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Music School Reveals The Truth About Learning Instruments as an Adult

Music School Frisco TX

When stepping into a music school, most people expect the majority of pupils to be children or young adults. People over 25 often write themselves off when it comes to learning to play an instrument; “I’m way too old for that,” or “only kids can really learn how to play.” Despite these popular beliefs, studies show that the truth about learning a new instrument is simple: anyone can learn to play any instrument at any age.

So, what is it about our brain that allows us to pick up a new skill, like playing guitar? Well, unlike the brain’s language center, we learn and play or sing music using many parts of our brain. Children’s brains are more malleable, and synapses are constantly connecting. However, adults too can train their brain to learn something new. You can learn an instrument at any age; it just takes practice.

The main difference between learning as a young person and learning as an adult lies in the practice regimen. Adults usually choose to begin learning an instrument with adequate knowledge about how much time and effort it will take. However, they have no one, like parents or teachers, to enforce a regular practice schedule. One advantage of learning an instrument when you are young is the high likelihood that someone will hold you accountable for your level of effort and progress.

On the flip side, adults are often more analytical than young children, an advantage that allows them to more completely comprehend all aspects of a piece before and while they are learning it. Adults do, however, tend to hold themselves to a relatively higher expectation than their younger counterparts. Children are usually more patient and willing to practice the same notes and simple scales over and over, while adults can become quickly frustrated because they enter into the practice expecting to catch on quickly or be skillful right off the bat.

Whether you want to add another instrument to your arsenal, or you’ve never picked one up before, know that your age does not have to stop you from learning a new instrument. More and more music schools around the world are providing lessons for aspiring adult musicians. If you’re thinking about learning an instrument, regardless of your age, visit Matt Burk Music Studio online at http://www.wannalearnmusic.com or give us a call (972) 207-9353.

Music School Frisco TX
Matt Burk Music Studio
1701 Legacy Drive, Ste. 150
Frisco, TX 75034
United States
(469) 353-6100

Six Rhythm Exercises to Learn to Play Drums and for All Musicians

Learn To Play Drums TX

Any musician can tell you that keeping a beat to music is the most important skill to hone to sound like a professional. While it may come naturally to some, finding a rhythm and staying with it may take a lot of practice for others. Learning to play the drums has never been easier with personalized drum lessons, but there are six exercises you can do at home to make sure you're keeping time like a pro:

  1. Walk to a beat.  Walking to a beat is not just for John Travolta walking down the street to "Saturday Night Fever;" walking or marching to a beat is a straightforward and easy practice to keep around the house. Use a metronome or an app to play a beat, and you'll be marching like a pro in no time. Or, walk to the beat of your favorite songs.
  2. Tap it out.  When your legs aren't moving to a beat, use your fingers or hands to tap or clap a beat. Creating a habitual exercise to hone your rhythm will make scheduling drum lessons that much easier. The more you practice in your spare time, the more improvement you can get out of your lesson.
  3. Learn to subdivide.  Beats, especially when it comes to drums, can be broken down into even shorter beats. Instead of counting "one, two, three, four..." as you practice keeping time, try counting "one, and, two, and, three, and, four, and..." Knowing how to maintain small beats will make your lessons even more productive.
  4. Record yourself.  It is easy to hear a beat when it comes from someone else, but it is simpler to learn how to keep a rhythm when you hear yourself try it. Recording your pace allows you to realize how proficient your rhythm is, and makes learning much easier when you know what you need to improve upon.
  5. Learn from the best.  While learning to play the drums from an instructor is the best way to gain all the necessary skills, listening to a drummer or visiting a band practice to watch how a drummer moves and interacts with his or her music will not only teach you methods of keeping rhythm, but will help inspire you to play.
  6. Play with a background beat.  Even with metronome practices around the house, using a rhythm as you practice the drums can keep you on track so you don't lose your beat as you practice other drum skills. If you need help, ask your instructor the best practice techniques to help you learn and practice good rhythm in between lessons.

Keeping time is the first thing to master when learning an instrument. Once you realize how to keep time, though, your musical skills will improve in no time. For anyone who wants to learn how to play drums in the Frisco, TX area, the only business to call is Matt Burk Music Studio. Unleash your inner rock star by calling (469) 353-6100.

