john legend pre-show routine

10 Pre-Show & Stage Fright Rituals of Famous Musicians [Infographic]

Do you get butterflies before you’re about to perform, even for a small audience? Imagine singing or playing your instrument at sold-out arenas!

Performing for screaming fans can be nerve-wracking even for the most seasoned musicians. To combat the nerves, many rely on pre-show rituals to center themselves. Continue reading to find out what some of your favorite famous musicians do behind-the-scenes…

stage fright in famous musicians - pre-show rituals

How 10 Famous Musicians Battle Stage Fright

Learn about the pre-show rituals of your favorite musicians.

  • Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper eats Skittles as a pre-show snack and watches kung-fu movies before he takes the stage.

  • Beyoncé

Beyoncé has a pretty specific pre-show ritual: she gathers the members of the band to say a prayer and do a stretch. After that, she sits in a massage chair while she gets her hair and makeup done. She also enjoys an hour of peace before her show and has a special playlist that she listens to every day.

  • Keith Richards

The Rolling Stones rocker is very specific about his pre-show meal. He always eats a Shepherd’s pie, and he must be the one who breaks the crust.

  • Justin Bieber

When Justin Bieber was a young star, he enjoyed Sour Patch Kids and gummy worms before his show. We’re not sure if he still eats these snacks before he performs for sold-out arenas, but whatever he’s doing, it’s working!

  • Rihanna

Like Beyoncé, Rihanna grabs her musicians and backup dancers together for a prayer circle. Also, right before they take the stage, they put their hands in the middle and raise them as they yell a rallying cry.

  • Eminem

The fit rapper requests 25-pound dumbbells and six Lunchables Snack Packs (three turkey and three ham and cheese) for his dressing room.

  • Coldplay

The British rock band enjoys a little bit of quiet time before their shows and always makes sure to do a group hug.

  • John Legend

John Legend knows it’s important to eat a good meal before a performance. The singer eats roasted chicken before his shows.

How to Battle Anxiety and Stage Fright

While the musicians listed above have a lot of performance experience, it doesn’t mean they’re immune to feeling some pre-show jitters. In fact, many famous musicians — including Adele, Barbra Streisand, and more recently Zayn Malik –have shared their personal stories of anxiety and stage fright.

In reality, stage fright is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, you can even use that energy to your advantage — check out our Ultimate Guide to Stage Fright to learn the strategies. So get out there and enjoy yourself! The rush you’ll feel is worth it, we promise.

Readers, do you have your own pre-performance rituals? How do you battle stage fright and anxiety? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Sources: MusicNotes, Mental Floss, EMGNHuffington Post, Photo by Benny Chandra

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5 Insider Tips for a Successful Music Career

MO - 5 Insider Tips for a Successful Music CareerBreaking into the music industry is tough, but it’s a lot easier when you have some help along the way. In this article, professional singer and music teacher Liz T. will show you 5 valuable tips you can use to make it the music industry…


Based on my performing experience in the music industry, I’ve observed many fellow (and talented) musicians struggle. Having a successful music career isn’t easy, but you don’t have to be the next Beyoncé or Hunter Hayes to be considered a “success.”

There are many independent musicians out there who perform in front of sold-out crowds each night, run their own marketing campaigns, and promote their music in the media — all while making money!

Here are some tips from my personal experience that will help you have a successful music career, no matter which instrument or genre you choose!

How to Make It in the Music Industry


1. Choose Your Band/Co-Writers Wisely

I’ve seen many leaders fail when they don’t have reliable members in their band. Here’s my advice: Choose musicians you know you can depend on, both on and off the stage. In other words, choose musicians who you can trust to show up to all rehearsals, recordings, and act professional in a music environment.

Don’t Choose on a Whim

More often than not, because of the lack of effort, support, and preparation from the band, the leader may fail. Audition your band mates, try a few gigs with them, and if it’s not working, move on — just like in the dating world! There’s no sense in keeping bad relationships.

The same goes for songwriting: Choose members you want on your team wisely, and consider choosing members who have strengths that you don’t. The bottom line is that you should never feel at competition with your band mates or co-writers; it’s completely a team effort!


2. Research the Music Industry

As a musician, you should always be listening and watching the charts. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse — find out what’s popular, what’s performing well, and what’s dying in the industry. From knowing current artists to knowing music-sharing trends, you’ve got to be current with the times!

You Don’t Need to Research Everything

Even if you’re an “old school” person, you don’t necessarily have to download every music app or listen to every artist, but you need to be familiar with what’s happening in the industry. In my experience, a surprising amount of people don’t do their research. Those who don’t do their research might send their music demos on CDs, even when the publisher clearly says “only MP3s” via email. If you do that, you’re only going to upset the publisher.

Keep Up With the Trends

With that being said, read directions carefully and do your homework — you don’t want to make enemies in the industry by making bad impressions! The trends in the industry are always changing, so be sure to read books, blog articles, and ask your friends how they listen to (or even buy) music; who are they going to see in concert, what are their favorite music videos?

Don’t be behind the times — be ahead!


3. Be Your Own Booking Agent

I’ve often found this very frustrating in the music industry: trying to get the booker or promoter’s attention. Oftentimes, you’ll hear no response, or they’ll have incredibly high demands (and want you to play at less-than-appealing venues). I challenge you to start booking your own gigs when you feel your music is ready to be performed in front of live audiences.

You Can Do It All

I started booking my own gigs first in Boston, then to the New York scene, which eventually lead to Europe! I’ve booked 100+ gigs entirely on my own, without the help of a booking agent. Of course, it takes a lot of time to do this research, along with negotiating contracts and figuring out logistics, such as backline equipment (like amplifiers) and transportation.

There’s no reason you can’t start booking your gigs right away. Focus your attention on one region, then figure out the venues in that market. Indie on the Move is a great resource for this sort of thing!


4. Keep Plugging Away

Rejection is a common theme in the music industry. You’ll often go to tons of auditions, submit your song, and hear “no,” more than you’ll hear “yes.” With thousands of musicians vying for their shot at fame and fortune, along with few opportunities out there, the competition is fierce.

