Music has an indescribable power. It can evoke emotions within a moment, stir a memory with the strike of one chord and bring countless hours of enjoyment, love, laughter and tears.
That is why many people have a desire to learn a musical instrument, yet hold back because of one simple reason; age!
It is not just the upper age limit that can present presumed problems, many parents are keen for their children to start along their musical path, but wonder whether they are too young to get started.
As an experienced music teacher I am keen to share my knowledge and expertise with you as we focus on our burning question; is there an upper or a lower age limit to learning a musical instrument? Let’s take those age limits one at a time.
Is There A Lower Age Limit To Learning A Musical Instrument?
Absolutely not! Did you know that you can help your child to take its first steps along its musical journey while it is still in the womb? It is strongly believed that playing music to an unborn child can have a positive impact, in fact, classical music is thought to even improve the intellectual ability of a growing baby, quite a thought!
Once your little bundle of fun has arrived, you will be keen to help that musical journey continue. Evidence suggests that until your child reaches nine years of age, there is a promising window for introducing a musical instrument. Many teachers will not take students until they are at least five years of age. However, this does not mean that your child cannot start to learn before that.
The best way you can help your child to start learning music before he or she reaches an age when they can attend professional music lessons is to expose them to as much music as possible. The aim at this age, is not to introduce them to instruments so that they will master them, but rather to help them develop a relationship and love of music. Even a toddler can fall in love with music!
While a traditional music teacher for a specific instrument may not take students that are very young, you may be able to find a general music class for babies and toddlers. The aim will normally be to help your youngster focus on the music being played, perhaps by swaying to the music, dancing with your baby in your arms or singing or playing music.
As the child grows, perhaps by the age of three, they may be able to attend more formal music lessons, again with a focus on music, rather than a specific instrument.
Once your child is five, they will now have developed a sub-conscious understanding of music, as well as a relationship with it. At this point, you will be in the perfect position to decide which specific instrument your child would enjoy learning. Giving music to your child is certainly one of the finest gifts you could bestow as a parent.
Is There An Upper Age Limit To Learning A Musical Instrument?
So we understand that there isn’t a lower age limit to learning music, but what about the upper age limit? I am going to give you the same clear answer as before; absolutely not!
Music is a gift, and anyone who is blessed with the ability to be alive should feel more than welcome to make use of it. That being said, you should be aware of a couple of crucial things you are going to need if you want to start your musical journey later in life.
Patience is a virtue! For youngsters, having youth on their side tends to speed up the learning process. Also, many have a natural musical talent which can be tapped into very well at a young age. Unfortunately, as the years creep up on us, so does the need for extra patience when embarking on a new venture. So long as you are willing to enjoy each step of the journey, you are going to do just fine!
Learning a musical instrument at an older age also requires a commitment to practice. When youngsters learn an instrument, they tend to be already in a learning system. Many are students at school or kindergarten and may also attend other extracurricular lessons. This means their brain is naturally in learning mode. For older music students, it is time to engage the learning part of your brain and give it enough opportunities to practice that progress will become satisfying.
Indeed being able to play a musical instrument is one of the life’s most enchanting pleasures. Remember, age is only a number, and should never be a roadblock in your quest to become a musician, why you can even use it to your advantage!
New York City has long been known for its thriving music scene. Some of the biggest bands in the world came out of New York City, and many bands see playing at Madison Square Garden as a career highlight.
NYC’s music scene is still very strong. With that said, it has gone through a lot of changes in the last 20 years. Here are a few of the ways in which New York has changed:
NYC And Hip Hop
New York City was once one of the most significant cities in the world of hip-hop. A lot of hip-hop artists were able to rise to prominence after successfully releasing mixtapes to the NYC audience.
Now, however, hip-hop doesn’t have the strong presence that it once did. That doesn’t mean that hip-hop has faded away; it is just that other cities are currently a lot more important to hip hop than NYC is.
The Closure Of Important Clubs
A lot of bands became famous after playing some of the Big Apple’s biggest music clubs. CBGB’s might be the primary example of this; the club was strongly associated with bands like The Ramones.