Learn to Play Drums TX
Matt Burk Music Studio
1701 Legacy Drive, Ste. 150
Frisco, TX 75034
United States
(469) 353-6100

Top Tips on Practicing with a Metronome During Your Music Lessons

Music Lessons Allen TX

A metronome is a tool that can enhance your music lessons by providing the best tempo for the piece you are playing. It creates a steady sound that enables a musician to keep the proper pace for playing a piece of music. Practicing with a metronome on a regular basis can improve your playing mastery by helping you maintain speed.

Choosing Your Metronome

There are several types of metronomes available, from digital or wind-up models to apps on your phone. Mechanical wind-up metronomes are typically best for musicians who play classical instruments. Digital metronomes offer more features and are generally best for musicians playing more modern pieces of music. Younger musicians may do better with mechanical metronomes as watching the pendulum swing provides a visual cue to the rhythm.

Setting Your Metronome

Once you have decided on the best metronome for your situation, you will need to know how to set it for each piece you are playing. Many digital metronomes offer a "beats per minute" feature for determining the tempo. Select the BPM needed for each piece. On these devices, you will also need to set the volume level. The level should be loud enough to hear but not so loud as to overpower the piece you playing.

Using Your Metronome

Become familiar with the sheet music you are using before start your metronome. Then practice your piece without paying too much attention to the tempo. When you know all of the notes, you can start to focus more on the proper rhythm of the music.

Begin slowly, listening to several beats of your metronome before you start to play. Focus on the areas in your piece that are problematic for you. Every piece of music typically has easier sections and more difficult areas. You may need to practice the more difficult sections of the music first before bringing everything up to tempo.

When you are comfortable with the entire piece, increase the tempo just a bit. It can help to tap your toe to the beat of the metronome. Play through the whole piece until you have mastered that speed. Increase the speed once more, and play until you are comfortable again. Continue this process until you can play the entire piece at the appropriate tempo.

Why is it Important to Practice with a Metronome?

Humans don't naturally keep a constant tempo. Even our heartbeats speed up and slow down. When someone plays a piece of music without a metronome, they will often speed up or slow down slightly and then try to compensate for the changes in tempo. A metronome reduces this tendency to rush or drag. Keeping a constant tempo is particularly important when musicians are playing together. If everyone is playing at their own pace, the group as a whole will be out of time with each other.

Contact Matt Burk Music Studio to schedule your music lessons in the Allen TX area. Call (469) 353-6100 today!

Music Lessons Allen TX
Matt Burk Music Studio
1701 Legacy Drive, Ste. 150
Frisco, TX 75034
United States
(469) 353-6100

The Ease of Switching Instruments While Taking a Music Lesson

Music Lesson Allen TX

From learning patience and creating beautiful music to improving your overall mood, there are many benefits to taking a music lesson to try out a new instrument. Many students master one instrument quickly or decide that they want to try a different instrument after a few lessons. Fortunately, switching instruments without becoming overwhelmed is possible. Here are a few interesting facts that will help you understand the ease of switching instruments.

Learning the Basics

When learning an instrument, your instructor will teach you the basics of playing music, including reading music and learning rhythm. These notes and rhythms are the building blocks for playing all types of music, so you will not need to learn a new set of skills in that respect when and if you decide to play a different instrument.

It is important to note that this applies to the traditional Western instruments only since many world instruments will require learning additional notes, chords and scales.

Learn and Play Multiples

Many people feel they are unable to play multiple instruments. If you have already mastered one instrument, you can still learn, master, and play another instrument. Even if you decide to pick up a new one, you should never feel the need to stop playing an instrument once you master it.

The joy of learning music is that you can learn, master, and continue playing multiple instruments over your lifetime. Think of it more like adding an instrument to your repertoire, not necessarily "switching."

Face Some Challenges

You should not stress over switching instruments, but you should prepare yourself for a few minor challenges, especially at your first music lesson.

If you are choosing to switch to an instrument in a completely different family, these challenges will be a bit more noticeable. For example, switching from a guitar to drums will require a period of adjustment to become comfortable with the new sitting position and the new role the drums have in an ensemble. You can comfortably play the guitar while holding it either standing up or sitting down while playing the drums will require the use of drumsticks while sitting down primarily. Also, you will switch from playing the melody to playing the beat.

