Gamification in Education: It’s Time Education Leveled Up [Infographic]

Explore the exciting world of education through gamification. See how and why it works on kids and adults for improved retention, knowledge, and more in this guest post from our friends at JoyTunes…

How many students have been scolded by parents to put their video game away and get their homework done?

It’s been a common household quarrel for decades, but kids across the globe are finally celebrating the new data that supports gamification as a means of advanced education and learning.

Check out how it’s being applied to students young and old who are learning to play the piano for the first time.

Gamification: What it is & Why it Works

Gamification is the process of utilizing gaming elements outside the standard gaming model to present an idea or achieve a goal. In the field of education, gamification is currently being used to help students learn better.

Jane McGonigal enlightens the world to the benefits of education through gamification in her TED Talk here:

In short, gamification techniques allow students to relate to the material and learning process in a whole new way, a way that is more engaging, interactive, attractive, and quite frankly, fun.

Kids and adults can tackle issues from new angles, relate to the assignment more personally, visualize the problem at hand, organize and compartmentalize tasks, and achieve success based on motivating factors that speak to the individual.

This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain on Gamification

Here are a few facts about gamification that might clue you into the popularity, efficacy, and power of this under-utilized educational tool:

  • By 2015, the gamification industry is projected to exceed $2 billion dollars, while the projected rates are meant to reach $5.5 billion by 2018.
  • Close to 80% of students unilaterally stated that a more game-like atmosphere would increase productivity.
  • 89% of people polled liked the point system for upping their engagement during an eLearning app session. People enjoy the charge that comes from scoring points, out ranking others, and being able to measure their accomplishments with concrete numbers.
  • Skill-based knowledge assessments increased 14%, factual knowledge went up 11%, and retention was even improved by 9% for adults who used eLearning tools with gamification.
  • Of course, not all gamification methods work as well as others. Some less popular techniques for getting the job done (or in this case the lesson learned) included receiving virtual gifts, being part of a story, and avatars.

Gamification in Education

Music Gamified

Learning to play the piano or any instrument is a challenge, no doubt. But mastering this beautiful art is easier, more manageable, and a lot more fun when you combine the strengths and incentives implied by gamification to your music lessons.

Innovative music apps, like JoyTunes, use gamification to help kids and adults learn to play an instrument faster. The principles are simple:

  • Games make learning more fun: The piano lesson is taught in the form of a game.
  • We all like earning points: Points are gained when scales are performed properly.
  • Games require repetition: Repetition makes for good music incorporation and learning. Hence, games equal excellent musical training grounds.

Pretty smart, huh?

Give it a Try!

The infographic above tells the long story of gamification at a glance. The extent of this processing is yet to be discovered, but one thing can be said of gamification for sure: those who tap into this innovative method for teaching, learning, and training are guaranteed to see extraordinary results.

And those that don’t…well, they’ll just be left in the dark.

Guest Post Author: Mya Achidov
This is a guest post from JoyTunes. Mya Achidov is the Blog Editor-in-Chief at JoyTunes, a company that develops award-winning apps to teach you how to play music.

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9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost Romantic

9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost Romantic

9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost RomanticAre you in the mood to listen to typical love songs? If so, you’re in the wrong place! In this article, you’ll get a look at 9 unusual love songs that raise more questions than answers…

 

We’ve all heard conventional love songs before; When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge, Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars, and hundreds of thousands more. But what’s so interesting about someone professing their undying love for someone else? Where’s the interesting twist?

Without giving too much away, this article features a list of unusual love songs, or love songs that defy your expectations and deal with unconventional situations. These selections range from the 1960s to the 2010s. Ready to see what’s so unusual about these? Let’s take a look at 9 unusual love songs!

*This list is in no particular order.


1) Computer Love by Zapp and Roger (1985)

Overview:
The singer seeks a romantic partner through his computer.

Why it’s unusual:
Given the time period, this was quite the unconventional love song. The internet didn’t become a household commodity until the early 90s when the first commercial internet service providers (e.g. AOL) came about. The band, also known as Zapp, was certainly ahead of its time, credited for the inspiration behind the early 90s G-funk sound of hop hop. Finding love through the internet must have seemed like a strange, distant concept when this song was released.

Example lyrics:

You know I’ve been searching for someone
Who can share that special love with me
And your eyes have that glow
Could it be your face I see on my computer screen
Need a special girl, ooh yeah
To share in my computer world, my computer world
I no longer need a strategy
Thanks to modern technology


2) Cupid’s Chokehold by Gym Class Heroes (2005)

Overview:
The lead singer goes through trials and tribulations finding the right girlfriend.

Why it’s unusual:
The ease at which the singer is able to gush about one girlfriend and move on to the next is astounding. In the music video, Cupid attempts to match the singer with a few different girlfriends. What’s most unusual about this concept is the chorus, in which Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy sings, “Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got. Not much of a girlfriend, I never seem to get a lot.” Even though the singer’s verses sound sweet and romantic toward his new love interests, one can’t help but feel cheated by his kind words.

Example lyrics:

It’s been some time since we’ve last spoke
This is gonna sound like a bad joke
But Momma, I fell in love again
It’s safe to say I have a new girlfriend
And I know it sounds so old
But Cupid got me in a chokehold
And I’m afraid I might give in
Towel’s on the mat, my white flag is wavin’


3) What’s New Pussycat by Tom Jones (1965)

Overview:
A man sings relentlessly about the facial features of a woman.

