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50 Best Audition Songs for Musical Theater

50 Best Audition Songs for MusicalsLooking for recommendations for musical theater audition songs that are sure to impress? Take a look at this list from voice teacher Liz T...

So you have a musical theater audition coming up and you’re panicking about what song to sing? Have no fear, the list is here!

In this article, I’ve compiled some of the best musical theater audition songs to sing, broken down by recommendations for each voice type. Check out the list, and then read on for some extra tips for acing your audition.

50 Musical Theater Audition Songs

Audition Songs for Sopranos:

1. “Better” — Legally Blonde

2. “Think of Me”  The Phantom of the Opera
3. “I Could Have Danced All Night” — My Fair Lady
4. “It’s a Fine, Fine Line” — Avenue Q
5. “Moonfall” — The Mystery of Edwin Drood
6. “Home” — Beauty and the Beast
7. “Somewhere” — West Side Story
8. “The Light in the Piazza” — The Light in the Piazza
9. “How Lovely to be a Woman” — Bye Bye Birdie
10.“Matchmaker” — Fiddler on the Roof

Audition Songs for Altos:

1. “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” — Grease

2. “Holding Out for a Hero” — Footloose
3. “Always True to You in My Fashion” — Kiss Me Kate
4. “Astonishing” — Little Women
5. “Welcome to the ’60s” — Hairspray
6. “Pulled” — The Addams Family
7. “All for You” — Seussical
8. “I’m Not At All in Love” — The Pajama Game
9. “Mama Who Bore Me” — Spring Awakening
10.“Beautiful” — Carole King’s Beautiful

Audition Songs for Tenors:

1. “Maria” — West Side Story

2. “Magic Foot” –The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
3. “I Believe” — Book of Mormon
4. “Almost Like Being in Love” — Brigadoon
5. “Close Every Door” — Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
6. “Santa Fe” — Newsies
7. “Fortune Favors the Brave” — Aida
8.“Some Enchanted Evening” — South Pacific
9.“Dancing Through Life” — Wicked
10. “When the Sun Goes Down” — In the Heights

Audition Songs for Bass Singers:

1. “I Wanna be a Producer” — The Producers

2. “Try to Remember” — The Fantasticks
3. “The Music of the Night” — The Phantom of the Opera
4. “Comedy Tonight” — A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum
5. “Ol’ Man River” — Showboat
6. “Coffee Shop Nights” — Curtains
7. “Mr. Cellophane” — Chicago
8. “My Defenses Are Down” — Annie Get Your Gun
9. “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life” — Spamalot
10. “Edelweiss” — The Sound of Music

More Audition Songs for Male and Female:

1. “On Broadway” — All that Jazz

2. “Man of La Mancha” — Man of La Mancha
3. “Take Me or Leave Me” — Rent
4. “Heaven On Their Minds” — Jesus Christ Superstar
5. “One” — A Chorus Line
6. “Another Hundred People” — Company
7. “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (of Mine)” — Showboat
8. “Before the Parade Passes By” — Hello Dolly
9. “It’s De-lovely” — Anything Goes
10. “Who Will Buy” — Oliver!

Tips for Musical Theater Auditions

Once you’ve picked your perfect musical theater audition song, keep the following tips in mind to make a great impression:

  • As you prepare, remember the typical 16-bar and 32-bar cuts, and make sure your song fits appropriately.
  • When you step into the audition, introduce yourself, smile, and be pleasant! Directors sit through many, many auditions, and you want to catch their attention in a positive way.
  • Consider preparing both uptempos and ballads, no matter what show or part you are auditioning for. You never know what the director is looking for!

There are so many wonderful Broadway songs out there, but the list above includes many fresh, new songs that are appropriate to sing for contemporary musical theater auditions today.

If you would like individual attention as you learn how to sing any of these songs (or any other songs!), feel free to schedule a lesson with me today through TakeLessons!

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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Bonus: We’ve teamed up with Musical Theater Songs to offer an exclusive membership discount — use code FBFRIEND and get access to a full library of more than 9,000 audition songs for just $59/year (that’s 25% off the yearly price!). With Musical Theater Songs, you can:

  • Custom-tailor your search for songs, using up to 20 different parameters and 100 descriptive tags
  • Get direct links to sheet music and recordings
  • Connect with your school’s or local library’s music collection through Worldcat

Learn more here!

How to Tune a Guitar | The Most Comprehensive Guide Ever

How to Tune a Guitar

An out-of-tune guitar can make even the best musician sound terrible.

