Giving Music Lessons: All You Need To Know

Posted by on January 16, 2014 with 0 Comments

Giving Music Lessons: All You Need To Know

~By Joel

For those of us that are passionate about creating music, providing musical lessons to beginners seems like an ideal way to make some money. After all, you can make your own schedule, have full control over your workload and share your interest with others. However, your enthusiasm alone is not enough to make you a genuinely good teacher. Here are some things to think about to make your lessons as profitable as possible, for yourself and your students. Continue Reading «Giving Music Lessons: All You…»

Tips for Going on Tour

Posted by on January 16, 2014 with 0 Comments

Music teachers often seek out performance opportunities for their students in order to help them get accustomed to playing for audiences. In turn, such concerts could help teachers gain reputations for being solid instructors in a community.

Eventually, it becomes necessary for teachers to take their students on tour to enjoy increased exposure. That undertaking can feel complicated, particularly for teachers who are traveling with multiple people who are part of string quartets or vocal choirs. Keep reading for a few tips for going on tour: Continue Reading «Tips for Going on Tour»

Filed Under: Education, Tips and Tricks

Major source of frustration for singers….a tense tongue muscle

Posted by on December 30, 2013 with 0 Comments

ImageHello fellow singers!  

Are you dealing with a tense tongue muscle?

Here is one of my very quick singing tips for you in the form of a video. If you have ever had trouble with a stiff, tight or “depressed” tongue, try this easy set of exercises to loosen it up. (See tense tongue muscle video here.) Continue Reading «Major source of frustration for…»

How to Encourage Children to Practice their Instrument

Posted by on November 14, 2013 with 5 Comments

The ability to play a musical instrument is a gift that can last a lifetime, but sometimes children can view practice as a chore that takes a lifetime. It’s important for them to view practice as an enjoyable learning experience instead of a mandatory work session. There are many things parents can do to encourage children to practice their instrument of choice and instill a love of music.

Choose the Right Instrument  Encourage Children to Practice their Instrument

It should go without saying that your child should play the instrument they are interested in. Work with your child to make the right choice, but do keep in mind that some instruments may be difficult for children to play. For instance, the violin requires a certain degree of technical skill and large instruments like the tuba are simply too big for smaller children. You can talk to your school band director or music teacher for ideas. Some may let your child try an instrument out before you decide to move forward with lessons.

Set up a Place to Play

It’s best to have a place set aside for music practice, one that’s free of clutter and distractions. A pleasant and relaxed atmosphere is more conducive for creativity than a dark basement or messy bedroom. Make sure there’s a good light source and your child has everything he or she needs to practice, such as a music stand and all related musical equipment. You don’t need to get a construction estimation for a whole new room, just work with what you have.

Stick to a Schedule

If children adhere to a regular practice schedule, it will become part of their routine and will be easier to stick with. Determine the best time of day.  All children are different; some may prefer to practice in the morning before school, some may prefer after dinner.  Even if they only have 10 minutes, make sure to get it in. It’s better to have a short session every day than a longer session only a couple of times a week. This helps children form a better connection with their instrument.

Give Positive Reinforcement

Try to be present when your child practices and express interest in what they are learning. Praise them for every step forward and encourage other family members to applaud your music student’s efforts. Positive reinforcement goes a long way and gives the child a sense of pride. On the other hand, keep any negative comments to yourself. It takes time to master an instrument, and your child’s teacher will help him or her with any problems that come up. There will be ups and downs, and your child may get discouraged at times. Just remind your child that her time and effort will pay off.

Don’t Bribe, but Do Reward

Avoid things like sticker charts that make music practice seem like a chore. Instead, reward your child for a job well done by taking him to see a musical performance of their choice. Concerts, musicals or even live music at a restaurant are all things your budding musician will enjoy. Make music fun, and your child will be more likely to stick with it and enjoy playing for a lifetime.

Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and percussionist, specializing in marimba. He currently lives in PA and with his wife and son. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington

How to Find Places to Play Your Instrument

Posted by on November 8, 2013 with 0 Comments

How to Find Places to Play Your Instrument

If you are studying music performance, you know how important it is to play your instrument for an audience, especially on your own. It can be intimidating to find these opportunities when you don’t have a lot of experience, but it is not impossible. Here are some surefire ways to find that solo gig you’ve been searching for.

Cello Player


Set Yourself Up for Success

To find performance opportunities, you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to be findable and easy to get in touch with. If you haven’t already, now is the time to build up your presence online. At the minimum you should have a Facebook page, but a Twitter account isn’t a bad idea as long as you keep on top of it. Connect with other local musicians or venues where you’d like to play.

On these social accounts, be sure to advertise the fact that you are seeking performance opportunities. Mention that you could play for local businesses, weddings and other events.

Set up a website where you can share your music on a platform like SoundCloud or Bandcamp. You can do this for free or, if you have a little money to put into it, buy your own domain name and tie it in with your account. You can use this website like a portfolio of your work.

Next, make yourself some business cards. You can get them printed someplace like VistaPrint or buy a kit to print them yourself.  Be sure to give them out at any opportunity. The more people who know you are looking for gigs, the more people are keeping an ear open for opportunities.


Play for Your Community

Many small or even mid-sized businesses that serve the public would jump at a chance to have a musician playing at little or no cost. Check with local coffee shops or other small, casual restaurants to see if they ever feature live music or would consider it for an evening.

Remember that it doesn’t hurt to start small. Get creative and volunteer at a nursing home or rehab center like 12 Keys Rehab. Your act of goodwill could end up in the local newspaper, showing that you’re caring and not just out there to make money.  At the very least, playing well and being reliable improves your track record, and will lead to wider exposure and bigger opportunities.

You’ll be surprised at how good you feel playing for people who normally wouldn’t get to hear music. I’ll never forget the time I was playing at a nursing home, and a deaf woman put her hands on the marimba to feel the vibrations. When she started to smile, a huge wave of emotion hit me as I knew I brightened her day. To this day, it’s one of the highlights of my career.

Other good places to start looking for opportunities could include your local library, church or community center.  Look for advertisements asking for musicians for different events. If you’re really enterprising you can even contact them regarding upcoming events and ask if they need some live music. Look for festivals and street fairs in your area, find out if there will be live music playing, and learn how you can get involved.

Start Small 

Go into this to better yourself as a musician, not to try and make money. Sure it’s nice to get a little extra cash on the side, but you’ll have a much more enjoyable time if that’s not your main goal. The more you play in front of people, the easier it becomes, and you’ll find out you’re not nearly as nervous when it’s time for your huge recital or other serious event.

Most importantly, have fun. Don’t go so overboard on searching for the perfect gig where it becomes a chore. Be creative, and you can find some great places to play, giving you new fans and followers.



Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and percussionist, specializing in marimba. He currently lives in PA and with his wife and son. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington

Lifetime Musician™ Curriculum

Posted by on August 21, 2013 with 3 Comments

Introducing the new

Lifetime Musician™ Curriculum

Although the games have been sequenced to various piano methods, as documented in the Student Pages, we have wanted for some time to have a general curriculum as well.

We are pleased to announce that our new Lifetime Musician Music Literacy Curriculum is now ready to use. The Lifetime Musician organizes the games by level — from beginning to end — in a sequence that matches most music teaching methods. You now have two choices for accessing the learning games: the original way by level and category or through the Lifetime Musician system.

This is the forerunner to our new e-learning system under development.

We have prepared a short video to further explain how to access and use the Lifetime Musician Curriculum.


“Beta” means that we are still editing! 

This is fully functional but you may find some games that don’t load and some graphics that are missing. Thanks for your patience!

Log in as a student and click “Lifetime Musician Beta.”

(Note: Wait for the blue bars to appear from Primary 1A to Level 5. With a slow internet connection, this could take several seconds.)

Click one of the blue bars to choose a level. There are 20 “Assignments” in each level with 5 to 8 games in each assignment. Every 5th assignment is a “skill check.” Click an orange tab to choose an assignment. 