Why it’s unusual:
A catchy melody can’t mask the lyrics of this unusual love song. While many love songs attempt to make the love interest sound appealing in terms of personality or temperament, this one makes no attempt whatsoever. The singer goes on and on about the nose, eyes, and lips of a woman he finds beautiful. By the off-chance a woman DOES finds these lyrics appealing, we’ll be sure to take this off of the “unusual” list.

Example lyrics:

Pussycat, Pussycat
I’ve got flowers
And lots of hours
To spend with you
So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose!
Pussycat, Pussycat
I love you
Yes, I do!
You and your pussycat nose!


4) She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5  (2002)

Overview:
A man sings about his obsession with making a sad girl happy.

Why it’s unusual:
The singer drives miles and miles to wait outside the house of an insecure, vulnerable 18-year-old woman. Regardless of how the woman feels, the singer says he “wouldn’t mind” standing on her street corner in the pouring rain, waiting for her to approach him. Even though the sentiment of sweetness is there, the imagery of a street stalker sours this unusual love song’s mood a bit.

Example lyrics:

I know where you hide
Alone in your car
Know all of the things that make you who you are
I know that goodbye means nothing at all


5) Ben by Michael Jackson (1972)

Overview:
A boy sings about his new friendship and how it makes him feel.

Why it’s unusual:
It’s not a traditional love song, but it exhibits many qualities of one; loneliness, insecurity, and understanding. What makes this love song unusual is the fact that it’s about a boy professing his admiration for… his pet rat. It was originally written for a movie about a rat named Ben, but it eventually sold itself as a single, even ranking #20 on the Billboard Top 100 during its release. While it’s still a nice song about a child’s love for a pet, it’s not as deep as a traditional love song would usually permit.

Example lyrics:

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I’ll never be alone
And you my friend will see
You’ve got a friend in me


6) Mirrors by Justin Timblerlake (2013)

Overview:
The singer professes his love for someone because they remind him of himself.

Why it’s unusual:
While couples usually thrive because they share common interests, the singer here thrives off of dating a carbon copy of himself. It’s nice to admire the qualities of a person who you think reflects your own traits, but calling them a mirror voids them of any individuality. Play this song for someone you love when you’re feeling especially narcissistic.

Example lyrics:

I can’t ever change without you
You reflect me, I love that about you
And if I could, I
Would look at us all the time


7) Sweet Tangerine by The Hush Sound (2006)

Overview:
A desperate ex-boyfriend pleads for his girlfriend to come back to him.

Why it’s unusual:
Upon first listen, you may be too distracted by the upbeat nature of the song to really listen to the lyrics. The lyrics start with the singer trapped outside, freezing in the rain, hoping to be let inside by his ex-girlfriend. He made a mistake in their past relationship and tries to justify it by saying, “Without the sour, the sweet wouldn’t taste as…” In just a couple verses later, the song quickly turns into the tale of a desperate stalker breaking into his ex’s house and waiting under her bed until she wakes up. Can you see how it’s one of the more unusual love songs?

Example lyrics:

Crept through the curtains, as quick as the cold wind
Slowly exploring the room where you sleep
The stare of your portrait, the passing of your scent
Left me no choice but to stay

I will dissolve into the dark beneath your bed
My hands will wait for a taste of your skin


 8) These Foolish Things by Sam Cooke (1962)

Overview:
The singer thinks about his lover every time he experiences certain phenomena.

Why it’s unusual:
It’s a sweet song to sing to your lover… but only after they’ve passed away. In the singer’s everyday life, he sees, hears, and smells things that remind him of his former sweetheart. If you choose to ignore the lyrics about the “ghost”, you can get away with singing this to someone you love!

Example lyrics:

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside dance invitations
Oh how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things
Remind me of you


9) What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction (2011)

Overview:
The singers are infatuated with a girl they deem as insecure and unaware of her beauty.

Why it’s unusual:
No matter how many compliments you give someone on their physical appearance, it won’t change their internalized insecurities. The singers in this song seem to think otherwise, noting that what makes the girl beautiful is the fact that she doesn’t know she’s beautiful. It’s a concept that makes sense if you don’t think about it much.

Example lyrics:

If only you saw what I can see
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe
You don’t know, you don’t know you’re beautiful
That’s what makes you beautiful


BONUS: Every Breath You Take by The Police (1983)

Overview:
A singer vows to look after his love interest in an obsessive way.

Why it’s unusual:
If you listen to this song once, it’ll become immediately apparent that the singer is actually a stalker. No matter what the love interest does in their everyday life, the singer wants to watch them do it. Even Sting, the lead singer of The Police, said that the song was deliberately about a stalker. It’s certainly not the greatest song to sing at a wedding.

Example lyrics:

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you


Conclusion

See what we mean about unusual love songs? Trust us, there are PLENTY more of these out there! If you’re interested in songwriting but aren’t sure how to begin, consider scheduling a private lesson with a songwriting teacher. With some practice, maybe you’ll make the next list of unusual love songs!

 

Were any of these unusual love songs surprising? Know any more? Comment below with your thoughts!

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a woman playing the piano with proper piano hand position

3 Piano Hand Position Exercises for Beginners

a woman playing the piano with proper piano hand position

One of the keys to successful piano playing is proper hand placement. Below, piano teacher Ryan C. shares three fun exercises beginners can do to improve their piano hand position…

When trying to teach beginner students the proper piano hand position, I’ve often found that telling them to “move this finger in such and such a way” is a fairly challenging task.