If you’re just beginning to play, an out-of-tune guitar will be incredibly frustrating and make every note sound like a mistake. Learn how to tune a guitar like a pro and pretty soon you’ll be playing like one, too.

The basic mechanics of tuning a guitar are simple.

To change a string’s pitch, turn it’s corresponding tuning key on the head of the guitar (hint: check out our guide to the parts of a guitar). Turning the tuning key away from you will tighten the string and raise its pitch. Conversely, turning the tuning key toward you will loosen the string and lower its pitch.

Notes to Tune a Guitar

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Most guitarists tune to what is called “standard tuning.”

If you’re learning how to play guitar and aren’t sure which tuning to use, stick to standard tuning. As you get more comfortable with the guitar, feel free to try out alternate tunings to keep your practice fresh.

However for now standard tuning will be the best way to get the right sound out of your guitar.

Your guitar strings are numbered one through six, starting with your thinnest and highest pitched string. You’ll commonly name the strings in ascending order, starting with string six: E, A, D, G, B, E.

Note that your highest and lowest strings are both E, the same note spaced two octaves apart.

When you are tuning your guitar, start with the sixth string and work your way down. As the sixth string is the thickest, it tends to be better at holding its tune, giving you with a better foundation for a well-tuned guitar.

how to tune a guitar infographic

How to Tune a Guitar

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When you’re learning how to tune a guitar, you need to have a reliable method of finding the right pitch.

Most guitarists either use a guitar tuner or tune their guitar to itself or another instrument such as a piano. Each method comes with pros and cons.

How to Tune a Guitar with a Tuner


When you’re new to playing guitar, using a tuner is the simplest way to find the right pitch and get your guitar in tune.

Tuners come in a several different varieties.

Chromatic tuners have an internal microphone to pick up the note you’re playing. They also display the pitch your string is currently tuned to.

You will be able to see if your string is sharp or flat, and also see when you’ve adjusted to the correct note.

Pitch tuners sound the pitch for each string and you must match the notes by ear. Pitch tuners can be a bit more challenging for beginners.

Or you can use a tuning fork, which you strike to produce the correct pitch for your guitar string.

When choosing a tuner or tuning fork, consider if you are a more visual person or if you have developed an “ear” for musical notes and intervals.

Visual people and beginning musicians will have an easier time with a chromatic tuner, and over time can develop a better ear for music by using a tuner as a guide.

If you feel confident in your ear for music (or if you like a challenge), choose a tuning fork or a tuner that plays pitches.

How to Tune a Guitar By Ear

If you can tune your low E string by ear, you can make a guitar sound decent by tuning it to itself.

Start by holding your sixth string down on the fifth fret. You’re now playing an A on your E string.

Adjust your fifth string, the A string, until your A string played open matches the pitch of the E string played on the fifth fret. It helps to hum the correct note as you tune your open string, so you can better hear if your string is tuned too high or too low.

Next, tune your D string to match the note played at the fifth fret of your A string. Continue tuning each string to the fifth fret of the string above it, except for the B string.

To tune your B string, match the pitch to the note at the fourth fret of the G string.

How to Tune a Guitar With a Piano

If you don’t have a guitar tuner but you do have a piano, you can use the piano to tune your guitar.

Match your sixth string to the E on the piano two octaves below middle C.

Once you have the sixth string in tune, you can tune your guitar by ear to itself or continue to match each pitch to the right notes moving up the keyboard.

Free Online Guitar Tuners

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There are a number of great free online guitar tuners you can use to help you tune your guitar. Here are a few of our favorites:

8notes.com – You can use this tuner to hear the correct pitch, or activate your computer’s microphone to enable pitch detection.

JamPlay – This free online guitar tuner from JamPlay also allows you to tune by ear or use your computer’s microphone for pitch detection.

TrueFire – TrueFire makes a great free guitar tuner you can use on your computer in addition to their fantastic Pro Guitar Tuner app.

GuitarTricks – This tuner uses real guitar tones so you can match your instrument to its sounds.

Alternate Guitar Tunings

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What do Joni Mitchell and Black Sabbath have in common? It’s all in the tuning! Both artists often used alternate tunings to get unique sounds from their guitars. Once you have a good idea of how to tune a guitar, it can be lots of fun to experiment with alternate guitar tunings. There are hundreds of possible alternate tunings for the guitar, but two of the most common alternate tunings are Drop D and Open G.

Drop D Tuning

Tuning your guitar to Drop D is pretty simple. Start with your guitar in standard tuning, and just tune your sixth string down a full step from E to D. Famous songs in Drop D tuning include the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”, and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”.