Rejections Eventually Lead to Success

I encourage you to keep performing and submitting your music. I’ve felt extremely discouraged after going to 100 auditions, but then after the 101st audition, I would land the gig! Moreover, I would submit my music to publishers and record labels over and over, hearing no response, only to finally hear an answer a couple years later!

Don’t let rejection tear you down and stop you from doing what you love. Continue to work on your craft — practice, compose, and write like there’s no tomorrow. You can even create your own opportunities. For example, if you’re still having trouble getting signed, release an album independently! Or, be your own social media manager and promoter.

Remember to always stay positive and believe in yourself!


5. Pick the Right Songs

Whether you decide to write your own music or be in a cover band, the decision is up to you! Many bands become successful by writing new material, and other bands find their first success by creating new interpretations of original songs.

With YouTube, you can easily upload your songs, promoting them for people all over the world to explore and enjoy! But first, it’s best to decide if you’re going to be an artist that focuses on just making videos, or if you’re more interested in booking live shows. Allocate your resources accordingly.

How to Choose The Right Songs

When choosing your song material, you’ll want to make sure you’re completely comfortable performing these songs. You don’t have to sing an Adele song just because it’s popular and challenging, or write material if you stink at writing lyrics. Instead, find out what your strengths are and which songs showcase your voice or musical instrument the best!

It’s important to find your musical niche. To do this, I encourage you to listen and watch other bands perform in order to see what repertoire they have in their sets or albums. Don’t outright copy other bands or artists, but instead use them as a source of inspiration.

The End Goal is the Audience

Visualize your album or set in advance; the flow, the rhythm, and the melodic content is important to keep in mind. You don’t want to do a show that’s entirely made up of slow rock ballads — your audience will be asleep in no time! It’s vital that you keep them engaged, even if you’re singing about serious subject matter.

The end goal is really to grab and hold the audience’s attention the entire time you’re performing. The same goes for an album; make sure the songs you record transition nicely into each other. The last thing you want is for the listener to skip tracks!

Use Sheet Music to Choose Songs

If you’re still stuck on which songs to choose, you can always browse through sheet music. You can find sheet music for thousands of popular songs, namely by big-name publishers like Alfred and Hal Leonard. There are also a couple of dedicated sheet music websites. Check them out here:

If you’re looking for more than just sheet music, check out this all-encompassing resource guide for musicians:


I hope these tips help you on your way to a successful music career! Remember, you don’t need to be the hottest celebrity in L.A. to have a successful music career. Many musicians find their musical success right in their own backyard (or garage)!

If you ever need one-on-one advice for how to get into the music industry, schedule a meeting with a professional musician on TakeLessons today!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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How to Memorize Any Piece of Music: 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps

Do you want to learn how to memorize music? Check out the five simple tips below from our friends at Soundfly. Note: This article was originally published on Soundfly…

Memorizing music is invaluable in the eternal quest of learning and growth. From strengthening your ears to widening your understanding of compositional structure and recognizing patterns, there is no quicker way to develop into a well-rounded musician than to leave your charts at home and memorize the music you play, practice, and perform.

Why write about how to memorize music? For one thing, I am of the belief that you can’t truly know a song until you no longer need to read it off of a piece of a paper. As rhythm players, once you can get off the page, you’ll be able to anticipate changes and sit comfortably in the groove, instead of reconciling your trouble spots and letting them dominate you.

And as lead players, a song won’t really come alive until you’re able to weave your way through the changes without constantly having to look at a piece of paper for a roadmap — it’s in your ears. So here are my five steps on how to memorize any piece of music.

1. Understand the whole piece

Never try and jump into learning a composition piecemeal if you aren’t familiar with it yet. The learning process will be smoother if you know how things come together in the long run. Do this by listening to recordings of the piece first — no instrument required.

2. Identify a song’s basic form and changes first

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with all the moments when the song changes, or where you hear repeated/thematic material. Here’s where you get to put your ears to work, for those who aren’t familiar with reading music (if you are interested in starting to read music, here’s a free online course).

But if you do have a chart, read along to see what you can use from the written material. More complicated music, such as jazz standards, will often have charts with the melody and the chords written, and to truly understand the song, there’s no substitute for knowing both.

Is the song in verse-chorus form, or an AABA, or a blues of some sort? The more you can recognize these types of structures for yourself, the easier it will be to keep learning new music.

3. Don’t always start memorizing music from the beginning

In fact, you can start wherever you want! By now you understand the form, and you can work within the roadmap of the material, if there’s a hook that’s already in your head, or just a few bars of the chord changes that you happen to recognize, you can start there.

You’ll be chopping up the music anyhow, so don’t worry about that yet — you’ll know it all like the back of your hand (does anyone actually know the back of their own hand?) once you’re done learning all the pieces.


To discover the remaining two tips, head on over to Soundfly.


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10 Great Movies About Musicians (and Their Formulas for Success)

MO - 10 Great Movies About Musicians (and Their Formulas for Success) 1There are a ton of movies about musicians out there — but what can you learn from them? In this article, music teacher Willy M. takes you through 10 movies about musicians and reveals their unique tricks that made them successful…


Art is the closest we can come to understanding how a stranger really feels.” – Roger Ebert


When it comes to movies about musicians, we generally see the same pattern in each story: an unknown artist struggles with their personal demons as they try to make a name for themselves, and they ultimately reach stardom at the expense of their relationships or mental health.

While most of these movies fit a cookie-cutter pattern, they also showcase the unique skills and tactics that each artist uses to become successful.

Below is a list of 10 movies about musicians that include a brief summary of each film, as well as each artists’ special formula for rising to the top. These movies were selected based on Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score, meaning we picked the top 10 movies based on tens of thousands of audience votes.

Are you ready to take an inside look? Let’s check them out!


Walk the Line (2005)

“Walk the Line” is the story of Johnny Cash’s rise to fame. It gives a glimpse of both the triumphs and heartaches that come from striving for fame. Johnny had a troubled relationship with his father, and playing music was his way of finding solace. Unfortunately, he turned to drugs for the same reason.

The movie demonstrates how Johnny went from one failed relationship to another, eventually conquering his addiction to drugs, and ultimately finding a way to use his music to inspire and bless people (namely prisoners) who related to him.