Also, switching from the piano to a wind instrument will have its own unique set of challenges. Your fingers and hands will be used a great deal while playing the piano, but playing a wind instrument, such as a clarinet or flute, will require the use of your respiratory system. You will have to get used to your breath being a vital part of playing music.

Working through the various challenges may seem overwhelming, but remain patient through the process just as you did when learning your first instrument.

If you are considering taking a music lesson to try a new instrument or you are ready to make an instrument switch, contact Matt Burk Music Studio in the Allen, TX area at (469) 353-6100 today.

Music Lesson Allen TX
Matt Burk Music Studio
1701 Legacy Drive, Ste. 150
Frisco, TX 75034
United States
(469) 353-6100

Top Things Great Music Teachers Include In Their Music Lessons

Music Lessons Frisco TX

When choosing a music teacher for yourself or a family member, it’s important to consider the characteristics of successful music lessons. You want a great music teacher, and great music teachers use specific strategies to help their students reach the highest goals possible.

Robert Duke and Amy Simmons studied the pedagogical approaches of a highly-regarded music teacher to determine what made their lessons so successful. They identified several important factors common to all of the approaches offered by the teachers. These factors were divided into three categories: Goals and Expectations, Effecting Change and Conveying Information.

Goals and Expectations

The lessons provided by these teachers were centered around interpretation and expression and were within the skill capabilities of the individual students. While some students required more time to practice fundamentals, they all had the capacity to learn the pieces over time.

The music teachers were able to apply their expertise and experience to unknown pieces of music, enabling them to guide students through the works as if they had earlier experience with them.

A consistent standard of quality was expected of each individual student. If the sound being produced was less than standard, the lesson was halted and that part of the piece was practiced until standards were met.

The teachers had a clear memory of the past lessons they had with students and would make comparisons to those lessons to point out positive and negative issues.

Effecting Change

The individual pieces performed by students were presented from the beginning through to the end. This enabled students to develop a habit of playing music as though each practice was a performance.

The music being played was halted only when a major error was presented. This gave students a truer sense of the sounds of an accurately played performance in its entirety.

The teachers set lesson targets and had their students repeat the target pieces until they were of a performance standard. Achievable areas of improvement were selected, feedback and guidance were offered and students were expected to continue to play until the piece was performed correctly.

Students were allowed to make their own interpretative decisions in a repertoire performance. However, the range of options was limited and determined by the teacher.

Conveying Information

Effective music teachers are able to make consistent, precise discriminations about the performances of their students, teaching the students to independently make similar discriminations. The feedback provided helped students to hone their listening abilities in order to better appreciate the subtle details of their performances. This ability to better discriminate allowed the students to raise their performance standards.

The feedback provided was always given in terms of technique mastery and the music being expressed. Both positive and negative feedback was provided. Positive feedback was intermittent and infrequent but powerful. Negative feedback was more frequent, clear and specific to the performance of each student.

Teachers played examples from the repertoires of the students to model accurate technique and standards and demonstrate crucial points.

For information about highly regarded music lessons in the Frisco, TX, area, call Matt Burk Music Studio at (469) 353-6100 today!

Music Lessons Frisco TX
Matt Burk Music Studio
1701 Legacy Drive, Ste. 150
Frisco, TX 75034
United States
(469) 353-6100

Use the "Simple Playback Method" in Your Music Lessons in Allen, TX

Music Lessons Allen TX

What do you want to get out of your music lessons?  Allen, TX sits close to the vibrant jazz and popular music scenes of Denton, Fort Worth, and Dallas, so you might want to focus on your ear training.

But can you learn to read a chart when you only know how to read note-by-note? Can you make the jump from classical to popular music styles?

You absolutely can -- and you can even do it without spending hours on painstaking interval drills.

We talked to Justen Blackstone, Artist Lecturer at Moravian College and co-founder of Backstage Podcast, to find out.

Use the “Simple Playback Method” in Your Music Lessons in Allen, TX

“Simple playback can be a fantastic way to train the ear of all ages,” said Blackstone. “A teacher can simply make up a melody on the piano and ask the student to play that melody back to them verbatim.”

Justen usually starts with a five note span on the keyboard -- C-G -- and sets progressive levels for his students.

In level one, for instance, he plays a three-note melody between C-G and asks the student to play that melody back. Level two could be a five-note pattern, and he usually progresses with a student all the way up to ten notes.