Open G Tuning

If you love Keith Richards’ guitar playing in the Rolling Stones, you are already a fan of Open G tuning. In Open G, your guitar strings are tuned to the notes of the G chord, so when you strum open you’re already playing a complete chord. Starting from the sixth string, tune to the following notes: D-G-D-G-B-D

Want to learn more about alternate guitar tunings? Check out this article to see how they can boost your guitar skills:

Step Up Your Game: 4 Alternate Guitar Tunings for Beginners

How Often Should I Tune My Guitar?

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Guitars are very sensitive instruments. The wood in your guitar expands and contracts slightly due to changes in temperature and humidity, which changes the tension in the strings, and causes them to go out of tune. You might even notice your guitar going out of tune as you play it, particularly if you tend to play very hard or frequently bend pitches.

Due to the guitar’s sensitivity, it’s best to tune at the start of your practice, and again any time you sense that it doesn’t sound quite right. You will notice even professional musicians occasionally need to take some time during performances to tune.

How Can I Make My Guitar Stay in Tune Longer?

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Keep your guitar in tune longer by changing your strings regularly. Depending on how much you play, you should change your strings anywhere from once a month to once a week. When you’re not playing, keep your guitar in a hard case in a cool, dry room to avoid changes in humidity and heat.

If you follow those tips but still have persistent issues with your guitar going out of tune, there may be an issue with your guitar’s intonation.

Intonation refers to your guitar’s ability to hold pitch. Intonation may be affected by wear and tear as you play your guitar or the way your guitar was made.

If you suspect an intonation issue, visit your local guitar shop and ask them to take a look at your guitar. They should be able to help you find the right solution to your tuning troubles.

There are also devices on the market, such as Keep Tuned Original, that can help your guitar stay in tune longer.

Now that you’re tuned up and ready to play, brush up on your basic guitar chords, or try strumming one of these easy guitar songs!

 

Photo by Pabak Sarkar

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how to overcome stage fright

The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright

The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright

Stage performance is a challenging art form. Whether you’re acting out a role in a musical theatre setting, giving a speech in front of a crowd, or even playing a solo at an open mic night, the experience can be nerve-wracking even for seasoned performers.

It can be even more anxiety-inducing if you’re a perfectionist, as that can breed a fear of failure… and from there, performance anxiety can feel even stronger.

Performance anxiety (commonly referred to as stage fright) can devastate a performer’s career and enjoyment of their craft, but it doesn’t have to — performance anxiety is a normal human reaction and a completely curable condition if given the right resources, patience, and support system. This article is a guide to learning how to overcome stage fright, for anyone who may experience it — musicians, actors, dancers, speakers, educators, and students. If you wish to understand and improve anxiety issues that are holding you back from giving your best performances, read on!

What is Stage Fright?

Let’s start with anxiety, which is defined as a feeling or worry, nervousness, or unease about an upcoming event. Most people have experienced some level of anxiety before, during, or after a performance, speech, sports game, or test. Anxiety differs from fear in that fear addresses a present threat, while anxiety is typically felt in relation to something in the future. Anxiety is a normal, healthy human experience and, in small doses, is beneficial in making decisions and in achieving peak success.

Performance anxiety (stage fright) in particular is nervousness or unease about a specific future event in which you will be required to execute a task, such as a song, a scene, speech, or test — and usually when you’ll be in front of an audience. Symptoms may be present during the task, for weeks or months leading up to it, and sometimes after the event is over.

So, how do you get over stage fright? Even most experienced performers feel anxiety, so it’s more a process of learning how to deal with stage fright. Here are the steps I recommend.

dealing with stage fright - step 1

Knowing if you are truly experiencing anxiety is critically important, as it’s the first step toward understanding and overcoming it. If you have experienced a few or many of the following symptoms before or during a performance situation, you are experiencing stage fright:

  • Excessive sweating (typically in the palms, feet, armpits or face, but could be anywhere)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Chills, hot flashes, or sudden changes in body temperature
  • Shallow breathing, tightness in the chest, or hyperventilation
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Racing thoughts, obsessive fear of failure during the task
  • Inability to concentrate or process logical information
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent urge to use the bathroom
  • Inability to make small talk or hold a basic conversation
  • Shakiness, especially in the hands
  • Sensitivity lights, sounds, or textures in the environment

As you can see, this list of sensations is not only unpleasant, but makes performing at your best nearly impossible. Fear of failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Journal Activity 2 (3)

  • Look at the list of anxiety symptoms, and make a mental checkmark next to the ones that you have felt during performance situations.
  • Note when it happened, how often, and any other details you remember. Are your symptoms limited to a specific few, or all of them? Are there symptoms you’d like to solve first as a priority, before others?

