12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs - top music apps

12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs (2015 Update)

12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs - top music apps

Since the invention of the app store, aspiring and experienced musicians have been finding inspiration, practicing their skills, and immersing themselves in their craft — all with the help of some of the top music apps!

There are so many noteworthy apps that can benefit all musicians, from guitarists to singers and songwriters. Whether you are looking for something educational or creative, this list will benefit your collection of apps. And best of all, they are all fun to work with… and pretty addictive, we might add!

Here are our picks for top music apps…

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Songwriter’s Pad

Songwriter’s Pad is the ultimate songwriter’s tool. It contains powerful idea-generating tools to inspire creation while making lyric-writing easier than ever. Everything you need to write music is packed into this one application. Finally, an app to defeat writer’s block once and for all!

Download: iOSAndroid

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Songsterr Tabs & Chords

Songsterr Tabs & Chords was featured in the Wall Street Journal as, “one of the best apps for learning to play music.” With a huge catalog of 500,000 accurate tabs and chords, all musicians can learn something with this app. Most songs have tabs for individual instruments too, including the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

Download: iOS, Android

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)GarageBand

Do you need a full recording studio on the go? If so, this is the app for you. GarageBand turns your phone into a collection of instruments, including piano, organ, guitar, and drums. Guitarists can even plug their electric guitar in and play through classic amps and stompbox effects!

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)My Note Games

This is a fun music game that teaches music theory and instrument mastery, including lessons for saxophone, piano, guitar, recorder, trumpet, violin, viola, and cello, plus vocals and whistling. The app actually listens to you playing your instrument, checking your tone, pitch, and accuracy.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Beatwave

With Beatwave, you can make unique music just by tapping on your screen! No musical skills are required, and you can create songs anywhere from your phone. In minutes, you can make complex songs with multiple layers of instruments and sounds — and then share them on social media!

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Ear Trainer

Ear Trainer is an educational application designed for beginner to advanced musicians, music students, and anyone interested in improving one’s musical ear. There are more than 260 individual exercises covering intervals, chords, scales, relative pitch, and melody.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Sing! Karaoke by Smule

Are you ready to take karaoke to the next level? With Sing! Karaoke by Smule, you can sing your favorite karaoke songs and show them off to the world. Record yourself, add audio effects, and share with the app’s global community!

Download: iOS, Android

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Polyphonic!

Polyphonic! is a simple interface app for creating your own complex layers of music, even without any prior musical ability. Each square represents a different sound and each color represents a unique group of sounds. This app is perfect for anyone interested in music creation.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Hum

Hum makes note-taking and audio recording of song ideas easier than ever! Every aspiring songwriter needs this tool in his or her arsenal. Hum keeps your lyrics and song ideas organized and sortable so you never lose anything again.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Lyrics Pro

With this app, you get access to the lyrics of millions of tracks, straight from your phone. You can search by artist, song name, or the lyrics themselves. It also has a cool auto-loading feature that delivers the lyrics to any song that is currently playing!

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Figure

You now have the ability to create awesome music in minutes! Simply open Figure and start by creating a beat, then share it with your friends. Whether you are new to music production or are a seasoned veteran, this app is super fun to use. All musicians can use it to improve their rhythm and expand creativity.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)SongPop

Do you know everything about music? Test yourself against friends with SongPop. As you play, you’ll listen to song clips from thousands of original artists in more than 300 genres, and the idea is to guess the artist or song faster than your friends.

Download: iOS, Android

 

Readers, what top music apps are missing from this list? Let us know in the comments!

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40+ Fun (and Easy!) Music Crafts & Activities for Kids

40+ Fun (and Easy!) Music Crafts & Activities for Kids

40+ Fun (and Easy!) Music Crafts & Activities for Kids

Looking for easy crafts for kids? If your child loves music, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve complied a list of our favorite music activities and easy, DIY musical crafts your family will love to create.

You’ll find a link to the original post with instructions, as well as the level of difficultly, ranging from music activities your preschooler can do to more advanced, adults-only projects to decorate your home. Enjoy!

Musical Crafts for Kids

These crafts are perfect for kids, from DIY music-makers to fun decorations!