“These melodies increase in interval difficulty, length, and timing (syncopation, dotted notes, etc.),” Blackstone said. “Once the student has mastered the five-note span, I will then expand the available notes and even add sharps or flats.”

You Don’t Need a Piano to Use the Simple Playback Method

Your music lessons in Allen, TX will have a piano, but what if you don’t have a keyboard at home?

All you have to do is start with Spotify. Find a simple song (it can even be one that you know), and listen to 5-10 seconds of it before pausing; now sing that melody back. Move on to more unfamiliar and difficult songs, and increase the amount of time you go before pausing the song. Just do your best to sing it back correctly.

If you want to keep up your keyboard ear training, download an app like Melody Ear Training. It’s fun, cheap, and will dramatically improve your ear playing.

What About You?

Would you like to incorporate ear training into your music lessons in Allen, TX?  Give Matt Burk Music Studio a call at (469) 353-6100, or visit us online. You’ll improve your practical musicianship, and you'll be jamming at the Scat Lounge in no time.

Music Lessons Allen TX
Matt Burk Music Studio
1701 Legacy Drive, Ste. 150
Frisco, TX 75034
United States
(469) 353-6100

Re-string That Axe!

So you've got a big show tomorrow night. A & R reps will be in the crowd, biggest show to date. You look at your guitar and notice something. Your strings are dull and lifeless; all the bright and slinky-ness has been lost due to corrosion. You need to re-string your axe! Should you take it into your local guitar shop and have the luthier do it for an exorbitant amount? NOPE! Just follow these instructions and you'll be golden! First off, the way you will approach this will differ depending on the type of guitar being re-strung. Acoustics need the tension to remain on the neck to avoid warping or bending. The way to avoid those problems is to begin by removing and replacing the lowest E string. When trying to determine how much slack you should leave on the string for a good wind, try my method. I pull the string taut through the eyelet. Then pull it back through the feed about half a fret's worth of space. This should ensure enough string on the wind without too much excess! Next will be the D string, then the B. Do you see the overall "skip-a-string" method we're using? Once the B has been replaced you may return to the A string (5th largest) and begin the skipping from there: A, G, E). Remember that this is primarily for acoustics, but may be used for electric as well. Electric guitars may be restrung from the lowest to highest or vice-versa without too much stress on the neck. I still don't recommend taking ALL the strings off unless you need to make repairs. This will ensure a straight neck! After all the strings have been replaced, you will want to "stretch" out the strings by bending them on the fretboard (many play through lead lines and use bends for this purpose). This will make sure that they keep their tone when they naturally lengthen from the stress. Well, I hope this was helpful! Knowledge like this is just a small part of what you will learn if you take private music lessons here at Matt Burk Music Studio. We can help you reach your musical goals and relay valuable information on gigging, tuning, rigs, guitars, etc. Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!

Metronome: Metro-NOPE!? Keep it Between the Clicks!

CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK. Every musician knows that feeling. . .  We've completed our weekly assignment at our own pace, keeping in mind everything our instructor talked about, and it went swimmingly! And then it happens; we turn on the metronome and attempt the same result only to find frustration between the clicks. Many students find it to be such a daunting task that they simply do away with it. Worry Not! Developing a sense of rhythm takes time! If we allow ourselves to understand that perfection is not necessary (at least to begin with) and that the click is a must when practicing any exercises or songs, it becomes commonplace. Depending on whether you take private drum, guitar, bass, voice, or piano lessons, you can always find ways to involve the metronome. In my lessons, we use it for warm ups with drums, for counting measures when learning chords for guitar, and following the downbeat when playing bass. I have the metronome on so much that I barely hear it anymore! But when I need to, I can sync up instantly with it because I hear it on a consistent basis. The metronome helps us to "see" whether we are lagging (slowing down) or rushing (speeding up). At first the "feel" of playing with it can be off-putting, especially if the student is a beginner. One thing I can guarantee: if you use it daily, you WILL get better at keeping between the clicks! Keep at it and soon you'll see that it wasn't as big a challenge as you may have previously expected. We here at Matt Burk Music Studio can help you straighten out those rhythms, no matter what the instrument! Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!

Play By Ear?

Matt Burk Music Studio offers music theory lessons to each of our students. From the basics of the bass clefs and treble clefs to creating harmonies and rhythms, whatever your skill level, we can help you take your musical gift to the next step!