Now go back next to each symptom that you’ve checked, and rate it on scale of 1-10 as to how severe it felt (1 being hardly felt it, 10 being you felt it so much you couldn’t concentrate on anything else).

If you are seeing numbers in the 1-4 range, it’s likely that you are experiencing normal, healthy jitters that can actually add to your performance by making you more focused. If you are seeing numbers in the 5-10 range, you are experiencing moderate to severe stage fright and should read on to discover strategies for improvement.

dealing with stage fright - step 2

Before you can properly map a route to overcome stage fright, it’s important to know where you’ve been — and what has caused stage fright in the past. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you are experiencing stage fright, how they might contribute to your present challenges, and how you can utilize them most effectively.

Start by asking yourself some questions about your performing career, starting from the very, very beginning, which might include childhood memories or more recent situations depending on your age.

Journal Activity 2 (3)

  1. Recall the first time you performed for an audience, formally. Who was there? What thoughts and feelings do you remember? Were you happy with the outcome of the performance? Was it a positive or negative experience, was it stressful or relaxed?
  2. Recall the first time you performed and experienced anxiety (if different from above). What were the circumstances? Who was there? Did you practice or prepare, and how much? If different from #1, what do you think sparked anxiety if there were previous performances that didn’t?
  3. Recall the next few times that you performed, after #2 above. Ask yourself the same questions and look for patterns.
  4. Recall the 2-3 most recent times you performed. How recent was it? Have you purposely avoided performing in recent circumstances due to fear? Were you with a large group, small ensemble or solo? Were there any post-performance experiences worth noting?
  5. From the above questions, look for patterns. Are there any pivotal events that dramatically changed the course of your performance history? Are there any key people, venues, or pieces that contributed to where you’re at today?

dealing with stage fright - step 3

The next step is re-contextualizing key anxiety triggers so that they don’t continue causing problems. Most people can identify one or two key incidents that left a large impact on their self-esteem.

Maybe it was a teacher giving an aggressive critique, a family member telling you not to quit your day job, or a performance in which you froze on stage and ran off crying.

At the time you may not have realized the impact of this key event, but in hindsight you can see that it has undermined your confidence and affected your ability to perform ever since.

Journal Activity 2 (3)

The mind is powerful and can distort memories, making them seem bigger and nastier than they really were in real life. As far as exercises that can help you deal with stage fright, this is a great one to try. Pick one of your key incidents that is particularly painful or memorable and jot a few notes about it to the facts:

What venue were you performing in?
What piece were you performing or practicing?
Who was watching?
What feedback were you given, either verbal or non-verbal?
How did you react? Did you shout, cry, freeze up, or laugh it off?
If you responded verbally, what did you say?
What did you do after the event?

Re-Contextualizing the Event

Now let’s bring some imagination to it: sometimes taking the gravity out of a memory and bringing it into a lighter, if not humorous, context can be extremely healing. By re-contextualizing this event, you are not dismissing it or minimizing its impact, but re-framing it in a more positive, lighthearted perspective. By giving your brain a new way to interpret it, you will begin to move past it and no longer allow it to block your present performance opportunities. Jot a few notes in response to the following:

If you could go back and re-live this event, what would you do differently?
Is there anything positive that has come out of the negative memory?

dealing with stage fright - step 4

We’ve spent the preceding sections of this guide processing your past. Now it’s time to move into the present and start thinking about what you can do now, and in the near future, to overcome stage fright.

There is no magic formula, unfortunately; you must expose yourself – you must perform, perform, perform, and this is known as exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a fancy name for the common-sense approach known as “facing your fears,” a technique commonly used by psychiatric doctors to treat phobias of all kinds. However, there is an art to exposing yourself to your fears, and it should be done in careful, small, planned doses that gradually lead up to a major milestone.

Create an Exposure Ladder

Exposure ladders are a technique used widely by the medical psychiatric community to treat generalized anxiety, panic disorders, and phobias of all types.

An exposure ladder is a list of activities that lead you gradually to a big goal (such as performing on your city’s biggest stage, for example), with activities ranked from least to most anxiety-provoking. An individual will work up the steps of the ladder, moving on to the next step only after mastering exposure to the current step with little or no anxiety.

