons offer an activity where children can learn to accept and utilize constructive criticism.          Overcoming negative feedback with practice and accomplishing goals will help build confidence and self-esteem in students. Recitals and other other performances will help build confidence in other non musical areas such as public speaking. Also, having a musical skill can help a child stand out from everyone else, further adding to their self confidence.

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Bass Lessons - Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - New York City

The 3 Most Important Electric Bassists That Every Bass Player Should Know and Study

The 3 Most Important Electric Bassists That Every Bass Player Should Know and Study

So you want to play bass, huh?  Well, let me be the first to welcome you to the club, and if you’ve already spent some time with the bass or are a seasoned player, that’s beautiful too! As a beginning, intermediate or advanced player of the bass, I think we can all agree that there’s always more to learn, and that we’re never done in our pursuit of mastering this wonderful instrument.  Oftentimes I find myself looking for the next source of study, and usually I end up coming back to a handful of the same players who revolutionized the instrument decades ago. I believe that these are the players that merit a lifetime of study. I’d like to also add that this list is MY OPINION ONLY, and if these bassists stylistically don’t do it for you, that is totally fine. The key is finding players who inspire you, and learning from them, no matter what style! So without further ado, lets begin!

A lot has been made of the Fender Precision Bass over the years, but it can be argued that no one has taken it to greater heights than James Jamerson, the long unheralded bass genius of the Motown Sound. Jamerson was part of the Motown studio band called, “The Funk Brothers”, and together they played on more no. 1 hit records than The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and Elvis combined. Jamerson was the groove master behind this unit.

The facets of Jamerson’s playing that make him stand out are his perfect time, tone, and his melodic bass line construction. Jamerson was one of the first to adopt the electric bass, a new invention in the late 50’s/early 60’s. He started on upright bass, and he played the Fender bass similarly, with just his index finger plucking the strings. This gave him a warm and punchy tone that anchored records by artists such as The Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye, and earned him the nickname, “The Hook”. He was also one of the first bassists to deviate from the popular music bass zeitgeist of the time, which consisted of mostly playing roots and 5ths. By delving into more adventurous harmonic territory, creating counterpoint lines with the vocalist, Jamerson rewrote the rules on how pop bass is played.

Iconic Jamerson bass lines:

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO_PWF0bmoM

What’s Goin’ On – Marvin Gaye

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-kA3UtBj4M

Darling Dear (Isolated Bassline) – The Jackson 5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvI1Nis7RkU

 

The way that James Jamerson transformed the Fender Precision Bass is what Jaco Pastorius did for the Fender Jazz Bass. He did the unthinkable in the 70’s and 80’s by turning the electric bass into a soloistic instrument, finding ways to play melody, harmony, and rhythm, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. He is best known for his playing with the jazz-fusion band, Weather Report, and folk songwriter and singer Joni Mitchell.

Jaco’s unique traits were his melodiousness, tight grooves, and outrageous technique, the likes of which had never been heard and are rarely seen or heard even today.  Jaco was a gifted composer as well, and wrote several beautiful tunes that have gone on to become standard repertoire in the fusion genre. Because of his ear for composition, Jaco could play hauntingly beautiful melodies in the upper register of his instrument, which at the time was uncharted territory for bassists. Unfortunately, his melodic sense was often overlooked due to his monstrous technique that not only spanned playing fast in the conventional sense, but playing chords and harmonics as well. He did what had never been done, which was give the bass a human voice.

Iconic Jaco Pastorius examples:

Portrait of Tracy – Jaco Pastorius

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsZ_1mPOuyk

Teen Town – Weather Report (a Pastorius composition)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSUk8bSVHYc

Coyote – Joni Mitchell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHQfIwyEVzY

 

There are many reasons why Stanley Clarke is important to the electric bass, but one of the most significant is that he was an absolutely monster on the electric bass AND the upright acoustic bass, one of the first masters of both. He began his career playing upright bass with straight-ahead jazz artists such as Joe Henderson, Art Blakey, and Horace Silver. With Chick Corea, he formed Return to Forever, one of the first jazz- fusion bands and would go on to release a number of hit records as a solo artist.