1. Recycled Outdoor Music Station via My Nearest and Dearest
Recycle cans and mason jars for fun outdoor play!
Level: Moderate

2. Homemade Kids Drums via A School of Fish
Let the kids make and decorate their own drums for a marching band.
Level: Very Easy

3. Fancy Shaker Eggs via Mama Smiles
Plastic eggs filled with various items create noisemakers for little hands.
Level: Very Easy

4. Cardboard Guitar via Makedo
Channel your favorite rockstar with this DIY guitar!
Level: Moderate

5. PVC Pipe Xylophone via Frugal Fun for Boys
This large-scaled xylophone requires some space, but is a super fun instrument to play around with!
Level: Skilled

musical crafts - pvc instrument

6. Cardboard Castanets via Whimsy Love
Cardboard and buttons make a child-sized castanet.
Level: Easy

7. Tin Can Howler via Housing a Forest
All you need is a string and a tin can for this fun howler.
Level: Easy

8. Easy Trumpet Craft via Preschool Crafts for Kids
Practice your best marching band steps with this easy DIY trumpet!
Level: Easy

9. African Drums via DLTK Crafts for Kids
Practice rhythm with these easy to make and fun to design African drums.
Level: Easy

10. DIY Masquerade Mask via Circle City Creations
Stretch your artistic side with these decorated masks.
Level: Skilled

musical crafts - masquerade mask

11. Rainbow Xylophone via And Next Comes L
Wood, window casings, and paint create a giant rainbow xylophone.
Level: Skilled

12. Do Re Mi Bottle via Life with Moore Babies
Discover different pitches with this colored water craft.
Level: Easy

13. Painted Stick Instrument via Twodaloo
Natural materials and craft supplies combine to make a unique instrument from ancient times.
Level: Easy

14. Rain Stick via Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
A mailing tube combined with a few other items create the sound of rain.
Level: Moderate

15. Shaker Toys via The Educators’ Spin On It
Use a variety of containers and ingredients to explore different sounds.
Level: Easy

musical crafts - music shakers

16. Homemade Kazoo via Buggy and Buddy
Common kitchen items come together to create a DIY kazoo.
Level: Easy

17. Corn Shakers via Sow Sprout Play
This is a great project for sensory play and teaching rhythm.
Level: Easy

18. Popsicle Stick and Paper Plate Kalimba via Kodaly and Orff Music Teacher’s blog
This is a fun, unique instrument your kids have probably never heard before.
Level: Easy

19. Pin Strummers via Pi’ikea Street
Use bobby pins to create boings, pops, and other sounds!
Level: Easy

20. Homemade Trumpet via All Done Monkey
All you need is cardboard tubes, poster board, and decorating materials for this easy craft.
Level: Easy

musical crafts - DIY trumpet

21. Jingle Bells via Chasing Cheerios
Tiny bells and a cardboard tube create a fun shake stick – perfect for around the holidays!
Level: Easy

22. Homemade French Horn via Savvy Homemade
Everyday items come together to make a fun French horn.
Level: Easy

23. Noisemaker via Ganz World
Easy-to-make noisemakers perfect for New Years.
Level: Easy

24. Wind Pipe Instrument via Laughing Kids Learn
This is a simple wind pipe that children can make in just a few minutes.
Level: Easy

25. Paper Plate Tambourine via SheKnows
Simple items make fun tambourines!
Level: Easy

musical crafts - paper plate tambourine

26. Homemade Harmonica via Mess for Less
Popsicle sticks, paper, and rubber bands create a DIY harmonica.
Level: Easy

27. Homemade Wind Chimes via Hands On As We Grow
Tin can that are decorated then assembled into custom wind chimes.
Level: Moderate

Crafts for Music-Loving Families

Want to spruce up your home with some more advanced crafts and DIY projects? Here are our favorite Pinterest-worthy ideas: 

1. Sheet Music Candles via Can’t Stop Making Things
Learn how to make Pottery Barn lookalike candles with sheet music.
Level: Moderate