This is especially true if they haven’t developed finger independence through other means. It very quickly becomes necessary to relate finger and hand shape to things that everyone can do.

The following exercises are just that – things that everyone, even new pianists or musicians, can easily do.

In fact, the knowledge of what proper piano hand position should look like is something that even non-pianists can master in a very short amount of time.

However, mastering the actual physicality of automatically having your hand take a certain shape can take some time.

Below are a few exercises that beginning piano students can use to establish great piano hand position.

When doing these exercises, always be aware of any tension in your hand, and remember that the first knuckle of each finger (closest to the finger tip) should be firm yet bent, not collapsed and straight.

1. Play Catch

Depending on the age of the student and his or her respective hand-sizes, this exercise will work best with a ping-pong ball or a tennis ball.

  • Have a friend lob the ball at you in an arch or simply bounce the ball off a wall yourself and then catch it.
  • Notice what your fingers do when you catch the ball – they should curve around the top portion of the ball, but not all the way around it.
  • Emulate this hand position when you play piano.

 2. Meet Someone New

This is a great exercise for a student of any age, but will work best with a partner.

  • Stick out your hand as though you were going to give someone a hand-shake (or give a real hand-shake if possible).
  • After grasping your partner’s hand and holding it for about a second, let go of it while maintaining the position held in your hand.
  • Flip your hand so your palm is down.
  • Voila! – The result should be a fairly solid hand position that features curved fingers, firm knuckles, and a “C” shape between the thumb and index finger.

3. Take A Drink of Water 

This exercise is very, very simple, as there is no partner necessary. Please note that glasses should be sized according to student’s age / hand size.

  • Simply have your student grab a glass of their favorite beverage.
  • Ask your student about the shape of their hand while they hold the glass. (Some students may lift their pinkies or other fingers, but ask them to experiment around with what feels most comfortable for their hand.)
  • Hold the glass from the opposite side, and instruct your student to let go of it but keep their hand in the same shape it was in.
  • Then have your student flip his or her hand so his or her palm is down and place it on the piano keys.
  • Similar to the “Meet Someone New” exercise, this should result in a piano hand position that’s pretty close to a proper one. Pay close attention to the curvature of the fingers as well as the distance between the thumb and index finger on this exercise.

As always with piano hand position exercises, remember that the goal is two parts. First and foremost, a lack of tension. The hand should never feel tense when doing closed-hand position shapes like we are doing.

Secondly, the knuckles closest to the finger-tips should be firm and bent, not floppy.

Thank you so much for reading this article! I hope that this will give you some practical ways to get started on your journey toward piano hand position mastery.

Photo via Brian Richardson

Post Author: Ryan C.
Ryan C. teaches piano, ear training, and music theory. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a B.M. in piano performance. Learn more about Ryan here!

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benefits of listening to classical music

10 Shocking Benefits of Listening to Classical Music [Infographic]

 

benefits of listening to classical music

Chances are you’ve heard that there are several benefits of listening to classical music. But is there any actual truth behind this statement? According to numerous studies, there absolutely is.

There are a ton of brainy benefits one derives from listening to classical music. From pain management to improved sleep quality, listening to classical music has both mental and physical benefits.

In fact, simply listening to classical music as background noise can have a significant impact on your mood, productivity, and creativity.

I guess those old guys were really onto something, huh.

Below are some surprising benefits of listening to classical music backed by actual science.

benefits of listening to classical music

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10 Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

1. Decreases blood pressure

Want to keep your heart healthy? According to an Oxford University study, listening to classical music can help reduce one’s blood pressure.

In the study, researchers played participants different styles of music, including rap, pop, techno, and classical.

Classical music was effective at lowering participant’s blood pressure, while rap, pop, and techno actually raised blood pressure.

2. Boosts memory

Did you know that listening to Mozart can actually help improve your memory? According to a study, people who listened to Mozart’s music showed an increase in brain wave activity that’s linked directly to memory.

So next time you have to memorize a big speech or presentation, put on some Mozart while you practice.

3. Sparks creativity

To get your creative juices flowing, listen to some classical music. While listening to classical music won’t instantly make you creative, it will help put into a more creative mindset.

Next time you need to brainstorm, try listening to some Mozart or Bach to get your mind thinking outside the box.

4. Reduces stress levels

If you’re feeling particularly stressed, listen to some classical tunes. A study found that pregnant women who listened to classical music were less likely to feel stressed throughout their pregnancy.

Scientists claim that classical music’s tempo is similar to the human heart, which eases both anxiety and depression.

5. Supercharges brainpower

Do you have a big test or project coming up? Boost your brainpower by listening to some classical music.

In a study, French researchers found that students who listened to a lecture in which classical music was played in the background scored better on a test compared to other students.

6. Fights depression

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, ditch the donuts and opt for some classical music instead.

Several studies have proven that classical music helps relieve depression and melancholy.

In fact, a study from Mexico discovered that listening to classical music can help ease symptoms of depression.

7. Puts you to sleep

Do you toss and turn for hours before finally falling asleep? Rather than squeeze in another episode of Games of Thrones or New Girl, listen to classical music.

According to a study of people with sleep issues, listening to classical music for just 45 minutes prior to bed can help improve sleep quality.

8. Relieves pain

Instead of reaching for another Tylenol, you might want to consider playing a Bach or Beethoven playlist. Multiple studies have shown that listening to classical music can help relieve pain.

According to researchers in London, patients listening to classical music used significantly less pain medication.