Because of rising rent prices in New York City, a lot of these clubs have had to shut down. Many of the most influential music venues in NYC have had to shut their doors.
Many bands set out with the goal of playing these special venues and were never able to reach that goal.
A decade or two ago, a lot of musicians felt like they had to head to a city like New York to make it big. For example, the famed artist Bob Dylan left small-town Minnesota behind to make a career for himself in NYC.
Thanks to the internet, it isn’t necessary for musicians to leave their home to start a career. Instead, a lot of musicians can kickstart their careers online.
There are still a lot of talented people creating music in NYC. However, fewer talented people are motivated to head out to NYC. A lot of people feel like they can accomplish the same kinds of things without having to leave their home.
Changes To The Radio
The radio market has changed dramatically since radio first took off. There has been a great deal of consolidation. A handful of companies now controls most of the radio stations in the country.
This has made it a lot more difficult for artists to break out on radio. If someone at Clear Channel doesn’t like an artist’s music, they are not going to play it. They are only going to play the things that they enjoy.
This has caused a lot of people to stop trying to infiltrate the radio scene. Instead, artists are trying to forge out their careers for themselves.
New York City isn’t necessarily the best place for a project like this. Even if you’re an established musician, being in NYC means that you are going to be a small fish in a very big pond.
Instead, artists are focused on the markets that they can crack. Some artists are trying to build careers for themselves in cities that are smaller, but still very music-focused, like Nashville. Others are primarily concentrating on winning over an internet audience.
The value of being in New York doesn’t want it used to be. A talented band in New York isn’t any more likely to succeed than a talented band in Iowa. In this day and age, both bands have about the same chance of success.
A Focus On Fundamentals
A lot of people have focused on how the music scene in NYC has deteriorated over the last few decades. It is important to remember that the music scene has also strengthened in some ways.
One of the most positive things in the NYC music scene today is the focus on fundamentals. A lot of young musicians aren’t playing by ear or figuring things out as they go like The Ramones did. Instead, these musicians are mastering the instruments that they play.
A lot of students have received music instruction from a very young age. These students have used that instruction to create impressive and incredible music of their own.
It is clear that the NYC music scene has changed dramatically. Some of those changes have been very positive, while others have been fairly negative.
While not everyone loves the ways in which New York has changed, people are always going to appreciate the city’s contributions to the music scene. If you can become a success in a city like New York, then you are going to be able to become a success no matter where you are.
2016 has been quite a tough year for music lovers worldwide since it has witnessed the loss of many top musicians. The year started with the exit of David Bowie, a music maestro in January and much the subsequent deaths of other legends including Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, Prince, and others.
Here is a look at the top musicians the music industry lost in 2016 and left us with just beautiful memories.
1. David Bowie
On January 10th, music maestro David Bowie died at age 69 following a long struggle with cancer. Bowie earned fame for such hit songs as Modern Love, China Girl, Under Pressure, Changes, Heroes, Space Oddity, and much more. Bowie was not only a successful musician but also an accomplished actor with roles in movies such as Labyrinth, The Last Temptation of Christ, and The Man Who Fell to Earth.
On April 21st, the Purple Rain hit-maker known as Prince died at his Minneapolis recording studios aged 57. Throughout his distinguished career, Prince won various accolades and awards including 7 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award for Happy Feetís The Song of the Heart as well as an Academy Award for Purple Rain.
3. Frank Sinatra Jr.
On March 16th, Frank Sinatra passed away at age 72. Frank Sinatra Jr. was the son of Frank Sinatra who was yet another legend. Sinatra Jr. also had an accomplished music career of his own and had a decent career run appearing in close to 20 shows including Family Guy.
4. Leonard Cohen
On November 10th, Canadian musician Leonard Cohen departed aged 82. Leonard was a Grammy Award winner and an accomplished poet and songwriter too. He was best known for his song Hallelujah.
5. Sharon Jones
On November 18th, Sharon Jones died in New York aged 60 after struggling with pancreatic cancer. Sharon was an accomplished American soul and funk singer. She was also the lead singer of Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings.