2. Guitar Shelf via Budget Girl
Make unique shelves for trinkets from an old or broken guitar.
Level: Skilled

3. Custom Envelopes via (Never) Homemaker
Create your own crafty envelopes from sheet music.
Level: Easy

4. Broken Record Ombre Wall Art via Tattooed Martha
Turn old vinyl records into amazing décor your guests will love!
Level: Moderate

musical crafts - broken record wall art

5. Vinyl Record Bookends via Treetrunkwise
Keep your bookshelf organized with these DIY bookends made from old records.
Level: Easy

6. Vintage Record Dessert Stand via Bubby & Bean
Showcase your cupcakes or desserts with this adorable stand.
Level: Easy

7. Music Box Ornament via Craft Snob, guest post from SaltTree
Surprise! This cool glitter ornament is actually a wind-up musical box!
Level: Moderate

8. Sheet Music Coffee Table via A Diamond In the Stuff
Spruce up your coffee table with sheet music!
Level: Easy

9. PVC Flute via the Widget Forge
Break out your toolbox and create your very own DIY flute.
Level: Skilled

10. Sheet Music Coasters via An Oregon Cottage
Use old sheet music to create unique drink coasters!
Level: Moderate

musical crafts - sheet music coasters

11. Record Album Cover Box Tutorial via Zombies Wearing Helmets
Stash items and keep your space organized with this retro-looking storage box made from old record covers.
Level: Moderate

12. Sheet Music Dresser via Miss Mustard Seed
Learn how to decoupage a dresser with sheet music here.
Level: Easy

13. Sheet Music Gift Bags via Eclectically Vintage
Make gift bags from sheet music for a special gift!
Level: Moderate

14. DIY Vinyl Record Table via The Flourishing Abode
Save money by making your own accent table made out of old vinyl records.
Level: Easy

musical crafts - record side table

15. Sheet Music Monograms via The Country Chic Cottage
Yet another sheet music craft idea to spruce up any room.
Level: Easy

16. Paper Roses via Capitol Romance
Transform sheet music into paper roses with a vintage look.
Level: Moderate

17. Lined Jewelry Box via Crafting a Green World
Spruce up an old jewelry box by lining it with sheet music.
Level: Easy

18. Sheet Music Shoe via Tales of a Trophy Wife
Cover your shoes in sheet music for a unique look.
Level: Easy

19. Sheet Music Star Decorations via Sweet Something Designs
These make great decorations for the holidays!
Level: Easy

musical crafts - sheet music ornament

20. Music Themed Door Wreath via Reloved Rubbish
Use old sheet music to make a stunning wreath.
Level: Moderate

21. Mosaic Bird Bath made from CDs via Me and My DIY
Repurpose old CDs to give your bird bath a cool mosaic look!
Level: Moderate

22. DIY Candle Holder via Lots of DIY
Grab some old CDs and marbles to make stunning candle holders.
Level: Easy

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5 Reasons Why Songwriters Should Collaborate

collaborating with other musicians

This article was originally published on Soundfly and is being shared as part of Songwriting Week! Join the conversation on social media (#SongwritingWeek) for even more tips, articles, and resources.

 

So many musicians and songwriters stress the importance of collaboration. But without knowing how collaboration could benefit your work, why would you share an idea you’ve spent countless hours thinking about, only to open yourself up to criticism? As it turns out, all those advice-givers really are on to something — collaboration can tease out new ideas you hadn’t considered before, help you get past roadblocks, and even validate your idea. Here are five reasons why collaboration is one of the most helpful things you can do to improve your art.

1. Collaboration forces you to articulate your ideas to other people.

One of the most difficult parts of being an artist is clearly explaining your ideas so that other people understand them. You may know exactly what you’re trying to tell the audience with that story about your break-up, but the audience may have no idea what you’re referring to. When you talk your ideas out with other people, you can explain the thinking behind them and collectively come up with the clearest way to articulate the idea to others. (And if you need further help developing your ideas, consider signing up for our new songwriting course!)

2. It helps you play to your strengths and accept your weaknesses.

In order to collaborate with other people, you must first understand what your personal strengths and weaknesses are. If you claim to be a world-renowned MC, but you can’t keep a steady rhythm for your life, your project is going to fall apart. If you are up-front about your out-of-whack rhythm skills, you can find a drummer or beatboxer who can improve your project. Bring to the table what you know you’re good at and find a friend who can compliment your weaknesses.