Walk the Line

Click here to watch the trailer

As demonstrated in the film, Johnny Cash learned how to make the I, IV, V pattern work for him. His simple chord structure, under well-crafted melodies, put his songs in the minds of listeners for generations to come. While Johnny Cash songs aren’t structurally complex, the melodies are catchy and reminiscent of older folk idioms that continue to inspire and challenge players today.

Ray (2004)

Many movies discuss the dangers of using drugs to fuel creativity, and “Ray” is no exception. Jamie Foxx portrays the late, great Ray Charles in this biopic about his life. In the movie, we see Ray’s rise to fame and his struggle (and ultimate victory) over a heroin addiction.


Click here to watch the trailer

Foxx’s portrayal of Ray Charles is one of the most accurate depictions of a popular musician moviegoers will see. We see a great deal about the process of making a great recording, and how producing a good record is often a team effort.

Ray has a great band, awesome producers (like the legendary Ahmet Ertegun), and great backup singers (though they’re often at the center of many of his issues). Ray’s success shows us that it’s important to work well with others, and that serving the music should come before serving yourself.

Love and Mercy (2014)

“Love and Mercy” describes the life of Beach Boy bass player, songwriter, producer, and vocalist, Brian Wilson. The movie shows Brian slowly descend into madness during the recording of the “SMiLE” album.

He spent years in a drug-induced fog, until the controversial Dr. Eugene Landy helped “rescue” him from his addictions. But it really took Brian’s love for his wife, Melinda, to rescue him from the clutches of the overbearing Dr. Landy.

Love and Mercy

Click here to watch the trailer

Surprise, surprise! This is a film that, yet again, shows the dangers of using drugs to self-medicate, and how they quickened Wilson’s mental descent. But this film also demonstrates true musical genius when it comes to the amazing melodies and harmonies that Wilson chooses to explore in his music.

The true nature of great melodies is demonstrated in the scenes that show Wilson composing. The movie also shows how some of Brian’s melodies are almost lost by the verbal abuse from his demanding father, Murray. Yet, the powerful melodies endure and inspire us today, which goes to show you that a great melody is practically immortal!


Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” tells the story of country singer, Loretta Lynn, and her rise to stardom from the absolute depths of poverty. Her musical endeavors are supported by her husband, her children, and her manager, Norm Burley. Burley is shown throughout the movie tirelessly working to promote Lynn’s music.

Coal Miner's Daughter

Click here to watch the trailer

One of the key takeaways from this movie, aside from the tremendous amount of hard work that Loretta puts into her act, is the amount of effort her family and manager put into it as well. What we see as a successful “solo” act is actually the result of many people working together to bring her music to the world.

This is another important lesson that young musicians should know: No matter how good you are as a musician, you can’t get anywhere without the support of quality people. This movie teaches us that when you get to the top, be careful not to step on the people who helped you make it.


Amazing Grace (2006)

This movie is about the events that led to the classic Christian hymn, “Amazing Grace,” and the ending of slavery in England. The movie depicts the work of William Wilberforce, an attorney who strove to end the slave trade in England. One of Wilberforce’s friends and supporters is John Newton, former slave-trader turned churchman.

Newton inspires Wilberforce with courage and spiritual strength to stand up against an age-old tradition (slavery) that both men see as pure evil. Newton describes the events that caused him to have a religious conversion, which he sees as giving him a second chance in life. These events inspire the words to the beloved hymn, Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace

Click here to watch the trailer

This movie teaches many great lessons that young musicians can learn from, but one that stands out is the power of a lyric. Amazing Grace’s lyrics show that faith and a new start can truly cause change in both individuals and society as a whole.

John Newton was a scoundrel, but after nearly dying at sea, he became a Christian. Instead of enslaving his fellow man, he spent the rest of his life working to end slavery. His powerful testimony has been passed down in the form of a hymn and has inspired people from all walks of life to continue to work towards helping people instead of harming them.

Amazing Grace shows the value of songwriting and how a truly inspiring song can continue to impact the lives of people for hundreds of years afterwards.


The Glenn Miller Story (1954)

“The Glenn Miller Story” tells the story of big band era (1930s-1940s) band leader, Glenn Miller. Not only was Miller the leader of a famous band, most famous for the song “In the Mood,” but he also served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. His stint in the Air Corps was brief, however, when his plane disappeared over the English Channel in 1944.

Glenn Miller Story

Click here to watch the trailer

This movie shows a top notch musician (he played cornet, mandolin and trombone) and band leader who felt a higher calling than just entertainment. He chose to give up a lucrative career as a band leader, at the height of his fame, in order to help stand up against the tyranny of Nazi Germany. And though it ultimately cost him his life, he died for something he believed in, which is a rare thing in the music business these days.

The takeaway for modern musicians: use your music to accomplish great things, and not just to entertain for entertainment’s sake.


La Bamba (1987)

“La Bamba” is the story of Ritchie Valens, one of the first Hispanic rock stars in the world. The movie follows his rise to stardom, showcasing his rocky relationships with his family and his girlfriend, Donna. Valens’ career was tragically cut short because of a plane crash that also killed another musician on our list, Buddy Holly.

La Bamba

Click here to watch the trailer

Ritchie Valens was one of the first rock musicians to combine traditional Mexican scales over top of rock rhythms and chord progressions. We see in this movie that talent took Valens a long way, along with his creation of a new genre that combined traditional rock with a new style.

La Bamba was a great song because it took the newly developed idiom of rock and slapped a folk tune and lyrics onto the new style. His style was certainly enduring — people love La Bamba even to this day!


The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

“The Buddy Holly Story” tells the tale of early Rock n’ Roll guitar legend, Buddy Holly, and his band, the Crickets. In their brief career, they had hit after hit of great tunes that continue to influence musicians to this day.

Buddy Holly Story

Click here to watch the trailer

Buddy Holly is one of those musicians that, even if you’ve never heard of him, you’ve been influenced by him. Even though he died in the 1950s, musicians for decades to come were heavily influenced by his music (e.g. James Taylor, The Ramones, Don McLean, Tom Petty, the Cars, and many other famous musicians who were kids in the 50s and early 60s).

Buddy Holly’s music shows that a great lyric, melody, and chord progression will last forever. Not only were his melodies well-crafted and infectious, but his punctuated singing style was unique at the time and set him apart from other singers.


