Effective piano practise: recording yourself

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Piano students sometimes come to me with the question “I am practising every day but I don’t feel like I’m getting any better.” One of the first things I will suggest is to record yourself while practising. In today’s age of smartphones and personal devices it is easier than ever to hit record and record yourself without any hassle. When I was growing up we didn’t have smartphones (remember the Nokia 3210 anyone?) so it was little harder to try to and record ourselves, but we managed.

Recording your piano practise is such a great habit to get into. It’s a way to get outside of yourself, and listen objectively to how you sound. While you’re in the moment and playing you tend to hear things in a less than objective way – it’s strange how the mind perceives our sound as being very different when we’re playing vs when we’re listening back to our recorded selves.

You will find you are far more able to identify weaknesses in your playing, including timing issues, technical problems or dynamic range for example if you listen back to the recording.

So what to record? Anything is fair game really. You might even record your piano lesson with your Melbourne piano teacher. Record some exercises/studies you are working on, or perform a piece as if you would to a live audience. But remember, the first time you hear yourself you will surely cringe, so be prepared for that! After a while that passes and you become used to hearing yourself playing. If you’re curious about some more technical approaches to recording your practise, check out this interesting article on the subject.

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Back to school promotion – Book today and receive 20% off your first music lesson

Music on the brain

It’s getting cold again, winter is coming! With the kids stuck inside at home, what better time to book in for some music lessons? And what better way than to have a Melbourne music teacher arrive at your door and teach them at home? You could be making dinner or relaxing after work while they’re having a guitar lesson, piano lesson or whatever instrument they’re passionate about learning.

Our teachers are all graduates in both Music Performance and Education, as well as holding current Working with Children Checks. Try out our diverse team of music teachers, including qualified Music Therapists and teachers with special needs education experience.

Want to prepare for a performance exam? We can help you go all the way whether it be AMEB, ANZCA, Royal College or any other exam format. We also hold concerts twice yearly to give music students the opportunity to perform in front of a live crowd.

Call us today on 0407 825 926 and we’ll give you 20% off your first lesson.

Start by hiring a musical instrument

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If you’re after music lessons in Melbourne, you’ve come to the right place. Our Melbourne music teachers are ready and waiting to come to your house to start teaching you how to play. However, if you don’t yet have your instrument, be that piano, guitar, saxophone or whatever, how can you get started? The cost of buying even a second-hand guitar can often be prohibitively expensive, so we often recommend potential students consider hiring an instrument initially.

We are happy to recommend Musicorp in Melbourne for hire of all kinds of instruments. They will provide you with a great quality instrument for a fraction of the cost of buying one. Your music lessons will go so much smoother and your progress much faster if you have a decent instrument on which to practise, and Musicorp will always make sure it’s well maintained and in good condition. In fact, I know some piano students who are happy to continue hiring a keyboard rather than ever buying one! This way they can keep upgrading the model as knew ones come out regularly, and they never have to worry about large sums of money or having to sell one there old keyboard. It’s an amazing new system of obtaining an instrument which has totally revolutionised music lessons.

Call us today to find out more, and we’ll give you 20% off your first lesson.

 

Meditation in Music: Practising every day

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Recently I had a friend who wanted to take up the piano again after not having played since she was a child, so I organised some lessons for her with one of our teachers. After a month or so of piano lessons, she told me that the best thing about having started playing again was that she could take time out of her day, whether it be ten minutes or even an hour (as she sometimes found herself practising for) to just be absorbed by what she was doing. To simply focus on the act of playing music, no matter how simple, and giving it 100% of her attention. Apart from the fact that she was steadily progressing as a piano student, she just found so much pleasure and relaxation in becoming absorbed in her practise, describing it as meditative.

As lifelong musicians I think we tend to sometimes take for granted the benefit we get from creating space in our day for practise. It’s really a beautiful thing, being able to sit at your instrument, and focus on nothing else but creating music, whether you are learning new repetoire, working on something technical or just improvising creatively.

Following these conversations with my friend I looked around online for more info on this subject, and found an interesting article about meditation in practise.

That frame of mind which (usually) comes about as you go into practise mode is a great thing, and something that is not often mentioned to new and aspiring students. So go get it! Book yourself a music lesson with us now and discover it for yourself.

 

 

Supercharge your baby’s brain with exposure to music

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I am often asked as a music teacher in Melbourne when is a good time to enrol kids in music lessons? Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question. My answer usually starts by me saying that factors such as the childs age, their ability to focus on complex tasks and what instrument they want to play are all important. However, when it comes to newborn babies and even unborn babies, I would always suggest that exposure to music listening is a great thing new parents can do for their kids. More and more research into the way our brains develop suggests that not only studying a musical instrument but even just listening to complex music can do wonders for your baby’s brain. I came across an incredible short youtube video in which you see a very young boy speaking different languages with ease. We then learn that from before he was even born, his father played extensive amounts of complex music to him even in utero! After he was born the family continued to spend 45 minutes to an hour a day listening to music (mostly jazz and classical). By the time the boy was around 3 or 4, his father, a proficient pianist himself, was amazed to discover that the boy had perfect pitch (roughly 1 in 10,000 people have this rare skill). From this experience, the father has gone on to develop a course based on the listening routine that he and his boy practised. You can check it out here.

To take this idea further, here’s another short video which discusses the profound effect music lessons have on the brain. It’s one of those Ted Talks videos and I have been showing this to everyone I know, it’s a great watch. this video doesn’t apply to just babies, but anyone, of any age.

That’s the great thing about music lessons. They’re not only fun, but they do wonderful things for your brain. For babies and children it helps advance and even increase cognitive development. For adults and in particular seniors, it not only brings joy into our lives, but also keeps our minds sharp and has been shown to prevent the onset of mental illnesses.

Call us today to start your musical journey and receive 20% off your first lesson.

2016 – the year you become a musician

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 Every year around this time we all make resolutions to do things based on our dreams, goals and lifestyle aspirations. Unfortunately life tends to get in the way and alot of those dreams go unfulfilled. Well, we want to give you the opportunity to make your musical dreams come true this year. the hardest part about starting music lessons and then sticking to them is the “sticking” part. It’s really easy to go out and buy a cheap guitar, but when it’s just you at home and you know you should be practising it can be hard to stay motivated. Here’s a couple of tips to help you stay on track and stick with it:

1: Baby steps! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will you be able to play the guitar solo from Stairway to Heaven over night. It takes time, patience and discipline. Try not to overdo practise at first, you will get bored and frustrated. Start by trying to incorporate a small amount of piano practise (or whatever instrument you’re learning) into every single day. Just start at ten minutes. That’s enough to begin with! It’s better to maintain this every day than to do one hour once a week. Once you start to learn more and your body develops the neccessary strength and endurance to play, then you will find it easy to build up your daily practise time.

2: Persistence! What is crucial is that when things get hard, and you’re frustrated, you don’t give up straight away. Things will get hard, trust me. The key is to persist, and not give up. You will get there. Again, don’t overdo it early in the piece. Give yourself a small amount of quality time each day when you sit down at the piano ( or whatever instrument you play) and focus on practising and playing well, no matter how short or seemingly easy the piece is.

These two tips, as simple as they sound, are the keys to success. All great musicians have spent countless hours on their instruments, spending quality time developing their passion for playing. You CAN do this too, there is absolutely no reason why not. Call us today and begin your journey. We’re ready and waiting to help bring out the music in you.