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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 10/20/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

Jill H. in Winter Springs, FL, wrote, “My student, Nicholas A. has steadily become an outstanding singer. He has successfully learned some of the important techniques for singing well. His range has improved over the past few months as he has put into practice the elements of good singing, especially breath support. He is to be commended on his hard work and I am proud of his accomplishments. I look forward to seeing his progress sky rocket as he becomes more comfortable with his voice and continues to perfect his skills. He is a great guitarist and he has also worked on his piano skills. Students like Nicholas make teaching fun. Way to go Nicholas!!” Keep up the great work, Nicholas!!

Elizabeth C. in Brick, NJ, wrote, “My piano student Molly W. has been a dedicated learner. She works hard practicing her songs and techniques. In August of this year she began to even learn how to record her songs and we were looking forward to her debut performance in a neighborhood talent show. A few days before the show she broke her finger. Her parents and I were so disappointed that she would not be able to perform because she had worked so hard. However, the next day she came to the studio and told me that she still wanted to play with the fingers that she had left! I love having a student so excited and committed to learning. Her hand is almost healed and we will be resuming lessons very soon. I can’t wait to start working on next year’s performance with her!” Great attitude Molly, and amazing dedication! We look forward to hearing even more great things from you!

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 10/13/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

Carl S. in Brookings, SD, wrote, “My fourth grade saxophone student, Brendan, is making amazing progress! He has only had three lessons with me, but he is already doing wonderful things. In our first 45 minute lesson, he was able to play a two-octave C major scale! Now we are paying attention to the little details such as consistant articulation, finger transition, embouchure details, etc. It is so nice to work with somebody like Brendan who doesn’t get frustrated when things don’t go perfectly and just keeps working hard. I have to send an extra special shout out to Brendan’s father, who is among the most dedicated parents I’ve met. Tom, who use to be in college band as a brass player, sits next to Brendan during every lesson and learns along with him. During each lesson, I can sense the excitement every time Brendan progresses and learns new concepts. I’m very pleased to be working with a family that seems to get what it’s all about!” Go Brendan!

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 10/6/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

Erik H. in Cardiff, CA, shared his son’s progress after just three drum lessons with Matt G. Look at him go!

Erik wrote, “After only 3 lessons and some practice, I am already able to jam along on my guitar with my son to some old rock n roll tunes. He’s no Neil Pert yet, but a 6-year old playing like this after 3 lessons is great! (see video). Thanks Matt!” Rock on little dude!

Anna T. in Lawrenceville, GA, wrote, “I am so proud of my voice student Emma S. for completing her first recital! She had a 10 song lineup and sounded great. Foreign language to musical theater and her family was so impressed. She has worked very hard for this and it has definitely paid off. Such a talented girl!” Go Emma! Keep up the good work!

Joann W. in San Antonio, TX wrote in to tell us about her singing lessons with Whitney V. Joann wrote, “Whitney is a fantastic teacher. Even with my clear unpreparedness she still manages to make sure I have a great learning experience. She is super.” Thanks for all that you do, Whitney!

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 9/29/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

Good News - Stella, Emile and HeidiHeidi S. in Fort Worth, TX shared a story with us about meeting some very special students. Heidi wrote, “My students Emile and Stella are French but they live in Africa. I have been teaching their flute lessons via Skype from the US to Africa! So cool. But what else was fun is that they have relatives that live close to me (thus the reason they chose me as their teacher) and they visited this summer. I got to meet them in person and have lessons in person which was sooo much fun. They are back in Africa now and will end up back in France.” Thanks for sending in your story, Heidi! It’s amazing to see how music brings people together all over the world!

Layla M. in Reston, VA, wrote, “I am so proud of my violin student Kimi for landing 2nd chair in her orchestra seating test! Dedicated to her instrument, she demonstrates that hard work and efficient practice lead to great intonation, rhythm and tone!” Way to go, Kimi!!

John P. in Frisco, TX, wrote, “Yesterday my Acting student LP, made some huge leaps forward in her work. One of the exercises is called Knock at the Door. The purpose (in a nutshell) is to teach the concept of motivation and how it is the Actors responsibility to ALWAYS have a motivation for everything she does, certainly for beginning a scene or entering a room. In the Technique, the student only has to prepare a reason, that is clear and real to her which will (hopefully) propel her to behave a certain way and do specific things because she needs something. LP not only embraced the exercise but also showed incredible emotional flexibility that allowed her to ‘discover’ new things and be surprised ( some people take years to learn how to just be surprised on stage) and keep fighting for her needs in a truthful and beautifully organic way. When I asked her to change the motivation for the second round, she showed even greater fluidity in her faith in ‘the moment’ and ability to let herself be truly present ‘in the moment’.the ‘scene’ was interesting and engaging in a way that only comes from commitment and faith. It is such a thrill to see this especially early in the work. Because it shows an instinct that actors must possess to continue to grow and express themselves fully.” Keep up the good work, LP! You’re well on your way to great things!