Bound for Glory (1976)

“Bound for Glory” describes the events surrounding the life and times of folk legend, Woody Guthrie. When the harrowing Dust Bowl hit Oklahoma in the 1930s, Guthrie left his wife to migrate to Southern California. From there, his music career began.

Bound for Glory

Click here to watch the trailer

Guthrie was one of the most influential figures surrounding the folk movement of the 1960s. Even if you haven’t heard of him, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, or Simon and Garfunkel; they were all heavily influenced by Woody Guthrie.

Guthrie’s simple melodies, such as “This Land Is Your Land,” captured a generation of singers who loved to perform his tunes. His rambling lifestyle gave him a great amount of material to write about, as well as reflect on a tumultuous period of American History, prior to World War II. Woody Guthrie’s life and music demonstrates the importance of the songwriter as a historical record-keeper.


The Benny Goodman Story (1956)

“The Benny Goodman Story” is not supposed to be the most accurate version of the big band leader’s life, but it does capture the great music that Benny Goodman produced. The actual details seemed to have been adjusted by Goodman, who was still alive while the movie was being made (and who played most of the clarinet solos that were recorded for the movie).

Most of the movie centers around his romance with his wife, Alice Hammond, sister of John Hammond, the guy who discovered Bob Dylan years later.

Benny Goodman Story

Click here to watch the trailer

This movie is inspirational to young musicians because it shows that you should continue to strive to develop your art and bring your gift to the world, despite the obstacles that might get in your way. Benny Goodman was wise in his choice of side musicians — one of his sidemen was the great jazz drummer, Gene Krupa. Picking great musicians to work with will challenge any musician to strive for greatness.


Honorable Mentions

Here are some other movies about musicians that are worth checking out too. Click them to watch the trailers:

Cadillac Records (2008)

Gene Krupa Story (1959)

Jersey Boys (2014)

Great Balls of Fire (1989)


What are your favorite movies about musicians? Comment below with your thoughts!

Willy MPost Author: Willy M.
Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston Salem, NC. He’s the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80s. Learn more about Willy here!

Movie photos courtesy of IMDB

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Accomplish Anything: The Ultimate List of Empowering Songs [Infographic]

MO - Accomplish Anything The Ultimate List of Empowering SongsThere’s nothing you can’t accomplish with a pair of headphones and the right soundtrack. From doing chores around the house to preparing for an interview, we’ve got 50 empowering songs that’ll take your productivity to the next level…


Did you know that pop music is scientifically-proven to be the best music for working quickly and accurately? It’s true! Try throwing on some Taylor Swift the next time you need to work — it’ll help!

Moreover, did you know that music can actually improve your memory? The reason is that music can reduce stress, allowing our brain to absorb information better. In fact, classical music has been proven to work best for improving memory.

With these facts in mind, we wanted to create the ultimate science-backed playlist for every occasion. Check the infographic below and empower yourself today!

(Below the infographic are Spotify playlists for your convenience!)


Power Through a Task.

Perfect for doing tasks that don’t require much thinking (e.g. chores around the house).

  • Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk
  • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
  • Die Walküre (Ride of the Valkyries) by Richard Wegner
  • Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
  • I’m Shipping Up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys

Spotify Playlist

Boost Your Creativity

Great for when you need inspiration to get your creative juices flowing (e.g. working on art).

  • Dirty Harry by The Gorillaz
  • A Little Soul by Pete Rock
  • Sleepyhead by Passion Pit
  • Singing Under the Rainbow by World’s End Girlfriend
  • Knights of Cydonia by Muse

Spotify Playlist

Improve Your Memory

Excellent for enhancing your focus and comprehension (e.g. studying, reading).

  • Four Seasons by Vivaldi
  • Eine kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart
  • Symphony No. 67 in F Major by Joseph Haydn
  • Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven
  • Water Music by George Frideric Handel

Spotify Playlist

Make You Laugh

Sometimes you just need a good laugh!

  • Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash
  • Amish Paradise by Weird Al
  • United States of Whatever by Liam Lynch
  • Parents Just Don’t Understand by Will Smith
  • Pool Party by The Aquabats

Spotify Playlist

Heighten Your Romance

Wonderful for getting you in the romantic mood (e.g. preparing for a date).

  • I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
  • My Boo by Usher feat. Alicia Keys
  • Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • More Than Words by Extreme

Spotify Playlist

Lift Your Spirits

Feeling down? Listen to these songs when you need cheering up!

  • Happy by Pharrell Williams
  • Strawberry Bubblegum by Justin Timberlake
  • Lovely Day by Bill Withers
  • In the Stone by Earth, Wind & Fire
  • For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder

Spotify Playlist

Dance Your Heart Out

Great for when you need to let loose and bust-a-move on the dance floor.

  • The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
  • Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega
  • Lose Control by Missy Elliott
  • Grown Woman by Beyonce
  • Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars

Spotify Playlist

Calm Your Mind

Feeling stressed or nervous? Take a load off your mind with these relaxing songs.

  • Sunrise by Norah Jones
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole
  • Just My Imagination by The Temptations
  • Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson
  • Aqueous Transmission by Incubus

Spotify Playlist

Build Your Confidence

Feeling weak or unmotivated? Power-up with these explosive tracks.

  • Survivor by Beyonce
  • We Are The Champions by Queen
  • You’re the Best Around by Joe Esposito
  • Express Yourself by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
  • Uprising by Muse

Spotify Playlist

Exercise Your Body

Need to feel in-the-zone? These songs will get you through the toughest workouts.

  • Beat It by Michael Jackson
  • Show Me How to Live by Audioslave
  • Renegades of Funk by Rage Against the Machine
  • Satisfaction by Benny Benassi
  • Around the World by Daft Punk

Spotify Playlist

*Sources included on infographic


Know any songs that belong on our list? Comment below!

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13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

MO - 13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

So your son or daughter has just started music lessons. You’ve found a kind, knowledgeable teacher, set up a practice space, and bought an instrument.

But here’s the kicker: No matter how excited your child is initially, there comes a point in time when your son or daughter simply doesn’t feel like practicing.

To help you avoid endless fights and keep you from pulling your hair out, we’ve put together this collection of strategies from music teachers, bloggers, and child psychologists to help you motivate your child to practice.

