7 Tips for Musical Success

 

Whether you’re actively studying music or just considering learning an instrument, these seven tips will help maximize your ability to learn your instrument efficiently and help you understand the best mindset for approaching your musical endeavor!

 

Enjoy The Journey

Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking that you need to be a pro by next week! Set small, achievable goals. Remember to take it one step at a time and focus on the task at hand. Learning a musical instrument is a lifelong endeavor. It’s not a race, and there is no finish line. So enjoy the journey, because that’s all there is!

 

2. Think Progress Not Practice

Let’s get one thing clear, you should look forward to practicing. It’s a time for you to step away from the world and focus on developing a fun and creative skill. It’s a time for progression and improvement. It’s a time to get to know your instrument. If practice feels like work or like a chore, then consider an alternative. Maybe there is a different instrument, teacher, approach, style etc. that would get you more excited to practice and to make progress.

 

Practice Consistently

Short daily practice sessions are much more productive than the occasional marathon practice session. Instead of practicing for two hours once a week, try twenty minutes every day. You’ll approach each session with a fresh mind and you’ll develop muscle memory on your instrument much more quickly. You can keep a daily practice log of what you worked on in each session and how long you practiced to help keep track of your progress.

 

Make Time For Critical Listening

Listening is practice too! Find time to sit and listen to the pros on your instrument. It’s so important to understand the real life application of what it is you’re learning to do. Pay attention to what they play, and when they play it. Take note of how their part fits into the bigger picture. Try to identify melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic ideas in their playing. This will help spark new ideas you may want to explore, and bring the topics you’re already learning full circle.

 

Foster Your Curiosity

While it’s important to follow a well-structured path when learning an instrument, it’s equally as important to spend time wandering off that path too. Be curious, and explore and experiment. Don’t be afraid to get lost for a moment. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’ll find yourself coming up with great questions to ask when things go wrong. And you’ll also stumble upon new ideas that you may have missed out on otherwise.

 
Isolate The Tricky Parts

In any given piece of music there is bound to be a part, or parts, that are trickier than the rest. Always take time to extract those sections and focus on them independently. Slow tempos are your best friend in these situations. Loop the section and give yourself a chance to play the idea as many times as you need to until it’s up to par with the rest of the music. Don’t stress about playing the piece in its entirety right away, and take pride in the small accomplishments as you work through it.

 

Embrace The Challenge

Learning to play a musical instrument is hard, really hard. You will get frustrated from time to time! But don’t let that ruin the experience for you. Sometimes it’s helpful to put down your instrument for a bit, do something else and come back to it, especially at the end of a long practice session. A fresh mind and approach will go a long way!

Taking Voice Lessons from a Trained Professional

If you are considering taking singing or voice lessons, we recommend that you first consider your goals. Whether you want to sing professionally, in a choir, or just improve your skills, you need to know what you want. That way, you have something to work toward, and you can also work on exercises and songs tailored to your needs. You can discuss these exercises and song selections with your voice teacher. When you pick a song, you’ll generally work on the song first, learning the lyrics and the melody. After you have it down, you can work on developing your technique and style.

In a typical voice lesson, you don’t just practice your songs, though. Most voice teachers will have you practice breathing before anything else. You’ll train yourself to stand correctly and use your whole body to breathe correctly, mainly from your diaphragm. You will also need to learn how to articulate well, especially when forming vowels. Once you have these two aspects of your training down, you’ll be warming up in order to shake out your nerves and to exercise your vocal chords. Your vocal chords need to be stretched just like any other muscle; and as they develop, you will expand your range.

For this reason, we suggest that you always warm up your voice before starting to sing, even when you are practicing on your own. You should practice daily so that you’re better prepared for your voice lessons and they’re more effective when you attend them. In order to get the most out of yourself and your lessons, you should also take care of your voice. Keep hydrated, and always bring water to your lessons. Avoid dairy and caffeine right before singing, as dairy creates phlegm and caffeine dries out your throat. Smoking also damages your voice, so you should avoid that in general. Most importantly, rest it when you need to. If you overtire yourself, you will not be at your peak for your lessons or for any other singing that you do.

The Top 3 Myths about Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Who doesn’t love music? Imagine being able to create music yourself! This is a thought that should appeal to most people, especially the young. Making music stimulates the mind, provides instant satisfaction, and creates wonderful mental connections that keep us sharp. Best of all, the pride of creating something as impressive as high-quality music is worth celebrating. Whether you take acoustic guitar or voice lessons, you will learn how accessible making music really is.