6. Bobby Vee
On October 24th, Bobby Vee also known as Robert Tomas Velline died aged 73. Bobby gained fame in the early 60ís with hits such as Take Good Care of My Baby.
7. Greg Lake
On December 8th, Greg Lake, an accomplished British songwriter, musician, and singer passed away aged 69. Lake died after struggling with cancer. 21st Century Schizoid Man and In the Court of the Crimson King are some of the songs he will be best remembered for.
8. Leon Russell
On November 13th, Leon Russell, an American pop star died aged 74. Leon had earned quite a reputation as a studio pianist back in the 1980ís. As a studio musician, producer, and songwriter, Leon has collaborated with Ike & Tina Turner, The Ronettes, Sir Elton Jon, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and many more.
9. Glenn Frey
On January 17th, Glenn Frey who was a co-founder of Eagles died aged 67 years due to health complications since he was suffering from pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis at the same time. Glenn was a guitarist and a co-writer of some of the greatest hits of all time including Hotel California and Desperado.
10. Mose Allison
On November 15th, Mose Allison, an accomplished American jazz pianist passed away aged 89. Allison became famous for playing an interesting mix of modern jazz and blues, playing the piano and singing too.
11. Maurice White
Maurice White, the founder of Earth, Wind, & Fire passed away on February 4th aged 74. Maurice has battled with Parkinsonís disease for a long time before his death.
12. Pete Burns
Pete Burns, the Dead or Alive singer died on October 23rd due to a heart attack aged 57. Pete was a controversial pop star that participated in the reality show titled Celebrity Big Brother.
13. Phife Dawg
On March 23rd, rapper Phife Dawg also known as Malik Taylor died at a very young age. Phife was just 45 at the time of his untimely death. He was a co-founder of the legendary hip-hop group known as A Tribe Called Quest.
14. Paul Kantner
On January 28th, Paul Kantner, a rhythm guitarist and vocalist died aged 74 due to multiple organ failures. His hits such as Somebody to Love and White Rabbit deserve a special mention.
15. Merle Haggard
On April 6th, Merle Haggard died aged 79. Haggard was best known for songs such as Workiní Man Blues and The Okie From Muskogee. Haggard has over 35 number 1 country hits in his illustrious music career.
It is quite clear based on the long list of musical artists who have passed away in 2016 that this year has been the most tragic yet, musically speaking. The 15 artists featured on this list were truly astounding and contributed greatly to the world of music, each in their special way. Each of each of these musicians have also inspired us to teach music lessons to an entire new generation of future artists. What is left is for us to cherish their music because if we do that, we can be sure that their spirits live on among us.
The festive season will soon be here and whether you are looking to entertain your guests or you have a piano recital coming up, it is time you started learning how to play different songs on the piano.
The 15 songs discussed below are excellent choices that you can include in your repertoire. You will discover that most of the Christmas songs here are rather easy to learn, but if you do get stuck, you can ask your piano tutor for help.
Here are 15 Christmas songs to play on the piano
1. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
One of the easiest Christmas songs that you can learn to play on the piano is “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” It is fairly easy to learn because it consists of a verse then chorus then verse then chorus. It is also a wonderful song to encourage family members or guests to sing along.
2. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas
You should really take the time to learn how to play this song since it is quite open and rubato. You can try to play it in several different ways using different tempos. You can even try out a totally different swing/up-tempo version.
3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Frank Sinatra did manage to capture this glorious melody back in the 1940’s. Once you start playing this simple Christmas piano song, you will become accustomed to playing 7ths, octaves, and other intervals that require you to jump and stretch your fingers.
4. Silent Night
This amazing Christmas tune is a classic that only uses the white keys on the piano. It is great for practicing using a foot and pedal considering that it is an a legato song. For instance, you can practice picking up the foot on those long phrases.
5. Jingle Bells
If you are looking for the most famous Christmas songs of all times, it would have to be “Jingle Bells.” When you are playing this very famous tune, you should try thinking about the actual jingle bells to ensure that your rhythm stays in time or you could simply practice the song with a metronome.
