A Step-By-Step Guide to Changing Your Guitar Strings

As you may know, changing your guitar strings regularly can make a big difference when it comes to a clean, clear guitar sound. Not sure how to do it? Check out these step-by-step directions from Brooklyn guitar and vocal instructor Chantilly W...


I’m always doing DIYs, so today I thought I’d share with you a music DIY… how to change your guitar strings! For those not in the know, here is a very simplified version of how to do it.

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50 Music Goals and Ideas for All Types of Musicians

A fresh new year is the perfect time to consider what you’d like to work on, especially when it comes to music as a hobby or a career. Setting music goals establishes the roadmap you need to truly progress and improve.

Fortunately, setting musical goals doesn’t need to be a difficult process. Think about it – what do you want to achieve in the next year? What songs or genres have you always wanted to play? What technique or skill makes you think, “Man, I wish I could do that!”

Even better, try reflecting on your progress over the past year (or when you first started playing). Sometimes, it’s as simple as renewing that fresh attitude and excitement you felt when you first started taking music lessons. No matter what your goal is, big or small, write it down and get to work!

Need some help with that first step? Here are 50 ideas to get you thinking about your goals…

1. Compose an original song.

2. Learn a new song every week.

3. Branch out and try learning another instrument.

4. Learn a new style or genre, or explore improvisation.

5. Create a press kit for your band, or update your musical resume if you’re a soloist.

6. Every week, commit to doing something than inspires you musically.

7. Parents: Support your child by attending every concert and recital this year – or go the extra mile and sign up for lessons, too!

8. Plan and record a music video.

9. Create a practice schedule and stick with it.

10. Identify the excuses you typically use to avoid practicing, and brainstorm ways to combat them.

11. Try your hand at writing lyrics, even if you struggle at first. It takes practice!

12. Mark your calendar for routine instrument maintenance, such as changing your guitar strings, so you don’t forget.

13. Budget and save up for that awesome amp, ProTools software or new guitar that you’ve had your eye on.

14. Stimulate your creativity in other ways: attend concerts, meditate or get out in nature.

15. Collaborate with your teacher, community members or friends to plan the ultimate recital or talent show…

16. …and then make sure to perform in it, too!

17. Attend a music networking event – and don’t forget your demo, press kit or at least a business card!

18. Audition for something.

19. Improve a specific technique, such as violin vibrato, double-tonguing for woodwinds, or syncopation for drummers.

20. Learn a new warm-up exercise and add it to your practice sessions, to keep things fresh.

21. Memorize – and learn how to read – the Circle of Fifths.

22. Getting ready for college? Start researching competitions, grants and music scholarships available to you.

23. Identify a music career mentor (whether it’s your band teacher, private instructor or someone else in the industry) and meet with them monthly.

24. Learn how to transcribe your favorite song.

25. Record weekly videos of yourself (put them on YouTube if you’re comfortable!) so you can really see how you progress through the year.

26. Teach someone else to play a song.

27. Participate in outside music groups (check community boards, churches or MeetUp.com)

28. Spend a weekend busking.

29. Want an easy step to overcoming stage fright? Try karaoke! Organize a fun night out with friends, and sing your heart out!

30. Read up on the composer, artist or music era you’re studying to really understand the meaning behind the songs.

31. Watch a music documentary to get inspired and learn about famous musicians.

32. Purchase a season pass to your local symphony, and get cultured!

33. Craft an “elevator pitch” for your band – should a networking opportunity arise, how would you describe your band’s style and influences in 30 seconds or less?

34. Create a website and start building an email fan list, to assist with your marketing.

35. Reach out to local media, with an end-goal of being covered in a print or online publication.

36. Take care of your health by eating right and exercising. (Yes, this relates to your music – you can’t sing or play as well if you’re under the weather, right?)

37. Speak to your music teacher about increasing your lesson length – e.g. 30-minute lessons to 45-minute lessons.

38. How much money would you like to earn this year from playing gigs? Get specific and write it down.

39. Complete exercises every day for ear training – it’s an invaluable skill!

40. Set aside time to evaluate yourself after each time you practice. Did you stay focused? Did you truly listen to what you were playing?

41. Record yourself regularly, and listen back to really hear your progress.

42. Vow to take better care of your instrument – this means regular tune-ups for your piano, wiping down your guitar after each use, and drinking lots of water for vocalists!

43. Resolve to give yourself some credit this year, even when you’re frustrated.

44. Perform more. It’s as simple as that! Take advantage of open mic nights and smaller, non-paying gigs. Extra performance experience is always helpful.