Clarke’s standout features are his ability to play both electric and upright bass at a high level, his compositional ability and being one of the first bassists to bring slapping to prominence. Clarke has lead his own band for decades, where he plays both basses, and has even found a percussive way of playing on the upright bass. In his band, they play mostly Clarke original tunes, but he is also an accomplished film composer, having scored such projects as “Pee Wee’s Playhouse”, and “Boyz n the Hood”.  And while the slap bass concept is credited to Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone, Clarke played a large role in bringing it to prominence and expanding it technically.

Iconic Stanley Clarke examples:

School Days – Stanley Clarke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrnI7TQ44U0

The Romantic Warrior – Return to Forever

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lObVilGPjHc

Silly Putty – Stanley Clarke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXsZVs1EEfw

 

I hope this gives you some new stuff to check out, and if this is all familiar territory to you, I encourage you to keep exploring and see if maybe there’s something undiscovered that you can find. Happy listening!

 

Author Maximillian G. is an up and coming bassist and bass superfan who can be found gigging all over NYC and is also available for private bass lessons in your home.  Contact us today to schedule your NYC bass lesson with him!

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Phaitoon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - Voice Lessons

When Should My Child Start Voice Lessons? Now!

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Unlike the guitar, saxophone or piano, when it comes to singing, your body IS your instrument. And we all know that taking care of our bodies is not only paramount to living a healthy life but also helps you sing to your full potential. So when it comes to the idea of little kids starting voice lessons there’s a bit of confusion so allow me, someone who started formal singing lessons at 5 years old and with not a nodule in sight, to clear up any misconceptions.

Let’s begin by saying that most likely your 6 year old isn’t chomping at the bit to sing Italian Art Songs. If they are? Cool, we’ll cover that so read on.   They probably enjoy singing the soundtrack to the latest Disney hit or Taylor Swift song.   Either way, professionally trained voice teachers know that working with voices that haven’t matured yet require tapping into a skill-set and repertoire that accommodate an undeveloped body and mind.

Our philosophy is pretty simple, we think kids playing music, any kind of music, is igniting that part of the brain those newspaper articles are always talking about, so we’ll teach any song a kid wants, and we’ll show them how to sing it in such a way that they are laying the groundwork for correct vocal technique while having fun! Yes, it’s possible!

The first song I learned how to sing was the theme to Sesame Street. My teacher knew I loved it, it was simple, familiar, and I enjoyed practicing it every day. I eventually moved on to show tunes, ran through the Les Miz book, the Rogers & Hammerstein classics, discovered the Tapestry record, was introduced to Italian Arias and opera, fell in love with jazz, all the while rock and folk rested closely in my heart. But the point I’m making is that every genre I sang as I grew up, I was always using proper technique because my teachers recognized the right repertoire to suit my age and growing body.

Kids today have shows like The Voice to inspire them- and that’s amazing, but some of those contestants have no formal training and are actually straining their voices pretty badly. You can hear a lot of them “sitting” on their vocal chords, putting all that tension on the throat where it doesn’t belong.   That’s the damaging stuff we are avoiding with proper coaching.

So are we looking to have your six-year old work on their belly breathing and tongue position? We’ll get there over time, but for now that child will enjoy singing their favorite songs while the seeds to formal training are planted.   And you can rest easy knowing they’ll be no permanent damage in sight for your young musician.

For in-home singing lessons, visit: https://www.musictoyourhome.com/voice-singing-lessons-nyc/

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - Voice Lessons

Helpful tips for all singers.

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Ever hear the saying pee clear, sing wet? We know it sounds gross. But think about it. Last time you drank a glass of milk didn’t it feel like you had, well, a glass of milk stuck in your throat? This obviously will not help with your vocal technique but here are some insightful tips from the pros that will.

Hydrate! We are all constantly bombarded with calls to hydrate and we’re jumping on the bandwagon too. 8-10 glasses of water a day. Sing wet.

Rest! Yes, resting is good for your body and your voice. Fatigue will not help you nail The Queen of the Night aria by Mozart.