9. Makes you happy

Want to get out of that bad mood you’re in? Listening to classical music can help increase dopamine secretion, which activates the brain’s reward and pleasure center.

In fact, a 2013 study found that music can help put people in a better mood.

10. Improves productivity

It’s a Monday morning and you can’t seem to get it together. To help boost productivity, listen to some classical music.

A series of studies have proven that music makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland found that Baroque classical music in the reading room can help improve radiologists’ efficiency and accuracy.

Give it a Try!

While classical music can’t raise your IQ 10 points, there are a ton of benefits of listening to classical music.

Whether you need to cram for an important presentation or you simply want a good night’s sleep, classical music can help.

Don’t just take our word for it. Try it out for yourself and let us know what benefits of listening to classical music you experience! It’s worth a try.

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5 Ways to Sneak Piano Practice into Your Busy Schedule

 

Is your crazy schedule making it difficult for you to find time to practice piano? Below, piano teacher Julie P. shares five creative ways you can sneak piano practice into your busy schedule…

You want to improve your piano playing skills, but your busy schedule doesn’t allow time for you to practice as much as you should.

Between school, work, and extracurricular activities, your schedule fills up fast. Just because you have a busy schedule, however, doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in some piano practice.

If you get creative enough, you can find more time than you thought. Below are five ways to sneak piano practice into your busy schedule.

5 Ways to Sneak Piano Practice into Your Busy Schedule

You don’t need long blocks of time to practice the piano. Piano practice is actually more effective if you break it up into shorter sessions over a longer period of time.

In doing so, your brain has time to process what you’ve learned in between your piano sessions. Instead of practicing for an hour one or two times a week, find five or six 10-20 minute chunks of time throughout the week.

For example, it might work well for you to practice for 20 minutes every morning before school. Or maybe you can practice 10 minutes before work and another 10 minutes after work each day.

The key to shorter practice sessions is to set smaller achievable goals. Pick one thing on your practice assignment and only practice that one thing. You might even focus on just one section of a piece, rather than the whole piece.

Your time on the bus or in the car can be used to improve your piano skills. For example, flash cards are great for reinforcing note-reading and other musical terms and symbols.

You can find hundreds of free, printable flash cards at Pianimation. Another great option for the car or train is a silent keyboard. It’s very useful for practicing scales or other simple songs and exercises.

For those days when your busy schedule has you exhausted and you don’t have the energy to sit down at the piano, there are a lot of great piano apps you can play.

Piano Maestro from JoyTunes, for example, is a fantastic iPad app that you can use in conjunction with your piano or keyboard. The app has a large library of songs for all playing levels and different genres.

For each song, the sheet music scrolls across the screen while the app plays accompaniment music. You play the notes as they go by, either using the keyboard provided on the screen of your iPad or your own piano.

At the end, you get points on how well you did and progress through the different score levels. This app requires a subscription fee, but teachers and their students can use it for free.

Another great iPad app for kids is SproutBeat. It has hundreds of music theory worksheets that kids can complete right on the screen by drawing with their fingers.

You can even print out worksheets to take in the car. The app comes with 20 free worksheet downloads and charges a flat fee for complete access to their library.

Any time your ears are free, you can work on your piano and musicality skills. The more quality piano music you listen to, the more you learn about what great piano playing is.

For instance, you can learn a lot about tone quality, the dynamic range of the piano, or what great rhythmic accuracy is, all from listening.

Try to find high quality recordings of the pieces you’re learning. If you can’t find recordings of your pieces, ask your piano teacher to make some quick recordings for you.

Even browsing through YouTube to hear more advanced pieces can be a great way to get a better sense of great piano playing, and get inspired to practice at the same time.

If your free time for practicing is too early in the morning or too late at night to be making noise at the piano, you can use mental practice.

For mental practice, you look at your music and visualize in your mind the arm and finger movements for playing it. This might be tricky at first, but you’ll get better at it the more you practice it.

If you try mental practice, you’ll be amazed at how much better you play your music the next time you sit down at the piano.

Your Turn!

Now that you know how to get more piano practicing into your busy schedule, go find 10 minutes that you can practice today.

Even better, make a plan for the next week to get in those smaller practice sessions and try one of the other practice methods that will fit into your schedule.

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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100+ Online Tools and Resources for Musicians

Are you ready to take the music scene by storm? As a musician, you’re well aware of how difficult it is to make a name for yourself or your band.

Practicing until the wee hours of the night, juggling several odd jobs, and traveling to play multiple gigs are just a few of the sacrifices you make as a musician.

Luckily, there are a ton of online music resources that can help make your life easier, including platforms that help you find gigs and websites that assist in promoting your band.

Since we know you’re busy being a rock star, we’ve rounded up over 100 of the best online music resources that will help take your career to the next level.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the game for some time, these music resources are sure to help you.


 

Sick of rehearsing in your studio apartment? Or is your current space too expensive? Here’s a list of online resources that you can use to find the perfect rehearsal space that fits within your budget.

  • Fractured Atlas: Through their SpaceFinder program, Fractured Atlas helps artists find the space they need, while helping venues promote and rent their spaces. It’s a win-win.
  • Musicnomad: Musicnomad does all the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is type in your zip code, specify the mile radius, and choose your perfect space.
  • Rehearsal space finder: Rehearsal Space Finder is another easy-to-use service. Just enter your location and what you’re looking for and you will be presented with a list of nearby venues.
  • Craigslist: If you’re looking for a low-cost option, browse Craigslist for a rehearsal space near you. Oftentimes, rates are more negotiable.

Booking gigs on a consistent basis is extremely important for both promotional and monetary reasons. Here’s a list of online tools that will help you book more music gigs.

  • Gigsalad: Gigsalad, a platform in which party planners can find and book talent, is great for local musicians. Signing up is easy; all you have to do is create a profile and wait to get booked.
  • ReverbNation: ReverbNation is dedicated to helping emerging artists build their careers. The platform’s “Gig Finder” tool helps artists connect with different venues, festivals, publishers, and labels.
  • Gigmasters: Similar to Gigsalad, Gigmasters is a platform where people can book various vendors, including DJ’s, singers, and live bands. The website allows you to create a customized profile and choose from a range of memberships.
  • Splitgigs: Splitgigs is a unique social network that allows artists to “split” their gigs with other artists. This website is great for those who are just getting their feet wet. You can also find music gigs uploaded by venues and organizers.

Additional tools:

Need some help promoting your band? Below are some great websites for getting your name out there and generating fans. Don’t forget social media too!

  • CDbaby: CDbaby has a number of different partnerships with brands that can help promote your band. For example, FanBridge, PledgeMusic, and Merch.ly.
  • Dizzyjam: Dizzyjam is a free online service in which musicians can create and sell branded merchandise. To get started, create your personalized shop, and then develop products for sale.
  • BandPage: BandPage is another easy-to-use platform. Upload your profile, bio, pictures, videos, tracks, and tour dates and BandPage will update that information across the Web for you.
  • BandApp: Perfect for musicians who have a solid fan base, BandApp allows users to share music, tour dates, and news directly with fans—for free!
  • Music Gorilla: Music Gorilla connects artists with industry professionals. Artists can sign up, upload music, and create a profile page. What’s more, the company does live, label showcases and provides artists with film and television placement opportunities.

Additional tools:

Whether you want to share one song or an entire album, there are a variety of websites in which you can share your music with fans around the world.  Check out the ones below!

  • Radio Airplay: With Radio Airplay, musicians’ music plays on stations featuring the popular artists they choose. What’s more, artists have access to reports and data about their fan base.
  • Stageit: With Stagit, artists perform live online shows via their mobile device. Fans can ask questions or request songs. Fans can also monetarily support their favorite artists.
  • On SoundCloud: On SoundCloud is SoundCloud’s newest partner program for musicians. It allows artists to upload music, build a profile, and manage stats.
  • Melody Fusion: Melody Fusion is a website in which artists can share their music for free. Musicians can also get feedback from their peers, take master classes, and find a mentor.

Additional tools:

Keeping track of your finances, tour dates, and more can be exhausting, especially if you’re doing it all yourself. Here’s a list of online tools that will help you better manage everything.

  • Bandbook: Bandbook makes your life easier. Within the platform, you can manage your schedule, track your expenses, and send private messages to anyone with a Bandbook account.
  • Artist Growth: Great for both managers and musicians, Artist Growth helps individuals schedule events, create reports, track finances, and manage tour merch all from one place.
  • TeamSnap: With TeamSnap, you can manage member’s contact information, coordinate upcoming events, track group fees, and share files within the group.
  • BandHelper: BandHelper takes care of all the annoying logistical details—such as expense reports, set lists, and more—so you can concentrate on making music.

Additional tools:

Entering music competitions is a great way to get exposure, connect with industry folks, and earn some much-needed cash. Check out the music competitions below.

  • Unsigned Only: Unsigned Only was produced by the same team that created the International Songwriting Competition. Solo artists, bands, and singers can enter a wide range of categories, including rock, pop, country, and vocal performance.
  • OurStage: Artists can enter original music into any of OurStage’s genre-based channels for a chance to win. Winners are featured on Amazing Radio, which boasts an international listening audience of thousands.
  • Hal Leonard Vocal Competition: The Hal Leonard Vocal Competition is a music competition for voice students comprised entirely of YouTube video entries.
  • International Songwriting Competition: The International Songwriting Competition is an annual song contest for amateur and established songwriters. The contest is judged by an impressive panel of judges, offering great exposure for artists.

Additional tools

Brush up on industry trends and get expert advice from peers by browsing through these awesome online music resources. Don’t forget to bookmark your favorite ones!

  • Passive Promotion: Created by Brian Hazard, a music veteran with 20 years of experience, Passive Promotion gives artists applicable advice about music promotion. He also regularly features reviews about new platforms.
  • Hypebot: Hypebot features a variety of useful articles for artists. For example, the website features dedicated pages on social media use and music technology.
  • Music Industry Inside Out: Music Industry Inside Out is a music industry knowledge hub filled with expert advice from music industry professionals. The website offers different course topics, such as funding your music, book keeping, and applying for festivals.
  • Make it in Music: Make it in Music is a great website for emerging artists. It has a ton of advice about how to make it big, including how to build your fan base and how to approach a record label.
  • New Artist Model: New Artist Model, an online music business school for artists, has an amazing blog, which regularly features strategies and advice for independent musicians.

Additional tools:

Do you need a branded website or flyers for your next show? Here’s a list of online resources that can help you develop and organize different kinds of marketing materials.

  • BandZoogle: Bandzoogle describes itself as a website builder created by musicians for musicians. The website will help you create a customized website where you can sell merch, tickets, videos, and more.
  • CASH Music: This nonprofit organization helps musicians manage their mailing list, sell music, and organize their digital world—free of charge!
  • Haulix: Haulix is a one-stop-shop for musicians. Using the platform, you can create promos, manage contacts, track progress, and more.
  • Bandcamp: This free service does just about everything. Not only can artists share music with fans, but they can also get stats on who’s linking to them, where their music is embedded, and which tracks are most and least popular.

Additional tools:

Are you looking to join or start a band? Or maybe you just want to network with other musicians? Here are some music resources that can help you do just that.

  • Bandlink: Using Bandlink, users can hook up with other local musicians. Just create a profile including the instruments and styles you play and search for bands/musicians in your area.
  • Kompoz: Kompoz is the ultimate collaboration tool for artists. The website allows you to upload your song idea and collaborate with other musicians from around the world.
  • Indaba Music: Indaba is a place where musicians can collaborate with some of the biggest artists and bands in the world to create new music.
  • Bandmix: Bandmix is the largest musicians wanted and musician classifieds website. Users can search through thousands of musicians in their area.

Additional tools:

As a musician, you’re always working on your craft. Here’s a list of educational music resources that will help you sharpen your musical skills so you can perform at your best.

  • Musictheory.net: Musictheory.net is a great online resource if you want to learn more about music theory. It has tons of free exercises and tools.
  • TakeLessons: TakeLessons is an online marketplace boasting hundreds of high-quality music teachers who specialize in everything from flute to guitar. Take music lessons in the comfort of your own home or tour bus with its mobile app.
  • Free-scores.com: If you’re looking for sheet music, look no further than free-scores.com. The website has tons of free sheet music in a wide range of musical styles, such as blues, classic rock, contemporary, and country.
  • Berklee Online: Berklee Online’s video library has a number of educational videos, including in-depth lessons, exclusive clinics, and course overviews that artists are sure to find helpful.

Additional tools:

Looking for some top-notch gear to help sound your best? Here’s a list of online music equipment stores that offer high-quality instruments and gear at great prices.

  • Music Go Round: Music Go Around sells used musical instruments, such as guitars, amps, drums, and violins, at competitive prices. As an added bonus, you can sell or trade-in your old gear.
  • Music123: From lighting and stage effects to orchestra, Music123 offers over 65,000 products. The website boasts in-depth product information and reviews.
  • Musician’s Friend: Musician’s Friend has a great selection of music instruments and equipment. Don’t forget to check out their blog, called The HUB, for artist interviews, product reviews, buying guides, and more.
  • Sweetwater: Sweetwater is dedicated to keeping its customers satisfied, which is why the company offers a wide range of gear at great prices and free shipping to lower 48 states.

Additional tools:

  • SongTrust: SongTrust ensures that musicians and songwriters are able to confidently manage their music publishing. The website simplifies everything from the administration of music publishing assets to digital licensing.
  • SonicAngel: SonicAngel offers several different options for artists. For example, musicians can crowdfund their campaigns on the platform of its partner, angel.me.
  • CoPromote: CoPromote is a network of artists dedicated to helping one another grow their fan base by cross-promoting social posts.
  • Radar Music Videos: Need a music video? Through Radar, artists can reach out to up and coming filmmakers to get their music video developed.

Additional tools:

Get Out There!

Let’s face it; making it in the music industry is hard–but not impossible. Take advantage of these 100+ online music resources and tools to help manage, promote, and distribute your music. Good luck!

Did we miss your favorite online music tool or resource? Tell us about it in the comments below and we will add it to the list!

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piano duets

10 Famous Piano Duets You Can Learn Today [Videos]

piano duets

Looking for some fun piano duets to play with your friends or family members? Below, piano teacher Liz T. shares 10 of the most famous piano duets that are surprisingly easy to learn…

Playing the piano doesn’t always have to be a solo activity. If you’re looking to make piano more of a social activity and be challenged at the same time, try playing some piano duets.

Learning how to play piano duets can be complicated at first. With a little practice, however, you’ll get it down in no time. Before you get started, glance over some of the helpful tips below.

Quick Tips For Playing Piano Duets

  • Find the right partner: Find a partner that is near or about the same level of piano training as you, as it can be difficult to play with someone who’s less or more advanced than you.
  • Divide responsibilities: Make sure that you discuss who will be responsible for what. For example, determine who will count off or set the tempo, as well as who will turn the pages if necessary.
  • Practice on your own: Before you meet with your partner, make sure that you have your part down pat. This will ensure that there’s no confusion when it comes time to combine the individual parts.

10 Famous Piano Duets for Beginners

Now that you’ve gotten a refresher on how to play piano duets, check out this list of famous piano duets you can learn today.

1. Heart and Soul by Hoagy Carmichael


This simple piano duet from the 1930’s will leave you wanting to play more. With very distinctive melodies in both the left and the right hand, either hand is quite fun to learn. Check out the cute father and son piano duet above.

2. Chopsticks


The famous Chopsticks waltz is a great song for teaching kids how to play together. There are many easy piano duet versions out there. Watch the two students play the piano duet in the video above.

3. I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin


This piano swing tune is great for adults to learn. You can find an arrangement to a tune like this in the Hal Leonard Gershwin 2 piano book.

4. West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein

The music from “West Side Story” is absolutely gorgeous to play as a piano instrumental. Many of the songs can be performed as a duet. Check out the video above in which the musicians play a duet of the medley of the entire show.

5. Hungarian Dance No 2. by Franz Liszt


This easy piano duet is great for students to play around dynamics, tempos, and finger agility.

6. Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley


This upbeat rock ‘n’ roll tune from the 50’s is a ball to play. Great for students to dive in and explore this genre together, such as the young girls in the video above.

7. All I Ask of You by Andrew Lloyd Webber


This heart melting song from “Phantom of the Opera” is breathtaking as a piano duet. With both classical and Broadway elements, this song is perfect for any performance. It’s also a great song to practice glissandos, octave jumps, and dynamics.

8. Let It Be by The Beatles


The Beatles wrote several great songs that can easily be transferred to the piano as duets. Beatles songs are quite easy to play on the piano, as many of the songs repeat the same chords.

9. Piano Man by Billy Joel


Billy Joel often teams up with Elton John, another iconic piano and vocal legend, in playing this famous song. Notice in the video above that they use two separate pianos, but are still playing a duet together.

10. Sonata in D Major by Mozart


For the more advanced piano player, try placing two pianos facing each other if you have the capabilities of doing so, as this song requires a broad range, and quick hand movements.

Find another piano player and start learning some of these easy piano duets together. Audiences love seeing famous piano duets performed, and as a piano player it is tremendously satisfying to play a duet with a partner.

Photo by David Mulder

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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easy classical piano songs

15 Easy Classical Piano Songs for Beginners [Videos]

 

easy classical piano songs

Do you dream about becoming the next Mozart or Beethoven? Below, piano teacher Liz T. shares 15 easy classical piano songs you can add to your existing repertoire… 

You’re never too young or too old to learn how to play classical music on the piano. While mastering the works of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven can be intimidating, there are a number of easy classical piano songs that you can learn.

If you’re interested in learning the classical piano style, I encourage you to practice this list of easy classical piano songs for beginners. Learning these easy beginner piano songs will give you a solid foundation for which you can work.

15 Easy Classical Piano Songs for Beginners

1. Bach’s “Prelude to the Well Tempered Clavichord”

This easy piano song uses two simple notes in the left hand, with arpeggio’s in the right hand. It’s not too long of a song, and it’s great to play around with dynamics too.

2. Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” 1st Movement


This orchestral piece can be easily transferred to solo piano. Check out this helpful tutorial, which breaks it down at a much slower pace.

3. Chopin “Prelude in E min, Opus 28, No 4”


This melancholy minor classical piece has a simple melody in the right hand, with basic chords on the left hand.

4. Edward MacDowell’s “To a Wild Rose”


This easy piano song is a very light, simplistic classical piece. It sounds easy and refreshing, with simple fingering.

5. Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”

This is often the first classical piano song students learn how to play. That’s because the song has very simple rhythm, melody, and fingering.

6. Debussy’s “Claire du Lune”


Meaning “moonlight,” this easy piano song for beginners is pretty straightforward. You can find many simple arrangements to this classical song on the Internet.

7. Strauss’ “The Blue Danube”


This fun waltz might sound tricky, but it is actually not hard to play at all. Check out the slowed down version above.

8. Offenbach’s “Can-Can”


If you want a small challenge, this uptempo song is perfect. Try listening to the original orchestral version for some extra inspiration.

9. Schubert’s “Ave Maria”


This beautiful easy piano song is appropriate to play at many events, such as weddings and funerals. “Ave Maria” is a must for beginners learning how to play classical music.

10. Pachelbell’s “Cannon in D”


Originally performed with strings, this classical piano song can sound full on the piano with chords.

11. Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”


One of the most memorable melodies on the piano, beginners can easily pick up this melody in the right hand, and use simplified bass root notes in the left.

12. Bach’s “Minuet in G”


Another easy piece that sounds difficult, this minuet is a joy to play for all ages. Because it’s quite popular, it’s easy to find different arrangements.

13. Tchaikovsky’s Theme from “Swan Lake”


Everyone knows this romantic anthem, often played to accompany dancers. This legato piece has a strong melody, and a very easy rhythm.

14. Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plumb Fairy”


This iconic song from “The Nutcracker” is fun to learn. You can take it as fast or as slow as you want. It’s also a great song for practicing stacattos.

15. Lizt and Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”


There are many great themes from this work to which you can learn the melody and rhythm.

Give it a Try!

Don’t feel intimated or overwhelmed by classical music. Give it a try by starting with these easy classical piano songs for beginners.

If you’re feeling stuck, you can find simplified arrangements to all of these songs in piano books, such as Hal Leonard and Alfred’s course books. Or you can simply ask your piano teacher for help.

Photo by Carlos Gracia

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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piano practice

5 Piano Practice Resolutions to Keep Year Round

piano practice

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Below, piano teacher Alicia B. shares five piano practice resolutions you’ll want to keep year round…

Now that you’ve thrown away your noisemakers and brushed all of the confetti out of your hair, the real fun of the New Year begins: making (and keeping) resolutions!

While we all have goals like “lose weight” and “eat less sugar” on our list, why not add something that’s more enjoyable and actually attainable?

Below are some useful piano practice resolutions that will make you much happier than avoiding Oreos.

piano practice

We all have different plans and priorities when it comes to music. Now is the time to work with your piano teacher to take things to the next level.

One tried and true way to do this is by maintaining a piano practice chart or log, where you have clear week-to-week instructions from your teacher.

Not only is it a way to better structure your piano practice, but it also ensures that you’re honest about whether you’ve met your piano practice goals.

piano practice

There is a lot to be learned from your local music community. It’s comprised of talented music professionals, orchestra and jazz ensemble members, teachers, store and club owners, and the like.

These are typically the people who run local music competitions, festivals, and other events that could possibly open doors for you.

With that said, the New Year is a good chance to join a professional organization or music club and attend shows and festivals.

In doing so, you’ll  meet fellow musical minds and network with others who could potentially help you in the future.

piano practice

As a student, you’re going to have several piano recitals throughout the year. While these performances can be scary, there’s no need to be scared.

With a little preparation, you’ll be just fine. Just realize that no one is going to practice for you. It’s near-impossible to fake a great performance.

Therefore, make a good game plan that will give you enough time to have a great show, with a challenging piece you can be proud to perform.

piano practice

As a student, you’ve probably already realized that the pursuit of true musicianship is lifelong and never ending.

With the Internet, however, there is no limit to the options of what you can absorb beyond the walls of traditional higher education.

In addition to a slew of YouTube videos made by professionals, websites such as Coursera and iTunes U have entire courses and lectures created by well-known universities, such as Berklee School of Music, in subjects including music theory, music production, and business.

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, you can search for either a non-degree seeking course at a local university or a master class or workshop with visiting musicians and professors.

As a young student, you can look for youth orchestras and clubs to join. If there aren’t any, find a teacher and start one!

piano practice

Music is a constant evolving art and you should be as well. Listening to new artists, attempting new genres, and challenging yourself with new techniques will make you a better overall piano player.

You can also push yourself to perform more, in different arenas and with different kinds of ensembles. Maybe you’ve never written a song, or entered a competition, or made a video of yourself.

The year 2016 is the year to take your piano skills to the next level. Use these piano practice resolutions as a guide to help you get you there.

Untitled design 66Post Author: Alicia B.
Alicia B. teaches piano, violin, music performance, and more. She is a graduate of Miami’s Public Arts Programs, including Coral Reef Senior High and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. Alicia has over 15+ years of musical experience. Learn more about Alicia here!

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Wolfie piano app

Piano App Review: Tonara’s Wolfie

Wolfie piano app

Are you looking for a new piano app to help sharpen your skills? Below, piano teacher Ryan C. dishes all of the details on the teaching app Wolfie…

As a piano teacher, I’m always looking for new ways to inspire my students and help them learn faster.

I’ve spent an enormous amount of time making my own supplemental materials, writing pedagogical articles, and thinking of fun piano games to keep them engaged.

While all of this work has been very helpful for my own sake as a teacher, I’ve found that my younger students often need a more light-hearted and fun way to learn.

That’s where Wolfie comes along.

Wolfie, developed by Tonara, is a piano app for the iPad that features some incredibly powerful tools for students as well as teachers.

As a brief aside – I have worked with this piano app in the past and was impressed by its features, but it’s been significantly updated from when I first worked with it.

Below are some of my favorite features and benefits the app has offer.

Benefits for Piano Students

1. Great user-interface

The app features a fun, colorful user-interface with sorting of repertoire by grade-levels, which makes it easy for students to navigate and find pieces in their appropriate playing range.

It also has a surprisingly large amount of repertoire for most grade-levels, though much more for beginners than for advanced players.

2. Play along feature

This feature is probably the most useful. Wolfie will listen through your microphone (if you give it permission) and follow your playing.

It will also show you on the screen where you are, play accompaniment parts, and so on, in real time.

3. Multiple modes of practicing / listening

There are five different modes that students can access for each piece: Annotate, Practice, Listen, Evaluate, and Play Along.

The Annotate tool is probably more likely to be used by teachers, but all of the other modes are exceptionally useful to students.

For instance, the Evaluate mode will listen to your playing and give you a grade based on how well you did.

The Listen mode allows you to listen to YouTube recordings of professional pianists playing the pieces, and the Play Along tool plays alongside you with a midi recording that adapts to you in real time.

4. Cost-effective

Although the app itself is free, in order to access the music, Wolfie does require a paid monthly subscription. Just $5.00 a month unlocks a premium one-year subscription plan.

Paying a subscription for music may not sound incredibly appealing to many students/parents, but piano books are expensive. $5.00 a month is certainly less than spending $10.00 or so per book every few months.

Benefits for Piano Teachers

1. Easy collaboration

Teachers can ‘invite’ their students to a ‘studio’ in the app. This links students’ accounts to the teacher’s, who can then monitor their progress, see what pieces they’ve been playing (and how long they’ve been practicing them), and assess how well they’ve been playing them.

2. Hands-on teaching

Teachers can use the Annotate mode to write changes to the score directly onto the digital copy. This includes using a pen tool, making text boxes, highlighting, and so on.

3. Monitor student progress

If students are using the piano app correctly, teachers won’t have to worry about students not practicing or practicing incorrectly before lessons.

Thanks to the Evaluate mode mentioned earlier, teachers can see how well their students are doing prior to having their next piano lesson.

Check out this picture to see what the results of the Evaluate mode look like:

4. Fresh ideas

Thanks to the built-in features of the app, teachers no longer have to struggle to come up with new ways to motivate younger students to practice.

That means less time coming up with new lesson plans and more time interacting directly with the student.

5. Low-cost

Teachers get a year-long free subscription if two of their students sign up for the one-year subscription plan, making it a very low-cost solution!

Try it Yourself!

Wolfie provides some awesome benefits for both students and teachers to enjoy. I personally think that it’s a really powerful and useful app to add to any teacher’s tool-kit.

Photo via Wolfie

Post Author: Ryan C.
Ryan C. teaches piano, ear training, and music theory. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a B.M. in piano performance. Learn more about Ryan here!

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