3. It reminds you that your project is part of something bigger.

It can be easy to forget that one section of a song you’re working on is part of a much larger work when you concentrate on it for so long. Working with other people helps you remember that what you’re working on is combined with many other parts to create something wonderful. Check in every once and a while with your fellow collaborators and see where they are in their part of the project. It can inspire you in new ways and help you remember why you’re working so hard on your section. Although everyone is working on something different, having collaborators helps remind you that everyone is working towards one larger goal.

4. You have real deadlines to hit.

When we’re working on something that is only for ourselves, it’s easy to get lost in procrastination. We are only letting ourselves down in these situations, so without a ton of self-drive, a lot of these projects are never completed. When we work with other people, there is a greater sense of deadlines because missing them impacts everyone. If the group sets up a timeline for the project, it will be easier to keep track of deadlines and make sure the project is completed in a timely manner.

5. It’s an easy way to gain fans!!

One of the best benefits of working with other musicians is that you’re opened up to a whole new set of fans! If your sound is similar to, but with a unique spin on the work of the person you’re collaborating with, you’re sure to open up the door to many fans coming your way. People are always looking for new music, and what better way than to find it through their favorite artists?! Even if your acts are completely different, you’ll get your music in front of an audience you never would have found before, and you can bet that fans respect artists that their favorite musicians are into! Sharing fan bases makes for easier collaboration on songs, shows, and many other aspects of your musical career.

We are all still learning as musicians, and what better way than to learn from each other? Collaboration exercises your brain while producing tremendous work. And if it doesn’t work out? Learn from your mistakes this time and try again. Everyone works differently, and before long you’ll find the right type of collaborators for you.

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3 Summer Activities And How They Help Your Child Grow (Piano)

3 (Fun!) Summer Activities That Help Your Child Grow [Infographic]

fun summer activities for kids

Summer is here! With school out and the temperatures rising, no doubt your kids are excited to play. But beyond the summer camps, sleepovers, bike rides, and water balloon fights, stealthy parents know how to encourage activities that can actually help kids grow and learn!

Don’t worry — that doesn’t mean workbooks or summer homework. We’ve got three fun summer activities in mind that kids will be excited to participate in, and ones that will build confidence at the same time.

  • First up? Music lessons! If your son or daughter loves to sing along to songs when you turn on the radio, music lessons are a natural fit. And there are so many different lesson types to consider, from piano to guitar to saxophone.
  • For the more introverted or bookworm types, learning a language — like Spanish or French — might be a great choice. Of course, your child won’t become fluent over the course of one summer… but it can be a fun introduction to new cultures! Plus, it’s easy to find fun games and apps that support language learning.
  • Finally, if your child can’t stop moving, sports like soccer and softball are a great way to keep him or her busy. They’ll never know they’re actually improving their teamwork and goal-setting skills!

Here’s a recap of all the surprising stats you need to know about these fun summer activities for kids.

3 Fun Summer Activities That Help Your Child Grow [Infographic]

Whether your child is athletic, musically inclined, or interested in learning another language, summer is the perfect time to enroll them in classes and nurture a new hobby. And knowing your son or daughter is also growing and learning, you can sit back and relax this summer — just as the season was intended for.

Ready to get started? Search for fun summer activities, classes, and lessons near you!

Photos by Philippe PutDark Dwarf, and l. c.

 

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How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

Musicians, Here’s How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

Ready to take your talents to the masses, but not sure how to get music gigs? In this guest post, our friends over at GigSalad share a few helpful tips to help you start your gigging career…

 

It’s safe to say that almost every musician dreams of making a career out of their talent. However, many artists are intimidated and unsure of where to begin. If you’re serious about your music, and you know you want to succeed in the industry, there are a few essential steps to help you find music gigs and kickstart your career. By applying these few simple methods to actively promote yourself, you’ll be well on your way to making a living doing what you love.