You’ll need to create your own customized exposure ladder, starting with #1, which is your first, tiny little step toward performing — something that you could handle right now, today, with little or no anxiety symptoms. Then you’ll move on to #2, and so on, gradually making steps more anxiety provoking as you go, until you’ve reached a final step which is your final performing goal. You can make your final step as big or small as you want, just be honest with your true performing goals.

One precaution: be careful not to create too big of a jump between steps on the exposure ladder. You can repeat a step as many times as needed, in order to master that level with little to no anxiety. Depending on how often you are working on the steps, it might take months or years until you feel you’ve mastered a step, and that’s just fine. Study the example below to help you brainstorm ideas for your own ladder.

Example Exposure Ladder

1. Imagine yourself performing.
2. Perform alone.
3. Record yourself performing a scene or song and watch it without critique.
4. Perform for a supportive partner or friend.
5. Perform a duet or ensemble in front of family or friends at an informal gathering.
6. Perform solo in front of family or friends at an informal gathering.
7. Perform a duet or ensemble at a venue that is higher caliber, like a talent show for your class at school, a neighborhood barbeque, or karaoke at a bar.
8. Perform solo within the same circumstances in #7.
9. Perform with a semi-professional ensemble, such as an audition-only community chorus or community theatre.
10. Arrange an opportunity to perform solo for your peers or an audience, within the group you’ve identified in #9.
11. Enter a competition.
12. Continue finding opportunities similar to #11 with gradually higher caliber venues (or even paying gigs!).

dealing with stage fright - step 5

Once you start working the steps on your exposure ladder, there are going to be successes, and also setbacks. It’s important to arm yourself with relaxation techniques so that when setbacks occur, you have a strategy in place to deal with them in a healthy way. Try these:

Meditation

Find a quiet space, sit or lay in a position that is comfortable enough to sustain for 10 minutes minimum, close your eyes, and stop thinking. It’s as simple as that; meditation is simply a state of thoughtlessness. Your mind will wander, and when it does, just bring it back to a blank space. If you can commit to meditation as a daily practice for 10-20 minutes, over time you will be able to push aside thoughts that distract you during performances, including anxious thoughts.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Find a quiet space and lay down with your arms naturally at your sides and legs fully extended. Close your eyes. Prepare with three slow, deep breaths. As much as possible, focus all of your attention on the task at hand; don’t let your mind wander. Tense your forehead muscle, holding it as tight as you can for about five seconds. As you do this, inhale and hold the breath while the muscle is tense, and then exhale and breathe normally as you let the muscle relax. Enjoy the relaxed position for about five seconds.

Repeat the above process with the following muscle groups: your face/cheek muscles, neck muscles, shoulders (pull them up and tight), back muscles (pull your shoulder blades back and in), abs/stomach muscles, arms and hands (make a fist while you do this and tense it all the way down to the fingers), glutes, thighs, calves, and then finally feet.

dealing with stage fright - step 6

Acceptance is a final and critical step in learning how to overcome stage fright, as resistance will only make a problem grow stronger. It’s important that you stop criticizing or judging yourself for having fears or challenges on stage, as it is one of the most common types of anxiety, and you are definitely not alone!

Acceptance is not declaring that stage fright is “just a problem you have” and that you’ll have to deal with it for the rest of your life. Acceptance is realizing you have some uncomfortable symptoms that are occurring and allowing the process of change to unfold, even if the process is difficult. Acceptance is allowing setbacks to happen, refraining from self-criticism when they do, and celebrating the small successes along the way.

Conclusion

Public speaking and performances of all types continue to be the number one fear of most adults. By reading this article, you have embarked on a journey that very few are brave enough to take – congratulations are due just for starting!

Your reading has given you initial tools for understanding what stage fright is, how you experience it personally, how your past is affecting your present, and beginning to learn how to deal with stage fright.

Performing is one of life’s great joys and you too can enjoy sharing your unique gifts and stories in front of an audience, free of fear, paralysis, or uncomfortable feelings. Don’t give up, and remember that psychological change is a gradual process. Good luck, and happy performing!

Readers, what other ways have you learned how to overcome stage fright? Let us know in the comments!

How to Overcome Stage Fright Infographic

ErinRPost Author: Erin R.
Erin teaches acting, singing, speaking voice, and more in San Diego, CA. She holds a B.A. from University of Minnesota in Vocal Performance, a M.A. in Education from National University, and has been teaching since 2007. Learn more about Erin here!

