Author Archives: Vincent Reina

Vincent Reina
Vincent Reina
Vincent received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Purchase Conservatory, earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching Music from Manhattanville College and is an alumnus of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division. Vincent has performed for television, audio recordings and on professional stages in various genres of music. He’s the proud winner of many significant piano competitions, including the Westminster Choir College Artistic Excellence in Piano Award.
Inspiration - Instruments - Lessons - Piano

5 Reasons Why You Should Play the Piano

ID-100620305 Reasons Why You Should Play The Piano

If you’ve come across this blog you’re probably already a music lover or someone who’s looking for that one reason to finally start learning an instrument. Here are a few great reasons why you should begin taking piano lessons immediately…

  • Playing piano is a major stress reducer: One of the things we hear most from our adult clients is that after a long day at the office, playing the piano at home has a real calming effect on their moods. Playing the piano can refocus your energy and help you become a more creative person. Listening to music can be totally soothing – but the act of performing it can take your mind away from that annoying day at work. Our younger students have experienced the exact same reactions to practicing their instruments. After a day of classes, tests and afterschool activities playing the piano or taking a piano lesson can help relieve anxiety and stress in children as well.
  • Playing the piano is good for your brain: Studies have shown that children who begin learning piano at a very young age have better general and spatial cognitive development than children of the same age who have not learned piano. Studying piano can also boost math and reading skills. In addition, taking piano lessons helps with concentration and can therefore improve a students’ overall school performance.
  • Playing the piano can help you become a great multitasker: Unlike any other instrument, the piano is unique because you are forced to have two totally different things going on with each hand at the same time. Your brain splits two very complex tasks, (reading treble and bass clefs) between the right and left hand. With practice, putting these tasks together at the same time makes for some really nice music and also trains your brain to focus on several things at once.
  • Playing the piano builds self- confidence: We’ve seen this many times with our students. After learning a piece from start to finish even the shyest student will have a feeling of accomplishment. It takes patience, hard work, determination and a love of music to learn the piano and finishing a difficult piece or participating in a performance is a real confidence builder for many people. Performing in recitals at a young age can help students become more comfortable speaking in front large groups and can help make them more confident in social situations.
  • Playing the piano is cool: Well it is… Discovering that you have a talent for playing piano is a great feeling. Sitting down and entertaining at a party or social event will always grab people’s attention and can possibly make you more interesting to others. If you’re not sold on this theory just ask a Billy Joel or an Elton John fan!

 For in-home lessons, visit our Piano Lessons Page

 Image courtesy of sixninepixels at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Inspiration - Instruments

Top 5 Rock Drummers

drums

What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? A Drummer. OK, it’s no secret among musicians that drummers get a bad rap – but Music to Your Home knows how valuable drumming is within a band and are here to dispel those myths and put to rest any notion that drumming isn’t as much a part of a band than any other instrument. We hope that you will also appreciate the level of talent our top 5 favorite rock drummers possess. So here they are in no particular order.

Ringo Starr makes our list because no matter what, when you are in the world’s greatest rock band you make the list. Yes, we know Paul played drums on many of their studio recordings, but we still highlight his skill because eventually all those studio versions were played live, and he nailed them. Each and every time. We’ve heard the story of how The Beatles stormed America, slayed it at Shea stadium, killed it on Ed Sullivan, etc. and Ringo was there for all of it.

 

Neil Peart’s drum kit alone should have its own place on our list, but a kit is nothing without an absolute master behind it. Neil’s command of his elaborate drum set is a thing of beauty, and to watch him work out such intricacies within Rush’s complex arrangements for any music fan is a thrill. His fills on Rush’s Clockwork Angels tour are off the charts good. It’s no wonder Rush is known as the musicians’ musicians. With a guy like that in your rhythm section, the musical possibilities are limitless.

Carter Beauford’s father was a jazz trumpeter, and Carter started out studying jazz, and it’s apparent when you hear him play. His fills are often melodic, and we found a cool example of him playing Dave’s guitar melody within the four minute and 30 second, yes, that’s correct, the 4:30 long intro to “Say Goodbye.” See if you can hear it too.