Humidify! Dry air? Fix it. Grab a humidifier and use it at night. Steam showers are another great remedy for staying moist.

Eat well! Melons promote hydration. Fruits loaded with antioxidants are great for overall vocal function. Fried foods and spicy foods are not.

Warm up! Do your vocal warm-ups before you hit the stage, start your lessons, or jam with friends. At this point, if you don’t know this, call us ASAP and we will send you a voice teacher directly to your home to show you proper vocal exercises!

There are also some over the counter remedies out there. Try Singer’s Saving Grace, a throat spray that soothes throat dryness. Enjoy a spot of tea now and then? Indulge in Throat Coat Tea, which according to its description, “helps you sing it loud, say it proud, stand up and be heard.” Keep any of these items near your piano during your NYC voice lesson and you’re guaranteed to impress your teacher!

Learning to care for your voice and use it properly at an early age will definitely help you avoid the dreaded nodes we hear so many pop stars battling with today. Take good care of your body, take good care of your instrument. It’s simple, pee clear, sing wet.

 

Image courtesy of Pixomar at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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 - Voice Lessons

Want to learn how to sing? Here’s what you need to know from our expert!

Kiyan

Kiyan T.

Music to Your Home is proud to work with the best, brightest and coolest musicians in NYC so we’ve been picking their brains about music lessons.  The latest interview was with Kiyan T., who took the time out of his busy schedule consisting of teaching, recording and performing to answer these 10 important questions every parent considering singing lessons for their child should know.

 

1) What advice would you give to parents who are considering getting vocal lessons for their children?

Kiyan: Make sure to speak with the child beforehand to see what they’re into as far as genre, or what they see for themselves musically, in conjunction with your own opinion. This way, you can know what you’re looking for in a teacher.

 

2) Why do you think vocal lessons have become so popular over the past few years?

Kiyan: Thats a large question! I think there’s a large correlation to singing and the high-glam pop star image that technology permeates into media. Its important to remember that singing is art, technical, and requires an instrument (the human body) to be understood and mastered, with plenty of love and passion!

 

3) What is the right age for a child to start singing lessons?

Kiyan: I would say no younger than 7. Maybe an unusually intuitive 6 year old?

 

4) How much daily practice time does it take to become a great singer?

Kiyan: I don’t think a “daily” regiment is the answer. You need to love singing, and feel that natural inclination to express through this medium, in order to have the desire to practice enough to become “great”, however many hours that takes.

 

5) Are vocal warmups important? If so what are you favorite to do?

Kiyan: Honestly, I talk so much that by the time I have to sing, the voice is already warm. I enjoy warm ups in minor keys that feel like musical lines. This gets the ear going, as well as a sense of carving out a phrase.

 

6) Do you think having a piano at a vocal lesson is important?

Kiyan: It makes it much easier, yes, but I have done Skype lessons without a piano for many years without a hitch.

 

7) What do you love about teaching voice lessons?

Kiyan: I love that, in my self-centric life as a recording artist, I get to take all of my musical faculties and apply them to another person. Its a rewarding balance of ego for me in the sense that while on my time, I will ask you to think of music the same way I do (visually, kinesthetically, emotionally), which leads to so much growth. I often find my approach just catches people off guard in how absolutely simple it is.

 

8) What was your most memorable teaching experience?

Kiyan: I was in college, and I had a student come to me completely unable to match pitch. I’m talking: I play middle C, and he sings the F# two octaves below. After two or three months, I said “listen, I don’t know if this is going to work. I’m starting to feel bad taking money from you when I can’t even get a single note out of you.” He wouldn’t have it, and insisted that we continue. It was only after research on overtones from the piano as opposed to the human voice did I realize that all I had to do was use my voice as reference. I had him doing a major scale, in solfege, up and down, and unaccompanied in two weeks. What a huge triumph this was!

 

9) When and where was your most memorable performance?

Kiyan: My first solo show in New York was a highlight for me.

 

10) Who are the singers that have inspired you?

Kiyan: Too many to list, but: Patti LaBelle, Beyoncé, and Edita Gruberova.