6. 12 Days of Christmas
While this song might seem like a complicated song because of its many verses, you can easily nail it if you put in the practice since it has just 3 main chords.
7. Do You Hear What I Hear?
If you would like an amazing song to practice call and response with, you should definitely go for “Do You Hear What I Hear?” In the song, the left hand actually echoes what the right hand is doing during the rhythmic patterns and melody.
8. Jolly Old St. Nicholas
If you want a choice of song that consists of just a few notes and is easy to learn, you should choose “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” You can even try changing the dynamics to make the song even more interesting.
9. Deck The Halls
“Deck The Halls” is an easy piano song you can easily memorize. It starts off with a very catchy hook and then repeats it thrice. “Deck The Halls” is yet another amazing song that you can sing along to with family members or a group of guests.
10. Away in a Manger
If you want a song that’s easy enough to play on a piano, you should consider choosing “Away in a Manger” since it uses just 8 notes using only the right hand. You can try pushing yourself by playing it using only your left hand.
11. Let it Snow
If you are in the mood for a popular jazz Christmas tune, you should go for “Let it Snow.” The song is great for practicing held half notes in the bass and 8th notes in the treble clef.
12. Walking in a Winter Wonderland
You should not be intimidated by this Christmas tune. To memorize it, all you have to do is start by learning the melody and subsequently adding in the chords using your left hand. With enough syncopation practice, you will be playing the song flawlessly in no time at all.
13. The First Noel
This is a truly amazing holiday song you can use to practice holding notes in the bass with the melody in your right hand. You should try to practice balancing the two out together.
14. Frosty the Snowman
If you are looking for the perfect holiday song for children than “Frosty the Snowman” would have to be it. To really nail down the melody, you should practice one phrase at a time. Once you master the song, you can have some fun by singing along as you play.
15. Hark the Herald, Angels Sing
“Hark the Herald, Angels Sing” is a lovely Mendelssohn Christmas Carol great for practicing technique and phrasing. Once you master the song, you should consider trying to sing along with it or even adding a simple instrument such as a trumpet, clarinet, flute, or recorder in the mix.
If you would like to learn how to play Christmas songs on the piano, you will find the 15 songs discussed here being excellent choices. If you would like to learn how to play these Christmas songs on the piano, be sure to Contact Us today!
Comment Below: What’s you favorite Christmas song to play on ANY instrument?
Playing the piano is a skill that takes years of practice, dedication, and desire. Our students study every type of music during their piano lessons including classical, jazz and pop music. If you are just getting started with your piano lessons and are looking for some instant gratification, you need to take the time to practice and be patient.
With all of our NYC piano lessons, we aim to focus on small achievable goals, starting with the easiest songs to play on the piano. Other students that are enlisted in online lessons, might have a different set of goals, depending on the lesson schedule.
To get you started, here are some easy rock songs to get you ripping up the keys in no time!
1) “Let It Be” by the Beatles
Everyone knows and loves this one. This song has 4 chords that you can play. Learning this tune is a rite of passage for every budding piano player.
2) “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon
Here’s an easy piece to play and fun to sing along with. There are a few simple chords and once you learn it you’ll be playing one of rock’s most iconic piano licks!
3) “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Well – you’d be wise to avoid this song if you’re hanging out with Neil Young, but do play it if you want to impress your southern friends. It’s another iconic piano riff that’s easy enough to play.
4) “Hey Jude” by the Beatles
Yep, another Beatles song, but are you surprised? It’s easy, it’s awesome, and one of their biggest hits. Play this tune at a party and enjoy your rockstar moment.
5) Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue
This is great piano riff that was written by Crue drummer Tommy Lee. Learn how to play this and you might be able to date Pamela Anderson….
Well, here are five classic and easy songs to get you started on your musical journey, but don’t forget to keep practicing. Rock on!
Are You Ready To Learn The Piano?
Whether you’re in the New York City area or ready to learn by your computer, be sure to contact us to see how we can get you started with the piano.