Treat Music Like a Different Subject

Think back to when you were in school. You had your academic classes and your after-school activities. You knew your daily routine: Math, English, Science, etc. Then after school: piles of endless homework!

With so many different subjects, it’s no wonder adding time to practice music can seem like a burden to a kid. That’s where you come in — you can help shift your child’s mindset!

What’s the bottom line? It’s up to you to help your child see music in a different light!

Rather than treating music like any other subject, create a distinction so your child sees music as something he or she wants to do. The best way to shift your child’s mindset is to let him or her play an instrument they’re actually interested in.

“If you want your child to be motivated to play an instrument, music needs to be different than other educational subjects,” says Bobby K. from Guitar Chalk. “Your child shouldn’t see music as a forced discipline, like Math or Geography. This ultimately comes down to choosing the right instrument, which is going to be the one the child is excited about and wants to play on his or her own.

“For me, that was the guitar, which had me practicing (voluntarily) three to four hours a day at 11 years old. That couldn’t have happened with piano because piano wasn’t “my” instrument. It was just another subject. But guitar was different in that it felt like play, not school work. Getting your child into a similar situation, where their instrument doesn’t feel like just another school subject, is absolutely critical. If it’s not happening, that might be a signal that it’s time to switch instruments.”

This also means you may need to be flexible. While it can be expensive to allow a child to start and stop several different activities, try to work with him or her to find one he or she enjoys and is intrinsically motivated to practice.

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Put Your Child in Control

It’s no secret that when we’re told to do something, we don’t always want to do it. During the course of a day, there are several different people (parents, teachers, older siblings, coaches) telling kids what to do. Add music to that list and it’s no wonder motivation seems to dwindle!

Combat this problem by putting your child in control. Let him or her determine the practice schedule, that way they’re more likely to stick to it.

“Kids hear adults tell them what to do all the time; to catch their attention, let them plan their own practice schedule,”  says Nicole Weiss, LCSW Psychotherapist and Coach. “Start with the end in mind. Basically, you want to get your child to make the decision that he or she needs to practice so that he or she can play the way he or she wants to play. After the decision is made, the parent can help the child research and figure out how often a good musician practices. The child then sets a schedule based on the reality that, to be good, one must practice.”

Not only will this allow your child to feel a sense of control, it will also help him or her to learn the value of practice.

“The child makes the schedule, then the parent reinforces it,” Weiss says. “I’m sure many parents reading this would say…’yeah but will they do that day to day?’ That’s where you come in — but you have more weight in your reminder. It was the child’s desire to make the goal. Additionally, the reward should be for accomplishing little goals. For example: ‘practice every night this week and we can download that song you want.’ Reward the work.”

More: Motivate Your Child to Practice With a Reward System

Help Your Child Understand the Gift of Music

Show your child that playing a musical instrument is a special privilege and an opportunity that isn’t necessarily available to everyone. Teach your child to appreciate music and all it has to offer. Help them discover that music can enhance their life.

“I believe that we’re here in this world to do great things with the gift of our lives, and we’re here to serve others,” says Heather F. from Music for Young Violinists. “Learning to play [the violin] helps us in both of these areas — we’re drawn up into a level of greatness through the discipline required to study this art form, and in this process, we cultivate a gift that we can share with others.”

This also includes helping your child develop a love for music. Take them to concerts or shows, play music at home, and help them discover what they like.

Many adults wish they had stuck with a hobby or endeavor they started as a child, like playing a musical instrument. While this can be a difficult concept for young kids to grasp, teaching them to appreciate music can help them understand why practice is important.

According to this article from MusicTeachersHelper on motivating students to practice, “…I can’t count how many times I’ve heard adults say to me, ‘I quit taking piano when I was young and it was such a mistake. I wish I could go back and take lessons again.’ Parents can help children know the value that musical talent brings to society.”

Don’t Make Practice an Obligation

This one may seem a bit counterintuitive, right? After all, you’ve invested the money in an instrument and lessons, and you want your child to make the most of it. Plus, if your son or daughter wants to be good, he or she needs to practice!

The key here is to not make practice seem like an obligation, as compared to other fun activities. For example, if your son or daughter loves to play video games or play outside, don’t allow him or her to do this until after completing practice.

Using a fun activity as a reward will create the mindset that practice is the obligation that stands in the way of the fun activity, and this could create resentment or dread for practice.

As Why We Teach Piano suggests, “Don’t set an arbitrary amount of practice time, without specific goals, and then reward them with playtime or video games afterwards. This just reinforces the notion that playing piano is not fun and video games are fun.”

Plan Performances

When it comes to any sport, hobby, or endeavor, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize. The same thing applies when it comes to your child learning an instrument; your son or daughter has to have a goal in sight, otherwise, he or she may question the need to practice.

“If you want to keep students engaged and excited about their music education, make sure they’re performing consistently throughout the year,” says Anthony M. founder and author of The Music Parents’ Guide. “There are other profound effects on more scheduled performances for all school programs, as well. We, as parents and teachers, need to foster a growing curiosity and even an excitement about music in our children’s lives. Consistent performances are the best way to do this and continue to motivate our children.”

It gets better:

Not only do performances help to increase excitement, they also work to hold children accountable. Ask any music teacher — even the most unmotivated student will be more likely to practice if it means avoiding embarrassment at a recital!

Let Your Child Choose

Just because you loved playing piano as a kid doesn’t mean your child will love playing just as much. Your child may have other interests, and it’s important to allow him or her to explore different endeavors.

“First of all, I think it’s critical that the child choose the instrument they’re going to learn,” says Matt T. from Unlock the Guitar. “I’m a guitarist, and I’d love nothing more than my son to be interested in learning guitar, but he’s undeniably drawn to the piano. Plus, if an instrument is thrust upon them, practicing it will also be thrust upon them. Letting the child choose the instrument turns this on its head, and into your favor, even if they didn’t choose the instrument you would have liked them to play.”

Be Their Cheerleader

Let your child know you’re his or her biggest fan, especially early on when your child may feel frustrated or discouraged.

Eighty-eight notes school of music suggests listening to your child at home as often as you can and making encouraging remarks about their progress. Also, make sure to ask them how their lessons went.

Take a genuine interest in your child’s musical journey. Your son or daughter will be excited to play for you and show off new skills!