Practice, practice, practice. We know you probably hear this enough from your teachers, but your practice hours are crucial to your sound. It’s what attracts fans and keeps your calendar booked, so before you start your gigging endeavors, make sure you’ve mastered your performance.

You need a solid web presence. In order to line up your first few gigs, you have to put your talent in front of a lot of eyes and ears. One of the best (and cheapest) ways to do this is by promoting yourself online. There are many marketing tools available for musicians, but don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to utilize them all. Just focus on these few, and you will have a stronger impact.

  • Find a website builder. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to have a great place to host your music. There are several website builders that make it easy to plug your media into a beautifully designed template. You’ll want to choose one that is mobile-friendly, can be easily customized, and offers stylistic flexibility. We recommend Bandzoogle because it’s built specifically for musicians to add downloadable music files, gig calendars, and band merch. Having a beautifully designed website is an excellent way to gain more fans.
  • Use your social media. Your social platforms are a great way to engage your audience and attract new fans. You can notify followers of your upcoming shows, get feedback from past performances, and even find out what kind of music they’d like to hear in the future. And by activating the new Facebook call-to-action button, you can get booked directly from your page! To truly maximize your opportunities, consider going outside of your own social media feeds. When you connect with other local performers, venues, and community groups, you’re exposing your business to their followers as well. Liking other posts instead of just asking users to like yours creates a more direct relationship with those users.

Get gigs by playing gigs. At the beginning of a gigging career, often times artists will put on free shows to get started. These performances are typically in smaller, more intimate venues such as coffee shops, libraries, or house parties. Although these are unpaid gigs, they can still offer other valuable benefits. Any gig opportunity helps boost your stage presence, earns you the spotlight, and gives you a chance to recruit more fans.

Surround yourself with musicians. Not only do you get a chance to chat with people who have the same interests, but you can also learn a lot from these conversations. The music scene is constantly evolving, and your fellow musicians can keep you updated on the latest trends and tips that have helped them. This also gives you a great opportunity to create mutual referrals for future gigs.

Connect with venue owners. Venue owners come in contact with a ton of musicians, so it’s important to make yourself stand out. Introduce yourself in person, and be sure to leave them a link to that great website you’ve created to promote your music. Because of their heavy workload, it’s a good idea to send them a follow-up email if you haven’t received a response after a few days.

There are a lot of tips out there for musicians who are just starting their gigging careers, and it can feel daunting to consider all of them. Every musician is unique in their journey to success, so make the moves that feel right for you. By perfecting your talent, creating a strong web presence, and connecting with the right people, you can considerably boost your gigging opportunities.

Readers, what other strategies do you use to find music gigs? Let us know in the comments!

Post Author: Tessie Barnett
Tessie Barnett is the content writer for GigSalad, an online platform for artists to promote their talent, connect with event hosts and planners, and get booked for private and public gigs ranging from weddings and parties to corporate events and festivals. As the largest entertainment booking platform in the U.S. and Canada, GigSalad helps talented people do what they love.

Photo by Lauren Liggett

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rolling-stone-instruments-berklee-online header

Can You Identify the Weird Instruments Featured in Rolling Stone’s Top-100?

What do the contrabassoon, the swarmandal, and the finger cymbal all have in common? They all play an important part in the greatest songs of all time! Berklee Online recently took a look at Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and focused in on the top 100 to give us an inside look at the music that has shaped our lives. From pop songs with flute to songs for alto sax, there’s something special about hearing unique instruments used in creative ways by some of the world’s most famous and beloved musicians.

So, think you can identify some of the weird instruments on this list? Check out the awesome infographic below to test your knowledge of these classic tunes!

rolling-stone-instruments-berklee-online

So how’d you do? Were you able to name some of the weird instruments in this list? If anything, this infographic proves that great music comes from unique instruments and dynamite musicians – and great things happen when the two come together!

No matter what instrument you play, taking private lessons with a quality music instructor can take your musical skills to the next level! Who knows — someday we might see one of your songs on this list!

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learn to beatbox

How Beatboxing Can Help Your Child Become a Better Musician

learn to beatboxWant to help your child become a better singer or musician? Beatboxing may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but you’d be surprised at how learning this skill can supplement your child’s music lessons. Learn more in this guest post…

 

Musicianship is a funny thing. Whether trained in jazz, opera, classical, or soul, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are a range of techniques and tricks you would have never expected to be of help in boosting your child’s budding musical skill. One of these techniques is beatboxing.