Andrew Y. in Wichita, KS, wrote, “Want to give a shout out to Micah, Avery & another student who has been looking ahead in their brand new Piano Adventures Book level B. Each time I show up, they have taught themselves new concepts & songs we haven’t got to. So proud of their hard work. Excellent job. Plus another student has graduated from her first piano book this week. The student has been working so hard to get to the end. I’m so proud of the accomplishments. The student really likes the new book. Keep going. You’re doing great!”

Emily B. in Saint Paul, MN, wrote, “A big shout out to my student Austin who just booked his first role in a film! All your hard work is certainly paying off and they are lucky to have you!” Break a leg, Austin!

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 9/22/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

Emily B. in Saint Paul, MN, wrote, “Congratulations to my acting student, Rachel, who just scored a lead role in her school’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Dream Coat. She’s going to be great!”

Shannon K. in Boulder, CO, wrote, “This week I had two amazing lessons with a set of identical twin brothers! River and Miles both made a huge amount of progress between lessons and really gave it their best this week. River conquered the C chord this week and learned to relax his arms and shoulders while Miles really focused hard on learning to coordinate the right hand and left hand between measures to make the music “flow”. Keep up the great work and Bravo!”

Helen Q. in Lilburn, GA, wrote, “I must send a shout out to my student Michelle. She is as cute as a button at age 5 but boy has she caught on in just less than a year of lessons. We are already on Book One of Piano Adventures. She gets it and she practices too. Another shout out to great parents. They see to it she practices and stays on top of her theory work. Great job to the whole family!”

Arlys A. in Minneapolis, MN, wrote, “Congratulations and best of luck to Diwan S. as he heads out for his American Idol call back on Monday, September 22nd! Congratulations to Molly D. who worked very hard and landed the role of Bonnie in “Anything Goes”. Molly wrote, ‘…what really set me a part from all the other girls singing for Bonnie was my character voice. The way I sang ‘Heaven Hop’ was exactly what my director had in mind. I would not have been able to acquire this role without your guidance!’”

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

Interested in Private Lessons?

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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 9/15/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

Garine A. in Winter Garden, FL wrote, “I definitely have a shout out going out to my first student on Takelessons, after I came back from some time off. I love teaching lessons, but this student was one of those kids that makes you really want to teach forever. He is a very smart kid. He was able to reach his goal of being ready to start band at the 10th grade level playing the tuba after only five lessons and not owning a horn. We started with the basics. I sent him off between lessons to watch about three videos a week on YouTube, and the videos really opened his mind to hear what the professionals sound like. Besides that, I asked him to exercise his lungs using the Breathing Gym exercises daily, and his mouth using the P.E.T.E.. His hands came around to the right fingers (there are only so many combinations of three). He worked very hard between lessons and excelled much further than I expected. He has helped me with a boost of confidence that I haven’t lost the ability to teach effective lessons. I know that each teacher out there also has a student like mine. You can do the same too.”

Rachel M. in Evanston, IL wrote, “I am so impressed at how much MarieAnna accomplished during French lessons. Having no prior comprehension of the language, she managed to adapt very quickly and in only 5 short lessons, mastered 2 tenses, improved her pronunciation, and learned some important vocabulary. I was amazed at how easily she picked up on everything I taught her. I will dearly miss her as a student. Felicitacions et bonne chance!”

Rachel has a shout out for another student as well! She wrote, “My student Pamela has come a long way in French lessons. At the beginning she knew absolutely no French, and after only a few short weeks she is completing homework on verb conjugation. During each lesson she is very interested and ready to expand her knowledge. All in all, she is the most dedicated and enthusiastic student I have met. I have also talked to her about her plans to teach abroad in France or Canada. I really enjoy sharing her love of French and teaching with her. It is always a joy to tutor her.”

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

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

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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 8/25/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

David P. in Cincinnati, OH has shout outs for several of his students. He wrote:

Singer-guitarist Brian O. was recently hired as the ministry leader for a church in Cincinnati. After he began taking voice lessons with me, several of the members began complimenting Brian on how much better he sounded for their services.

