Viewing entries tagged
Songwriting Lessons

Acoustic Versus Electric: Piano

In a continuation of our recent theme, we take a closer look at the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of the electric instruments versus acoustic: piano edition! Of course, many pianists seem to prefer having an acoustic piano either where they live or where they practice. The tone of a well made instrument is unmatched. Hence, when you see performances of famous pianists they are almost always performing on a grand piano in the concert hall. The weight of the keys, the response of the hammers, and the acute precision of the pedals makes the piano ideal for recording and performance. The big drawback: lack of portability. Have you ever moved a piano? I have once. Once. I was lucky to come away with all of my toes still intact. Secondly, a piano must be tuned from time to time by a professional piano tuner. This can prove to be an expensive upkeep.

Which brings us to the electric piano, or keyboard. There are a myriad of electric keyboards, pianos, and synthesizers. The latter of the three is extremely versatile. With presets that range in the thousands, certain synthesizers can emulate pianos through samples and sound (nearly) perfect! But the greatest quality to the electric piano or keyboard is the portability! You can set up and break down in minutes and, while an amplifier or sound system is needed for large performances, many electric pianos are equipped with speakers for intimate settings.

Of course, the thing to remember is to find the right instrument for YOU. Always do your research and if you can, go play the instrument at your local music store! Acoustic versus electric: you decide!

If you or someone you know is interested in learning to play piano or any other instrument, please check out the rest of our website. We also encourage you to stop in to either of our two convenient North Texas locations in Allen and Frisco. We offer private music lessons in piano, guitar, drums, bass, voice, and songwriting! Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!


Busy Schedule Blues

Now is the time when the weather gets colder and the busy Fall schedules steal away any free time we had during the summer. I have many parents coming to me, telling me that their child has so much going on that they find themselves at the end of the day without time for practice. I totally understand; it is the "Busy Schedule Blues". I grew up in this area and I know how demanding academics, extra-curricular activities, and family time/hobbies can be. What I always tell them is that daily practice is ideal. However, sitting down with the instrument and having fun with it can still be beneficial. Even when doing other things, like watching television, I have a guitar in hand, strumming through chords! This is just a gentle suggestion. Of course, practice is still very important and we still want to be as diligent as possible when it comes to exercises and warm ups. Every once in a while, just have FUN! If you or someone you know is looking to learn an instrument, Matt Burk Music Studio offers private music lessons for piano, guitar, drums, bass, voice, and songwriting. Feel free to check out the rest of the website or stop in either our Frisco or Allen, Texas locations to find out more information. Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!


Stress Release!

Things have been very busy around the studio lately. Last weekend was our Showcase at the House of Blues on Saturday and Sunday was our Recital at the McKinney Performing Arts Center. Needless to say, anxiety levels were at an all time high. This is something that is totally normal and to be expected. What I think surprised many of my students is the complete sense of relief when their performances had ended. This too is totally normal! Here at Matt Burk Music Studio we harness that anxiety to help with curbing the stage-fright and in turn channel it towards a better performance. Those in the audience noticed a marked difference in players whom may have had trouble in the past. While some have the ability to teach themselves to alleviate that stress, we can coach and mold you into a performer that actually looks forward to that feeling, takes it, and uses it to create show-stopping results. Whether you play piano, guitar, drums, bass, or sing, Matt Burk Music Studio offers private music lessons that not only help you reach your creative goals, but gives real-world experience in the music realm. Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!

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!

Don't Drop In Cold!

Every once in a while I catch one of the numerous "singing competition" shows on television. Performances on these shows are always backed by a full band and backing singers. The contestants usually sound radio-ready, even when performing live. Why is that? Did they wake up, get to the studio, and immediately jump into the song? The answer is, probably not. To hit those astronomical notes, any good singer will tell you, "WARM UP!". Singing arpeggiated chords of the major scale  works wonders before belting out the show stoppers. Not sure how they're supposed to work? Let us help you get your voice to its performance peak! We offer private voice lessons with extensive know-how from teachers who work in the industry! If vocalizing isn't your thing, perhaps you'd like to learn an instrument to accompany your favorite singer? We also offer private piano, guitar, drum, bass, audio production, and songwriting lessons! Whatever your instrument, we can prepare you to perform not just in the shower, but on stage in front of an audience! Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!

1, 2, 3, 4!