Students will enjoy the new navigation

 This makes it extremely easy for a student to know which games to play and to see their progress. 

You can choose the Learn, Play, Quiz (and Challenge) stages of the game and you can see the target score right from there. When you finish the game, your score will appear under the target score. When you reach the target score on the Quiz, the gray check mark turns green so students can see that they have mastered that concept.

This will hopefully eliminate the need for some of the assignment sheets. Teachers can now assign a level and an assignment number. Returning students may be surprised to see all of their previous scores already displaying in the new system—complete with green check marks!

Please note that when a student finishes a game, the browser automatically reverts to Level 5. For now, please ask students to remember the level and assignment number they are working on. 

Teacher Guides 

The Lifetime Musician teacher guides are available as PDF documents in the Teacher Resource Center. Here you will see the games in each assignment. You will also find an alphabetical list of all games in each level that shows where to find each game in the Lifetime Musician curriculum and shows how to find each game by category.

Note: The “Games at a Glance” checklists have been updated and now include the reference to the Lifetime Musician curriculum. 

Starting a new student

We suggest that students new to start one level below their performance level and play the quizzes. If they don’t achieve the target score the first time, they should play the Learn or the Play until they have mastered that concept, then try the quiz again.


4 Other Subjects Which Can Use Music In Class

Posted by on May 28, 2013 with 0 Comments

 4 Other Subjects Which Can Use Music In Class  

By Matthew Pink

Music in music class is a given. But how can music be used creatively in other subjects in order to both enrich the subject in question and give a different perspective to music learning?

There is no point telling a music teacher of the benefits of educating students through music’s rich power. They are fully aware of, and totally on board with the capacity of music to pique interest, to inspire, to perplex and to energise learners.

Music in ClassIn order to make their class time more stimulating, music teachers can make use of the full spectrum of musical assets including recorded materials, sheet music, instruments, videos, and now the a wonderful smorgasbord of digitally interactive materials.

However, the potential of music to enable learning should not be confined only to pure-play music classes. Continue Reading «4 Other Subjects Which Can…»

Play By Ear by hEarItAbility

Posted by on March 26, 2013 with 0 Comments

“Play By Ear”

An opportunity for the classically minded!

I love the “Lifetime Musician” approach of the MusicLearningComunity! I love the games that solidify concepts and give the needed practice for mastery! The emphasis on developing the ear is tremendous and extremely beneficial to students. I have been a subscriber for a few years now and am pleased to offer their website to my students!

I am a private piano teacher, teaching beginning to advanced students of all ages, and the author of the new hEarItAbility series. It is a passion of mine to unlock the sometimes hidden aural skills of students. I did not intuitively “play by ear” as a student and discovered later in life that it truly was a skill that I could develop. For students, I have seen such joy and success from “tapping” into this area – for those with natural ability and those without! Continue Reading «Play By Ear by hEarItAbility»

What are Piano Olympics?

Posted by on March 21, 2013 with 3 Comments

Originally Posted on April 29, 2012 by Leila Viss, 

The idea of Piano Olympics was “born” three years ago when I was organizing ALL the games I enjoy using to teach music theory. There never seems to be enough time to use these during the year so I thought why not put them to good use during the summer months.



1) earn tickets by winning…

  • indoor games
  • outdoor games

2) earn tickets by completing

  • various activities in class
  • assignments at home

3) earn gold, silver and bronze medals by

Continue Reading «What are Piano Olympics?»

Games for Smartboard

Posted by on February 28, 2013 with 0 Comments

Check out games for smartboard at

The students love the activities, and I love the fact that they are learning solid musical concepts with engaging activities.

This past week, I used Smiley and Friends same/different melody activity with my kindergarten students. For the first lesson, I touched the faces on the Smartboard, and the students then determined the correct match. They did this by pointing up if the top smiley was the correct match, or down, if the bottom smiley was the correct match.

Games for Smartboard Continue Reading «Games for Smartboard»

Filed Under: Tips and Tricks