My percussion student Chris Z. is auditioning for the Cincinnati Youth Symphony Orchestra. He’ll be playing Etude 1, from the book Portraits in Rhythm as well as “Scherazade” by Rimsky-Korsav on snare drum.

Student Jarod E. is now the bassist for the McNicholas High School Marching Band thanks to his hard work at bass lessons. The marching band is performing a collection of challenging songs from the Beach Boys.

Tim B. in Newberg, OR wrote, “I just wanted to give a shout out to my weekly student Ollie. He conquered playing and reading the music for Simple Gifts. The trick is all F’s are sharped throughout the song. He completed it self-correcting himself. If he made a mistake he replayed the song from beginning to end. He is developing ear training and sight reading and music theory, all while being enrolled in school and playing football fulltime. Touchdown buddy.” Way to go, Ollie!

And Karen H. wrote in to tell us about her daughters’ singing instructor Kimberly L. She wrote, “Both of my daughters, one of whom has Asperger’s, really enjoyed taking singing lessons with Kimberly over the past one and one-half years and I would highly recommend her.  They each received individualized lessons plus were provided immediate feedback and encouragement.  I never heard a “do I have to go” when it came time for their lessons which says a lot, especially in the summer when I often hear this about other things.” Thanks for all you do, Kimberly!

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

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

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

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The 6 Toughest English Writing Rules – and How to Remember Them

English Writing Rules and Tips

Have a big writing assignment coming up, but worried about your grasp on grammar? Don’t fret! Here, online tutor Natalie S. shares her tricks for remembering some of the toughest English writing rules…

Grammar isn’t for everyone. In fact, most people tend to forget the majority of their grammar and punctuation lessons by the time they graduate from high school. Even though grammar tends to be a boring subject to learn about, it’s still important to understand and utilize grammar and punctuation rules correctly. These seemingly small details make a big difference in the quality of your writing.

Below are a few tips to help you easily navigate some of the trickiest grammar, punctuation, and overall English writing rules!

Semi-colons

This is one of the most abused and misused punctuation marks in the English language. Semi-colons are used to connect two complete sentences (often called independent clauses) into one sentence. For example, “I went to the beach; it was too hot.” This single sentence shares one common idea (the beach) and contains one complete sentence on either side of the semi-colon. Pro tip: Try to split your sentence into two complete thoughts. If you cannot do it, a semi-colon doesn’t belong in your sentence.

Fewer Vs. Less

“Fewer” means a quantifiable number. For example, “I had three fewer items than Tom.” “Less” is used in a non-quantifiable situation, such as “I was less sad after eating chocolate.” Pro tip: If you can attach a number to the sentence and it still makes sense, you should be using the word “fewer.”

Who Vs. Whom

“Who” is a subjective pronoun, whereas “whom” is an objective pronoun.  Pro tip: If the word, “he” can be substituted into the sentence, use “who.” If the word “him” can be substituted into the sentence, use “whom.” For example, “Who went to the store? He went to the store.” “She bought an apple for whom? She bought an apple for him.”

Its Vs. It’s

This is one of the easiest English writing rules to remember, but it’s still one of the most common mistakes that people make. “Its” is possessive. For example, “The cat licked its paw.” “It’s” stands for “it is” and it’s an abbreviation.  Pro tip: To remember which one to use, try replacing the phrase with “it is.” Does the sentence still make sense? If yes, then you use “it’s.” If no, then use the possessive “its.”

Writing in Active Voice

Avoid sentences like, “Bob was chased by the crowd.” Instead, write, “The crowd chased Bob.” The first example illustrates passive voice. The second sentence is an example of active voice.  Using active voice makes your writing more compelling to read. Pro tip: If you can insert the phrase “by zombies” at the end of your sentence and it makes sense, you are using passive voice! For example, “Bob was chased by zombies.”

Ambiguous Pronouns

Pronouns can be used in place of nouns to make your writing flow better. For example, start with these three sentences: “Nancy went to the store. Nancy bought ice cream. Nancy bought oranges.” To make it flow, we use pronouns in place of Nancy: “Nancy went to the store and she bought ice cream and oranges.”  When using pronouns, be careful to avoid the ambiguous pronoun. For example, “Sarah went to Jenny’s house for a party. She had cake.” The pronoun “she” in the second sentence is ambiguous. Pro tip: Ask yourself questions like, “Who had cake? Was it Sarah or Jenny?” to figure out how to correct the sentence. Technically, Jenny is the “she” in this sentence, but considering that the subject of the sentence is Sarah, the writer is actually intending to use “she” in place of “Sarah.” It should say something like, “Sarah went to Jenny’s house for a party, and she enjoyed eating the birthday cake.”

Writing assignments can be difficult; they require a lot of focused time and effort. If you remember and implement these simple tips and tricks, you will create writing that is easier to comprehend and more compelling to read.

Natalie S.Natalie S. tutors online in English, ESL, History, Phonics, Reading, and Test Prep. She received her BA in English Education at the University of Delaware, and her MA in English Literature at San Diego State University. Learn more about Natalie here!

 

 

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TL shouts 5-27

TakeLessons Community Shout Outs – Week of 8/18/14

Each week, TakeLessons students and teachers send us their shout outs. We’re thankful to be a part of this positive and thriving community, so we’d like to share these messages with you. Here are the shout outs we received this week:

Marci S. in Lenexa, KS, wrote, “Last Saturday, August 2nd, many of my students participated in a recital for family and friends. ALL students performed above and beyond my highest expectations. Way to go guys! Due to multiple back surgeries, I have not been able to hold a recital for a little over a year. I was afraid students would forget their performance skills- but they were lovely.” Bravo to all the students who performed, and we’re happy to hear that Marci is feeling better after her surgeries.

Share your good news with the TakeLessons community by sending an email with your shout out to GoodNews@TakeLessons.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+ to keep the conversation going!

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

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Kids’ Piano Lessons: How Often Should My Child Practice?

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Wondering how to best provide support and encouragement for your kids’ piano lessons, particularly when it comes to practicing? Here’s some great advice from Augustine, FL piano teacher Heather L...

 

When it comes to kids’ piano lessons, how often should a student be practicing? This is a common question that I’ve often received over the years. Parents find the best instructors for their children, invest time and resources in their music education, but aren’t sure quite what to do when the kids are at home, ready to practice. Frankly, this issue might turn into a tense conversation sometimes. Teachers will remind parents of their share of the responsibility for encouraging their child’s studies; parents have high expectations of how influential the teachers will be on how diligently the students study at home. Teachers might remind parents that they can’t very well go home with the student, but on the other hand, they’re failing to help educate the parents on how exactly to be a part of the educational journey.

As a parent of a young pianist, you could be the very element in their music education that projects them to success – self-confidence, the ability to think critically, and a lifelong love of learning. If you were to study the great pianists, or even simply the best-educated, hardest-working people in the world, then you would probably find a parent who was consistently inspiring.

All of this brings us to the question, “How often should my child practice?” It is part of my teaching philosophy that every piano lesson, and more importantly, every student, is different. One job of the teacher is to identify, over time, a student’s particular learning style and general attitudes about work, and then adjust the specific practice schedule accordingly.

All students should practice six days a week. How long each daily session is, depends on the child’s age. Typically speaking, young children, ages 3 and 4, should be practicing about 10 minutes. Five- and six-year-olds should extend it to 15 minutes, seven- and eight-year-olds, 20 minutes, nine- and ten-year-olds, 25 minutes. Children ages 11 through 14 should devote a full half of an hour to their piano studies.

The time suggestions listed above are merely that. They are also subject to change due to an upcoming audition or performance. In the case in which your child has, for instance, a recital coming up, the daily practice session should be extended by 10 minutes. Practice time suggestions should also change according to long-term goals. If you have a 15-year-old teenager who wishes to audition for the Juilliard School, then his practice habits will be different from the 10-year-old soccer player who plays piano for fun and just wants a lifelong hobby.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that your young pianist’s hands should be on the keys six days every week. If a child is really tired of his regular piano curriculum, then it’s still important to play something, even if it’s just for fun. Encourage your child to pull out an old piece that they’ve always loved to play. If your child dreads the length of each practice session, “I’m TIRED of practicing!”, then let him take a short break and come back to piano later. It’s important not to force a child into a frustrated and resentful state, or else they might always hate playing the piano. Inspire a healthy relationship with the his keyboard studies, and you’ll see a great pianist blossom.

HeatherLHeather L. teaches singing, piano, acting, and more in Saint Augustine, FL, as well as through online lessons. She is a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and has performed with the New York and Royal Philharmonics, the New Jersey and Virginia Symphonies, the American Boy Choir, and the internationally renowned opera star Andrea Bocelli. Learn more about Heather here!

 

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