It is as easy as that! If you can count to four, you can learn to read music. Sure, there is a lot more to it than just that, but the overall foundation of rhythm is counting! I am fairly certain that I tell my students to count out loud every single day that I go into the studio. Why, you ask? Well, I  find that even in times of high anxiety, perhaps during a performance, that the counting we've done in the past out loud can help our inner count get back on track. I have seen it happen, used it myself, and know it to be true. Understanding this fundamental factor seems like it would be obvious, but for many it can be an "A-ha!" moment. Those are the type of moments we can create here at Matt Burk Music Studio for you! We offer private lessons for Piano, Guitar, Drums, Bass, Voice, Songwriting, and  Audio Production located conveniently in Allen, Texas! Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!

Music Makes You Smarter?








I have heard that learning to read and play music at an early age can make certain academic enterprises later in life easier to accomplish. Whether or not this is true is up for debate. In my own experiences I have found that it helped foster an ease with communication, working with others for a common goal, and has made me much more open to learning new things such as songs, chords, rhythms, and ideas. Having a musical background can help with your college admission and finding friends with common interests (I know of a group of doctors that play together in a jazz combo for stress relief). Time and time again I have heard from adult students, "I wish I would have started lessons earlier if I knew how positively it would affect my life!" The best part is, it is NEVER too late to start! We here at Matt Burk Music Studio can help you reach your goals musically. We offer many private lessons, such as piano, drums, guitar, bass, and voice. If you're interested in songwriting and audio production, we've got that covered too! In fact, we can help you write, perform, record, and produce YOUR music! Does music make you smarter? Why not find out? Sign up today! Matt Burk Music Studio: Learn, Create, Perform!


2012 Fall Recital and Showcase

We just hosted our fall showcase at the House of Blues in Dallas and our recital at the McKinney Performing Arts Center in McKinney! It never ceases to amaze us what kind of talent we have at Matt Burk Music Studio. It is a real treat for us all to hear so many talented students playing everything from classical to jazz to pop to rock to country and more. We were even treated to a jazz combo of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five." Students of all ages and skill levels had the opportunity to perform songs of their choice on the piano, guitar, bass and drums, as well as to vocal chops singing! There is such a great variety of talented students. At Matt Burk Music Studio, we are proud to offer our students a variety of fun performances opportunities. In addition to our showcases and recitals that we host each spring and fall, we offer regular performances throughout the year. So if you weren't able to participate in our fall showcase or recital - no worries! We have additional performance opportunities coming up soon. Read about our jam sessions and live gigs, and check out a current list of our upcoming student performances (including dates and locations). And be sure to talk with your instructor about preparing for one of these upcoming events, and you'll be on your way to joining in the fun! We encourage all of our students to participate in various performance opportunities with us! Playing with a group, or in front of an audience is very beneficial in a student's musical development.

If your interested in private music instruction and coaching at it's best, please email us. or give us a call at 972-207-9353. We offer private music lessons for piano, guitar, bass, drums, and voice in our Allen, Texas studio. We have students from Allen, Fairview, Lucas, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Richardson, Dallas, and beyond!

Getting the Most Out of Lessons

At Matt Burk Music Studio we dream of every student experiencing the joy and passion that comes with expressing themselves in music, learning their craft proficiently and becoming a success in their own right. We want each student to have an exceptional experience with us. There are three elements that contribute heavily towards this goal. When these three elements are working in concert, then the greatest results are achieved!


Ian Osborne coaching voice students at a Jam Session

As teachers, we certainly play a key role in each student’s overall success. One of our primary goals is to listen carefully to find what inspires and motivates the student, and then customize a lesson plan with that in mind. We use a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement in the teaching process. Our purpose is to help students achieve their unique goals in music. Our teachers work with each student to customize lessons and a practice plan that will work with their specific goals, interests and schedules.


Collin playing lead guitar at a student Jam Session

Each week, students spend a relatively short amount of time in lessons – typically either 30 minutes or 60 minutes in one-on-one lessons with their teacher. As such, the majority of the progress a student sees will typically take place at home, between lessons. What happens at home is one of the biggest factors that determines a student’s progress. With this in mind, our teachers work with students very specifically to understand how much practice time you can realistically commit to each week. Then they will work with you and structure lessons accordingly. We do not have any set amount of practice time that we expect, but rather understand that each student’s schedule is different, and work from there. It is important to keep in mind that often times, if practicing is not a scheduled part of the student’s week, then it simply doesn’t happen.