Yes, beatboxing: an a cappella style of music-making via vocal percussion. Beatboxing not only teaches your child a greater sense of timing and rhythm, it also improves listening skills and can actually work to strengthen and protect his or her vocal cords. What’s more, it will widen your child’s musical scope, which will improve creativity and overall musicianship.

Here’s a quick breakdown of why learning to beatbox can help young musicians get on top of their musical game:

Aural Skills and Improvising

You can’t learn to beatbox from sheet music; you need to be able to listen and repeat in a ‘copycat’ style — training your mind to get used to the way the sounds can work together. Eventually, the goal is to be able to improvise using the sounds you’ve learned to make. Being able to improvise relies almost completely on strong aural skills, and the best way to strengthen them is through the same sort of ‘listen-and-repeat’ style of exercises, precisely what children will learn when they try their hand at beatboxing.

Rhythm and Timing

Beatboxing is essentially a way of creating a sequence of different rhythms, which play off each other to create a complicated, yet logical, sequence of beats. To pull this off, musicians need a pretty firm understanding of musical timing and how different rhythmic and percussive sounds can combine to create a particular effect. Having a strong sense of rhythm and being able to play to complicated time signatures will be a necessity as your child becomes a more developed musician — no matter what style or instrument they’re learning.

For instance, jazz musicians need a strong handle on syncopation, a way of playing unexpected rhythms that are sometimes off-beat. Learning how to create fast, complicated rhythms from sequences of quick, improvised beats will boost your child’s technical prowess and confidence over difficult passages.  Plus, being able to move in time to a steady beat is also linked to stronger language and reading skills.

Breath Control

Being able to breathe properly is essential to beatboxing. For singers and woodwind players, having good breath control is just as important. When you beatbox, you need to know how to command breath to produce different types of sounds, from a higher ‘hi-hat’ sound to a bass drum. There’s also the need to have enough breath to carry on with the performance, which means your child will need to learn how to incorporate breath into the beat itself.

For vocalists, strong breath control is one of the most important factors in controlling your voice. Whether belting out a gospel tune or shattering glass with a powerful aria, they’ll need to know exactly the amount of breath that’s required to create the tone and sound they want. How young musicians learn to exhale will alter the quality of the sound, volume, pitch, and tone of their voice; so learning how to manipulate it as a beatboxer will increase control over their range. It’s the same principle for woodwind players: different types of exhaled breath will resonate differently through the instrument, each bringing out a different sound and tone.

Protecting the Vocal Cords

As well as the benefits for your child’s capabilities as a musician, beatboxing can actually help strengthen and protect the vocal cords. When you sing, you rely almost entirely on your vocal cords to produce sound, which — when overused — can lead to the development of scar tissue. However, beatboxers use their entire vocal tract to create different sounds, which spreads energy across different structures, therefore minimizing strain on one particular area. Muscles used when beatboxing work to elongate the vocal tract, which can also help singers reach higher notes.

Getting Started

The best thing about beatboxing is that you first learn by copying. While it’s always easiest to be led by a tutor who knows what they’re doing, there are plenty of video tutorials online to help your child get his or her head around beatboxing before formally heading in for a lesson.

Your child will typically start to learn to beatbox by learning how to make percussion sounds like a drum kit. For instance, they’ll be able to mimic sounds of hi-hat cymbal, the tom-tom, and bass drum, and learn how to put them together to make basic beats. As they get better, they’ll learn more complex sounds to add to the mix.

learn to beatboxMonica Karpinski is a staff member at Ingenium Academy, a summer music program for talented young musicians around the world, aged 14-18. All students are taught beatboxing, regardless of style, previous training, or instrument they play.

 

 

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Photo by Eoin C

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What Does it Take to Become a Session Musician?

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Want to earn money playing and performing music? Set yourself up on the path to success with these career tips from Corona, CA music teacher Milton J.