Keith Moon’s showmanship is unparalleled. He used his drum set not only to back up one of the greatest rock band’s ever, but it was also a prop, an extension of him and to watch him play is always entertaining. Beyond that of course, are his bombastic and energetic drum solos. Here’s an interesting listen for you, it’s Keith isolated drum track on “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

John Henry Bonham, the thundering powerhouse of Led Zeppelin – often imitated and never duplicated, though many of us have tried. The scope of his influence remains, and we’d be hard pressed to find drummers playing any genre of music who wouldn’t cite Bonham as one of their heroes. The proof is here. Turn up the volume and listen to this guy go for it.

 

There are so many more unbelievable drummers out there, yes, we’re talking about you Dave Grohl, Mike Portnoy, Charlie Watts, Steve Gadd and Roger Taylor among others. We hear you loud and clear and we think you guys are amazing. I’m sure all our readers have opinions too, and we want to know them. Feel free to attach some of your favorite solos or tell us about your ultimate rock drummer.

 

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Inspiration - Instruments

5 Easy and Iconic Acoustic Guitar Songs for Beginners

 

guitar

Playing the guitar should be fun right? If you’re the type of person we like to call a “strummer” and you’re not looking to rip a technical solo, then this list of songs is perfect for you. Most of these tunes use only 4 or 5 chords and are great for singing along to. This list is sure to impress your guests at your next BBQ.

Wish You Were Here- Pink Floyd

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPL_SV3n7IU

This is one of my favorite songs to play especially on acoustic guitar. It has a very simple intro that can be learned by ear or the tabs can be found here http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/p/pink_floyd/wish_you_were_here_ver5_tab.htm . The rest of song uses C, D Am, G and Em. It’s a great song that everyone will like hearing, or you can just rock out alone in your bedroom…

Free Fallin’- Tom Petty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lWJXDG2i0A

This is such an iconic rock song. Practically everybody knows it. To play it in the same key as Tom Petty, put a capo on the 3rd fret and play D, A, G and you’ve got it. The entire song is basically just 3 chords! Singing it like Tom is another challenge and we’ll save that tip for another blog.

Redemption Song- Bob Marley

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

This is an extremely powerful song. It has a short and simple intro that can be found here: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/b/bob_marley/redemption_song_tab.htm The chords are crafted in such a way to create an emotional atmosphere for anyone listening. The best part is any beginner can master this one. It’s also another great song to sing along to without worrying about complicated chord changes.

Strong Enough – Sheryl Crow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiYE5e8gXRY

Sheryl Crow is an incredible composer. This song uses a few basic chords. The verse and Chorus is D, G, Bm and A with a bridge using Em, Bm C and A. Not really a lot but another easy and fun song to play. If you’re not a girl, go find one to sing this with and you’ll be in business.

Wonderwall- Oasis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hzrDeceEKc

Here is a song that is known internationally. Everyone has their opinions about Oasis but no matter what they are, there is no disputing the popularity of this song. The acoustic guitar strumming the intro is so recognizable but easy to play. Throw a capo on the 2nd fret and play Em, G, D, and A and that’s basically it. The chorus uses C, D and Em. There are some extensions to these chords, but for a beginner the basic forms will work nicely. This is a song that everyone will love to sing along to.

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Inspiration - Lessons

A Simple Guide to Choosing Your First School Instrument

mtyh_logo-small

We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting the letter from your child’s school with their new teacher for the year, but summer is almost over and you haven’t heard yet. There is another exciting piece of mail headed your way – one that we get particularly thrilled about – instrument selection.

For some of you the choice will come easy, as your child may already be studying an instrument. If that’s you – we think you’re cool! If not, we still think you’re cool simply because you are reading this. Anyway…

If you have no idea where to begin, let us be your guide. Most schools offer four different categories of instruments you can choose from.

clarinet

Woodwinds: This family of instruments includes flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bassoon and piccolo. These instruments are generally small and easy to transport in a school bus, car or can be carried by kids who walk to school. Playing one of these instruments can also lead to your child being included in the concert band, marching band, jazz band or school orchestra. Some schools offer the recorder the year before introducing woodwind instruments to familiarize students with holding an instrument and using their breath and body to produce sound. The other good thing about woodwind instruments is that they come in many different sizes. So if your child is not physically able to handle a large tenor sax – the flute or clarinet may be more suitable.