Help Them Engage With Music

Your child is more likely to practice music if he or she feels connected to the process. Help your son or daughter develop an interest and curiosity for music.

To help your child stay engaged, become a part of the process. Whatever you can do to get involved is likely to increase their interest and motivation.

“Motivating your child by reward or punishment will stop working very quickly; instead, help your child get curious about music and develop an inner desire to engage with music,” says Jonas G., the founder of flowkey.”Let your child play around with different instruments. Listen to music and sing together. Your child will naturally want to imitate you, so a big motivation for children to practice is seeing their parents engage with music themselves.”

Create Challenges

Rather than telling your child to practice, help him or her set specific goals and challenges. This will help them progress faster because they’ll work on accomplishing specific tasks or mastering particular skills. This idea can be applied to any instrument.

Practiceopedia author and practice expert, Philip J., has a completely different take: “Don’t ask your kids to ‘practice’ — they won’t know what to do. Instead, give them bite-sized, clear challenges to complete: (1) Work out a fingering for measures 24-35 (2) Gradually speed up section B to 85bpm. (3) Be able to play the left hand of the coda from memory.”

Having trouble coming up with the right challenge? Check out Phillip’s website,, for a huge collection.

Celebrate ALL Accomplishments

Learning to play an instrument is a long journey full of peaks, valleys, and plateaus. While you’ll definitely be proud when you watch your child perform, it’s important to celebrate the little victories along the way.

While verbal praise is important, you may also want to create another way to celebrate achievements; familyshare recommends keeping a journal of your child’s accomplishments. When you put it in writing, you’re less likely to forget. If journaling isn’t your thing, you can keep a white board on the fridge, or make a chart that you can display in the house!

Celebrating the little victories will help your child keep a positive attitude when they’re struggling or having difficulty tackling a new concept or song.

Let Them Play Music They Like

While there are always certain signature songs and classics for various instruments, your child will lose interest if he or she doesn’t like the music they’re playing.

Work with your child’s teacher to make sure your child is playing some music they truly enjoy.

According to the Academy of Music and Dance, “As children get to be around 10 years old, sometimes younger, they start to develop preferences for musical style, largely influenced by radio, TV, and whatever they’re most exposed to at home. They will also typically gravitate to whatever their friends are listening to, especially for boys at around age 13 and girls around age 11.”

Use this as a motivational strategy; allow your son or daughter to play at least one familiar song as part of their weekly routine.

Make Practice Fun

This should come as no surprise — no one wants to practice when it’s boring! Incorporate fun games, activities, and challenges, and your child will look forward to practice!

According to PianoDiscoveries, “appropriate goals and positive reinforcement will make practicing fun and rewarding. Very few children are self-motivated in their practice. Most need incentives and reminders to keep them focused and moving forward.”

Ask your child’s music teacher for some creative ways to make practice more fun!

Find the Right Teacher

This brings us to our last strategy and one of the most important: find the right teacher! Although practice is done outside of lessons, if your child connects with his or her teacher, they’re much more likely to practice on their own time.

According to Music Central,”…finding the right teacher will make or break the whole experience. Don’t be afraid to try a new teacher if your child isn’t connecting. The best teachers are usually the ones who not only teach, but know how to be a good friend and mentor to your child.”

Find a teacher who understands your child’s learning style, and a person who’s able to teach concepts in a way that keeps your child interested. When your son or daughter likes his or her teacher, they’ll be more willing to take direction and practice consistently.

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Which of these strategies have been successful for you? Do you have other methods that you use to motivate your child? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Horrible Solo Albums From Famous Musicians

MO - 5 Horrible Solo Albums from Famous MusiciansGoing solo isn’t easy. Once you leave a famous band, it’s hard to achieve the same level of success on your own. In this article, Jessica Kane from SoundStageDirect discusses five solo albums from famous musicians that just didn’t cut it…


There are unknown reasons as to why some famous musicians feel the need to try to wing it on their own. Some have found great success upon breaking away from their band, while others have only put more nails in their creative coffins.

Ready to hear what many consider some of the worst albums by solo artists? Here are five horrible solo albums from famous musicians:

1) Gone Troppo by George Harrison

The Beatles are perhaps the most famous rock band of all time. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr have all had successful and well-received solo albums in their post-Beatles lives. However, Gone Troppo by Harrison is one of the weakest releases of the bunch.

To say that George Harrison is full of talent is a massive understatement, but his charm, skill, and focus fell short with this album. It’s generally regarded as underwhelming and does not capture the magic that Harrison has brought to other albums. Listen to the title track and hear a part of George you haven’t heard before:

2) Two Sides of the Moon by Keith Moon

Keith Moon is known as one of the most iconic and powerful drummers in rock history. His thunderous hammering can be heard across all of The Who’s powerhouse albums of the 1960s and 1970s. Two Sides of the Moon delivers you on a half hour journey to a much too dark side of Moon that is best left unexplored.

The tracks on this album are as lifeless as the actual moon. Keith Moon, while a savage drummer, is a pitiful solo artist. He lacks the talent of most famous singers, and despite an impressive lineup that includes Joe Walsh, Ringo Starr, and a rumored David Bowie, Two Sides of the Moon plays more like a strung-out mishap.

This is what happens when you let someone as wild as Keith Moon alone to his own devices inside of a recording studio, with the intention to do a vocal cover album.

3) This Time by Melanie C

The Spice Girls treated the world to energetic, fun, and sexy pop music that bred a cult of millions of Spice wannabes and fashion-deficit followers.

Sporty Spice, or Melanie C, tried to capture some of that same success in a post-Spice Girl world but fell flat on her face. While not one of the worst albums of the last 100 years, This Time is just unoriginal and dull. This was Melanie’s fourth solo effort and one of her weakest. In contrast, Northern Star was a solid pop experience that had good energy and lasting themes.

Let your bleeding ears check it out here:

4) Who I Am by Nick Jonas

This album deserves to be ranked among the worst albums of all time on every list of bad albums, ever. The Jonas Brothers are known for their cute pop rock that caters to pre-pubescent teen girls. Nick Jonas tried to set himself apart with this edgy attempt at a solo album.