When choosing the right teacher for lessons in NYC, it’s important to choose right the first time. You don’t want to waste time building a relationship you’ll outgrow, or worse, find yourself dissatisfied with your teachers’ methods. But if you follow these three tips you’ll be able to know that you’re getting a piano teacher worth your time and money.
Classical piano training
First of all, make sure that your piano teacher has been classically trained. Many of the teachers at this company have studied at elite institutions such as Juilliard, Columbia University, and the Manhattan School of Music. Some of our piano teachers have played around the world and performed with internationally recognized musical groups. The bottom line is that they’ve spent decades refining their craft, so that teaching it comes naturally to them.
Teachers with a musical passion
It makes a big difference when you have a piano teacher who loves music as their passion, who has spent their entire life cultivating an understanding and love for piano. Other piano teachers who have a side gig teaching English or doing something else, and continue teaching piano just to make an extra buck are definitely worth avoiding, since they won’t be able to take your progress seriously.
It goes without saying that when your piano teachers are classically trained and love what they do, they can also read music fluently. This is crucial for helping you to play more advanced pieces, for teaching you how music works and helping you gain greater proficiency during your piano lessons overall. Being able to sight read allows you to understand musical theory, which is crucial to becoming an advanced musician. If you don’t know how to read music, or if you eventually stop piano lessons and forget how to read music, it’s easy to plateau as a musician, so that all of the hard work and practice you put in over the years falls away, taking you to the point of where you were a few months after you first started piano lessons.
A piano teacher who meets the above three criteria is the kind of piano teacher to keep working with for years. You won’t outgrow your relationship despite how good you become. When you choose piano lessons with Music to Your Home, you can expect some of the best teachers in NYC.
Practicing is the hardest part about playing piano. But if you don’t practice, it’s pretty obvious, and your music lessons just don’t go as well when your teacher can tell that you don’t care. In my experience, I’m most excited to practice when I can get excited about what I’m playing. Beethoven’s Fifth, for example, is probably one of the most awesome pieces of music in the history of the world. In fact, the seventy-five minutes it takes to play the Fifth were what inspired the length of CDs. If you were working to play that during your piano lessons, how could you not be excited about practicing?
Watch how this guy does it:
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
When the Fifth was originally performed in 1808, it was not a critical success. The orchestra played so poorly that Beethoven apparently had to stop the performance! Granted, the orchestra had only had one rehearsal, but the cold auditorium and the length of the performance, a four hour long concert during which the Sixth Symphony was played first and the Fifth during the second half, made the audience even less responsive. A year and a half later, a review of the published Fifth appeared in which it called the piece one of the most important works of music of the time. The time being during Napoleon’s occupation of Vienna. Supposedly, the famous first four notes represent Fate knocking on a door. How cool is that?
The Fifth Symphony’s Impact
Needless to say, Beethoven has been revered through all stages of rock ‘n’ roll, from “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry, to “A Fifth of Beethoven,” the classic disco tune from “Saturday Night Fever.” To really get excited about your piano classes, it’s best to play something you recognize, and when you choose to play Beethoven’s Fifth, you’re choosing one of the most recognizable pieces of music the world has ever known.
People with perfect, or absolute, pitch are one in 10,000, which is pretty rare considering lefthanded people are about one in ten and you don’t see them everyday. Much like those with lefthandedness, people with absolute pitch are not smarter than those without; however, they do have a propensity to be more gifted in certain areas. Let’s put it this way: perfect pitch is not necessary to be a musical genius or to even excel in the piano, though it can certainly help being able to recreate a note without a tonal reference. Research shows that those with perfect pitch are better at transcribing music than those without, but those without are better at recognizing musical intervals. Mozart had it, which helped him compose, and some experts argue that Beethoven had it too, but it’s hard to know with certainty.
How to improve your pitch
Perfect pitch may be nice to have for those lucky few, but the rest of us have to content ourselves with humming, singing and dancing. When you’re doing any of these three activities, it’s basically impossible to be sad. Granted, if you’re blue, it can be hard to just get up out of your chair and start to dance or start singing pop standards, but if you warm up by humming, you’ll find that not only will your mood improve, you’ll also warm up your singing voice.
