Music Lessons

upper east side piano lessons
Music Lessons

Avant-Garde Piano Lessons on NYC’s Upper East Side

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.

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Music Lessons

Best Places in the Upper East Side To Watch Piano

piano lessons upper east sideThe Upper East Side is typically more associated with art museums than piano lessons. But now that so many young people are moving back uptown to escape the high rents of Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and the East Village, music is springing up all over the place.

Brandy’s Piano Bar

This well-kept secret hosts performers every night of the week after 9:30 pm in what is a lot like an old time saloon. With no cover charge, there’s a 2 drink minimum per set, so it’s more affordable than other live music venues in the neighborhood. Watch how these professionals play piano and incorporate what you learn before your next piano lessons.

The Carlyle

This historic hotel has music nights throughout the year. Front row seats can cost a little more than general admission, but the quality these performers is akin to a private concert at Lincoln Center. Nightly jazz seated at the bar has a $15 cover charge, a pretty good value to see the Chris Gillespie Trio. Bemelmans Bar is named after the illustrator of the famous Madeline books, who also painted the interior.

The Armory on Park Ave.

Most of us think of Lincoln Center across the park when it comes to great classical music, but The Armory has teamed up with that bastion of culture to bring the Berlin Philharmoniker to NYC’s Upper East Side. On October 7th and 8th, they’re going to perform Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion for their U.S. premiere. The Armory also plays host to art installations as well as contemporary masters: The xx played a show there a few months ago. The only potential problem is getting tickets! There’s limited availability for the October performance, so if you want to go, call now.

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Music Lessons

The 3 Dumbest Complaints People Make About Their Favorite Musicians

Everyone has a band or musician that they hold in higher regard than all other artists. You expect perfection out of this person who has touched your life with their music. We often get people coming to us looking for piano classes in the city (or any instrument, for that matter), wanting to emulate their favorite artists.

Inevitably, said artist will one day do something that shatters your illusion of them. Maybe they snubbed you for an autograph after you waited hours for them after their show, maybe you hear they’re collaborating with Nicki Minaj, or maybe they decide to make a country album when they’ve always been rock. Whatever the case may be, there are always three distinct complaints people have when their favorite artist, in their mind, screws up.

1. Their newest album sounds nothing like their old stuff

Nobody wants to sit around doing the same thing over and over his or her whole life. Routine can be good, but not when it pigeonholes you into a lifestyle that you don’t enjoy.

You don’t want to be forced to churn out the same work for the rest of YOUR life, so why should your favorite artist?

piano lessons nyc

This guy is NOT happy about whatever he is being forced to do.

Eventually, people want to take risks. They want to go in a whole new direction, despite what people are telling them is the right thing for them to do. Nobody ever remembered the person who never progressed as a person and artist. If you’re expecting your favorite band to never branch out and explore different genres, then you’re eventually going to get bored of them, and so will everyone else. It’s up to the band to continually “wow” their audience, reach new fans, and explore their own capabilities.

2. They got too popular

It’s never a band’s goal to do underground shows its whole life in the hopes that they never play to a crowd larger than 100 people. If your favorite band or artist sees success, than that means that they are doing something right, and other people are lauding them for it.

piano lessons nyc

Mumford and Sons seems to have gained some steam since 2007

Yes, you might have to catch them at a larger venue next time they come around, but remember that this is probably what they wanted in the first place. When you start taking piano lessons in NYC, isn’t your ultimate goal to, one day, dazzle Carnegie Hall with your musical gifts?

piano lessons nyc

This could be you.

Getting popular is entirely different than “selling out.” Selling out entails abandoning your original creative ideas as a band in favor of what someone tells you to do so you’ll make money.

However, there ARE bands whose goal is just to make money, and its unfortunate to realize that your favorite band was one of them. But getting popular for making good music is an entirely different issue. Be happy that the music you fell in love with is also resonating with such a large body of people. If you’ve ever told someone to listen to that band or artist, their ensuing fame is all your hard work paying off.