trumpet

Brass: This group includes the trumpet, French horn, trombone, and tuba. These instruments will also lead to being part of concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands and orchestras. I’m not going to lie… these can be loud! But with patience and practice they can be very rewarding to play and listen to. These instruments can also be transported pretty easily with the exception of the tuba. Brass instruments also come in many different sizes giving a variety of students different choices.

cello

Strings: The string family features the violin, viola, cello and double bass. These are my favorites! These instruments are more geared for playing in the school orchestra but can always be used in other ensembles as well. Generally the violin and viola can be transported on a bus but cellos and basses may need to be driven to school or lessons. One of the great things about the string group is that each one comes in different sizes from half size to full size so even the smallest student can learn to play an instrument like the cello or double bass.

drums

Percussion: This family has the snare drum, drum set, timpani, cymbals, and xylophone. Generally, beginners learn how to play using a drum pad, which looks like a snare drum but is muted so it has very little sound. You’re welcome for that tidbit! Most elementary schools only offer the snare and bass drum to start and eventually add in the other percussion instruments as the students get into middle and high school. Most schools have these instruments so transporting is not generally an issue. Drum pads or electric drums can be kept at home for practicing.

Most schools offer lessons on these instruments one time a week in a group setting. Adding in a private lesson with one of our teachers will definitely give any student a real advantage and help them learn and master their instruments much faster.

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News

Alex Cough @ The Somethin Jazz Club Monday, August 18

Dear friends,

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,

Alex

P.S. If you want to REALLY be in the loop, please click the link below to follow me on Facebook!

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News

KROM is coming to New York and Chicago!

News from KROM:

Screenshot 2014-08-05 13.17.34

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

CHICAGO TICKETS

WWW.KROMTRIO.COM

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News

The Swingaroos at The Metropolitan Room, July 6

 

Piano Lessons NYC

 

  • WhenSunday, Jul 6, 2014 9:30 PM (Doors open at 9:00 PM )
  • Ticket Price$15.00  $115.00
  • Door Time: 9:00 PM
  • Show Type40s
  • Restrictions: 2 Bev Min
  • Purchase TicketHere!

Go to http://metropolitanroom.com/event.cfm?id=155230&cart for more information.

piano lessons nyc

 

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News

Alon Nechushtan’s Venture Bound CD Release and Tour

 

East and west coast tour with my project ‘venture bound’ , starting in June. Check out the tour dates here!

beside his home base in New York City – June 18th Cornelia Street, he will be in New Jersey, Boston, Virginia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco.

See the online flyer here.

Catch Alon Nechustan touring with the band:

-Fanwood NJ June 14th,
-Jazz Museum of Harlem,NY June 21th
-Charlosville Virginia,VA, June 28th,
-An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD, June 29th
-Los Angeles,CA, July 10-12th
-San Francisco July 13th,SF
-August 10-20 Israel Tour, ISR

RELEASE DATE : JUNE 14 2014

Each new album by Alon Nechushtan offers a fresh glimpse at his diverse and complex musical personality, which seems to be able to encompass a vast, cross-genre richness, which eventually becomes his very own. The most amazing quality of his is that he always sounds as if he already played this or that specific sub-genre for years, whereas in fact a comprehensive knowledge of his output so far reveals that he is probably one of the most chameleonic Jazz musicians around. But regardless of the specific musical environment Nechushtan selects as his weapon of choice at a specific moment, he is always honest, both with himself and the listener. The quality of players he selects as his partners, the wonderful technical qualities, the incredible melodic wealth and above all the ability to communicate with his fellow musicians and his public alike are a direct result of this honesty. Nechushtan’s music is always an amalgam of influences: first and foremost Jewish music in all forms and shapes, but also the endless varieties of the Jazz Art Form, which together create the new “Jewish Jazz” phenomenon, This album,although less obviously connected with the Jewish context and emphasizing the Jazz tradition and its contemporary state of affairs, is nevertheless an integral part of his continuous musical journey, which is always fascinating and heartwarming.

 

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nyc piano lessons
Inspiration - Instruments - Lessons - Piano

How to Get Your NYC Kids Excited About Piano Lessons

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!

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romantic love songs
Inspiration

The 10 Most Romantic Love Songs of All Time

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!

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