Music Lessons for Mom! Celebrate Mother’s Day with a Music Lesson Gift Certificate

Mothers DayAre you looking for a fun and unique Mother’s Day gift that will make this year’s celebration extra special? If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place! This year, celebrate mom’s special day by giving her an experience she’ll remember forever – the gift of music lessons with a TakeLessons gift certificate!

Whether your mom has previous musical experience or wants to try singing lessons or playing the piano for the first time, a TakeLessons gift certificate is a unique Mother’s Day gift that gives her the opportunity to learn some new skills and have a little fun too. TakeLessons gift certificates are valid for any type of music lessons that we offer, including singing lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons and many more!

Gift certificates can be used for lessons with any of our TakeLessons Instructors and never expire, so recipients can use them at their convenience. Certificates are available in any amount and can even be printed at home or sent to the recipient via email.

Simply give us a call at 877-231-8505 or visit our website to purchase your certificate today – it’s a gift any mom will appreciate!

Wanna Play Music? Join the Fun During NAMM’s Wanna Play Music Week May 2-8

WannaPlay2011During the week of May 2-8, musicians, schools, and other organizations across the country will come together to celebrate National Wanna Play Music Week, an annual event sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).  This week-long celebration highlights the importance of music education programs in schools and promotes the benefits of playing music for people of all ages and skill levels.  NAMM is also a TakeLessons organizational partner, which is why we are proud to support this event and power the lesson locator tool on the official Wanna Play Music website.

Ahead of this year’s Wanna Play Music week, NAMM has introduced a new initiative called “Pledge to Play” where interested participants can take a pledge and make their commitment to learning an instrument. There’s still time to sign up on the Pledge to Play Facebook page – you’ll even have the chance to win some cool prizes!

The week will officially kick off on Monday, May 2 with the seventh annual “Music Monday,” an event in which schools, community and professional organizations will perform one piece of music simultaneously at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, 11 a.m. Mountain Time, 12 p.m. Central Time, and 1 p.m. Eastern Time.  NAMM hopes that by having everyone sing the same song at the same time, music will transcend all genres and unite people through the melody and the act of performing the piece together.  You can register your school or organization as a participant in Music Monday online or by emailing musicmonday@namm.org. If you aren’t able to play at the designated time, NAMM also encourages participants to pick up an instrument and play at any time throughout the day.

Other events will take place throughout the week, including an announcement of the “Best Communities for Music Education” on Wednesday, May 4 and a day featuring “unexpected celebrity musicians” on Thursday, May 5.  The week concludes with National Music Store Weekend from May 6-8, when musicians and non-musicians alike are encouraged to visit and support local music stores in their neighborhoods. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved during this year’s Wanna Play Music week, so mark your calendar and get ready to play!

The Beginner Musician’s Mind: Four Tips for Successful Performances

The following post comes from TakeLessons teacher Jeremy R. in Hudson, Florida. Jeremy has been a professional performing musician for over 10 years and has taught hundreds of students during that time.  Below he shares some of his favorite tips for beginner musicians who are learning to perform.

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As a beginner musician, learning to perform a song is a challenging obstacle. After all, you spent countless hours learning modes and chord progressions and now you must take what you have learned and translate it into a successful performance.  Below I will share some methods that have worked for me.

Clear your head.  Each time I pick up the guitar, I go through the same mental exercise to prepare myself to play. I pick up the guitar, tune, and play a couple warm up exercises. It’s important that your warm up piece is something that you have to really concentrate on and think about to be able to play. It’s perfectly fine to play these pieces verbatim with little or no deviation. In fact, a piece that challenges your abilities that you have worked hard to master is a great candidate for a warm up piece. The point isn’t to play the piece to perfection; rather, the point is to get the other songs out of your mind and focus your thoughts on playing.

Phantom play.  If you have ever played at a large venue or in front of an important audience then you’ve undoubtedly had the issue of nerves clouding your head and distracting your focus. Before you play your song for anyone else, play it in your mind. Maybe even just finger your fret board quietly. Again, the point isn’t the perfection of the song – it’s the mechanics of your mind while you play.

Emotional focus.  You’ve tuned your guitar, played your warm up exercise and gone through the song in your head. Now you’ve got 4 minutes before you go on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a guitar player play the correct notes in the correct rhythms in the correct key but the performance is as flat as rice paper. I look for the emotion that is communicated by the song and then I think about things in my life that bring out the same emotion. A great example of this is “Crying” by Joe Satriani. This song is so sad it should come with a warning label saying it could cause depression. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the song “Baba O’ Riley” by The Who is an extremely upbeat and energetic piece.

Believe.  A great personal friend of mine is a phenomenal song writer and performer. You will often hear my band playing and recording his material for the public. He is an amazing talent but doesn’t share it with anyone. Don’t be afraid to get up and play. It doesn’t matter if you’re the next Celine Dion or William Hung – both have their place in music, and you do too!

Jeremy R.