 

Kiyan T. is available in NYC for voice & piano lessons.  Contact us today to schedule yours!

 

 

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Guitar Lessons
Adult Music Lessons - Guitar Lessons - Inspiration - Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts

The “Should Syndrome” And Learning To Play Like a Child

Rianne M.

There exists in my adult students a special phenomenon that I have affectionately labeled The “Should” Syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome include excessive self-doubt, narrow judgment regarding what is going well with their playing, and when their frustration is at its peak, passive aggression toward their teacher when she tries to give them a compliment.    It is always interesting to note the difference in attitude between the kids I teach and the adults I teach. Some of the adults enjoy music as much as the kids do, but there is always an air of self-consciousness about their age and what they don’t already know (read: what they “should” already know by their age). Mistakes in lessons are immediately followed by apologies. Comments are made about how they may be “too old” to still be trying to learn this. They lament, “I would be good at this now if I had just started playing when I was young.” Etc., etc., etc.

Kids, on the other hand (especially the younger ones), rarely apologize or even acknowledge their mistakes. An eight year-old who gets a new guitar rips it out of the delivery box and immediately starts banging on it and sliding his fingers around the fretboard, experimenting with the different sounds even though he doesn’t know anything about the instrument yet. This is because he is too busy being interested in this new, alien thing in front of him than he is with what the world’s expectations of him regarding that thing are. A thirty-eight year-old often comes to their first lesson waiting for instructions and not doing anything until the teacher instructs them to, for fear of looking silly. Ultimately, this is not such a bad thing, but they don’t feel free to experiment and connect with their guitar on their own level because this way might not be the “correct” way.  I see this in my more experienced adult students too, as well as my musician colleagues. Once you’re older, your personal responsibilities and psychological demons start to cloud your connection with your art. As adults – both beginners and professionals – we are all familiar with the following scenario:

It’s a weekday afternoon and I need to squeeze in some practice time in the only free hour I have today. As I pick up my instrument, I remember for the third time that the rent is due tomorrow and I’m still waiting for that one check to clear. There’s nothing I can do about it now, but it’s still bothering me. I begin to warm up by playing some scales. As I play and some notes don’t come out as well as I would like them to, I begin to tense up my hands and body. Then the tension makes it even harder. I watched a YouTube video of a ten year-old prodigy playing faster-than-lightning this morning. I’m at least a decade older and I can’t play these scales nearly that fast. My mistakes don’t just feel physically uncomfortable now. I feel silly for making them, as if someone is in the room with me and judging me for being a bad person.

Speaking of being a bad person, I got into a fight with my significant other yesterday and said some mean things, and along with the rent, that’s on my mind too. I look at the clock and I have half an hour left. I still feel silly about those mistakes with my scales, but now it’s time to move on to the pieces I’ve been working on. I still don’t like my sound right now, but I know I have to get this work done.

The phone rings as I’m ten minutes into working on this piece. There’s an issue with a project I’ve been assigned to at work and I need to put down my instrument and go to the computer to solve it. I could fix it later, but my boss will probably want it done right now, and I don’t want to look bad. I’ll need to practice everything another day, even though my sound is still not great and I only have a few days before my next lesson. When will I ever sound like that kid in the video? What am I even doing with my life?

Young children don’t go through this thought process when they play. Children do not have all of the subconscious biases about how the world “should” be, like adults do. They do not separate the everything in their environment into strict categories, like adults do. They do not have a defined idea of who they are yet, so they do not exclude possibilities and pursue their interests without hesitation. (A friend of mine who teaches elementary school told me a story about how on the day before winter break, she had her students cut out and color pictures of holiday objects. The choices included Christmas trees, menorahs, etc. When a boy from a Jewish family chose a Christmas tree, she inquired as to what made him choose Christmas symbols rather than Hannukah ones. The boy stared at her, puzzled by the question, and said “I just think that the tree is pretty”. What many adults would assume he “should” choose did not even occur to him!)