Parental involvement is also a very important element in the student’s musical journey. Our desire is to keep the parents informed about what is happening in lessons, and to keep the lines of communication open at all times. The more information that we receive from parents (and students), the better. If the student’s musical interests have changed, or they need some different inspiration, or they would like to further explore another aspect of music (e.g., songwriting, improvisation, etc.), or whatever it might be - we would love to know that, so we can adjust lessons accordingly. So communication is key with us. We want to make sure that we continue to meet each and every student where they are.

Parents often ask us what they can do to best support the learning process.

A grandma taking picture of her granddaughters after performing at House of Blues Dallas.

Parents also play a huge role at home. The support a student receives at home is critically important in the overall success of lessons. In order for the student to get the most out of lessons, the parents need to be involved in a positive, encouraging manner. Some students thrive with more parental involvement and some students thrive with less. We know that you know your child best, and as such, we generally defer to you in this area. However, from time-to-time, we may make suggestions and ask you to help us by trying different approaches (e.g., being more or less actively involved in lessons or practice) as a part of our teaching process.

Australian musician, music teacher and author, Philip Johnston, in his renowned book, “The Practice Revolution” put together a list of seven key things that parents can do to support their child in the learning process. Below are those keys, along with some quotes from Johnston’s book. We have also included some of our own comments - based on our personal experiences with students of Matt Burk Music Studio.

1. Be interested.

“The single best thing parents can do to help their child practice is to be genuinely interested in what’s going on with their music lessons. To be hungry to find out what happened in the last lesson, and how their child plans on being ready for the next one.”

We know you have an interest in your child’s music lessons, or you wouldn’t be willing to invest your time and money in this process! Even still, we wanted to be sure you’re aware that questions about what song your child is working on, what made them choose that song, which scale they like or dislike the most, where they are struggling, where they are excelling, or what song they want to learn next, can have a tremendous impact on the student’s progress and overall excitement about music lessons. Whether you are a professional musician or have no musical experience whatsoever, your interest in your child’s learning process is extremely valuable!

2. Encourage.

Parents don’t need to be gushing over every correct quarter note, but calculated positive feedback from parents is a great way of reinforcing behavior.”

The best way to encourage your child, is to be well informed about what goals are being set for them to accomplish each week. The more you know about the specifics of the lessons, the more targeted you can be in your encouragement. In order to get you as much information about lessons as possible, we talk to parents at the end of every lesson (assuming you are available), and we also send home a practice and progress form each week. The practice and progress form will include information about the student’s strengths as well as specific practice instructions and goals for the week. And remember – your child’s instructor will work to strengthen their skills and correct their weaknesses. So we encourage parents to really focus on the positives!

3. Reflect.

Parents can ensure that the communication between studio and home is complete by having the student reflect back to them the essential information for the week ahead.”

It is of critical importance that when students leave the studio they have a clear understanding of what their practice goals are for the week. This is important since the vast majority of progress takes place during the week, in-between lessons. By having the teacher, student, and parents, on the same page and with the same expectations, it greatly increases the success of lessons.

4. Steer.

Even when kids are completely clear on what their goals are for the week, and have a comprehensive list of practice techniques to use to pursue those goals, they can sometimes be confused as to how to organize it all.”

Often times students can be a little overwhelmed as to how to properly manage their practice goals for the week. You as parents can play a helpful role in your child effectively practicing by working with them to plan out a “roadmap” for the week as to what should be accomplished first, second, third, and so on. For example if you hear your child playing through a part of a song, for an extensive period of time, that they feel comfortable with, then you can steer them to spend some time on a section that they need more work on. This is just one of many scenarios where you as parents can steer you child in the right direction for practicing.

5. Enthuse.

While praise can be useful for reinforcing what a student is already doing, being enthusiastic can help motivate students to be excited about things they haven’t even started yet - affecting practice sessions that may not take place for months, or even years.”

Often times students only see what is directly before them. It’s important for them to sometimes “look up” and see what’s down the road if they continue pursing music. It’s easy for any of us to lose traction or motivation if we don’t have a vision for what’s to come. As parents, you can help provide that much needed vision for your child by mentioning songs that they would love to be able to play one day, but aren’t quite ready for yet. It’s an important part of the process to be “hungry” for things yet to come. You can also really influence them to take advantage of our exciting performance opportunities! This enthusiasm can really instill a sense of purpose and drive that students need. It’s all about encouragement and inspiration!

