dylan-spoering-1-600x450

8 Year Old’s Piano Recital Goes Viral

Can you imagine your town coming together for an 8-year-old’s piano recital? The residents of one Minnesota town did just that, gathering by the hundreds in the rain to see young Dylan Spoering play a free show.

A local musician saw the sign Dylan had put up in his front yard to advertise the show, and thought it would be fun to get the community together to make this talented kid feel like a rockstar for a day. He created an event page on Facebook, and now the piano recital is getting national attention. Check it out!

Have you seen anything like this in your town? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

brett-domino

How to Make a Hit Pop Song – Parody Video

Ever wanted to write a hit pop song? According to YouTuber Brett Domino, there’s not much to it! Grab your bassoon, find your inspiration on Google, and get ready to coast to fame at the top of the charts.

Ready for some more advanced techniques? In Part 2, Brett gets into writing a catchy chorus and drowning the whole thing in vocal effects.

Did this give you a laugh? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

Drum Kit

9 Dumb Drummer Jokes, Plus 3 Snappy Drummer Come-Backs

What is it about the drummer in a band that makes them such an easy target for musical humor? Even though the drummer holds the band together and recent studies have shown drumming increases certain kinds of intelligence, drummers often find themselves on the punchline side of a dumb joke. If you’re a drummer with a good sense of humor, or if you’re brave enough to try a few of these out on the drummer in your life, here are 9 dumb drummer jokes that might give you a chuckle.

1. What’s the difference between a drummer and a large pizza?

A large pizza can feed a family of four.

2. How do you tell if the stage is level?

The drummer is drooling out of both sides of his mouth.

3. What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?

A drummer.

4. What do you call a drummer who just broke up with his girlfriend?

Homeless.

5. What’s the last thing a drummer says in a band?

“Hey, how about we try one of my songs?”

6. What do you say to a drummer in a three piece suit?

“Will the defendant please rise?”

7. What’s the difference between a drummer and a savings bond?

One will mature and make money.

8. How can you tell a drummer’s at the door?

The knocking keeps speeding up.

9. How is a drum solo like a sneeze?

Because you know it’s coming but you can’t do anything about it.

Drummers, you don’t have to take these jokes laying down! Here are 3 good ones to come back with!

1. What’s the difference between a drummer and a toilet seat?

A toilet seat only has to put up with one bum at a time!

2. Why are drummer jokes so simple?

So the rest of the band can understand them.

3. What’s the difference between an electric guitar and an onion?

No one cries when you cut up an electric guitar.

You can also replace “drummer” with “guitarist”, “bass player”, or whoever is hassling you in any of the dumb drummer jokes above and you’ve got yourself a good comeback.

Got any jokes you want to share? Or any drummer jokes you absolutely hate? We want to hear from you in the comments!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

disquiet

5 Inspiring Books to Read for a More Creative Summer

Summer is the perfect time to get lost in a good book. Why not choose a book that will help  you see the world in a new way and revitalize your creative spirit? Whether you’re packing a book in your beach bag or toting an e-reader in your carry-on, these 5 good summer books are guaranteed to pack inspiration and creativity into the dog days of summer!

1. On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes

on looking

Sometimes the best way to awaken your creative side is by looking at familiar things in a different way. In this good summer book, author Alexandra Horowitz takes the same walk around a city block eleven times, each time bringing with her another person who adds their perspective to illuminate what Horowitz herself is missing when she takes the walk alone. With companions ranging from a geologist or a sociologist to a dog or a child, Horowitz experiences an incredible range of perspectives. Take a walk with this book and find a fresh way to look at the world around you.

2. Letters to a Young Poet

letters to a young poet

In 1902, a young Austrian torn between joining the army or becoming a poet wrote a letter to his favorite poet and hero, Rainer Maria Rilke, seeking guidance and feedback on his poetry.  In an incredible turn of events, Rilke actually wrote back, and this collection of ten letters from the poet form a slim yet incredibly moving volume filled with ideas about life, art, and the relationship between the two. Rilke encourages you to find your own inner voice and to follow your intuition in the creative process.