3. They don’t care about their fans

It’s easy to think you know an artist or band on a personal level when you connect so deeply with their music. It’s hard to make the distinction that, in reality, you know absolutely nothing about the person behind the music. It’s also hard to accept that they are, in fact, human. Just like you.

piano lessons nyc

Beyonce loves a good bargain at WalMart, just like the rest of us.

It’s easy to write off an artist forever if you meet them and they’re not-so-friendly, or you hear about their insane antics in a news article or magazine. But you can never truly know what they experienced to lead up to that event. Magazines need stories and will spin them whatever way they need to sell papers. Maybe your favorite singer was having a horrible day and simply didn’t want to be bothered. You’ll never know.

Drawing a line between a person and the way they portray themselves through their art is the toughest part of being a fan, and it’s hard to not take a bad interaction personally. But, just like every other human on the planet, they have pressing concerns that stem beyond their job. The only difference is they don’t get to have a bad day without someone posting about it all over the Internet.

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Music Lessons - Violin Lessons

Music to Listen to Before NYC Violin Lessons

Lessons are crucial to playing violin confidently, but there are other ways you can boost your violin skills outside of that one hour a week.

The most obvious is through practice. Half an hour a day is standard, but if you find yourself only doing that a few times a week, the problem may be your schedule. Try to play at the same time each day to stay motivated. That way if you practice every evening at 8 o’clock, you’ll feel like you’re missing something if you don’t. Another good way to get in the mood for your violin training session is by playing one of your favorite movements from that violin concerto that’s been stuck in your head.

Listen to violin music

The best way to get excited about violin lessons in NYC is to have a piece you really want to play. For those of you unfamiliar with violin concertos, here are a few of the best:

Any of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
Bach’s Violin Concertos in A Minor and E Major
Mozart’s Concerto 3 in G Major, No. 4 in D Major, and No. 5 in A Major
Louis Spohr’s Violin Concerto 8 in A Minor
Beethoven’s Concerto in D Major
Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E Minor
Max Bruch Concerto No. 1 in G Minor
Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 5 in A Minor
Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major
Paganini Violin Concerto in D Major
Camille Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor
Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole Op 21
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major
Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor
Dvorak Violin Concerto in A Minor
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major

Other Tips to Prepare for Your NYC Violin Lessons

This list of 16 concertos should be enough to get any young violin player interested in learning a specific piece of music. Parents reading this should help their kids stay motivated by buying this music and playing it in the car so that it becomes familiar. Once a piece becomes familiar enough to hum, you’ll be surprised at how much more your kids will want to practice. That allows them to create the very music they want to play, while staying relaxed and playing with emotion.

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Music Lessons

Finding the Right Piano Teacher for Your NYC Lessons

piano lessons nycWhen 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 piano instruction 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 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.

Musical fluency

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.

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Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - Piano Lessons

Playing Beethoven’s Fifth Next Piano Lesson

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.

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Music Lessons

5 More Songs For Your Next NYC Piano Lesson

If you’re searching for songs to learn that can make your professional piano lessons more fun, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five more songs that are easy and awesome to play.

1. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan/Guns ’n’ Roses

I didn’t even know Bob Dylan wrote this song until I was in college, that’s how familiar the GNR version was to me. Needless to say, it’s a classic, and with just four chords, it’s not too hard to learn at your next piano lesson.

2. “Piano Man” by Billy Joel

What piano player doesn’t want to learn this classic piano tune? Just think—once you learn this, you’ll be able to conjure smoky barrooms and sad old people in the ‘70s. Maybe one day you’ll be a piano (wo)man just like Billy Joel, able to give hardworking people hope.

3. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” by Elton John

When I was a kid, this song was the jam. Lion King had just come out, and everyone knew it was destined to be remembered for decades. Elton John on the soundtrack drove the point home. This song isn’t quite as easy as some of the others we’ve talked about, but if you stick with it, or you’re already a little more advanced, it’s a great one to learn.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPrCH0O4grc

4. “Mother” by John Lennon

This guy sounds kind of dorky singing it, but if you listen to the original, you’ll know how cool it sounds to sing it like John. Plus if you learn this in the next six months, you’ll be right in time for Mother’s Day, which if your mom is a fan of The Beatles, will get you serious brownie points.