Image credit: Kian McKellar

4 Common Challenges Faced By New Guitar Students (And How To Overcome Them)

As with any new skill, learning how to play the guitar comes with challenges. Here, Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S. shares his guitar playing tips to help you stay motivated…

 

I’ve been teaching guitar to students of all ages and skill levels for many years and have gotten quite adept at spotting and remedying the challenges faced by beginners. So I’ve decided to address them in this article to offer students and their parents some insight on how to get beyond the problems so they can truly enjoy the guitar experience.

Below are brief descriptions of each problem and the guitar playing tips to correct them:

Problem #1 – The guitar pick keeps slipping out of my hand

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Solution:
While the thickness of a guitar pick is an individual preference, I don’t recommend a thin pick. It’s too flimsy and offers little stability and control. So I suggest a medium gauge pick (.60 mm to .88 mm) and sometimes a medium-heavy pick (.80 mm to 1 mm). I also strongly suggest a “grip pick,” as the regular flat plastic picks can be slippery and fall to the floor. There are many varieties of grip picks, but I personally prefer the Jim Dunlop Nylon Standard pick (I use the 1 mm, but some might find it too rigid).

Besides the type of pick, it’s important to hold the pick with the thumb and index finger (tucking in the other three fingers to form a loose partial fist) and in doing so create a striking surface of no more than a quarter of an inch (at the tip end of the pick).

Problem #2 – The notes I’m trying to fret sound muffled or not very clear

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Solution:
There are three important guitar playing tips that go along with this. First, you want to be sure your nails aren’t too long (i.e. beyond the fingertips) and you’re making fingerboard contact using the fleshy part of the fingertip — not with the nail or under-nail area or the back of the finger. Second, the point of contact should be with the fleshiest part of the fingertip. Third, the left hand needs to be arced upright as much as possible (without causing discomfort) so that it’s reasonably perpendicular to the neck. And finally, the left hand fingers shouldn’t press down on the fret, but rather slightly to the left of the fret.

Problem #3- My fingers hurt and it’s tough to keep playing

241845708_b5d694f9cb_b (1)

Solution:
The old-school solution would simply be to say “No pain, no gain,” or “Your finger discomfort will go away soon.” And honestly, that’s probably pretty good advice. But here are some more constructive solutions:

  • Make sure the guitar has light or extra light gauge strings on it, as the thickness of the strings directly impacts how sore the fingers get.
  • Soak the fingertips in apple cider vinegar for 30 seconds to a minute after playing (be sure to wash with soap thoroughly, as you don’t want your guitar or guitar strings to smell like apple cider vinegar!) or try icing the fingertips after playing.
  • Take the guitar into the shop and get the “action” lowered as much as possible (see my other article, “How Playable Is That New Guitar of Yours?”, for more details on this).

If none of these guitar playing tips offer sufficient help, consider trying a pain-reducing ointment with benzocaine on your fingertips. (Be sure to consider the allergic potential and also be sure that your child doesn’t put his or her fingers in their mouth after applying such a product.)

Problem #4- I can’t stretch my fingers of my left hand to reach the 3rd or 4th frets, or I’m having trouble applying enough pressure to fret a note

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Solution:
Every guitarist will need to access the 3rd and 4th frets with their ring finger and pinky, respectively. And it’s not just to play the notes on those frets, but to gain overall hand control and fingerboard accessibility.

I often assign the chromatic scale to students as a finger stretch and warm-up exercise. Using the left hand index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers, respectively, play the notes on the first four frets (delegating index to 1st fret, middle to 2nd fret, ring to 3rd fret, pinky to 4th fret) to play a total of 24 notes (four per string).

Another great way to increase reach is to pick up a small rubber ball (handball size) and squeeze it several times before you practice guitar. You can also spread your fingers apart on the ball, much the way a baseball pitcher would spread them to throw a changeup. This particular pitch calls for separation between the index, middle, and ring fingers, and that’s the perfect stretch to develop more finger reach for guitar. You can see the grip here.

Conclusion
Whether you’re the one learning guitar, or if you’re a parent trying to support your child, the most important thing to remember is that there’ll always be learning curves and growing pains to overcome and a need for patience and perseverance to get beyond them. Once a new guitar student gets used to fretting notes and how much hand pressure is needed to fret notes, and their skin toughens up a bit on their fingertips, things will fall into place. Be encouraging and they’ll get past these early challenges.

JeffSJeff S. teaches guitar, ukulele, speaking voice, songwriting, and more in Perth Amboy, NJ, as well as online. Jeff has created and taught songwriting and music business classes at colleges, universities, and music schools throughout the country for many years. Learn more about Jeff here! 