45. Jam with friends, family members, your teacher… just get out there and start experimenting!

46. Find an events calendar for your area, and select a concert or live show to check out. Who knows, you may just find your new favorite band!

47. Don’t forget about the classics, also. Every popular artist today evolved from a bunch of influences, and those roots are definitely worth checking out.

48. High school musicians: get involved with music activities outside of school. Look into All-State Bands and Choirs, community groups, and local competitions.

49. Subscribe to the blog or bookmark it to stay up-to-date on all of our tips, tricks and advice from the experts!

And of course…

50. If you haven’t already… finally sign up for those music lessons you’ve been thinking about!

You might also like…
Excel at Music By Acting Like a Child
Is Your 9-to-5 Draining Your Creativity?
3 Bizarre “Super Powers” of Music

Photo by rennes.i

Violin Tips & Tricks: Our Best Advice from 2012

violin tricks and tipsMissed something on the blog? Check out our most popular violin tips & tricks from 2012 here… Read more

Drum Tips & Tricks: Our Best Advice from 2012

drummerWant to improve your drumming and tackle some new techniques? Take a look at our most popular posts from the past year…






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Piano Tips & Tricks: Our Best Advice from 2012

piano keysThe year is winding down – but that means it’s also time for a fresh start full of inspiration and musical motivation! Take some time to brush up on these piano tips and tricks from the past year, and don’t forget to squeeze in some practice time today!

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Singing Tips & Tricks: Our Best Advice from 2012

singerOver the past year, we’ve tackled several of your vocal questions and concerns, from vocal projection to keeping up on your vocal health. Take a look at our best singing articles from the past year here…

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Guitar Tips & Tricks: Our Best Advice from 2012

guitar playerThis week we’re rounding up best of the best! If you missed some of our guitar tips and tricks from the past year, don’t worry. Check out the most popular posts from 2012 here…

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Best Last Minute Gift Ideas for Musicians

Christmas treeStruggling to find the perfect gift for that special someone? For the music-lover on your list, there are tons of goodies out there that can help them deck the halls with riffs, beats and more. Here are a few of our favorite last minute gift ideas for musicians…

Instrument-specific accessories and tools. Think brass or piano polish, a guitar capo, strings or a new set of drum sticks. Consider collecting several accessories and putting together a “musician’s care package.” Although these gifts aren’t the most exciting, they definitely come in handy!

Music inspiration. Most musician knows that listening to all genres and getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to boost creativity and keep things fresh. Try a Pandora subscription, noise cancelling headphones, an iTunes gift certificate, concert tickets or memorabilia from their favorite musician or artist.

Career or hobby helpers. If your musician in mind is interested in recording or mixing, there are tons of programs and computer software available to get them started. Many of these programs can be pretty expensive, though. For those on a budget, check out GarageBand (Mac), Reaper (Windows), and Sequel (Mac and Windows). Related accessories that can come in handy include a digital keyboard, microphone, and extra cables.

Novelty music gifts: Feeling really stuck? There’s always piano briefcases, clarinet earrings or music notes ice trays…

Music lessons. Of course, if your budding musician really wants to get on track, private music lessons are one of the best gifts you can give! Nothing beats the individual attention and feedback students receive working one-on-one with an instructor. Moreover, music lessons are an experience to remember, and make a lasting impact. Young or old, beginner or advanced, learning how to play an instrument is a rewarding and fun pastime. Most people don’t regret taking music lessons – but rather regret not taking them!

Make this holiday season merry and bright, by giving the gift of music. Learn more about our gift certificates here. Cheers!

Photo by hermanturnip

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s… Violin?

We’ve seen our share of crazy music inventions, from instruments made out of vegetables to the Lego Guitar. But making music with garbage? Seems a little far-fetched, until you see this recycled orchestra in action.

The orchestra is part of Sonidos de la Tierra, an organization that runs music workshops and schools in Paraguay, and all of the instruments are made from recycled objects like oil cans, wood scraps and kitchen tools. These instruments really do sound like their true counterparts, giving kids the chance to play music in a community where a real violin isn’t affordable.

Check out the clip below and see the orchestra in action:

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How to Set Up a Drum Set

drum setNew to the drums? Learning how to set up a drum set properly should be your first priority. Read on as Mundelein drum teacher Jonah D. shows you the way…






Before I even touch the drums I have to set up my drum throne.  I adjust the height so that I can lift my legs easily using my thighs.  I start with a height that puts a 90-degree angle at my knees.  I sit higher up, but you can raise or lower the seat to make it comfortable.  Sitting too high or too low will actually impede your ability to play.

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