5. “Silver Bells” by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

It’s December, and it sure would be great to learn a song in time for your family Christmas party. Sit down at the piano and break out this song and everyone will be impressed. Should really help you get in the mood for the season.

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Music Lessons - Musical Thoughts - Piano Lessons

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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Music Lessons

Private NYC Music Lessons: Why Parents Should Learn with Kids

nyc music lessons

Photo Credit: PBS.org

Okay parents: We’ll be honest; even we have some sour memories of being forced into taking music lessons as kids — the long hours practicing indoors, the decrepit (not to mention ridiculously strict) teachers, the isolation from our friends playing music that just reminded us of funerals and horror film soundtracks! ‘Why, oh why? Why are our parents subjecting us to this!’ We wondered with desperation.

And now look at what we are doing, ourselves. 😉

But really — as much as we hate to admit it, our parents totally knew what they were doing. And as that old saying goes, we really did appreciate how music touched our lives from such a young age — it just took us a while to appreciate those music lessons. The instructors at Music To Your Home live, breathe and sleep music, though, and we definitely don’t want our young clients to take YEARS to love and appreciate music! And to that point, you know what other old saying we love?

Practice what you preach.

Now, before you go assuming that we’re just trying to get you to sign up for some fancy-schmancy NYC music lessons with your kids, you should know that you’re only half right. Seriously — we’re not as fancy-schmancy as you think. 😉

Now, as far as signing up for those music lessons with your children…well, why not? Oh okay, you need some convincing. Here’s a few more-than-fantastic reasons why enrolling in music lessons with your kids could be one of the best decisions you make for both you and them.

1. Keep Your Mind Young and Sharp

You may know that learning to play a musical instrument can help your children perform better in school, be more disciplined and be exposed to the creative arts from a young age. There is definitely research to back all these claims, but what you should also know is that Sudoku isn’t the only way to keep your brain working hard.

One study conducted at The University of St. Andrews and published in the journal Neuropsychologia found that, “musical activity could be used as an effective intervention to slow, stop or even reverse age, or illness, related decline in mental functioning.”

The research also concluded that people who played instruments were also quicker to recognize mistakes and correct them faster than those who didn’t! This is enough to make us want to get back in the studio right now.

2. Discover a Hobby to Keep You Healthy

Many people complain that as they get older, they find it harder to find a hobby they are truly passionate about [that doesn’t cost a fortune to maintain] and that can they do for themselves. Don’t be under the impression that learning a new musical instrument is just for kids. On any given day you can find any of us just walking to the beat of our own drum (sorry, no pun intended)!

Playing music has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, lessen anxiety and depression and possibly even help you fight off viruses better! Happiness and health all in one package?! Do you really need any more convincing that this is a fantastic hobby to pick up?

3. Set a Good Example for Your Kids

Think back of when you were a child and your parents didn’t allow you to do “grownup” things like stay up late or watch certain movies. They were trivial restrictions, but it’s often these things that left us feeling separated from their world. Learning to play music together doesn’t have to be that way!

Music lessons are a great way to do something with your children that’s beyond watching the latest movie. It promotes healthy bonding, combines your adult world with their adolescent — and did you read reasons one and two up there? And let’s not forget kids learn best by example. Showing them that you’re never too old to learn something new and work hard to achieve something you’ve never done before (not to mention the mistakes you’ll make and learn from along the way) is a priceless value you can instill in them. And didn’t you know that you’re never too old to act like a kid? 🙂

Ready to start you own little family band? Here’s some of the awesome instruments we can teach you and your family right in the privacy of your own home. (After all, it isn’t NYC if you can’t get music lessons delivered to your home, right?)

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