Unique Gifts for Musicians and Music Lovers

unique giftsNow that the holiday season is in full swing, it’s time to start looking for unique gifts to show the people in your life that you care. Thoughtful gifts that reflect the recipient’s interests are always appreciated, and music fans in particular love gifts that help them feed their passion for music.

Even if you’re not especially musical yourself, shopping for the musicians or music lovers in your life can still be tons of fun! Here is our guide to the quirky, fun, and musical gifts we’d love to unwrap this year. Read more

a plus tips how to write an essay

A+ Tips: How to Write an Essay

how to write an essayDoes your stomach drop every time you hear the words “writing assignment”? It is quite common for students to stress over writing papers, but once you learn more about how to write an essay, you will find that there is a method to the madness. Keep calm and get good grades, by following these six easy steps to writing an essay. Read more

How to Play Double Bass Drums

how to play double bass drumsIf you’re already a solid drummer using a single bass drum kit, double bass can be a great way to add more punch to your sound, and it’s not just for the metal guys. The big, booming sounds of double bass drums are sonic staples in the world of heavy metal and punk, but did you know the technique actually originated in the jazz music of the 1940s and 50s? As you learn more about how to play double bass drums, you’ll find the technique and its history have a lot to offer beyond just hard rock. Read more

Tips for Traveling with Your Instrument

travel with instrumentsWith the holidays approaching, many musicians, music students, and music teachers are starting to make their travel plans. Sure, you’ve got plane tickets and turkey on your mind, but don’t forget about your practice time! Most musicians can easily travel with their instruments with just a little extra preparation, so there’s no need for the holidays to disrupt your music-making.

Can you bring a guitar on a plane? What about a flute? Does your violin need any extra care while traveling? Read on for answers to these questions and more… Read more

Angels & Airwaves Exclusive: Interview with David Kennedy

David KennedyEver wanted to learn guitar with a real rockstar? As we launched our live, on-demand lessons through Google Helpouts this month, we thought it was the perfect time to kick things up a notch and give one lucky guitar player the opportunity of a lifetime – a 30-minute, one-on-one guitar lesson with Angels and Airwaves’ David Kennedy.

We also were about to chat with David about his advice for beginner guitarists and more. Read on for the interview…

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Music Criticism: How To Handle a Critical Audience

how to handle criticismYears ago, I heard my first band would be featured in the local paper and I was so excited to read the article. I hurried home to read it and found that the short blurb was far from complimentary. A public critique like that can make you want to give up. I certainly wanted to hide under my bed for a week!

However, I have learned how to handle criticism and continued to make music that makes me happy. In the time since then, I have been lucky enough to receive both criticism and positive reviews. How sad it would have been if I had quit music over one review!

If you’re struggling to cope with a critique, here’s my advice to deal with music criticism gracefully and even learn from it. Read more

Teacher Spotlight: Performance Anxiety and Motivation

guitarBeginner guitar players often go through the same struggles. Combating stage fright and feeling stuck are common, but working with a teacher who can help you through will certainly help. Below, Portland teacher Lance V. offers his advice…


I recently received this message from one of my readers.  She asks a few questions that gets to the heart of playing an instrument.  Here’s her message and below that is my response.

10 Pinterest Boards Creative Parents Need to Follow Now

Drawing Exchange at the Big Draw, RISD MuseumEstablishing a lifelong love of the arts and music starts with being creative together. Spending an afternoon with your child painting or singing songs are both great ways to foster creativity in your child. You can even use fun, creative projects to educate your child about science, reading, and life.

Pinterest is also a treasure trove of ideas and projects for kids and parents to share. There are so many creative parents doing wonderful things and using Pinterest to share their ideas with the world. If you’re new to Pinterest, or new to parenting, these boards will give you ideas for everything from crafts to mealtime, plus extras for the grown-ups too. Read more

What Music Should You Listen to at Work? [Infographic]

Music is a powerful thing. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of playing an instrument, but it goes even deeper than that. Even simply listening to music can affect your emotions, help improve your memory, boost your immune system, and increase your concentration.

Of course, different types of music can affect your productivity in different ways. Just as you might choose an energetic pop song over a slow classical overture to get you through a tough workout, you’ll want to figure out the best music for your particular profession. Take a look at this cool infographic from Sonos to determine the right music for work:

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Don’t Start Lessons Without Asking This Question

how many lessonsAs a Student Counselor at TakeLessons, I get to talk to lots of new students and help them find the right private teacher for music lessons, academic tutoring, or performing arts. The question I always ask new students to help them plan for success is: Are you ready to commit the time you need to achieve your goals?

When you’re just getting started, thinking about a time-frame for your lessons will help you set goals and plan for success. While there’s no magic number of lessons that is guaranteed to bring you top grades or rock star skills, I have noticed some general trends as I talk with our students. Read more