Unfortunately, we have heard several myths about taking acoustic guitar lessons. Here are 3 of the myths and the reality behind them:

  1. There is a prevalent myth out there that when it comes to learning the guitar, some people just “have it” and some people just do not. While the musically gifted may be able to learn the guitar more quickly, most people are capable of learning how to play the guitar—no matter whether they are young or older. With great lessons and practice, you can certainly become at least a capable guitar player. And the best part is that knowing how to read music isn’t a prerequisite to learning the guitar.
  2. Another myth behind guitar lessons is that music teachers are like army generals, shouting orders and demanding perfection. Make no mistake, a great music teacher will push you toward excellence, or at least competency (depending on your goals); you will not be treated like a lowly soldier, humiliated, or belittled. Making music is a positive experience; learning the guitar will be the same way.
  3. The worst myth about learning to play the acoustic guitar is this: you would be learning to play an irrelevant instrument. Many people, especially young people, might think that the only “cool” guitars are electric guitars, but this could not be further from the truth. Numerous musicians that are relevant and popular today record songs that feature the acoustic guitar heavily. It is not just for old stars like Bob Dylan or people who play music in restaurants. The acoustic guitar has never gone out of style and probably never will. Most importantly, if you plan on learning how to play an electric guitar, then learning the acoustic guitar is an excellent path to electric guitar excellence.

Biography of Instructor Kevin Schultz

At Granger School of Music, we take our students beyond just learning a few songs. Instead, our modern approach to music teaches students how to create their own music. For those who want to learn, play, and create, guitar lessons from Kevin Schultz are a great option.

Kevin is one of our talented instructors. He started studying music when he was just 4 years old and has been playing ever since. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance. Over the years, Kevin has had the opportunity to be exposed to numerous styles and genres of music as he has played in many different music groups. He firmly believes that music is a ubiquitous human experience that everyone can benefit from studying. As a performer and as an instructor, he places a high priority on creativity, competency, and communication. He helps his students experience the joy and satisfaction that he has experienced through his love of music.

In addition to bass guitar and upright bass, Kevin also teaches the mandolin, ukulele, and banjo. His lessons consist of 2 levels with 12 lessons in each level. His one-on-one tutoring helps students learn popular songs as well as create songs of their own. Kevin is passionate about the various stringed instruments he plays and teaches, and his versatility makes him a unique teacher and performer.

Our talented instructors like Kevin are committed to going beyond mere music lessons. We hope to develop well-rounded musicians through the Granger Method. Through this method, our students get personalized, one-on-one music lessons from an extremely talented instructor.

4 Reasons to Enroll Your Child in Summer Guitar Lessons

A vacation from school doesn’t mean that your child has to take a break from learning. Summer break is an excellent time for your child to explore and develop new skills that they don’t get a chance to experience in an ordinary academic setting. One such learning opportunity that can have long-lasting benefits for your child is music lessons.

When it comes time to enroll in summer lessons, you and your child have a huge range of instruments to choose from. One of the most popular instruments out there is the guitar. While it certainly has its own set of challenges, as all instruments do, there are many reasons including the 4 we’ve outlined below why guitar lessons for kids may be the way to go this summer.

General Popularity

It can be hard to get children to stay motivated and happy with their choice of instrument. You may find that the inherent popularity of the guitar makes your job a little easier. Many children already have an interest in and a positive view of the guitar from seeing and hearing others play.

Versatility

Part of what makes the guitar so well-liked is its ability to fit into just about any genre of music. Different guitar types and techniques provide a wide range of sounds and musical styles. Whether strumming basic chords around a campfire or participating in a jazz band, your child will be able to tailor their new skills to fit their interests.

Ease of Transportation

Guitars are relatively easy instruments to transport. They can fit in a car or on a bus with your child and do not necessarily weigh much or require accompanying equipment.

Preparatory Quality for Other Instruments

The guitar is a great way for children to start to learn a bit of music theory. The chords and patterns they learn will be a big help to them should they decide to pick up other instruments further down the road.

You will be able to decide together with your child which instrument is right for your child’s specific needs and interests. As you weigh your options, remember to keep the guitar in mind!

Qualities of a Good Drum Instructor

Whether you’re seeking to fulfill a lifelong musical dream or find a summer program to your child’s liking, drum lessons can be a fun and fulfilling addition to your routine. At Granger School of Music, we know that the key to your progress when you want to learn to play the drums is a good instructor. It’s important that you work with someone who has the skills and enthusiasm to help you get where you want to be. Here are 4 qualities of a good drum teacher.

Experience

There is a big difference between practicing the drums by yourself and joining in with other musicians. Your drum instructor should have extensive performance experience. A good teacher will not simply prepare you for your weekly practices, but also for the future practical application of your skills.

Understanding of Music Theory

Any good music instructor should understand and be able to clearly explain concepts within music theory, in addition to the rules and techniques specific to your instrument. You need someone who is prepared to help you become a real musician, not just a person who knows how to play the drums.

Understanding of Other Instruments

Along with music theory, a good drum teacher should be aware of, and perhaps even have some musical ability in, other instruments besides the drums. This suggests an understanding of the drums within their context and purpose. It will be incredibly beneficial to you as a student to learn how to play alongside other instruments.