6. Progress checks.

One of the best ways to assess progress is with a couple of well-spaced midweekcheckpoints,” and the parent is the perfect audience for the student to show off their work so far to.”

As we all know, the week has a way of flying by. Mid-week check-ups are a great way to assess what has been accomplished up to that point, and then to plan out the rest of the week. These “checkpoints” are not necessarily designed to assess how much practicing has been done but rather the way practicing has been done. The success of practicing should not be measured in the amount of time spent, but rather in progress made. Simply put, a student can accomplish more in 10 minutes of correct practicing, than in 30 minutes of incorrect practicing. We’re not interested in students racking up huge practice numbers, but rather accomplishing specific goals. Your teacher can help shed more light on this subject.

7. Knowing when not to help.

Sometimes the best help is not to help at all. Some students work best when they are given room to move, and will actively resent parents leaping in with solutions for every practice problem they face. As students become more autonomous with their practice, the parental involvement model moves gently from helping regularly to simply being available should the student need it.”

This, of course, is a very subjective issue. As parents, you know your child better than anyone. This is a process that only you and your child will be able to monitor, but we wanted be sure you’re aware that it can be an important factor in a student’s progress.

A final note – please talk with us!

Lastly, we want to reiterate the importance of an open line of communication with us. As your child communicates their likes, dislikes, concerns, passions, etc. with you, please share that information with us! We want the lines of communication to always be open between our instructors and our students and our parents. Please do not assume that your child is communicating as openly with us as they do with you. We truly want each student to have an exceptional experience with us. As such, we really want to know how to best connect with them, so please keep us in the loop as lessons progress!

This article is a part of a notebook that what we give to all new students who join our studio. We teach private lessons for piano, guitar, drums, bass, voice, songwriting and audio production at our Studio in Allen, Texas. You can check out this video to get a glimpse of what makes our Studio unique! If you have questions about lessons with us, be sure to check out the rest of our website, email us, or call us at 972.207.9353, and we'll be happy to help you!

Allen Summer Concerts

Are you looking for something fun to do with your family this summer? Check out Allen’s 15th annual Summer Sounds concerts! It's held at the Joe Farmer Recreation Center Amphitheatre. This is a great way to get your family outside, while keeping them entertained. Also, it’s every Monday night!  Summer Sounds kicked off their six-week series on Monday May 21st, so there is still plenty of time to get out there! The music hits on every genre from contemporary, to zydeco, to Beatles tributes. Do you want to hear the best part? These concerts are FREE. So grab a blanket and the little ones and enjoy some great music outdoors!

This Monday, June 4th High Definition will be playing! High Definition is a great cover band. They play the best of today’s hits along with a wide variety of other popular music from the last five decades! Check out for a full list of bands and performers and plan a few nights out with the family!

If you or one of your family members would like to play in a concert like this someday, we can teach you how! Here at Matt Burk Music Studio we teach a variety of musical genres! We offer private lessons for piano, guitar, drums, bass, voice, songwriting, and audio production lessons. If you would like more information please visit our website at or give us a call at (972) 207-9353. We would be happy to talk to you about enrolling today!

Where to begin your musical journey

Have you been trying to decide on an instrument to get started with? It’s not uncommon to be unsure of where to start. Here are some good basic questions to ask yourself when you are in the decision process:  What instrument do I really enjoy? Is there an instrument that stands out to you? Maybe a genre of music that you really enjoy that features a certain instrument. This is a good place to start. Find an instrument that sounds intriguing, and go from there!

What instrument do my friends play? Playing in a group is not only fun, but a great learning experience as well! Find an instrument that some of your friends are playing and join them! Or, pick a different one and form a band!

Do I have an instrument at my house? A lot of times families have a piano sitting in their living room as decoration, or an old guitar that has been passed down or given as a present. Look around your house and see what is there!

Instruments are fun and can provide a lot of opportunities. Don’t stress about which one to choose, maybe try a few different ones? If you’re looking for a place to begin private music lessons, check out our website at! We offer piano, guitar, drums, bass, voice, songwriting, and audio production lessons. Give us a call at (972) 207-9353 or send us an email at to get started!