 

 

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5 Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs Everyone Should Know

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New to the guitar, and not sure which songs to learn first? These 5 easy acoustic guitar songs, as compiled by Greeley, CO teacher Andy W., are a great place to get started…

 

Can you play these five famous and easy acoustic guitar songs? If not, then why not learn today?

The following songs are timeless classics for a reason. I promise that regardless of whatever stage of musicianship you‘re at, you can learn a wealth of information from these five songs alone. If you’re a beginner playing your first songs, these can teach you some of the most common chords and progressions used by guitarists. If you are an advanced guitarist, then you can focus on the elements that make these songs effortlessly memorable, such as the feel, the lyrics, and the song structure. Then you can use these elements to write your own songs!

Here are five easy acoustic guitar songs that everyone should know, in order from simple to more complex:

1. America – Horse With No Name

This song was written by Dewey Bunnell from the band, America. Charting high in several countries in 1971 and 1972, it was America’s first and most famous single.
Chords: Emin, F#min
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Solo, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus (2X)
Tabs: http://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/america-a-horse-with-no-name-tab-s25201t0

2. Tom Petty – Free Fallin’

Written by Tom Petty and his collaborator, Jeff Lynne, this song is the opening track for Petty’s album, Full Moon Fever, which was released in 1989. This is Petty’s longest charting song and peaked at #7 on Billboard. Rolling Stones ranked it at #179 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: D, Dsus4, D, Asus4
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Verse, Chorus (2X)
Tabs: http://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/tom-petty-free-fallin-tab-s15887t3

3. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

This song by Van Morrison was released in 1967 on his solo album, Blowin’ Your Mind! It peaked at #10 on Billboard’s charts. This was his first single released as a solo artist and it also launched his career. Rolling Stones ranked it at #110 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: G, C, G, D
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Chorus, Instrumental, Verse, Chorus
Tabs: http://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/van-morrison-brown-eyed-girl-tab-s309t1

4. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun

Although it’s uncertain who wrote this song, the most famous version was recorded by The Animals in 1964. Their version reached #1 on Billboard in the U.S. and also charted in the U.K., Canada, Sweden, and Finland. Rolling Stones ranked it at #123 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: Amin, C, D, F, Amin, C, E
Form: Intro, Chorus, Verse, Verse, Solo, Verse, Verse, Chorus
Tabs: http://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/animals-the-house-of-the-rising-sun-tab-s63t1

5. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Written by David Gilmore and Roger Waters of Pinkfloyd, this is the title track for Pinkfloyd’s 1975 album, Wish You Were Here. Since the original release of the song in 1975, it has charted high in numerous countries. Rolling Stones ranked it at #324 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: C, D, Amin, G, D, C, Amin, G
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Intro, Verse, Intro (2X)
Tabs: http://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-tab-s153t2

You now can play more songs and are also equipped with a better understanding of chords, progressions, form, and other elements that make up a truly memorable song. Now use what you’ve learned to write your own songs!

AndyWAndy W. teaches guitar, singing, piano, and more in Greeley, CO. He specializes in jazz, and has played guitar for 12 years. Learn more about Andy here!

 

 

 

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How much are piano lessons

How Much Are Piano Lessons? You Might be Surprised…

How much are piano lessons

Interested in piano lessons? You’ve come to the right place!

The benefits of working with a private music teacher are clear: you get one-on-one guidance from a professional, a customized lesson plan, and someone to hold you accountable. And as most musicians will tell you, the investment you make in your training is completely worth it when you start seeing improvements.

But for the more budget-conscious beginners, you might still be wondering: how much are piano lessons on average?

After all, the instrument itself is expensive enough. What other supplies or expenses should you expect when taking piano lessons? How much should you be paying per lesson or per hour? Is sticking to a budget even possible? Will you need to spend thousands of dollars just to play a few songs?

Instead of letting the price of piano lessons hold you back, take these questions into consideration as you’re looking at your options. With careful research, you can find the right piano lessons and teacher to make learning to play the piano a reality.

So… How Much Are Piano Lessons?

The answer to this depends on a few factors, which is why you’ll see a variety of prices as you start you search for piano teachers.

The average cost of piano lessons is between $15 and $40 for a 30-minute lesson. While this may be the average, keep in the mind that the price of piano lessons can vary depending on several factors, including where you live and your teacher’s expertise.