Patience

As with any instrument, growth is built upon practice, repetition, and mistakes. This can be frustrating at times, especially with an instrument as loud as the drums. Find an instructor who will give you the time and emotional energy you need, even (and especially) when you hit a rough patch.

It is important to also be patient with yourself as you develop this new skill. You may not always feel like you’re progressing at the rate you would like to, but a good instructor will be able to help you power through and stay motivated.

Why You Should Think about Hiring a Vocal Coach

Some people go their entire lives without any particular interest in music, but most people like it in one form or another. Some of us go a step further and desire to make it ourselves, but making music and being good at making music are not always the same thing. Some of us may need to learn more about how it works in order to be good at it. Fortunately, if you live in Park City and know where to look, you can find individuals and institutions that offer music instruction, such as private singing lessons.

What You’ll Learn

Singing is more than just making noises with your mouth. It can be very difficult, but the good news is that it’s just like any other instrument; we can train with our voices to achieve mastery. Serious lessons often include more than just vocal training–you might learn about the history of vocal music, how to sing in languages like German and Latin, and different styles of singing. Less serious lessons might skip over some of the more difficult or time-consuming parts.

How It Works

You’ll schedule the first lesson with your chosen instructor and go in for an evaluation. This is not evaluating whether you are good or bad, rather an evaluation of what kind of voice and range you have. Your level of understanding will also be assessed in order to determine which level should be your starting point. You will also discuss with the instructor the reason or reasons you want singing lessons. Do you want to start a band? Do you prefer a classical style? Are you looking for extra instruction outside of a project? These will also be a factor in the type of instruction you receive.

Benefits of Hiring a Vocal Coach

Working with an instructor will help increase your musical understanding and skill, but that’s not the only benefit. Vocal coaches are trained to listen objectively, which means that they can give accurate and honest feedback–something we don’t find many other places. Additionally, those of us who love to sing can sometimes feel self-conscious about our voices, but singing lessons help us improve those things that need to be and hone those skills we already have.

The Benefits of Taking Guitar Lessons

If you are thinking about signing up for guitar lessons, then you have made a great choice. Whether you choose to play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, or both, there are many benefits to learning how to play this musical instrument. Once you start taking lessons, you can have fun with it and enjoy these 5 great benefits at the same time.

5 Benefits to Playing Guitar

  • Playing the guitar relieves stress. Doctors recommend that everyone finds at least one hobby that they can have some fun and relieve stress with. Doing this leads to improved mental and physical health. If you’ve had a rough day, all you’ll need to do is sit down with your guitar to clear your mind and relax.
  • Playing the guitar exercises your mind, protecting it from future deterioration. Learning new things makes new connections in your brain, and the challenge of learning to play a guitar is great for your cognitive development. Doing so has been proven to be beneficial for your long-term mental health.
  • Playing the guitar is fun, whether you are alone or with friends. You can sit at home and play your guitar or bring it out at a social gathering. Your friends will love to hear the songs you play, and you’ll have fun sharing your talent with them.
  • Playing the guitar can be a bit of a workout. You burn extra calories while playing and you’ll go a long way in strengthening your arms and hands.
  • A guitar is portable. Unlike many other instruments, you can bring your guitar with you wherever you go and play it as you feel is appropriate.

These 5 simple benefits can do a lot to improve your quality of life. You’ll enjoy playing guitar and love how you feel emotionally and physically. If you really love guitar and put the time into getting really good, you can even try making a career out of the hobby you have grown to love.

4 Benefits of Taking Piano Lessons from a Professional

You may have heard a few pianists say that they taught themselves to play piano or that they just picked it up here and there or took online lessons. However, these types of pianists are very few and far between. The fact is that the majority of accomplished pianists have had years of piano lessons from professional teachers. Here are the top 4 benefits of taking lessons from a professional piano teacher.

Experience

Professional teachers can offer something self-teaching and online courses can’t–years of experience. In addition to the actual years of playing the piano and taking lessons themselves, teachers often have professional performance experience with all types of music styles. This experience allows the teacher to tailor your piano education to your needs and music tastes and provide valuable tools for overcoming performance anxiety.

Education

Many professional piano teachers, like Robyn Kemp, have received formal music education in music conservatories. This formal education not only hones performance skills, but ensures that your teacher knows effective piano pedagogical theories and methods so that you learn all the necessary components of piano playing, including theory, technique, and more.

Current Techniques

Professional teachers often belong to an organization that provides continuing education. This allows them to stay current on new methods and ensures that all learning styles are addressed using one-on-one lessons, videos, group performances, and other modern approaches. Those who enjoy experimenting will learn the fundamentals of music and piano in order to create and write music of their own.

Accountability

Learning to play the piano has numerous benefits, including relaxation, brain development, eye-hand coordination, and help with depression and anxiety. However, many people learning piano on their own find that these benefits are not realized because they are inconsistent with practicing because they are not accountable to anyone. Regular lessons ensure accountability, which motivates students to work hard throughout the week in order to demonstrate improvement and eventual proficiency.

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