 

Many aspiring musicians dream of being discovered and becoming the next best superstar. However, many others must also face the music that there is a certain amount of luck and chance in getting that seven-figure record deal. In lieu of sitting, waiting, and wishing for that big break, creating smaller breaks for yourself could make that eventual discovery much easier for A&R representatives and record executives, not to mention creating a source of income for yourself in the industry you love.

Some of your interests may include songwriting, producing, band leading, or being a creative manager of a music project. These roles often define the dynamics of a band or production, and can help you achieve your eventual goal of sustained financial gains and fame. They also own the most profitable portions of the music industry — copyrighted songs and publishing and performance royalties. Yes, that means the person who writes the lyrics and the melodies can potentially earn just as much or more than the artist who sings and performs it.

If you have an interest in instrumental or supportive work in a band as opposed to or in conjunction with songwriting, session musicianship would be a perfect launching pad for you. Musicians who choose to engage in session musicianship work with lots of different people, which makes for a successful career by sharing technical and musical expertise with many walks of life in the music industry. In order to do this successfully, you need to build yourself a good reputation and network constantly to create as many connections as possible. If this appeals to your twinkling piano or guitar fingers or tickles your vocal cords, here are some helpful tips on readying yourself to be a successful session musician!

Be Technically Proficient

Whether for recordings or live gigs, you need to be able to get it right, and fast! Sight reading or the ability to pick up songs by ear are very useful in this case (that means private music lessons with your local TakeLessons teacher are a must!).

Be Stylistically Versatile

Being able to play in multiple genres of music will increase your possible session gigs, which will lead to more opportunities and financial gains!

Be a Diplomat

Give your opinion if someone asks for it, but don’t overstep your boundaries, as you’re there to help fulfill a vision.

Be Picky

To begin, accepting session gigs from anyone from various genres will help to build your name and enhance your session workshop aptitude, but after a while you should focus on choosing bands that are professional and give you an element of security in terms of work, tours, earnings, and payouts or shares of future royalties.

Be Flexible With Your Time and Money

You have to be prepared to be away for an extended period of time at the drop of a hat if you’re asked to go on tour with an artist. Also, sometimes you may have a downturn in potential session gigs, and you’ll need to be financially prudent. Prepare yourself for these possibilities with your housing, bills, and finances.

Become a Multi-Instrumentalist

Being able to play multiple instruments (I personally play guitar and piano in addition to vocals) gives you more opportunities to help out and fill in with various roles, which can both set you apart from other session musicians and lead to increased pay.

Know Your Gear

Being knowledgable about – as well as owning your own – equipment is important. It makes everything easier if you show up ready to go with all your gear, and you know what to do with it to help provide the sound the lead artist is looking for.

Know Your Rights

Make sure you have clear and written-consented agreements on recordings about any royalty entitlements.

Frequent a Place With a Thriving Music Scene

Although the Internet surely helps to solve this problem to an extent, it’s a good idea to frequent an area where you know and work with the local music scene and/or touring acts, which could lead to more work opportunities and good honest connections.

Identify With Your Music

This will make your career much more fulfilling, and will show the best and most expressive side of your musicality. Isn’t this what it’s all about?

If this sounds like something you would like to pursue, then the world is truly your oyster. Time is of the essence to channel your love for music into your job!

MiltonJMilton J. teaches guitar, piano, singing, music recording, music theory, opera voice, songwriting, speaking voice, and acting lessons in Corona, CA. He specializes in classical, R&B, soul, pop, rock, jazz, and opera styles. Learn more about Milton here!

 

 

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What Does it Take to Become a Music Therapist?

how to become a music therapist

Curious about some of the career options you have that involve playing and performing music — but don’t want to be on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans? Learn how to become a music therapist and what the job entails in this guest post by Ann Arbor, MI teacher Elaina R

 

The therapeutic effects of music are no secret; just think of how much better your favorite song makes you feel after a bad day. One excellent way to channel music into a career – and to help others along the way – is to become a music therapist. Music therapy capitalizes on the soothing, healing aspects of music to help people in difficult situations.