3. The Writing Life

the writing life

Annie Dillard’s lovely guide to The Writing Life deals frankly with the uncertainty and pain involved in doing creative work. Dillard dives into the nitty-gritty of writing, exposing the commitment and bravery that true creativity requires. The Writing Life is a fine companion for any reader who is struggling with doubts about their work or abilities. This book will inspire you to keep working on your art, even through difficult times.

4. Effortless Mastery

effortless mastery

Have you ever felt like you were reaching a plateau in your work? In this good summer book, author Kenny Werner shares his experience with a creative plateau as a jazz pianist. Werner provides examples of ways to change your thinking and get back to the roots of what you love about what you do. In creative work, passion is key, so use this book to help get back into the joy of playing music, writing, dancing, or however else you express yourself.

5. The Book of Disquiet

disquiet

For anyone who has difficulty balancing their creative passions with the demands of work and life, Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet can be quite reassuring, as a reminder that you do not struggle alone. Composed of short fragments written from the point of view of a struggling writer working as a clerk in Lisbon, you can easily dip into this book when you have a spare moment to reflect. Pessoa writes about everything from dream imagery and the creative process to human nature and poetry. It’s also very beautifully written, and the language might just inspire you to create something of your own to break through the every day.

Is there a special book that inspires you? Share your summer reading suggestions in the comments below!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

Photos by Alex Proimos, R. Nial Bradshaw, Jeffery James Pacres, Bryan Ong, and BenPrks.

Video thumbnail for youtube video Cool Dad Countdown: Honoring 5 Rad Dads for Father's Day

Cool Dad Countdown: Honoring 5 Rad Dads for Father’s Day

When I was a kid, I thought I had the most embarrassing dad in the world. His jokes made me cringe and he always carved our Thanksgiving turkey with power tools. However, the older I get, the more I appreciate his goofy sense of humor, creativity, and all the things he taught me. I’m grateful to have had my dad in my life, especially now that we live far apart and don’t see each other often.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, we’re counting down 5 amazing dads out there who inspire their kids and all of us to be our own creative, weird, and wacky selves!

5. Music-Loving Dad

Proud dad Jorge’s video of himself singing a sweet duet with his daughter Alexa first went viral at the end of 2010. In the years since, he’s posted dozens more videos of himself sharing his love for music with his daughters. Jorge’s YouTube videos show that there’s really nothing more special than sharing the music you love with the people you love.

4. Wave at the Bus Dad

wave-at-the-bus

For three years, Dale Price has been dressing up in different costumes each day to wave to his son on the school bus! You can learn more about his family and see all of his amazing costumes on his blog.

3. Video Game Dad

When his daughter wanted to play Donkey Kong as Pauline instead of Mario, Mike Mika found a way to hack the game to make her dream come true. Check out the extra-special Pauline powered version of Donkey Kong:

If you or your daughter want to play as Pauline, click through to YouTube for a link to the code!

2. Artsy Dad

sandwich dad

Whether you’re brown-bagging it or eating at the cafeteria, school lunches have never been super exciting. Enter David LaFerriere. Ever since his kids were in grade school, David has been creating unique sandwich bag art for their school lunches every day.

1. Spider-Dad

What if your dad was Spiderman, he dressed you up as a mini-Spiderman, and then you spent the day together at a trampoline park (which I’ve just learned is a thing!!!)? Thanks to this super fun dad, who comes in at number one on our countdown, we can all see how that scenario plays out.

Whether they’re playing guitar, drawing, or hacking our favorite video games, we’re so thankful for the little things dads do to make their kids feel special. Do you have any favorite memories with your dad that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

X Factor

5 Singing Auditions Gone Wrong – And How to Bounce Back

We’ve all had one at some point or another – a bad audition. You prepare like crazy for that singing competition that you swear up and down you’re going to nail. However, despite 30 minutes of scales first thing in the morning and an entire day in line spent practicing, you walk into the audition with your head held oh-so-high only to walk out feeling like your head was handed back to you on a lovely silver platter.