Because of this openness, children have an extreme advantage when it comes to learning anything, and they absorb information like a sponge. The advantage to starting to play music when you are younger, then, is not because people eventually become “too old” to learn – the advantage lies in the fact that the more time you spend studying music when you are a child, the more time you’ve spent building a connection to music without ever questioning your worth at it or having to deal with adulthood’s endless distractions. This connection causes a snowball effect of positive experiences, which slowly creates a positive self-image regarding music for an individual once they have reached adolescence and eventually, adulthood. By this time, they are not trying to learn music – they are a musician.

What is the solution, then? Obviously, we cannot do a System Restore on our minds to make ourselves stop thinking like an overly self-aware adult.

Recognize that even if the voice inside your head has some unhelpful things to say, you can learn to silence it and just enjoy the music. Think about all of the things that you enjoyed as a little kid with unbridled passion and how you approached those things. Have fun and stop the adult voice in your head that says your picture is “wrong” because you didn’t color in the lines. Play like a child…

Rianne M. is currently giving guitar lessons in NYC to adults and children, and occasionally blurs the line between them with her teaching styles.  Contact us today to schedule a lesson with her!

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flute lessons
Flute Lessons - Inspiration - Music History - Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - Nature

From ancient bird bones to concert halls. Unlocking the mystery of the Flute.

The oldest instrument in the world is the flute; to be specific, a couple of 42,000 year-old bird-bone flutes found in a cave in Germany. The last few centuries have transformed the Western concert flute from a hollow stick or bone with holes in it into a shiny, intricately wrought metal tube with a complex mechanism of keys, springs and rods. However, the musical character of the flute is still closely tied to its history as a ceremonial instrument and with the natural world of wood and bird-bones from which the earliest flutes were fashioned. With its shimmering tone and ability to play very high and very fast, the flute can evoke the calls of birds, rolling hills and soaring skies, while it’s dark and smooth low register conjures up an air of mystery and ritual.

It’s an amazing feeling to play an instrument with such deep history, but that’s only part of the flute’s story…

Over the last century there has been increasing interest into the sound-world of the flute beyond its beautiful and rich tone. When I first began delving into this world in my early years of college at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and more recently at the Manhattan School of Music, I was astonished by the variety of possible sounds: the low beat of a distant drum, the sound of a passing jet, gentle rapid fluttering (the sound of amplified hummingbird wings?), very high whistling, the crisp POP of popping corn, a train horn, a siren… the list goes on (and beyond easy comparison with environmental sound). These sounds are known as extended techniques, and the flute has one of the most diverse ranges of extended techniques of any instrument.  Extended techniques have been increasingly explored by performers and used by composers over the last century because as well as being fun sounds in themselves, they broaden the expressive possibilities of instruments. If you think about it as an artists’ paint palette, extended techniques have broadened the color range of instruments from the primary colors of traditional tone to a vast range of mixtures and shades.

As well as expanding the expressive potential of instrumental music to fit with our ever-changing world, extended techniques can be extremely useful practice tools. An important reason for learning music is that it sharpens our ears and it teaches us to listen. However, the attention to detail necessary for productive practice can be frustrating for students, and this is where extended techniques can be very helpful. Incorporating extended techniques into learning an instrument can re-introduce the freedom of play into a context that can quickly become obsessive and un-creative. Sometimes when that high note just won’t come out the way we want it, rather than repeating it over and over and becoming annoyed and disheartened, playing a few multiphonics (for example) can help press the re-start button: refreshing the ear, re-connecting with a spirit of experimentation and in this case approaching the issue of air-speed (the problem behind the troublesome high note) from a totally different angle.

Learning an instrument is many things, and it is something different to everyone, but without a doubt it should be fun and creative! The best music comes from a place of imagination as well as great technique!

Andrea W. is now available for flute lessons in your home or online.  Contact Music To Your Home to schedule yours with her today!

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Inspiration - Music Lessons - New York City - Performance - Trumpet Lessons

A trumpet player living the NYC Dream: An Interview with David N.