Free music in Allen


Are you looking for something fun to do with your family this summer? Check out Allen’s 15th annual Summer Sounds concerts! It's held at the Joe Farmer Recreation Center Amphitheatre. This is a great way to get your family outside, while keeping them entertained. Also, it’s every Monday night! 

Summer Sounds kicked off their six-week series on Monday May 21st, so there is still plenty of time to get out there! The music hits on every genre from contemporary, to zydeco, to Beatles tributes. Do you want to hear the best part? These concerts are FREE. So grab a blanket and the little ones and enjoy some great music outdoors!

This Monday, June 4th High Definition will be playing! High Definition is a great cover band. They play the best of today’s hits along with a wide variety of other popular music from the last five decades! Check for a full list of bands and performers. Then plan a few nights out with the family!

If you or one of your family members would like to play in a concert like this someday, we can help you get there! Here at Matt Burk Music Studio we teach a variety of musical genres! We offer private lessons for pianoguitar,drums, bassvoicesongwriting, and audio production lessons. If you would like more information please visit our website at or give us a call at (972) 207-9353. We would be happy to talk to you about starting or continuing your musical journey!



Benefits of playing music in a group

Working as a team comes into play a lot through your life. When you are young it could be on a sports team, in grade school it could be working in a group to finish a class project, and later in life it could be learning to work as a team with other coworkers. Studies have shown that playing music in a group could have a significant impact on your life. For example, playing (and sticking with) an instrument can increase the capacity of your memory. In an article on it states “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.” It continues to say “if you learn how to play an instrument, the parts of your brain that control motor skills (ex: using your hands, running, swimming, balancing, etc.), hearing, storing audio information, and memory, actually grow and become more active.” 

Playing an instrument in a group setting can also be very beneficial. Teaching children (and adults) to pay attention to the other musicians and to be flexible when things go wrong. It’s also very helpful in teaching perseverance and patience. Since learning an instrument takes time and LOTS of practice it can help children, as well as adults, learn to be patient and teaches children that hard work can pay off! If increasing brain function is something you want to try, or if learning an instrument just sounds fun, let us know! We offer pianoguitardrumsbass, and voice lessons as well as song writing and audio production. If you would like more information on music lessons give us a call at (972) 207-9353 or visit our website at!

Amazing effects of music on everyone!


Wondering if it’s a good idea to put your child in music lessons at a young age? What would be the benefits of starting lessons now? In an article about music and the brain, the writers at neuroscience for kids, state simply that “at its most basic level, music is just sound.” To some parents, their children’s music is just noise, however, music affects each individual differently.

Some researchers have looked into the effects of music lessons on children. They found “children who received keyboard (piano) lessons had improvement in the spatial-temporal test” (testing the ability to put puzzles together and problem solving).  Another study, done by Laurel Trainor, proved that “even a year or two of music training leads to enhanced levels of memory and attention when measured by the same type of tests that monitor electrical and magnetic impulses in the brain. In another study by Glenn Schellenberg, it was proved that “actual music lessons for kids leads to a long lasting cognitive success.”

Not only does music help children’s brain functions, it’s been used to help alzheimer’s patients as well! As you can see in this video Henry, who has been in a nursing home for 10 years, was barely responsive but when music was played from his era, Henry came back to life. He was responsive and able to answer questions that he couldn’t before, and put together full sentences! The results were incredible! Music affects everyone differently, are you curious to see how it would affect you or your child? Get them signed up in music lessons today!  We offer private piano lessons, voice lessons, bass lessons, guitar lessons, and drum lessons. If you have any questions on how to get started or how the lessons work, visit our website at, give us a call at (972) 207-9353, or send us an email at



Music Lessons Are Good for the Brain!

Are you thinking about signing your child up for some music lessons? Studies have shown “a strong correlation exists between musical training for children and certain other mental abilities.” Starting music lessons at a young age improves brain function as well as “affect attention and memory, which provides a mechanism whereby musical training might lead to better learning across a number of domains.” A fascinating article from talks about the affects music lessons, on children from the ages of 10 to 13, have on the development of the brain. Also, different instruments have different effects on the brain! Who would have thought? A few years in piano, or perhaps guitar, could set your child up for success in different areas for years to come!

Do you want to read more? Click here for the full article.

Are you ready to give your child this life-long advantage? We have piano, guitar, drum, bass, voice, song writing and audio production lessons!