The blues is universal, as everyone feels suffering and angst, but Jonas needs to keep out of the blues world. This track is all the reason to stop listening to Nick Jonas:

5) Oh Yes I Can by David Crosby

David Crosby is perhaps best known for his influential work with the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, but as a solo artist, he’s been hit and miss. Oh Yes I Can is a definite miss.

Released in 1989, this album does not bring the listener the same deep emotional satisfaction that was found in previous releases. Crosby is an excellent songwriter and performer, but he should have kept this one to himself. The impact he found in other hits is missing from this release.


You’ve just experienced five horrible solo albums back to back. Hopefully your ears are recovering now! If you want to avoid making horrible solo albums yourself, schedule a lesson with a private music instructor and get better at your craft today!


Know any other horrible albums from famous musicians? Comment below!

Post Author: Jessica Kane
Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Turntables.


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Motivate Your Child To Practice With a Reward System

Getting your child to practice anything can be tough. It’s easy for them to get distracted, bored, or otherwise uninterested when faced with a task. In this article, piano and singing teacher Mariana L. shares her reward system for kids that works brilliantly on her music students…


Children can get bored and easily distracted while trying to focus on a task.

Many of them look like this:

As a piano and voice teacher, the number one question I receive from parents is:

“How do I get my child to practice more?”

This question usually arises after they find themselves constantly nagging their children to practice. In turn, this causes the music students to become frustrated; they may even lose the interest and love they felt for their instrument when they began taking lessons.

What’s my suggestion for handling this situation? A reward system. Its purpose is to encourage students to practice and regain the joy they felt for music when they first wanted lessons.

In my experience, parents are always excited about introducing a reward system for music lessons because it’s something familiar; most of them already use a reward system at home for their children’s schoolwork, chores, behavior, etc.

What is a Reward System?

The concept of a reward system stems from the operant conditioning studies of psychologist B.F. Skinner. Skinner studied positive and negative reinforcement as a way of changing or achieving a behavior from an individual.

In his laboratory, Skinner placed some rats in a box that had a lever, which, upon pulling it, released pellets of food. At first, the rats would accidentally push the lever and receive their reward. After several times of getting food by accident, they figured out how to receive the reward (food) whenever they wanted it.

For children, practicing their instrument is the lever and the food is whatever your child gets excited about. Their reward could be toys, books, games, or even an extra outing to the park – it’s up to you.

Setting Up a Reward System

I strongly recommend you work with your child’s instructor to figure out what both of you would like to achieve from the reward system. For example, you might simply want your child to practice more than fifteen minutes a day, but your child’s instructor might also want them to mark their sheet music before coming to the lesson.

Work out your goals first, then compare them to the goals of the instructor, and then construct the reward system from there.

To prepare your little music student for success, make sure they have the following items:

  • An assignment chart
  • Tons of stickers
  • Fake money [optional]

With my students, I use three sheets to manage the system.

1) The Point Tracker

On this sheet, each colored star has its own point value. All you need to do is assign X amount of points to X amount of dollars and you’re good to go! I find it easiest to calculate points per one dollar value.

2) The Point Earning Guide

On this sheet, you’ll assign a point value to behaviors and/or tasks. You can be as broad or as specific as you want. For instance, you could reward ten points per one minute of practicing, or fifteen points for finishing a unit. In this example, the guide is quite specific because there were certain behaviors my student’s mother and I wanted to correct.

3) The Reward Menu

This part of the process, in my opinion, is the most fun to create! Parents, teachers, and students can work together to decide what type of prizes the student will receive. My rewards include students getting to play with a box of my percussion instruments, playing a musical game on my iPad, or playing on my keyboard with voices other than the piano (violin, trumpet, xylophone, etc.).

Remember to assign a somewhat high “cash” value to the rewards to ensure the goal is not achieved too early. As a bonus, this is also a wonderful way to teach children about saving money!

My Shareable Files

I use a free graphic design service called Canva to create sheets for my students. Below are the sheets that I use. Feel free to change them based on your student’s needs and desires.

How to Keep the System Working

After working with a reward system for a few months, parents often wonder if the system is sustainable. In other words, they’ll ask:

“Will I always have to reward my child in order to get them to practice?”

To tell you with complete honestly, there’s no general answer to that question. Some students develop an almost Pavlovian response to practice, where they no longer need a reward to pick up their instrument every day; playing music IS the reward.

The natural consequence of more practice is, of course, developing an advanced skill to play an instrument. And with enough practice, being able to play more complex and interesting pieces of music.

If a student is not ready to practice without getting rewarded, it’s always a good idea to find ways to keep the system fun and fresh; every couple of months, sit down to change the rewards and ways to earn points. It’s best to consult with the student’s teacher first, since certain behaviors and skills might have already been achieved.


If you can take anything from this post, it’s this: remember the joy that music brings to your child’s life. Find a way to keep that passionate flame burning. The last thing they want is to restart piano lessons as an adult, regretting the fact that they quit as a child.

For more information about reward systems and encouraging your child to practice, try scheduling a lesson with a private music instructor. A little one-on-one instruction goes a long way!

Know any tricks to get young students to focus on practice? Comment below!

Post Author: Mariana L.
Mariana L. teaches singing, piano, and Spanish in Maple Grove, MN. She’s holds a Masters of Music degree from The Catholic University of America. Her approach to teaching is speaking in terms that are easy for her students to understand and remember. Learn more about Mariana here!

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75 Songs Sure to Make You Happy

SL - 75 Songs Sure to Make You HappyIt’s time to boost your mood and make you happy! In this article, singing teacher Liz T. put together a list of some of the happiest songs you’ll ever hear…


What’s better than being happy? That’s a hard question to answer. In fact, there may not even be an answer at all. Happiness is the reason the world goes ’round, after all.

Songs that make you happy aren’t just for boosting your mood – they’re an effective short-term solution for increasing productivity. In other words, you can increase your productivity by 12% if you’re happy. If that sounds too good to be true, listen to a few below as you work or study.

We’ve included a handy Spotify playlist at the bottom of this article so you can listen to all 75 songs on the list. Click below to scroll right to it.

The following songs range from the 1960s up until now, which means we’ve got a music for every generation. Take a look at our list and see if you recognize any of these foot-tappers!