Below are a few singers who didn’t quite measure up to the singing competition they auditioned for. No worries though – there is something to take away from each of these auditions that have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

The Singing Souls

What they lack in vocal quality, they sure make up for in confidence. They might say anybody can outsell the Spice Girls, but these girls really could have learned a thing or two about performing with stage presence had they had a chance to attend a Spice Girls concert. Although, the Singing Souls were most likely belting in diapers while the Spice Girls were out touring the world.

Rhonetta

“Anybody can learn how to sing, but anybody can’t be like me.” Unfortunately, if you’re going to want to compete with JLo and Mariah on the charts, you’re going to need to know how to sing. One out of two ain’t bad, eh Rhonetta?

J Star Valentine 

Picking the right audition song can make or break your audition. He’s definitely got the look, but sometimes you just have to stick to what you know.

Mary Roach

The moral of this story: if all your friends tell you that you’re a great singer… get a second professional opinion.

Qualtrel Da’an Smith

Looks can be highly deceiving. OK, so this audition wasn’t actually that bad at all. We wouldn’t suggest auditioning for a singing competition in this outfit, but Qualtrel captured the essence of what it means to get up on stage and own your performance. Baby, you were born this way!

All jokes aside, an audition gone wrong is merely a practice test better preparing us for our final exam. Every singer loves a good singing competition, but not every singing competitor knows how to sing. Like Rhonetta said, though, anyone can sing. Prepare your material months in advance, set aside plenty of time to practice every day, and power through your audition with confidence and poise. You may find yourself in the middle of an audition that has suddenly gone south, but if you buckle down, re-focus and remain true to yourself, you can show those judges just how determined you are to win, and you may be able to bounce right back up like our superstar in the making, Qualtrel!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

Photo by Sheryl Pouls

15 Struggles of Left Handed Guitarists

15 Struggles Only Left-Handed Guitarists Understand

Left-handed guitarists of the world unite! When it comes to guitar setup and style, you’re kind of in your own world…

1. Some people try to change you…

…but you do your own, awesome, left-handed thing! There is a school of thought that lefties should conform to right-handed ways and learn to play a regular righty guitar. This works for some lefties, like Paul Simon and David Byrne. For other left-handed players, a right-handed guitar can be discouraging and difficult, and switching to a left-handed guitar unlocks their full potential. Choose the ax that suits you and plays to your strengths!

2. The perfect guitar is even harder to find when you’re left-handed.

That 64 Fender Stratocaster in classic white with single triple coil pickups and a whammy bar you’re lusting after is probably not in stock in a left-handed model at your local guitar shop. Since about only 10% of the population is left-handed, most shops don’t have lefty guitars in stock, and manufacturers often require a special order to make one. If you want to try out a guitar before you buy, you’ll probably only get to play it upside down.

3. Unless it’s this guitar:

Oh, you’re left-handed? Check out our black Stratocaster copy.

4. And forget about finding a vintage guitar in a left-handed model!

True lefty guitars are a fairly recent product. In the past, players had to either set up and restring right-handed guitars upside down or learn to play them upside down.

5. Left-handed guitars tend to be more expensive.

Money can’t buy you love, but you’ll need a good chunk of change to pick up a left-handed guitar. You’ll likely need to put in a special order or shop online to find the perfect left-handed ax.

6. You’ve learned all about doing your own guitar setup.

…Because at some point you’ve probably converted a right-handed guitar over to a lefty. Flip the nut, adjust the bridge, and if it’s electric, watch out for the hardware when you’re playing! The biggest bummer about reversing a guitar is that the pick guard now sits uselessly on top of your strings.

7. You always bring your own guitar.

The odds of being able to pick up a random guitar at a jam session or party are pretty slim. Although some left-handed people have mastered guitar fingering upside down to play right-handed guitars, it’s usually preferable to play your own guitar.

8. That awkward moment when you pick up a right-handed guitar…

Why are the strings on the wrong way? How do you hold this? What is this????