Music To Your Home is proud to work with the best and brightest music teachers NYC has to offer, and David N. is no exception.  He holds degrees from Juilliard, New England Conservatory, and Berklee College of Music.  An impressive resume is one thing, but beyond that, David is a passionate teacher and all around nice guy with great advice for trumpet players.
1) What advice would you give to parents who are considering getting trumpet lessons for their children?
David: When I started out playing trumpet, my parents were nothing but supportive. I showed interest in music at an early age, and I think my parents knew to nurture that as well as let me know that it would take some work on my part to learn to read music, to play the trumpet, to perform in front of people, etc. Music is a hard but very fun topic to learn at an early age because I think while progress can’t be technically “measured”, there certainly is an aspect of tangible knowledge the student will learn that they can then put to use on the trumpet or whatever their instrument is. Music truly teaches the student much more than just how to play an instrument and notes on a page, and I think the awareness that music can teach discipline, creativity, and can support a social environment is very important.
2) How you inspire your students?
David: To me, inspiration comes from listening to other people play music. I’ve found that while providing a solid base knowledge of instrument fundamentals, music theory, and other skills that pertain to ones musicianship; exposing a student to different types of music, art, etc. helps. I always ask my students, “What type of music do you listen to?”, and “Have you ever heard music with trumpet in it?” I feel that by finding music that they can now strive to play really ignites the student’s drive to want to work to a particular level.
3) What is the youngest trumpet student you have taught?
David: The youngest students I have taught have been around 6 years old.
 
4) How much daily practice time does it take to become a good trumpet player?
David: While trumpet is a difficult instrument to learn, I think that a solid and focused 25 minutes a day can really put the student into a disciplined mindset to make consistent progress.
5) What is your favorite book to use with beginner trumpet students?
David: The Standard of Excellence books are great beginner material, and for my more advanced students, the Rubank book or the Arban’s are typically the life-long study material for trumpet players.
6) What do you love most about teaching trumpet lessons in NYC?
David: In the past three years of living and teaching in NYC, I have met some unbelievably bright students. I think being exposed to what NYC has to offer culturally (music, art, dance, education, etc.), really puts some students on a higher creative level. Being able to go see world-class musicians in Lincoln Center, the West Village, all over the city; really ignites the students inspiration to want to progress to that higher level.
7) What was your most memorable teaching experience?
David: My most memorable teaching experience was when I was on faculty at the Torino Jazz Festival Juilliard Jazz Workshop. The first day, I was greeted by about 12 trumpet students who were eager to take me to coffee, and hear about NYC, jazz, my inspirations, my influences, etc. After a week of meeting with them 8 hours a day and coaching an ensemble, they were then told they would be performing at the final day of the Torino Jazz Festival on the main stage. Watching them perform one of my pieces was an incredibly humbling experience, and afterwards being thanked so sincerely was truly an amazing feeling.
8) When and where was your most  memorable performance?
David: In 2011, I performed at the Panama Jazz Festival with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. Nerves aside, the feeling of walking onstage greeted by over 10,000 audience members was truly the most overwhelming feeling I’ve had performing. Afterwards we were approached by interviewers, and audience members who wanted autographs. It was really a feeling of love that came from the audience that I had never felt before.
9) Who are the trumpet players that have inspired you?
David: Everyone who has ever played trumpet before me, and after meeting so many musicians, trumpet players, and most importantly, friends; in the past 10 years of going to college, and living in NYC. They are the ones that inspire me.
 
10)What is your favorite piece to play on the trumpet?
David: My favorite experience playing music is playing music of my peers. It’s truly an honor to be playing with such amazing composers and players, and have access to their creativity while we try and make music together.
11) What do you love about NY and being a musican in NY?
David: Since I first learned about jazz, living in NYC has always been a dream of mine. While living in NYC as a musician isn’t the easiest lifestyle, the inspiration all of us get here is second to none. Being able to see and hear and meet, and even play with these musicians who I have listened for years, is truly inspiring. The culture in NYC is so forward-thinking and it’s a daily inspiration to be around like-minded people.
When he’s not gigging or making records, David teaches trumpet to students all over the great city of NY.  Contact us to schedule a private trumpet lesson with him today!
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Music To Your Home
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