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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!

Don't Miss Your Cue!

We've been preparing for our bi-annual showcase and recital all this week. It gives students a chance to show off what they've worked hard to accomplish. Some play along with backing tracks and others are solo performers with new material or a polished cover. This year we've been able to put together a small jazz ensemble in hopes of broadening the musical horizons of our current students as well as keeping an American art form alive in the youth. We had a rehearsal last night and it was the first time the students had met each other, let alone performed as a group. We ran the song a few times and let me tell you how it is always a wonderful feeling to see new musicians really come in to their own. They played like seasoned performers and took what small directions the instructors had to heart. They truly demonstrated the attitude it takes to be a part of a team working towards a common goal!

After the rehearsal ended, the singer expressed concern about coming in at the right times. She told me that she had been watching my changes (on the bass) and cueing accordingly but was worried for the day of the performance. I told her that she had nothing to worry about; we were performing the song in a manner where we had a recording to reference, she had a great feel for the song, and natural talent! Cues for the band can rely heavily on the vocalists lyrics, so placement can be risky. However, with jazz being rather forgiving in that respect, vocal rhythms can be to the performer's taste.

Cues can be pulled from many different sources but your best bet is to listen to recordings of the song that you're performing. For Jazz, many pieces have "heads" or the melody. Certain forms that can be familiarized by reading through it many, many times. Drummers can also help with cues with fills and crescendos in places of transition!

We came to the conclusion that I would sit closer to the front of the stage so that we could make eye contact when big changes or long periods of rest were prevalent. Eye contact in ensembles is key, as it creates a line of communication that cannot be vocalized. This would help with cues for the entire band as well. Overall, I knew she had nothing to worry about but "when in doubt, listen, listen, listen!"

Matt Burk Music Studio creates an atmosphere where private music lessons meet performances with real world applications. We offer customized instruction for piano, guitar, drums, bass, voice, songwriting, and audio production. 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!

Mixing the Old and New

I've stated before how many different genres of music that I hear throughout the week at Matt Burk Music Studio. I think the eclectic nature of the lessons keeps interested minds open to sounds and melodies that they might not initially enjoy. This can be seen particularly in the song choices for our student Jam Sessions. The instructors are involved with the decisions and take heavily into consideration the requests and interests of the students. We perform one modern pop song and one classic pop/rock song. This helps the student identify common progressions, repeating  patterns, and influences that perhaps are overlooked during the intense focus of the lesson. The atmosphere during the jam session is very relaxed:  The teachers are there to support our drum, keyboard, bass, guitar, and vocal students. Students are there to develop ensemble awareness, meet new players/peers, and have a good time! Learning from the experience is just a side effect of the overall goal; something I discussed in my last post, "Performance Panic".  The main thing to remember is that we always have something to learn from music from any era!

Performance Panic!

I've noticed lately that there are a few students out there who are feeling a bit intimidated about getting up and performing in front of an audience. I myself had horrible stage fright for a number of years and then, something changed. When I look back upon it, I realize that it was a culmination of a few things. It took repeated performances; I mean dozens and dozens of them to really start feeling natural on stage. Increasing practice time also helped immensely. When I no longer had to think hard about what I was doing, I was allowed to get more "into it". Still, nothing was more important that actually getting out and playing in front of an audience. Whether I had my best show ever or completely fell flat on my face, I was still alive after the performance and had learned something from it to use in the future. The teachers at Matt Burk encourage all of our students to participate in our plethora of performance opportunities like Jam Sessions, Showcases, and Recitals!  These allow for ensemble awareness development, opens windows of creativity, and boosts the confidence of the student! And remember, we offer private lessons for drums, guitar, bass, voice, and piano! No matter what your instrument of choice, we can help you achieve your musical goals.  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!

(Student) Cole Wilkinson Lands a TV Gig!

Electric Guitar lessons are really paying off for Cole Wilkinson! This summer Cole auditioned for a TV pilot show being filmed at The Studios at Las Colinas. Of the hundreds of children who auditioned, Cole was one of only 27 to be cast for the new show - called "Who Runs This Show?" Cole Wilkinson - guitar student and cast member of "Who Runs This Show?"