75 Songs Sure to Make You Happy

 75. Sunshine On My Shoulders by John Denver

74. Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves

73. All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow

72. O Happy Day from Sister Act

71. Happy Together by The Turtles

70. I Wanna Hold Your Hand by The Beatles

69. Happy Days Are Here Again by Barbra Streisand

68. Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus

67. Don’t Worry be Happy by Bobby McFerrin

66. Just Got Paid by *NSYNC

65. This Will Be by Natalie Cole

64. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel

63. September by Earth Wind and Fire

62. Feeling Good by Michael Buble

61. Macarena by Los Del Rio

60. What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

59. Spice Up Your Life by Spice Girls

58. Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys

57. Fame by Irene Cara

56. Footloose by Kenny Loggins

55. Smile by Nat King Cole

54. Singing in the Rain by Gene Kelly

53. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey

52. The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow from Annie the Musical

51. The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens

50. Put On a Happy Face by Dick Van Dyke

49. I’m a Believer by The Monkees

48. Love Shack by the B52’s

47. YMCA by The Village People

46. Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder

45. Blue Skies by Frank Sinatra

44. Beautiful Day by U2

43. Best Day of My Life by American Authors

42. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

41. Lovely Day by Bill Withers

40. Turn the Beat Around by Gloria Estefan

39. Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez

38. Dancing Queen by ABBA

37. I Want You Back by Jackson 5

36. What the World Needs Now by Dionne Warwick

35. Bubbly by Colbie Caillat

34. Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

33. The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) by Jason Mraz

32. Don’t Worry by Madcon feat Ray Dalton

31. Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis

30. Hey Ya by Outkast

29. Forget You by CeeLo Green

28. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson

27. Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations

26. All Star by Smash Mouth

25. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO

24. Baby by Justin Beiber feat. Ludacris

23. Come On Over (All I Want is You) by Christina Aguilera

22. Independent Women Pt. I by Destiny’s Child

21. MMMBop by Hanson

20. Mr. Saxobeat by Alexandra Stan

19. You Light Up My Life by LeAnn Rimes

18. 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton

17. Last Dance by Donna Summer

16. You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder

15. Hot Hot Hot by The Merrymen

14. The Best is Yet to Come by Frank Sinatra

13. L-O-V-E by NatKing Cole

12. Steal My Sunshine by LEN

11. Music by Madonna

10. Who Let the Dogs Out by Baha Men

9. Mambo No.5 (A Little Bit of…) by Lou Bega

8. Troublemaker by Olly Murs feat. Flo Rida

7. Price Tag by Jessie J feat B.o.B

6. My Girl by The Temptations

5. Love Train by The O’Jays

4. Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin

3. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen

2. Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams

1. Happy by Pharrell Williams


Spotify Playlist

The End

There you have it – 75 songs sure to make you happy! Do try to listen to them all when you get the chance. If you want to learn more about music like this, be sure to ask your private music teacher more about it. Maybe you’ll discover how to write your own songs like the ones on this list. Happy learning!

Know anymore songs that make you happy? Comment below and share with us!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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10 Things to Include on Your Acting Resume

acting resume
When it comes to preparing your acting resume, knowing what to include can be a challenge. However, there are several items that should always be included. Instead of only listing the parts you’ve played, include some of the following items to dazzle directors:

  1. Up-to-date Contact Information – One of the most important parts of any resume is your contact information. How will recruiters and talent agents contact you if your information is not correct? Update your contact information whenever it changes. Include a working phone number and an email address. Make sure your email address sounds professional, and also be sure to note which contact method is best to reach you.

  2. Physical Attributes – Since acting is as much about visual appearance as it is talent, include your physical description on your resume. Your height, hair and eye color, and weight should appear somewhere on your resume. It is best to include this information at the top of your resume. Like your contact information, your appearance information must be updated periodically to reflect any physical changes.

  3. Memberships – If you belong to any acting organizations or unions, they should also be included on your acting resume. This shows that you are serious about your career and that you have a network that could possibly vouch for you if needed. And if you belong to an organization that a recruiter or agent is also a member of, you already have a connection that can help during your audition.

  4. Past Experience – No matter what role or part you are auditioning for, you must include your past acting experience. You should indicate whether the parts were for theater productions, movie roles, or television appearances. If your acting history is small, include what you can – and never lie on your resume.

  5. Education – If you have little acting experience but have been studying to be an actor at a formal university, this section gives agents a point of reference. You should only include formal education and classes that relate directly to acting, as opposed to listing your education in full.

  6. Training – Your acting resume should also include any training courses you have taken. This is different from formal education, as you may have studied another subject during college. Include the names of your trainers or studios, as well as what exactly was taught. Avoid being vague here – include acting techniques in as much detail as possible. Also include training related to other fields, such as singing, playing musical instruments, or public speaking.

  7. Primary Acting Skills – There are several skills involved with acting, including voice skills and combat skills. List the ones you are proficient in, as well as some detail about each. You can also include skills not related to acting, such as credentials that could come in handy. Again, don’t lie about what skills you have on your resume.

  8. Know Your Type – Many actors fear being typecast as their career progresses. But this can be a valuable way to advance your career if you are just starting out. Know which roles you are adept at playing. Instead of accepting any part you can, consider informing agents and recruiters about which roles you are the best fit for during auditions.

  9. Know Your Role Types – When preparing your acting resume, you should include whether or not you can fill speaking or non-speaking roles. Indicate if you are best fit for leading roles, supporting roles, or voice-over parts. If you’re a non-speaker, list if you’re a body or stunt double or an extra. You can also list any other industry roles, such as print ads or commercials, all of which can be important.

  10. Your Headshot – Most acting resumes can be printed on the back of a headshot and cut to size. Just as listing your physical description helps agents and directors find a good place for your appearance, your headshot gives them a picture they can really see. You should update your headshot every time your appearance changes. When you arrive at your audition you should look like your headshot does.

Looking for a great headshot photographer? Here are some to check out in…
LA: LA Headshots and Reels, Kaizen Headshots, Headshots Only Photography
NYC: Chris Macke Photography, Mark Ellison/NYC Photo Studio
Toronto: Callback Headshots


Preparing an acting resume might seem like a lot of work, but taking the time to do it right will build the foundation of a strong acting career. Good luck!


Photo by nickgregan


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