9. Playing with other guitarists is like looking in a mirror.

Once your brain is used to it, it’s pretty easy. However, many right-handed guitarists find it frustrating and confusing at first.

10. Speaking of being confused…

Most of the chord charts and guitar fingering instructions you’ll find in books and online are written for right-handed people. Check out LeftyFretz for interactive guitar chord charts and other info just for left-handed guitarists.

11. Dealing with this guy:

It seems like there’s always some joker who thinks it’s funny to point out that your guitar is upside down. The best way to handle him? Politely explain that you are left-handed, then start shredding on some amazing riffs before he can respond.

12. Hitting rightys with the neck of your guitar.

Just like at the dinner table, you need to be careful not to hit the right-handers around you. Here’s a helpful hint: always stand on stage right so the neck of your guitar points away from the rest of your band.

13. Dealing with the myth that learning guitar left-handed is harder.

It might be harder to find a guitar, or a left-handed guitar guide. But once you have the right materials, learning guitar is no more challenging for a lefty than it is for a righty.

14. Want to switch to another instrument?

Lots of guitarists like to pick up a bass guitar, ukulele, or other stringed instrument to play around with after mastering guitar. If you’re left-handed, get ready to go through all the same struggles again on a new instrument.

15. But it’s totally worth it because you have amazing lefty guitar heroes to look up to!

Like Kurt Cobain…

Sir Paul McCartney…

and Jimi Hendrix!

At the end of the day, having fun and enjoying your instrument is way more important than which hand you play it with. Keep on practicing and sharpening up your guitar technique. Don’t let righty get you down!

Lefties, how do you deal with guitar setup issues? Got a left-handed guitar struggle we missed? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

Karaoke

20 Fun Songs to Sing at Your Next Karaoke Night (With Links!)

Fun Karaoke Songs To SingKaraoke is a fun activity for everyone, and it’s a great chance to practice singing. However, if your mind goes blank at the bar, you’re not alone! Song ideas aren’t always easy to come up with. Check out our ideas below for fun songs to sing at your next karaoke night:

1. The Beatles – “Twist and Shout”

Practically every song by these guys is bound to be a hit, which can make it hard to choose! Stand out from the crowd (everyone’s heard “Hey, Jude” enough) with “Twist and Shout”, or a more dramatic song like “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”.

2. Elvis Presley – “Heartbreak Hotel”

Breaking out your best Elvis impersonation is another great way to please the crowd! Classics like “Heartbreak Hotel” as well as “Jailhouse Rock” should get everyone singing along.

3. The Supremes – “Baby Love”

Change up the beat of the night with the Supremes! This catchy tune works for a soloist or group. For more drama, try “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.

4. Billy Joel – “Piano Man”

This is one of those songs that makes the room pause and listen – and when you let yourself get into it, they’re sure to be singing with you on the last chorus. When they request that you do another Billy Joel song, whip out “Just the Way You Are”.

5. Janis Joplin – “Piece of My Heart”

Take a deep breath and sing from your diaphragm for this one – “Piece of My Heart” is a great song for baring your soul. For more deep, emotional amazing work by Joplin, try “Me and Bobby McGee”.

6. Melissa Etheridge – “Angels Would Fall”

This slightly eerie anthem of admiration is a beautiful way to show off a lyric tenor or contralto range. Add some versatility by trying Etheridge’s other major hit “I’m the Only One”, or her version of “What’s Going On”.

7. Joan Jett – “Bad Reputation”

Everyone loves rock and roll! No, seriously, everyone loves “I Love Rock n’ Roll”. Enjoy the punkier side of Jett’s legacy with “Bad Reputation”, or slow it down with “Crimson and Clover”.

8. Alanis Morissette – “Hand in My Pocket”

This optimistic alt-rock poem is a great mid-range piece, with complex lyrics (hey, that’s why there’s a screen) but an easy melody. If you like relationship songs, consider “Head Over Feet” (or, to vent about a very different relationship, try “You Oughta Know”).