Cole took his electric guitar to the audition and was asked to play. The producer said he was impressed that Cole could play and was not shy about performing in front of them. Cole's mom said that she attributed this, in part, to the recitals and jam session opportunities that Matt Burk Music Studio offers to students. Twice each year, we host a student showcase at House of Blues Dallas and a recital at the McKinney Performing Arts Center.  As a student with us, Cole has participated in both events! He has been taking lessons with Art Struck for about a year and a half. Cole's mom says, "We are so thankful to have a resource like the Matt Burk Music Studio in our area for our kids."

We are all really excited for Cole to have landed a TV gig! He is clearly reaping the benefits of his hard work and enthusiasm for learning guitar! And of course, to have such supportive parents is a huge factor in students pursuing the study of an instrument and in achieving their unique musical goals. The show that Cole is a part of is especially noteworthy because the cast (kids) have spent numerous hours in creative writing workshops, brainstorming skit ideas, and casting each other in the different roles, while also learning about what is involved in creating a marketable TV show. The show will air in October on the first social TV network, YouToo, which is backed by Mark Burnett (producer of Survivor, The Voice and many other successful television shows)! If you're not familiar with YouToo, check it out at!

Something else that's fun? You can meet the cast of this new pilot TV show called, “Who Runs This Show?” and even be a part of filming a segment of their Halloween episode this Saturday August 25th from 7pm to 10 pm at The Studios of Las Colinas! The cast is hosting a party called “The Nightmare Before School Begins.” In addition to possibly making it into one of the scenes of an upcoming episode, you can meet the cast, get a sneak preview of their show, win a prize for best costume, dance to the rockin tunes of DJ Omar and Ricky Wilson, eat pizza, popcorn and punch, and have a great time! Get all the details and register for the back to school social at the studio here. Register online, to get the special price of $10! At the door, tickets are $15.

So make plans to go this Saturday night - for a really unique back-to-school party. And when you're there, be sure to find Cole and to congratulate him!

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!

The Dallas Arboretum Welcomes Max Stalling

Singer/songwriter, Max Stalling is performing on September 29th at the beautiful Dallas Arboretum. At Matt Burk Music Studio, we can help prepare you to play your own concert as well!

McKinney Mash Up!

McKinney Mash Up, a local singing contest and live band performances in north Dallas, Allen, Plano, Frisco, and McKinney. Our weekly voice, piano, guitar, drums, and bass lessons coupled with their diligence, practice, and guts, leads to BIG things!

Musical Spotlight: Anna Graceman

Anna Graceman, piano player and singer/songwriter is a contestant on AGT. The eleven year old Alaskan native will blow you away! Secret to her success: PRACTICE!

Students Put Lessons to Work

Our students practice and work their way toward lead roles in musicals and live band performances in north Dallas, Allen, Plano, Frisco, and McKinney. Our weekly voice, piano, guitar, drums, and bass lessons coupled with their diligence, practice, and guts, leads to BIG things!

Music Genre: Alternative Country

The Old 97's are coming back to DFW to play at Concert in the Gardens. Take an in depth look at their alternative country genre and how the changing music industry kept them going.

Piano Playin' Dallas Maverick

What do the Mavericks and Matt Burk Music Studio have in common? Rick Carlisle, Head Coach for the Dallas Mavericks took his team all the way to winning the NBA Championship. Little known fact: he is also an avid piano player.

Spring Recitals & House of Blues Showcase

Recitals are a valuable tool to for any music student. Whether traditional, or more edgy, Matt Burk Music Studio offers multiple performance opportunities throughout the year. We just had our Spring Recitals at the McKinney Performing Arts Center and Showcase at House of Blues Dallas.

{BOOKED} Matt Burk Music Studio Spring Recital and Showcase!

We are excited to announce that we have confirmed the dates for our upcoming spring recital and showcase! Students of Matt Burk Music Studio will get to choose whether they perform at:
1) McKinney Performing Arts Center in a traditional "recital" on Sunday, May 1st, or
2) House of Blues in a less-traditional "showcase" on Sunday, May 15th.

At both venues, all the instruments we teach will be represented - piano, drums, bass, guitar and voice. Also at both venues, performances will begin in the afternoons (around 1:30 pm or later). Exact performance times will be finalized as we get a firm headcount of the students performing at each venue.

Students will receive an email soon with all the details regarding each performance, as well as an opportunity to register online to perform in one of these exciting events!