Start by humming high, and move lower once you feel like your pitch is right. Most people start humming too low, and wind up causing unnecessary tension in their vocal chords. Once you’ve identified your pitch with a hum, it’s much easier to start doing vocal exercises that help you focus on enunciation and phrasing. Throw in a little do-re-mi-fa-sol-fa-mi-re-do and in a few weeks your pitch may not be perfect, but it will definitely be a lot better than before. Who doesn’t want a beautiful singing voice to pair with their piano or guitar?
Greetings, earthling. So you want to play funk? Well, before we get started on how funk began, you should know that funk is a very serious genre of music. It’s not for everyone because not everyone can access the funk. The funk first came to earth in the work of James Brown in his song “Sex Machine,” and then traveled around with Sly and the Family Stone, as seen in their seminal “Thank You”. However, it was not until George Clinton received the funk that the state of funk music would never be the same again.
Parliament Funkadelic’s strange breed of psychedelic funk, or P-funk, as it came to be known, changed the meaning of funk. Whereas James Brown’s funk displayed a stripped down rhythm, syncopated drum beats, and a switch from emphasizing the upbeat to the downbeat, by the mid-70s the grunts and vocal noises of James Brown had given way to a more choral approach with the multiple members of Parliament. Many other genres of funk, including disco-funk, electro-funk and the funk-rock of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ exploded onto the scene inspiring millions of young funkateers.
Playing funk on guitar
Before you start to play the funk The only real criterion required is to have the funk. How do you know if you have it? You either do or you don’t and if you got it you don’t have to ask. Now let’s look at some videos to get you started so next guitar lesson, you can bust out some E9 riffs and show your guitar teacher that in your spare time you’ve been tearing the roof off that mother funker.
This one ain’t too fancy, should give you enough understanding to know what you’re getting into. If you like what you hear keep scrolling down the page.
Marty got the funk. Do you?
And here’s a little video to keep you inspired now that you got the funky basics.
The rapidly changing Upper East Side
When I’m on the Upper East Side, I’m surrounded by culture. All of the museums, the park, the old brownstones, it’s no wonder I chose from this neighborhood. Though over the past few years, I’ve started to notice a shift in the establishments in the neighborhood, a tendency toward a more avant-garde styling. Maybe it’s because of the 2nd Avenue subway, or maybe it’s because now the Upper East Side is cheaper than many parts of North Brooklyn, but there’s change in the air, especially with regard to art and music.
It makes sense that the Upper East Side is finally getting an influx of artists. New York is the Paris of the 21st century, slightly past its Golden Age, but still a premier place for bohemians; you could draw the analogy that with such an influx of artists, the Upper East Side is like Montmartre of a hundred years ago.
Piano lessons a hundred years ago
In the 1890s, Erik Satie befriended Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, two of the greatest Impressionist composers, soon after Satie composed his famous Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes. As you probably know, Impressionism was already an established painting style so that the paintings of Manet and Monet were quickly giving way to the Post-Impressionism of Cezanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Music typically follows behind painting and writing in its move toward new movements so it took another twenty years for these composers to incorporate the Impressionistic style into their work.
In the 1910s Satie was enrolled in Vincent d’Indy’s Schola Cantorum de Paris, studying counterpoint in his daily piano lessons. This was not Satie’s last foray into the baroque, either: in 1923, the Beaumont fete, known as the Bal Baroque, used Satie’s music as well as Picasso’s costumes to commemorate the ancien regime and the new restoration of an organ. Satie’s music is also called neoclassicism, for how it draws on order, rhythm and contrapuntal technique. The pared down instrumental forces in this musical style are a reaction against the Romanticism of the 19th century, whose absolute music lacked a musical narrative; while much of the neoclassicists’, such as Stravinsky’s and Satie’s music represented a story.
Although classical music is very different today than it was a hundred years ago, we have not lost our ties to tradition. While certain elements are rejected as stodgy, others are borrowed from older eras for being ahead of their time. The Upper East Side is a great place to feel history as well as the advancement of a new era, and that’s why Upper East Side piano lessons are the best in the city right now.