9. Indigo Girls – “Galileo”

The Indigo Girls are ideal for any female vocalists (or a female with a male singing down the octave) to show off those duet skills! The beautiful, contemplative “Galileo” is a spunky folk rock piece, or you could also try their slightly less ephemeral “Closer to Fine”.

10. Sublime – “What I Got”

This is one of those fun songs to sing that everyone requests by the bonfire in the middle of summer. This smooth, universally-lovable anthem of modern rock will give the whole bar a moment at peace together, as everyone agrees that lovin’ is, indeed, what they’ve got. For another classic Sublime song, practice some “Santeria”.

11. Van Halen – “Jump”

Come on and jump! This fun song is one of Van Halen’s best-known classics. You could also run with “Runnin’ With the Devil”, or be a little goofy with “Panama”.

12. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Californication”

Show off your funky taste with this somber song. Alternatively, work on your stage presence and sense of rhythm, without having to worry about melody, with the mostly spoken “Give It Away”.

13. Bon Jovi – “It’s My Life”

Bon Jovi is one of the most requested artists for karaoke and covers, but people tend to stick with the same songs. Shake up the evening with “It’s My Life” or “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

14. Pat Benatar – “Heartbreaker”

Your rendition of this hot ’80s hit will leave the crowd wanting more! Alternatively, you can tell them to “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”.

15. ABBA – “Dancing Queen”

Take a chance on disco! “Dancing Queen” is another fun song to sing as a duet, and will definitely get the audience jamming. For a faster tempo and a bit less of a challenge, try “Mamma Mia”.

16. Kansas – “Carry On, Wayward Son”

There’ll be peace when you are done — but in the meantime, there’ll be beautiful harmonies! This song is awesome for showing off your clean ’80s rock vocals, or for gathering a group of friends to show off multiple parts together. Another great Kansas jam to try is “Dust in the Wind”.

17. Styx – “Come Sail Away”

Bring the audience aboard that starship with your beautiful vocals! “Come Sail Away” is great for any vocalist, since it’s a great melody to alter by one octave. If this song is too familiar to you, be a little more of a “Renegade” and whip out “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”, or celebrate that these are “The Best of Times”.

18. Queen – “Somebody to Love”

The audience has probably been told “We Will Rock You”, but have they really been rocked? If “Somebody to Love” is a little too gospel for you, be sure your fans still know that “We Are the Champions”.

19. Village People – “YMCA”

When your friends are clamoring for a group song together, this is the best go-to. If someone already did “YMCA” a few rounds earlier, try “Macho Man”! It’s easy to find fun songs to sing in groups, like “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “The Final Countdown”, or “Flashdance”.

20. The Monkees – “I’m A Believer”

You’re too busy singin’ to put anybody down! Whip out this sweet tune, or other cheerful love songs of the ’60s, like “Brown-Eyed Girl”.

Remember to enjoy yourself, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Want to take your vocal skills even further? Consider signing up for private lessons to sharpen up your talent, and soon you’ll be too much of a star for the bar!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

Photo by Jess Cadorette

48 Successful People With Unusual Hobbies

48 Successful People With Unexpected Hobbies

Did you know that Bob Barker once studied karate with Chuck Norris, or that both Meryl Streep and Ryan Gosling like to knit? Even brilliant billionaire Warren Buffet loves to play the ukulele. This fun and fast-paced video from Mental Floss will take you on a tour of the hobbies of 44 other wildly successful people, and it might even inspire you to take up a new hobby of your own!

Is there a hobby you would like to learn more about or get better at? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

addy make a wish

Amazing Little Girl Who Beat Cancer Stars in the Music Video of Her Dreams

Like many girls her age, five-year-old Addy loves sparkles, pink and purple, and Katy Perry. Unlike most other girls her age, last year Addy was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.

After long hospital visits, Addy was able to beat her cancer. The Make-A-Wish Foundation asked her what she would like to do to celebrate, and Addy’s wish was to star in her own video for Katy Perry’s “Roar”. She chose the song because it inspired her to fight her cancer and get better.

Congratulations Addy on your full recovery! You’re an inspiration to us all!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource