A Must-Have Resource for Classical Singers

Review: A Must-Have Resource for Classical Singers

A Must-Have Resource for Classical Singers

Classical singers, listen up! Here’s a resource you absolutely shouldn’t miss, reviewed by voice teacher Molly R


If you teach classical voice, you are probably aware that one of the biggest challenges is accompaniment! We can fake our way through standards and simpler Disney tunes for our other students, but this is not usually the case when it comes to Mozart or Verdi.

And if you are a classical soloist, it’s every bit as frustrating. It can get very costly to hire an accompanist whenever you need to run through your arias and songs. It can also be time-consuming to find someone and schedule rehearsals, find a space, and so on.

So, what’s a classical singer to do?

My Online Resource Recommendation

This is where Your Accompanist comes in. This amazing resource is the classical singer’s dream come true, allowing you to download accompaniment tracks for practically everything you need. I had the opportunity to check out the site, and after spending some time browsing with a few of my voice students, I wondered where this site has been all my life (and my students are asking the same thing!).

How I Use the Site in My Lessons

Your Accompanist has downloadable piano accompaniment to almost every aria and art song you can think of! Even better still: many of the art songs are available in various keys to suit a wider variety of voices.

Here’s how I used the tracks in my lessons:

  • I needed a particular French song for a young soprano student, and we were both so pleased to see they offered it in a key suitable for her higher voice! This is already coming in handy for her as she prepares for a big contest. We were also able to find a large number of other things she’d be needing in future lessons, including art songs in German and English.
  • Oratorio is also available, and thank goodness for that! A young countertenor I work with was able to get the aria from “Messiah” he needed instantly, so we could polish it for his upcoming performances.
  • A mezzo student of mine was relieved to finally find the Barber opera aria she needed. I also found several “staples” (classic beginner Italian arias) to download that I knew I’d be using for students later on. And I’ll admit it: I got a few things for me to sing along with, too! In fact, I had a hard time narrowing it down. I wanted to get every mezzo-soprano aria on there!

Since this site is based out of the United Kingdom, old music hall and parlor song favorites are on the site, too — certainly not something you see every day! I was delighted to see such a variety. A student also noticed that the site offered holiday classics. Right away, I knew I needed a few, as December concert time will be here before you know it!

There are a few art songs that I could use, but did not see on the site. However, there’s an option to request that they record what you don’t see. After discovering this option, my students and I started getting together a brief list of songs we may ask for in the future.

Downloading Tracks from Your Accompanist

YourAccompanist screenshot - resource for singers

Downloading and paying for your chosen songs is extremely easy, and playing them back is just as simple. When we found the Faure art song that we needed, all I had to do was press a few buttons and it was in my iTunes library and ready to play for my soprano to sing along to!

My countertenor was a bit worried that his oratorio aria was going to be either too fast or too slow — but before we downloaded we were able to listen to a very helpful sound sample. Now he can rehearse with confidence: with me in the studio, or at home on his own!

As for the accompaniment tracks themselves? Absolutely beautiful! All of the tracks I have used have been sensitively phrased and played most musically. Sound quality is top notch. As my students were singing along, I felt that they were supported by the playing, and not at all overpowered. It’s also so incredibly nice to be able to focus on my students’ singing instead of worrying about my piano playing abilities.

Why This is a Must-Have Resource

One singer of mine told me that she felt that using the Your Accompanist tracks is as close as you can get to having a live accompanist right there with you. How right she is. As I tried some of the accompaniments myself, I felt like I was in my very own recital hall!

So again we ask: where has Your Accompanist been all our lives? Thanks to the Internet, we classical singers and teachers have a tremendous resource available to us. Check it out and see what you think!

Readers, what other websites and singing resources do you use to download accompaniment tracks? Leave a comment below and let us know! 

mollyrPost Author: Molly R.
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Free TakeLessons Resource

useful italian phrases

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Dating

useful italian phrases

Navigating through the complex world of dating is hard enough, let alone trying to do it in a foreign country. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating…

You’ve tried Italian cuisine, explored every inch of the Vatican, and survived your first Italian conversation. Is dating an Italian next on your bucket list?

Perhaps you’re planning on studying abroad in Italy, or you’re simply mesmerized by the sophisticated allure of Italians. Whatever the case, dating in Italy is quite different from your local dating scene back home.

Below are some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating so you can navigate the Italian dating world con gusto. But first, let’s go over some Italian dating tips:

Helpful Tips for Dating Italians

While they’re aren’t any hard and fast rules to dating Italians–as every individual is different–there are some things to keep in mind as you play the field. Below are some helpful tips for both men and women:

  • Italians are a very fashionable bunch. If you want to attract a date, be sure to dress appropriately at all times. Torn, revealing, or heavily worn clothing are a big no-no.
  • Ladies, don’t be too showy. Italian men are drawn to women who are elegant, funny, and intelligent. Bottom line, be your charming self!
  • While in the U.S. it’s customary for men to open the door and wait for a women to walk through first, it’s actually the opposite in Italy. Guys, make sure to open the door and enter first into a room.
  • Italians are often outgoing and expressive. Don’t be alarmed if your date gets enthusiastic, as he or she is just expressing his or her emotions.
  • Family is very important to Italians. Be respectful of that and show an interest in getting to know and learning about your significant other’s family members.

Useful Italian Phrases for Dating

What’s the key to a successful relationship? Communication. To make sure that you can successfully communicate with your date, brush up on your Italian language with these useful Italian phrases:

Below are some useful Italian phrases for sparking up a conversation with someone who peaks your interest:

  • Posso offrirti qualcosa? (Can I buy you a drink?)
  • Come stai? (How are you?)
  • Posso unirmi a te? (Can I join you?)

If you like the person you meet, you might continue to see each other. Here are some words associated with dating:

  • farsi delle storie (to see each other)
  • uscire (to go out on a date, but it can also be used in a more general context of leaving the house to go out somewhere)
  • accompagnarsi (to go with, accompany)

Italians enjoy doing various activities with the person they’re dating. For example, you might find yourself doing any one of the activities below:

  • fare una passeggiata (taking a walk)
  • andare al cinema (going to the movies)
  • cucinare insieme (cooking together)

Once you start seeing someone, you might want to clarify your relationship. The following words will help you to explain the status of your relationship:

  • il mio ragazzo/la mia ragazza (my boyfriend/my girlfriend)
  • il mio fidanzato/la mia fidanzata (my fiancé/my fiancée)
  • il mio amante/la mia amante (my lover [male/female])
  • innamorarsi (to fall in love [with each other])
  • divertirsi (to have fun)
  • relazione, rapporto (relationship)

As you fall more in love with the person you’re dating, you may want to use more affectionate names for them. There are many possibilities when it comes to affectionate terms for your partner, but here is a sampling of some of the most typical:

  • amore (love)
  • tesoro (honey or literally meaning ‘treasure’)
  • cucciolo (my pet or literally meaning ‘puppy’)

The better you are at speaking Italian and understanding the customs of Italy, the easier you’ll find it to date in Italy. Dating an Italian can be a fascinating, fun, and unique experience. Who knows, you may just find eternal love (amore eterno)!

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Free TakeLessons Resource


italian grammar

10+ Fun Italian Grammar and Vocabulary Games for Kids

italian grammar

Learning Italian grammar and vocabulary can be difficult for kids. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some games parents and teachers can play to help engage kids in learning Italian…

For kids, learning Italian can be a great adventure, filled with exciting new discoveries. As your child explores the joy of learning Italian, you can aid him or her by playing fun Italian grammar and vocabulary games.

These games are chock-full of fun activities so that learning Italian can become less painless and more fun! Below are 10+ Italian grammar and vocabulary games that will make a big difference in your child’s learning.

1. Rhymes and Tongue Twisters

These fun and imaginative verbal adventures will help your child to think of Italian as a playful and colorful exploration, not to mention build a strong Italian vocabulary and understanding of syntax and grammar.

You can trade off reciting lines of a rhyme, have a tongue twister competition, or read a fable before bedtime. Before you know it, learning Italian will be just another fun part of the day.

2. Memory Games

Using index cards, write out some Italian vocabulary words. Try choosing a theme (for example, colors or animals). Then, create a matching card with a related vocabulary word.

Lay them all out with the words face-down and have your child try to select the pairs. Recalling where each word is located will help the vocabulary word stick in your child’s mind.

3. Make Assuming Sentences

This game is similar to MadLibs, as you provide all the parts of a sentence and then allow your child to choose words to form a unique sentence.

Here’s how to do it: Write out all of the pronouns (io, tu, lui, lei, Lei, noi, voi, loro), a selection of verbs (volare, ridere, sorridere, pensare, andare), and some nouns (il gatto, il cane, l’albero, il poliziotto, l’Italia, etc.)

Keep each category of words in its own pile. Your child can select a pronoun, verb and possibly a noun to form a sentence. For example, “Io volo con il gatto” (I fly with the cat).

You can help your child to form grammatically correct sentences by providing prepositions (con, sopra, sotto) when needed. The sillier the sentence, the better!

4. Sing in Italian

Download, purchase, or stream some simple songs in Italian in which you and your child can sing along. For example, you can search for Christmas carols or lullabies.

Encourage your child to sing along, or to sing from memory when you have free time in the car, while walking, or some other time. Sing along together, or help your child as needed to remember the lyrics.

5. Charades

Charades is a really fun game and there are so many opportunities to tailor it to your child’s needs. First, write out a selection of verbs, nouns or phrases to act out.

Once you’ve formed two teams, start by having the first team draw a verb, noun, and phrase to act out while the other team guesses. This can be as simple as two teams — you and your child — or can involve other children and family members.

6. I Spy

This game is an excellent option when you’re on the go or exploring a new place. It will encourage your child to view and describe his or her surroundings in Italian.

You can give your child a prompt of “Io vedo…” (“I see…”) and then let him or her choose an item to identify in Italian. For example, “Io vedo una nuvola grande e bianca.” (I see a big, white cloud).

7. Describe an Imaginary Friend

If your child has an imaginary friend, ask him or her to describe him or her to you in Italian. For example, “Luisa è simpatica, alta e bionda. Le piace nuotare e saltare la corda.” (Luisa is friendly, tall and blond. She likes to swim and jump rope.).

This helps to build useful Italian vocabulary. You can also ask your child to talk to his or her imaginary friend in Italian! This is a playful way to show your child that Italian can be spoken anywhere and anytime.

8. Italian in the Kitchen

If you’re busy cooking in the kitchen, why not get your child involved? Go online to find a recipe in Italian to use. As you cook, have your child read the recipe and then ask him or her to name the ingredients as they go in the pot to be cooked.

You can also ask your child to retrieve ingredients with the Italian name (for example, farina, latte, pane), and describe the colors and size (“Com’è il pomodoro?” “What’s the tomato like?”). This is also a great Italian culture activity, as cooking and eating together as a family is a common tradition in Italy.

9. Identify Characteristics

Gather up some old magazines or newspapers laying around the house. Cut out pictures of objects and people from those magazines, and have your child describe the particular scene in Italian.

Encourage your child to use color, specific characteristics, and numbers to practice adjectives, quantity and more!

10. Give Commands

Designate a piece of clothing or a certain item, such as a hat or a scarf. Whenever someone is wearing that particular item, he or she is responsible for issuing commands to the other people in the group.

For example, the person wearing the item could say the following: “Gira a la destra; dimmi un piccolo racconto; chiamami ‘Alessandro’ quando mi parli” (“Turn to the right; tell me a short story; call me Alessandro when you speak to me”).

This game is meant to be silly and encourage children to practice commands in a fun and memorable way. The roles reverse whenever the person with the item issues a command that the other person chooses not to obey, or doesn’t obey.

11. Ask Questions

Ask your child any question in Italian. You can find a set of questions in your child’s Italian textbook or online. If your child  answers the question with the proper Italian grammar, he or she can then ask you a question.

The game can be played with just the two of you, or with other children. This is another exercise that can be silly and amusing, while simultaneously reinforcing interrogative words, grammar, and vocabulary.

Learning Italian doesn’t have to be boring. Make learning enjoyable for your child by playing games with him or her in between his or her lessons.

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Free TakeLessons Resource

learning drums

The Top 10 Benefits of Learning Drums [Infographic]

learning drums

There are several great reasons for both adults and children to learn drums. So if you’re on the fence about signing up for drum lessons, take a look at what the research says. Here, Philadelphia, PA teacher Andrea I. shares the top 10 benefits of learning drums…

1. Reduce Stress

Playing drums can relieve frustration, disappointment, and stress. Whether you’re behind a drum kit, hitting a djembe in a drum circle, or beating a marching band bass drum, drumming is a stress reliever. Playing drums, even for just a few minutes, can boost your mood.

Similar to a “runner’s high,” drummers’ brains release feel-good endorphins immediately after playing music. In the online journal Evolutionary Pychology, researchers concluded, “it is the active performance of music that generates the endorphin high, not the music itself.”

So if you’re feeling a little down or a little frazzled, grab your drum sticks and start playing!

2. Increase Academic Performance

The correlation between musical training and academic performance has been documented a number of times, particularly when it comes to math. Learning to drum, however, can also help you in subjects like English, by helping you identify emotional cues, a skill you can use to identify characters’ thought processes and motives.

According to one study, “Music enables students to learn multiplication tables and math formulas more easily (T. Mickela as cited in Kelstrom, 1998); rhythm students learn the concept of fractions more easily; students who were taught using rhythm notation scored 100 percent higher on tests of fractions; and a child may use the ability for logical thinking that was developed in music class to solve problems quite unrelated to music (Kelstrom, 1998).”

So parents, if you’re hesitant about your child learning drums because you’re afraid it will take away from his or her studies, rest assured, learning to drum may actually help your son or daughter perform better in school.

3. Boost Brain Power

When you play drums, you have to coordinate all four limbs to work together at the same time. If you’re right handed, chances are you don’t do much with your left hand. Your brain has to work your non-dominant side to strengthen and coordinate your non-dominant limbs.

In a recent study, researchers found that playing drums can boost brain power in a measurable way, specifically when it comes to IQ. “Playing the drums makes the brain think in a way that very few activities can,” said Pat Brown, International Drum Month chairman and Percussion Marketing Council co-executive director. “Being able to understand musical notes and dissect how rhythms work and go together is a very complicated thought process. The most recent study shows that being constantly exposed to this type of brain activity can actually improve one’s IQ level.”

4. Develop Confidence

Drumming is powerful. To be successful, drummers must learn to play dynamically: loud and soft. The act of playing a loud beat takes guts and confidence. In addition, drummers must possess a growth mindset. That is, you must believe that you can learn challenging parts by starting slow and breaking them down.

Learning drums challenges you to break complex tasks into manageable parts. Then, after persistent practice, you’re able to play something quite challenging. This is a skill that carries over in many areas of life. Believing you’re able to learn difficult material is crucial to overcome obstacles, both in music and in life.

5. Improve Communication Skills

Students with musical training communicate better with peers, are more empathetic, and get lots of practice expressing ideas without using words. Drumming also teaches you to read non-verbal cues, which can help you learn to read between the lines.

6. Be a Global Citizen

Drumming can open your world! Whether you’re learning Latin bossa nova, Afro-Cuban clave, or Jamaican reggae, you can benefit as a musician and a person from learning about musical traditions from all over the world.

It’s fascinating to see how new styles of music develop over time as cultures merged their traditional styles together.

7. Make New Friends

Wherever you go, you will be able to talk with people who speak drums. With lots of opportunities to form your own band or join an orchestra, marching band, drum circle, or percussion ensemble, you will have lots of options to meet new and interesting people.

8. Play Cool Instruments

Learning drums gives you the foundation to play a wide range of instruments: djembe drums, congas, clave, marching bass drums, triangle – even typewriters, spoons, and buckets.

A percussionist’s bag of toys is endless, and part of the fun is discovering new sounds to play.

9. Get Fit

A hardy session of drumming is a great way to get your sweat on while having fun. According to one study, “Just by using hand drums and moving to the beat, people burned an average of 270.4 calories in a half hour.”

In addition to the calorie burn, rhythmic performance can significantly impact stress reduction and wellness.

10. Lifelong Learning

You can be a drummer at any age. Once you start, you can keep drumming as long as you want. Learning drums will enhance your life well beyond your first few lessons, and as long as you never stop learning, you will have endless opportunities to improve, perform, and be the best musician you can be.


learning drums

Ready to get started? Search here for a drum instructor near you!


Andrea IPost Author: Andrea I.
Andrea I. is a Philadelphia-based English teacher with a lifelong obsession with drums. She has taught drums with Girls Rock Philly, a rock ‘n’ roll camp for girls, and played in various bands. She currently teaches online and in-home lessons in Philadelphia, PA. Learn more about Andrea here!

Photo by laurentmorand

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Newsletter Sign Up

How to Play Guitar like David Gilmour

How to Play Guitar like David Gilmour | Tabs and Audio “Time” Guitar Solo

How to Play Guitar like David Gilmour

When it comes to incredible guitar players, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd takes the cake. In this article, teacher Bernard M. shows you how to play the guitar just like the legend himself…


Many musicians strive to sound like their heroes. They want to get that special something that makes those legends stand out from the crowd.

One of the best ways you can do this is to learn their parts — beat for beat, note for note. While this can be difficult and time consuming, it’s one of the most rewarding learning strategies for musicians of all levels.

One of my favorite guitar players is David Gilmour from the band Pink Floyd. He brings a certain sense of taste and melody to everything he plays.

In order to unlock the secrets of Gilmour’s playing style, we’ll be looking at the guitar solo from the song “Time.” This famous solo is a great example of how Gilmour tells a story with his guitar.

Before we dive in….

This Pink Floyd guitar lesson contains a detailed breakdown of the solo, four bars at a time, with tabs for each section and an analysis of what Gilmour is doing and why it’s so effective. Below is a recording of the song so you can follow along.



Above each line of tabs is a time marker, telling when in the song each section occurs. I also included the chords behind the solo above each bar. This will become important in our analysis when looking at Gilmour’s note choice.

The minor pentatonic scales find heavy use in this solo, especially in the first and second positions (shown below).


Pentatonic Scale Charts


As the song is in the key of F#m, the first position will begin on the 2nd fret and the second position on the 5th fret, each repeating an octave above at the 14th and 17th frets respectively.

At the end, I’ll give you my five tips on how to play a guitar solo like David Gilmour, highlighting the key points talked about in our analysis of the solo.

Ok, ready? Let’s do this!

Let’s play…


Section 1 Tabs


The iconic sustained notes and bends in the first three bars show off Gilmour’s melodic sensibilities. Clearly, he’s in no rush and is leaving himself room to stretch out his chops later in the solo. This slow introduction uses the first position minor pentatonic scale, just tracing the chords at the low end of the fret board. In the fourth bar, Gilmour slides into the second position of the scale for a more aggressive Albert King style blues lick, hinting at what is to come later. For some extra kick, try giving the 5th fret e-string note a quarter-step bend!


Section 2 Tabs


On his second go around the chord progression, Gilmour uses repetition and variation, echoing the beginning of his solo before moving into new territory. This creates a call and response effect between the repeated melody and the varying blues licks.

In the second bar, he responds with the bluesy major sixth interval (9th fret G-string to 9th fret e-string) to emphasize the notes that make up the A chord.

You may have noticed that Gilmour frets or bends to some notes outside of our pentatonic scale. These notes from the minor scale are peppered in to add a sweeter flavor to the melodies.

Notice how half-step bends are used to move lyrically between these minor scale notes. Gilmour ends this section with a long sustained bend to an F#, creating a sense resolution, for now…


Section 3 Tabs


If the first two sections acted as an introduction, these next two are most certainly the climax. Gilmour slides into an F#m arpeggio in the first position pentatonic scale an octave above where the solo began.

To effectively execute this lick, use your second finger on the 16th fret, your first finger on 14th (fretting the G-string with the fingertip then pivoting to the B-string just above your knuckle) and your third finger to bend the B-string at the 17th fret, leaving your pinky free to hit the e-string.

The second bar features a step-and-a-half bend between two full-step bends. This classic blues technique requires strong fingers and good pitch recognition, but is well worth the practice it takes to master.

Finally, Gilmour carries us over the bar into the next section with a powerful lick descending towards the root note, hitting on beats three, four, and the one of the next bar. This is a very powerful phrasing move, using the melody to weave different bars together.


Section 4 Tabs


We land on an F#, once again emphasizing the root of our first chord. This is followed by a pre-bend release, adding some character before descending into a pull-off run. As the A chord comes around, we bend up on the 16th fret to hit a familiar C#.

Notice a pattern? Gilmour’s careful note choice and use of repetition and variation keeps things familiar but fresh.

The next lick carries us over the bar with the solo’s highest note, an exciting bend on the e-string at 19th fret. This phrase is reminiscent of the bend at the 17th fret at the end of the last section (again, repetition and variation at work).

To create a sense of closure as the solo nears a change in the chord progression and overall tone, Gilmour runs down an E major arpeggio, resolving over the bar to, you guessed it, an F# root.

The final slide down the neck signals the drastic change that is about to occur…


Section 5 Tabs


This section marks a dramatic shift from a minor to major mood, bringing the solo to its conclusion. Gilmour begins with a dreamy triplet run over a Dmaj7 arpeggio, using slides to create a floating, liquid feel that perfectly suits the new mood.

Notice the half-step interval from the 9th to 10th fret, marking the brief return of the sweet lyrical tone found in the second section.

Gilmour leaves a lot of space between his flowing slides, giving each carefully-chosen note time to express its particular character over its chordal backdrop.

My personal favorite is the G# note on the 9th fret of the B-string at the beginning of the third bar. Over the Dmaj7 chord, it expresses the heavenly lydian mode sound of the #4 chord tone. (Music theory aside, the take away is this: choose your notes based on what sounds best over the passing chords!)


Section 6 Tabs


In the final four bars, Gilmour brings the solo to a close with two distinct phrases. The first, which begins with the unison bend in the previous bar, calls back to the 4th fret bends at the very beginning of the solo (and the 16th fret bends an octave above during the climax) for some final repetition and variation.

Here, he uses a step-and-a-half bend between full-step bends, a pre-bend release, and a long sustained bend to get the most out of this expressive phrase.

Gilmour ends by playing around an E major arpeggio, bringing a final sense of closure and resolution with the sustained E note on the 2nd fret and the open low E-string an octave below.

What did we learn? My five tips for playing like David Gilmour! Ok, so we just covered A LOT of ground. Let’s take what we learned from analyzing the solo and summarize it into some key points.


1. Tell a story:
Your solo should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. In your introduction, make an opening statement that sets the tone, but still leaves you with somewhere to go. When you reach the climax, pull out all the stops and let loose those licks you were saving. Whether it’s one note or eight bars, make sure your conclusion leaves your listener with a feeling of closure.

2. Bend like a master:
Remember, your good ol’ fashioned full step bend isn’t the only way to go. Try your hand at half-step bends, pre-bend releases, and even step-and-a-half bends. These are great ways of getting the more expression out of your playing (just make sure the notes you’re bending to are in your scale).

3. Repetition is your friend:
Soloing is not just playing a string of notes from a scale (trust me; I’ve made that mistake plenty of times). Repetition and variation allows you to set up familiar themes, transform these themes, play into or defy the listener’s expectations, and make patterns such as call and response.

4. Choose notes wisely:
Use the chords! They’re your guidelines, telling you what notes you should play. While this can be daunting at times, take your time and trust your ears, as they’ll often lead you to the right notes. If you can find the root notes to chords, or better yet, the full arpeggios, you are on the right track to playing with the chord changes. (Want more on this? Look up chord scales!)

5. Be clever with rhythm:
Again, soloing is not just playing a string of notes. Choosing how you use rhythm can make or break a solo. Leave yourself plenty of space with long sustained notes and bends. This will provide contrast for fast and busy licks, making them more effective. For even greater effect, try playing over the bar, or using triplets. For more, check out my article on using space and phrasing during solos.


I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey through the style of David Gilmour and his solo from “Time.” I hope you use these ideas to help spice up your playing, and this strategy of analysis to help you unlock the secrets of your favorite players.


Are there any great guitar solos you’d like to learn? Share your requests in the comments below!


Bernard M TakeLessons.com Teacher Post Author: Bernard M.
Bernard M. is a guitar and songwriting instructor in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from The College of New Jersey with a bachelors degree in English. He teaches lessons online and will travel to his students. Learn more about Bernard here!


Photo by Jose Bogado

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Newsletter Sign Up

VIDEO The 7 Essential Drum Rudiments

Video: The 7 Essential Drum Rudiments

drum rudiments

When you’re learning drums, it’s important to practice rudiments. Drum rudiments are essential and mastering them will help you take your drumming to the next level. In this video, Tulsa, OK drum teacher Tracy D. shows you how to play seven essential drum rudiments… 

Why Practice Rudiments

Drum rudiments are like words in a drummer’s vocabulary. In essence, rudiments are drum patterns that you can use for drills or warm-ups, or develop into more complex drum patterns.

These drum patterns have been fleshed out from the “standard” 26 to the 40 Percussive Arts Society (PAS) Official International Drum Rudiments, to an ever-increasing number of stick-twisting (and oddly-named) hybrid rudiments.

Drum rudiments are your foundation as a drummer, and all of these rudiments will help you develop finesse. In this video, we’re going to focus on the seven “essential” rudiments, from which the others are derived.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn the single-stroke roll, multiple-bounce (buzz/press) roll, double-stroke open roll, five stroke-roll, single paradiddle, flam, and drag. You should practice these open (slow), to close (fast), back to open.

*NOTE: There is a tipping point in double strokes that shifts from muscular-control dominant to rebound dominant (and so approaches a buzz roll) as the tempo increases, so practice these as prescribed to build control.

This video will help you practice the essential rudiments. So grab your drum sticks and let’s get to work!


drum rudiments

*Courtesy of: P.A.S. Official International Drum Rudiments, Jay Wanamaker and Rob Carson.

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lessons in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums with various bands for more than 13 years. Tracy earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University and has played with the OKC Community Orchestra since 2009.  Learn more about Tracy here!

Photo by Travis Isaacs

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Free TakeLessons Resource

korean phrases

Restaurant Rescue: Essential Korean Phrases for Dining Out

korean restaurant
Eating is important in any culture, but it’s also a big part of experiencing the Korean culture. Here, Korean instructor Hannah V. teacehes you to order food, and some key phrases you may need in restaurants and eateries in Korea…

If you’re taking Korean lessons, planning a trip to Korea, or simply a Korean food enthusiast, make sure you learn these important phrases.

Understanding the different types of eateries in Korea will make it easier to order food. I will discuss expressions you can use at four different types of eateries.

1. 식당 – Eatery

In Korea, 식당 means “eatery.” These types of restaurants usually have Korean foods, along with other types of Asian foods like Korean-Chinese and Japanese. You will notice a typical 식당 has a menu on the wall, which includes the the food and the prices.

When you enter a 식당, a waiter or waitress will welcome you by saying, “어서오세요” (welcome). Usually, you can sit wherever you want. Some 식당 have different seating arrangements. There may be tables and chairs, like a typical restaurant, or you may see a raised platform or low tables and flat pillows on the floor.

If you prefer to sit at a table with chairs, you can say, “테이블로 주세요” (table, please). Sitting on a flat pillow while you eat is incredibly uncomfortable, but if you’d like to try it, you can say, “방으로 주세요” (room, please). Remember to take off your shoes if you sit on the floor. If you sit at a table with chairs, you do not have to take off your shoes.

Once you sit down, look at the menu on the wall and let the waiter know what you’d like. The waiter will bring drinking water at no extra charge. If you want a different drink, you will have to let your server know.

While you eat, you can ask for additional side dishes or water. When you’re done eating, pay your check at the front of the restaurant. They typically don’t bring the check to the table in a 식당 . In Korea, people do not leave tips. When you pay for your food, there’s no tax or tip added, so pay the exact amount you see on the menu. Nowadays, most places accept credit cards as well as cash.

Let’s practice ordering some food. Here is a typical conversation you might have at a 식당. Since the conversation is taking place between two strangers, we will use the polite form.

Waiter: 어서오세요 (welcome) 몇분이세요 (how many are in your party?)
Customer: 세명이예요 (three, please) 테이블로 주세요 (please get us a table)

Once Seated:
Waiter: 뭐 드시겠어요  (What would you like?)
Customer: 김밥 하나랑 비빔밥 둘 주세요 or 김밥 일인분하고 비빔밥 이인분 주세요 (We will have one order of Kimbob and two orders of bibimbob, please.)
Waiter:  (yes)
Waiter: 여기 있습니다 (here you are) 맛있게 드세요 (enjoy your food)
Customer:  (yes) 감사합니다 (thank you)

While Eating:
Customer: 아저씨, 여기 김치랑 물 좀 더 주세요. (Mr. would you get us more kimchi and water, please?)
Waiter:  (yes)

At the Cashier:

Customer: 다해서 얼마에요 (how much is the total?)
Waiter: 만 삼천원입니다  (it’s 13,000 won)
Customer: 신용카드 되나요  (Do you accept credit cards?)
Waiter: 네 됩니다  (Yes, I do)

After Paying:

Customer: 맛있게 먹었습니다 or 잘 먹었습니다 (It was delicious)

Other phrases you may need to know:

  • 기다리셔야합니다  (there is a wait)
  • 무엇을 주문하시겠어요?  (what would like to order?)
  • 맛있어요  (it’s delicious)
  • 배불러요  (I’m full)
  • 따로 따로 계산할수 있나요?  (can we pay separately?)
  • 내가 낼께  (it’s on me) – informal, used between friends.
  • 제가 낼께요  (it’s on me) – formal

In Korean, there are two sets of counting systems (Korean and Chinese), and the item you’re counting determines which system you use. Also, the form of the number and the particle that follows can change.

When you indicate the number of people in your party, use the Korean numbering system, 하나, , , , 다섯, 여섯, 일곱, 여덟, 아홉, , (original form of Korean numbers, 1 to 10 ). When -명 (particle that means person) is added, the original forms of the numbers change to 한명 (one person), 두명 (two people), 세명 (three people), 네명 (four people), 다섯명 (five people), 여섯명 (six people), 일곱명 (seven people), 여덟명 (eight people), 아홉명 (nine people), 열명 (10 people).

After the number of people, just add 이예요 to say it politely: “한명이예요” (one person, please).

When it comes to money, use the Chinese numbering system (, , , , , , , , , 1 to 10).

  • 일)천원 (1000 won) – is omitted
  • 이천원 (2000 won)
  • 삼천원 (3000 won)
  • 사천원 (4000 won)
  • 오천원 (5000 won)
  • 육천원 (6000 won)
  • 칠천원 (7000 won)
  • 팔천원 (8000 won)
  • 구천원 (9000 won)
  • 만원 (10,000 won)
  • 만삼천원 (13,000 won)
  • 오만원 (50,000 won)
  • 육만칠천원 (67,000 won)
  • 십만원 (100,000 won)

There are two different ways to indicate the number of orders. You can use the Chinese numbering system such as 일인분, 이인분 (one order, two orders). When the numbers are combined with 인분 (order), the numbers keep the original forms.

Informally, you can use the Korean numbering system (김밥 하나, 비빔밥 둘) and it stems from counting individual items. When the numbers are combined with (particle that means piece), some numbers modify their original forms like 한개, 두개, 세개, 네개, 다섯개, 여섯개, 일곱개, 여덟개, 아홉개, 열개 (one piece, two pieces…10 pieces).

If it’s one or two orders, you can informally say 김밥 하나, 비빔밥 둘 주세요 (one Kim-bob and two bibimbobs, please). If it’s more than three, say 비빔밥 세개 주세요 (three bibimbos, please) instead of비빔밥 셋 주세요.

Also, In some situations, you can order food by the number of pieces of food. In that case, you can use this expression: 만두 열개 주세요 (I’d like 10 pieces of Mandu (Korean meat dumplings)).

2. 레스토랑, 까페 – Restaurant / Cafe

In Korea, 레스토랑 and 까페 usually serve Western food. They bring you a menu before you order. They do not have floor seating like a 식당. Tables in a typical 레스토랑 are private. You might see curtains or walls between tables for more privacy. Many people just order drinks, and that’s OK. They may bring the check to your table, or you may have to pay at the cashier. The rest is similar to eating at a 식당.

  • 메뉴주세요  (Menu, please)
  • 계산서주세요 (check, please)
  • 금연석으로 주세요 (non-smoking seat, please)

3. 시장, 포장마차 – Market / Street Vendor

When you go to a 시장 or stop by a  포장마차, you will see the food is ready to be served and has been kept warm. All you need to say is “one order, please” and you can start eating right away. Some establishments have a place to sit, but some may not. Markets and street vendors are generally pretty inexpensive.
You may see a menu displayed, but you may not. If you don’t see a menu, you can ask the vendor and learn the name of the food and the price. Also, the foods are generally ordered “to-go”.

  • 이거 뭐예요  (what is this?) – ask as you point to the food
  • 떡뽁기이예요 (it is) 떡뽁기 – a typical Korean street food: spicy rice cake with fish cake and veggies
  • 얼마에요?  (how much is it?)
  • 삼천원이예요  (it is 3000 won)
  • 일인분주세요  (I’d like one order, please)
  • 여기서 드실꺼예요? (Would you like to eat here)
  • = Yes, 아니요 (No)
  • 싸 드릴까요? (is it to go?)
  • 싸 주세요 (it is to go)

4. Fast Food Restaurants

Fast food restaurants in Korea are very similar to fast food restaurants in other countries. You walk up to the cashier, order your food, and get your receipt with a number. When your number is called, the food is ready.

You should learn to order by item number: “일번 주세요” (I’ll have the number one). In this case, use the Chinese numbering system (, , , , 오 육, 칠, 팔, , , 1 to 10). After the number, just add 번 주세요.

The names of soft drinks are a little different in Korea:

  • 콜라 (Coke or Pepsi)
  • 사이다 (Sprite or 7Up)
  • 환타 (Fanta)

Armed with these phrases, you should feel confident eating at various types of Korean restaurants. Next  time you go out to eat Korean food, take advantage of the opportunity to practice your Korean-language skills.

To learn more helpful Korean phrases, sign up for lessons with a private language instructor. 

Hannah V TakeLessons.com Teacher
Post Author:
 Hannah V.
Hannah is a Korean instructor in Paradise Valley, AZ. A native Korean speaker, she earned her Master’s degree from the University of Texas in Austin. Learn more about Hannah here!


Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Free TakeLessons Resource

5 Weird Tips for Learning Spanish That Really Work

5 Weird Tips for Learning Spanish That Really Work

5 Weird Tips for Learning Spanish That Really Work

Have you tried everything to improve your Spanish speaking skills? What about singing your vocabulary? In this article, tutor Dorothy P. is going to show you some unorthodox techniques for learning Spanish that actually work…


Beginning to learn a new language is fun! You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. But what if you’ve taken lots of classes or worked with a Spanish tutor for a while, and you still feel like a beginner? What if you’re that “eternal intermediate,” frustrated because you can’t up your game enough to really converse?

As an experienced Spanish tutor, I’ve seen this a lot. But learning Spanish, or any other language, isn’t just about memorizing flashcards and studying grammar: achieving fluency also depends on developing positive emotional and physical behaviors.

I’d like to share some of my student-tested behavioral techniques to help you locate your resistance points, and develop new language-learning habits to break through to the next level.

1. Before class: Practice the yoga of language.

Well, okay, maybe it’s not high-level yoga, but these simple exercises contribute to mindfulness and relaxation at the start of every language-learning session, either with your tutor or at home before studying. A relaxed body encourages a relaxed mind, and a relaxed mind is a receptive mind.

First, stretch: Try the sunrise/sunset pose. From a standing position, raise your arms high in the air and then bend from the waist, allowing your upper body to dangle toward the ground, breathing deeply. Release your breath slowly, allowing your head and hands to fall closer to the floor with every out-breath.

When you’re feeling chill, sit down in your chair, and sit up straight and smile. Good posture makes you more alert, and smiling actually makes you happier. And happy people are more receptive to new information!

2. Before class: Do vocal warm-ups in the target language.

Want your Spanish to sound like… Spanish? Vocal warm-ups before your learning session tune up your tongue so your castellano is more convincing.

The music of Spanish comes from the characteristic way vowels and certain consonant combinations sound. Start with long vowel emissions: a, e, i, o, u — the Spanish versions, of course! Then try some Spanish tongue twisters, beginning slowly for accuracy and then saying them faster and faster. After challenging yourself to tongue twisters in your target language, speaking normally with your tutor will seem a whole lot easier!

3. In class: Consciously employ positive reinforcement.

I don’t know how many times one of my students has made an error and then made it worse by wailing, “I always make that mistake!”

Guess what? Negative affirmations won’t move the needle one millimeter forward. Slapping your forehead in frustration and saying, “I can never remember that word!” is a great way to teach your brain that it can’t learn.

Instead, when you make a mistake, use positive enforcement by receiving your tutor’s correction and then pausing to say out loud: “I always get (whatever the thing is) right,” or “Now I know the preterit of tener is tuve,” — or whatever is applicable to the lesson at hand.

Also, when you say something beautifully and correctly in the target language, take a victory lap! Successes should be celebrated and reiterated: repeat your successes many times to reinforce correct speech patterns. Ask your tutor to hold you to a gold standard of positivity, and to point out to you when you’re displaying negative patterns.

4. In class: Finish your thought – by any means possible.

Not all tutors agree with me on this idea, but I believe that developing the habit of finishing your thoughts by any means possible is a creative language-learning practice.

So if you’re missing one key vocabulary word to complete a thought, simply finish your sentence using a real object, a gesture, or even a word in English in place of the word you don’t know. Then, when your tutor suggests the word you were missing, repeat the sentence, adding the new information.

This way, you train yourself to keep talking, which is one of the key characteristics of fluency. Also, by practicing this method, you move the classroom discussion along, and quickly help your tutor understand what you need to know. Remember: To learn any new language and to communicate in the real world, the only wrong answer is silence.

5. Anytime: Can’t say it? Trying singing it!

Yes, I’ve saved the weirdest technique for last, and no, you don’t have to be Pavarotti to try it! Did you know that when stutterers sing, they don’t stutter? That’s because singing uses a different part of the brain (the right side) from speaking (the left side).

When I discovered that interesting brain fact, I immediately applied it to my teaching.  Now when pronunciation problems come up in a session, my student and I sing the word or phrase. Soon, we’re both laughing, and what was an obstacle is now a piece of cake! On your own time, sing verb conjugations or vocab lists while jogging or walking. Make up your own melodies or use a favorite pop song. This is a great way to reinforce the sound of your target language when you’re practicing at home and have no one to talk with.


And finally, don’t underestimate the importance of working with a private Spanish tutor! One of the biggest benefits of private lessons is that you don’t have to put up with boring and ordinary. You don’t have to be a wallflower in a big group. You drive the goal-setting in your class, and you can also, to some degree, drive the method.

Try some of these techniques with your tutor, and you’ll see: you’ll be “stuck” no more.

Dorothy P 150x150Post Author: Dorothy P.
Dorothy P. teaches Spanish and writing in Durham, NC. She has more than 23 years of teaching experience and a degree in Language and Literature from Yale University. Dorothy is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Fine Arts at The University of the South.  Learn more about Dorothy here!


Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Free TakeLessons Resource

same old love guitar tutorial video

Video: Selena Gomez “Same Old Love” Guitar Tutorial – Easiest Version


Learn to play Selena Gomez’s new song “Same Old Love” the easy way with this guitar tutorial from Jonathan B.

Pretty simple, right?

Now you have everything you need to know in order to cover Selena Gomez’s “Same Old Love”. Here are the skills you’ll use as you play through this guitar lesson:

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to impress your friends or make an amazing cover video of your own. Have fun playing this song, and don’t forget to practice playing the guitar every day.

Do you have any requests for our next guitar tutorial? Share them with us in the comments below!

Jonathan BPost Author: Jonathan B.
Jonathan B. is a guitar instructor, Temple University Music Theory graduate, and YouTube creator living in State College, PA. Learn more about Jonathan here!

Photo by Do512

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Free TakeLessons Resource


6 Easy Steps to Create Your Own Drum Cover

6 Easy Steps to Create Your Own Drum Cover

6 Easy Steps to Create Your Own Drum Cover

Have you ever watched a cool drum cover video on YouTube and thought to yourself, “I wish I could do that?” Well, guess what…you can! Here, drum instructor Maegan W. shares six simple steps to help you create your own drum covers…

It seems like drummers are taking center stage these days with the help of one major tool, the drum cover. Drum covers can be considered the ultimate outlet for artistic expression. Not only can you share your unique drumming style, but you can also create a visual masterpiece to match.

So how does one make a drum cover? In this crash course, you’ll learn drum cover basics, along with the essential steps to build your fan base, get discovered, and be the star of your own show.

1. Equipment

The first thing you need to create a drum cover is a recording device. This can be a smartphone, a GoPro, a camera, or your computer, if it has recording capabilities. Of course, if you have access to high-quality video equipment, feel free to use that. If you don’t, no problem, just focus on putting 100 percent into your drum cover.

Next comes sound. If you have an external microphone, make sure you know how to use it. Read the manual – every little tip and trick makes a huge difference in sound quality.

2. Song Choice

Song selection is crucial. Depending on your goals for your drum cover, you may want to do some research. If you want to get noticed, then it’s important to pick the songs that people want to hear.

This may seem obvious, but so many drummers want to stay underground, or think they’re too cool to cover popular songs. There’s nothing wrong with this mentality, but if you want to bring people to your channel, you need to play popular songs. This doesn’t mean you should cover songs you don’t like, but covering pop songs can help you gain exposure online.

3. Know the Song

Before you record, make sure you know the song inside and out. I like to get to a point where I can play the entire song without listening to the song. You can avoid a lot of editing and post-production work if you know the song really well.

Post production is the most time-consuming part of the process, and it usually causes people to give up on a project. I like to chart a song before I come up with creative parts to play. Once I know the format, I move on and learn the beats and fills, then I add my own twist. Not knowing the song is also a waste of time and energy because you have to keep stopping and starting over.

4. Test

Once you have the song down, it’s time for a sound and video check – don’t skip this step! There’s nothing worse than playing your drum cover perfectly with all the fills exactly how you want them, only to realize the lighting was bad, your head was out of the frame, or the sound is off.

Trust me, take the time to test.

5. Stand Out

Once you’re ready to go, try to think of something that will make you and your video stand out. It doesn’t have to be crazy, but little signature moves, sounds, styles, and filters can help you create a memorable, crowd-pleasing drum cover.

You get to decide what you want to be known for. Do you want to be the drummer with great hair and crazy gospel chops (Luke Holland), the drummer who does a backflip off his chair (Dylan Taylor), or the guy with the awesome accents and mash-ups (Cobus)?

Decide what makes you stand out. But don’t just imitate other drummers – highlight your unique gifts and come up with your own thing.

6. YouTube Channel

If you don’t have a YouTube channel, don’t worry – it’s super simple to create one. Just get yourself a Google e-mail address, go to YouTube, and create an account.

Once you’ve recorded and edited your drum cover, you’re ready to upload it to YouTube. Use careful, strategic keywords in your description. These will help you get fans, views, and likes. Include the song title, artist name, “no copyright infringement” statement (very important; you can research what other drummers list in their descriptions), and your social media pages and website links in the video description.

A lot of people like to list their drum gear or song lyrics in the description. This way, if people search for specific brands or lyrics, your video may pop up in the search results.

Once your video is uploaded, send it to everyone you know and post it to your social media sites. With so many digital tools, everyone has the opportunity to become a star, but remember, it takes hard work and patience.

Now that you know the steps, it’s time to get started. Remember this very important fact: done is better than perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect (it will never be), just do your best during practice and give it your all! With that being said, make sure you’re proud of the videos you post.

I hope this helps. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Maegan-WPost Author: Maegan W.
Maegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

Photo by Bold Content

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Newsletter Sign Up