Here’s a deeper look into the factors that can affect piano lesson prices:

  • Your Location

As with any other product or service, piano lesson prices will vary depending on where you live. If you live in a rural area, your choice of teachers may be limited, but you may find very low rates.

In a more urban area, prices may be slightly higher, but you may find more options for qualified teachers.

Here are some examples of teacher pricing based on location:

marjorieTeacher Marjorie K.
Location: New York, NY
Price: $60 for a 30-minute lesson
danaTeacher Dana S.
Location: Muncie, IN
Price: $25 for a 30-minute lesson
  • Lesson Location

Beyond the city or area you’re in, the price can also vary depending on where exactly you’re taking the lessons. You have three options for this:

• You can travel to your teacher for your lessons
• Your teacher can come to you at your home
• You can connect via video chat for live, online lessons

Traveling to your teacher’s studio is usually more affordable than having your teacher come to you — some teachers may charge for travel time and/or mileage. Online lessons are sometimes priced the lower end of the scale, but can vary depending upon your teacher’s level of expertise.

Here are some examples of teacher pricing based on location:

marjorieTeacher Lily A.
Location: Columbia, MD
Price: $45 for a 30-minute lesson at teacher’s studio
$50 for a 30-minute lesson in your home
$50 for a 30-minute online lesson
  • Lesson Length

For most new students, a 30-minute weekly lesson is a great starting point. As your playing progresses, however, most students benefit from longer lessons, such as 45 minutes or an hour. Your teacher will be able to recommend a good length for you, and of course, as you increase your lesson length your price will increase.

Here is an example of pricing based on lesson length:

brianTeacher Brian P.
Location: Culver City, CA
Price: $40 for a 30-minute lesson
$45 for a 45-minute lesson
$55 for a 60-minute lesson
  • Teacher Expertise

Another factor that can affect piano lesson rates is your teacher’s level of expertise or experience. Younger teachers or teachers who specialize in beginning students will often charge less. As your playing level advances and you need a teacher with higher level experience, you can expect to pay more per lesson.

As you improve, you might also become interested in a specific area of study, such as classical music or jazz improvisation. Teachers who specialize in certain genres or techniques, or who have had received training in a certain teaching method (such as the Suzuki method), can command a much higher price.

How Much Are Piano Lessons for Kids?
While the cost of piano lessons for kids is sometimes lower than lessons for adults or more advanced players, it’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t choose the least expensive option on principle. The concepts learned might seem simple, but it takes a certain personality (and level of patience!) to get through to kids, especially those who have trouble focusing.

To help you find the right teacher for your child, consider the following as you narrow down your options:

  • Have they had success with similarly aged children?
  • What is their experience like, and how long have they been teaching?
  • Do they use any particular method, such as the Suzuki Method, for working with beginners?
  • What level of involvement are you able to commit to your child’s lessons, and what do they expect from you?

You may also want to sit down with your child’s teacher before the first lesson to get on the same page: discuss your expectations, and what level of involvement you can commit to. Finding the right teacher match is particularly important for young learners, and will ensure you don’t waste time or money with a teacher that doesn’t mesh well with your child.

Payment Options
Most teachers and studios will require payment in advance, often on a month-to-month basis. Other teachers or studio may offer discounts for lesson packages, if you’re able to commit for a longer time frame. Students booking lessons through TakeLessons.com, for example, can sign up for Monthly, Quarterly, Semester, or Annual Plans. All lessons are paid for in advance and are billed automatically, in order to reserve your time slot and make payments easy and convenient.

Whether you’re working with a music studio or an individual private teacher, make sure you’re aware of the payment policies from the beginning so nothing comes as a surprise. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rescheduling or cancellation policies; some teachers require a 24-hour notice to be eligible for a reschedule, so knowing this beforehand will help you avoid paying for lessons you can’t attend!

What about books, materials, or incidental costs?
As you progress through your lessons, keep in mind that you may come across incidental costs along the way. Piano books and materials are the obvious ones, since you’ll always need new music and workbooks. Some teachers provide these for students or have copies available to borrow, but most will give you a list of certain books and ask you to purchase them on your own. You can also find several websites for finding free piano sheet music online. Extra materials may include:

  • A blank journal or composition pad for taking notes
  • Pencil (this is a must at your lessons!)
  • Metronome
  • Piano tuning services (recommended at least twice a year)

As you can see, there are several factors that can affect the pricing of piano lessons. Do your research and take some time to think about which options are best for you – and what will keep you motivated to learn! With the right set-up and an amazing teacher by your side, you’ll be primed for a great experience.

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