Music therapists work with all kinds of people, from those with physical or mental disabilities to those dealing with terminal illness. By applying music in a scientific way, these professionals are often able to achieve impressive results. Whether you want to become a music therapist or simply looking to hire one, it helps to understand what it takes to become a music therapist.

What is a Music Therapist?

A music therapist is a therapist who uses music to treat patients. Unlike other therapists, who often work in offices (think of the stereotypical “therapist’s couch”), music therapists often work directly in hospitals, clinics, and other centers where their services are needed. They sing and play guitar and piano during sessions.

What Are the Benefits of Music Therapy?

Music therapists often work with specific demographics of people for whom normal therapy is less effective. This includes people suffering from mental illnesses such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease; drug and alcohol abuse patients; young children; and crisis and trauma patients. Plenty of research has been conducted on the subject, showing that music therapy is effective for treating dementia, anxiety, depression, and numerous other conditions.

How to Become a Music Therapist

There are two steps to becoming a music therapist: getting a degree in Music Therapy and passing the American Musical Therapy Association’s exam to become board certified. There are dozens of universities that offer degrees in Music Therapy across the country.

The Music Therapy Degree

Since music therapy is a combination of musicianship and psychology, music therapy students are required to study both. You are also required to perform internships in clinics, where you’ll get hands-on experience working with patients. Here’s a quick breakdown of what that means.

  • The Music Side: Music therapists take many of the same courses as music majors, including conducting, music history, theory, and composition. You are also required to study voice, piano, and guitar, as well as perform in ensembles (such as choir).
  • The Therapy Side: Expect courses in human development, therapy, and psychopathology. Music therapists also have to study the psychological effects of music, learn how to apply music in therapeutic situations, and practice applying them through internships.
  • The Internship: During internships, you’ll work with patients under the supervision of licensed therapists. It’s a pretty serious commitment involving 1,200 hours – that’s about 150 8-hour days – of working in clinics with patients with a variety of ailments. You will work in at least three different places during these internships, and advanced students perform supervised music therapy sessions.

The Test

Once you get your degree in Music Therapy, you are eligible to take the American Music Therapy Association’s exam. If you pass the exam, you earn a Music Therapist Board Certification that allows you to become professional music therapist.

The Power of Music

If you want to become a music therapist, know that it is arguably even harder than becoming a traditional therapist. Not only will you have to study therapy and psychology, you will have to study music as well (and become adept at three different instruments). But music is a powerful force, and musical therapists get to use that power to help others in an extremely rewarding career.

ElainaElaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She is currently working on a Master of Music at the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

 

 

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3 reasons music lessons make a great christmas gift

3 Reasons Why Music Lessons Make the Perfect Christmas Gift

3 reasons music lessons make a great christmas gift

Looking for the perfect gift for a creative child this holiday season? Musical instruments and equipment are always among popular ideas for Christmas gifts, so why not put a gift certificate for music lessons under the tree too? Music lessons are truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Not convinced? Check out these three wonderful reasons why music lessons are the perfect gift to give for the holidays.

Learning Music Helps Kids Build Character

As kids learn new skills, such as playing a musical instrument, they gain a big confidence boost. Additionally, the process of studying, practicing, and performing teaches kids how to set and achieve goals outside of school.

Kids taking music lessons also benefit from gaining a new outlet to express their emotions and explore their creativity. Whether they are learning to play their favorite songs or writing songs of their own, music lessons teach kids a lot more than just the notes in the scale.

Learning Music Makes Kids Smarter

In case you haven’t heard, many studies have shown that taking music lessons can actually make you smarter. Playing a musical instrument activates multiple areas of the brain, increases a child’s ability to focus, and advances coordination. Music education also improves kids’ listening skills and may help them get ahead in subjects ranging from language to math.

Experiences Make Us Happier Than Things

Psychological research has shown time and again that our experiences in life give us more lasting happiness than our possessions do. Though most ideas for Christmas gifts are long lists of things, perhaps giving experiences is a better way to extend the joy of the holidays all year long. Music lessons are a wonderful experience that contribute to personal and academic growth in children, so why not give them to a special kid on your holiday shopping list?

Do you have any ideas for creative Christmas gifts? Tell us all about your ideas in the comments below! 

 

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