Music Lessons

piano lessons nyc
Music Lessons

How to Play Beethoven Like a Pro

Let’s start out by saying that Ludwig Van Beethoven was one of the world’s most talented pianists and composers. Almost everyone on the planet has heard one of Beethoven’s piano pieces or symphonies at some point in their lives, and if you’re looking to take NYC piano lessons, you probably know him even better. Although Beethoven was considered a musical genius he spent thousands of hours practicing his piano skills as a child and even had many piano teachers including another famous musical genius – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

So how can you learn to play Beethoven the right way?

Step One: Find the right instructor

Besides having a piano and two hands, the first thing you need is a great teacher for your NYC piano lessons. A great instructor will start by teaching you how to read notation on both treble and bass clefs. Next you will need to learn your finger numbers and rhythms. Scales and arpeggios will also help build good finger technique and strength. A little sight reading every day will also help you read all those amazing Beethoven scores a lot faster.

piano lessons nyc

Step Two: Start small and grow

Once you have completed a good method book like Alfred or Faber, its time to move on to some simple classical pieces. One of the books we use for NYC piano lessons is From Bach to Bartok volume A., which features some really easy pieces by Beethoven.

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By learning a Bagatelle or German Dance by Beethoven you start picking up excellent musical techniques like dynamics and articulation that will eventually lead you to bigger more famous pieces like Fur Elise or the Moonlight Sonata.

Step Three: Practice, Practice, Practice

Keeping to a steady lesson and practice schedule with your piano teacher is always the best way to achieve the most results when trying to learn to play like a pro. At the beginning, a thirty minute practice session will help you play those simple Beethoven pieces nicely, but when trying to learn some of the great piano Sonatas – one hour a day is best.

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Fur Elise

Moonlight Sonata

Hopefully, listening to these masterpieces by Beethoven will inspire you to continue or start with your NYC piano lessons and get you playing like, well, Beethoven!

P.S. the girl playing the Moonlight Sonata is one of our students!

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Music Lessons

Channeling Emotion Into Music

If you’ve ever felt alone, sad, or angry, you probably remember it as a time of silence. On the other hand, think of your best times, when you felt happiest, like you could do anything. Was music playing?

I’m not surprised if you’re nodding. Not only does music make us feel good, I know from experience that when I’m feeling particularly stressed or upset, music can help me channel that negativity into something beautiful. While listening to music can make you feel better, it’s not a total remedy for depression. Playing music is, however, especially when you’re improvising with other musicians. The act of creating is pleasurable in and of itself, and can help create meaning in the life of the depressed.

I’m not saying it’s easy to pick up my guitar and strum a chord or pick the strings when I’m down, but the simple act of creating music leads me to forget what’s been on my mind as my focus moves to my timing and chord progression.

If you want further proof, just watch the video below. Just a few months ago Anna Clendening was bedridden with anxiety and depression. Now she’s playing ‘Hallelujah’ onstage in front of millions! Chances are she used music as an additional therapy to get her out of bed and onto the stage. Check it out below. I bet her performance gives you chills.

Music can be very powerful as a mood enhancer and therapy. If you or anyone you know is depressed, ask them if they’ve been listening to much music lately. Even better, if they play an instrument, ask them if they’ve been playing recently. If your child doesn’t get excited over much or has a tendency toward depression, think about starting them on NYC guitar lessons. Our teachers are pros at getting kids excited about making music. And when you’re excited, it’s hard to stay upset.

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Music Lessons

Guitar Lessons For the Best Solos of All Time

When it comes to playing guitar solos, it helps if you know your way up and down the fretboard. But that doesn’t mean a beginner can’t learn these classic solos, through a lot of practice and training.

And even if you can’t play the entire solos, learning the structure of how they work and isolating some of the scales used can be great practice for beginners. If you really like the song, ask your guitar teacher to go over it with you in your next guitar lesson. You may be able to learn the chords, and play it on your own in a more simplified version.

The best solos of all time can be pretty subjective, but there are some that cap any list. Here are our personal favorites. Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree!

7. Truckin’, Grateful Dead:

Jerry Garcia could shred, and this is living proof. Even if you can’t get the solo down, the opening bass line is a fun lick to learn.

6. November Rain, Guns ‘n’ Roses:

This solo immortalized Slash. It takes the song to another level.

5. Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd:

This Floyd track is classic. It certainly isn’t the most difficult to play on the list, but it’s unforgettable nonetheless.

4. Fade to Black, Metallica:

This solo is super gnarly, and pretty difficult. But if you’re dedicated enough, you can at least pick up the intro. And man, if you learn just one song to make you a bada** guitar player, use your guitar lessons for this.

3. Crossroads, Cream:

Based on the old blues song by Robert Johnson, Clapton’s solo does the original justice and then some. Definitely one of the tougher solos on this list, but overall, an amazing one to learn if you can get the hang of it.

2. Pride and Joy, Stevie Ray Vaughan:

Stevie’s tragic end cemented his legacy as one of the best guitar players of all time. This song isn’t his most difficult to play (you’ll thank me for that), but it is one of his most enduring and popular. Take a stab at it and appreciate Texas-style blues.

1. All Along The Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix

What would a list of the best solos of all time be without homage to the late, great Jimi? The best guitar player of all time, no one has ever played like him since. That said, the difficulty of trying to play like Jimi has its own rewards which will make you a better guitar player in the long run.

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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?

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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 To Your Home
Music To Your Home
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