learn a foreign language

Budget Breakdown: How Much Does it Really Cost to Learn a Foreign Language?

 

learn a foreign language

If you’ve decided to learn a foreign language, there are a number of helpful resources available. Many people want to know the best way to learn a new language, but this can be subjective based on a number of criteria. While learning any new skill requires a time commitment, learning a new language is an investment.

Along with learning styles and geographic limitations, cost is an important factor in selecting a language program. Here is a look at the benefits and the costs of some of the most popular language-learning methods so you can make the best decision based on your budget.

learn a foreign language

There are many schools and academic programs that allow you to learn a foreign language online. There are some free classes available online, as well as language courses for college credit.

Some courses use microphones, audio, and webcams with an instructor to help you practice comprehension and conversation skills. If getting to class is an issue, online classes may be a better option.

Similar to live language lessons, online courses move at a certain pace. If you’re confused by grammar or vocabulary elements, you may struggle as the class continues to advance. Depending on the class format, you may be able to schedule extra sessions with the instructor, or start one-on-one tutoring outside of class at an additional cost.

Interested in online classes? We now offer FREE live classes with our top-rated language teachers. Check out the classes here!


lessons

Online or in-person language lessons with a private tutor offer the advantage of face-to-face instruction.  Depending on your goals and learning style, your teacher may also be able to modify the curriculum or offer a custom lesson plan.

Prices vary based on the lesson duration and the teacher’s rate; there may also be bulk lesson packages available.

While language lessons do require a certain level of commitment, you can find an instructor that fits your price range and your schedule. A language tutor can offer real-time feedback, and (in most cases) adjust the pace of the lessons to accommodate the student.

While there may not be many language teachers in your area, you can take online lessons and connect with a teacher using platforms like Skype.


learn a foreign language

Many language centers, community/cultural centers, and university extension programs offer group lessons. The price varies depending on the reputation of the school, as well as the size of the classes themselves. A community class might have cheaper options, while a well-known university extension program will be a bit pricier. Besides the difference in price, take your learning style into account. If you learn better in a smaller environment, it might be worth the extra cost. You may also be able to get a better feel for the program by speaking with a representative or reading a course syllabus prior to signing up for classes.

Group lessons offer the benefit of face-to-face accessibility with an instructor. If you have questions or are confused about a topic, you can ask your teacher for help. Keep in mind, however, that teaching styles vary, and some students respond better than others to certain teaching methods.

When it comes to group classes, remember that individuals learn at different speeds. If you fall behind, you’ll still be expected to continue on at a certain pace. On the other hand, if you learn quickly or have prior experience with a language, you may be bored with repetitive lessons.


learn a foreign language

There are several computer programs and software packages that can help you learn a foreign language. These programs include casual game-like apps for smartphones and tablets, free online courses, and fully-loaded computer programs that include dictionaries, flash cards and other traditional materials. While most programs charge a fee, many offer a free trial so you can get a feel for what to expect before you purchase the entire program.

Language-learning programs are effective if you want to learn from home at your own pace. Here’s a look at some of the most popular programs.

Rosetta Stone

  • Price: $229
  • 30+ languages offered
  • CD-Rom and downloadable versions teach you to speak, read, write, and think in your new language on the go via mobile devices or at home on your PC
  • Access to a language-learning community with live tutoring sessions where you can practice speaking with a live coach.
  • Try before you buy: Rosetta Stone offers a free demo so you can try out the entire first level of the program before purchasing.

Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known, widely used language-learning programs. “We pioneered language learning through technology and have helped people learn to speak new languages for over 20 years,” Rosetta Stone creators say. “Unlike the rest of the market, translation is only part of our teaching method. We use a variety of approaches, including immersion, in our instruction, which helps different learners achieve their language learning goals in a personal, natural way.”

Transparent Language Online

  • Price: $199.99
  • Now available in over 100 languages including ESL for speakers of 27 different languages
  • Transparent Langauge Online lets learners dictate their own experience by learning: what they want, how they want, and when they want.
  • Variety of resources including flash cards and alphabet primers

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning a language,” says Senior Vice President Chuck McGonagle. “We continually update and evolve Transparent Language Online to provide new content and features, while also incorporating feedback we’ve received from learners.”


immersion

Unlike traditional language courses, traveling to another country to learn a foreign language involves several price variables. First, consider basic travel expenses, and transportation for the duration of your stay. The price of housing will also vary depending on if you’re traveling as an individual or with a group.

Of course, there’s the additional cost of classes, whether in a group setting or one-on-one tutoring. These fees do not cover food, travel insurance, shopping/spending money, and other incidentals.

Since intensive language lessons generally run for a few weeks to several months, these programs also require a time commitment. Despite the time and money, however, immersion forces you to practice your language skills daily in real-life situations, which makes it one of the best ways to learn a foreign language as you will be forced to use the language daily in real-life situations.

“Naturally, the cost of traveling to another country to study a language varies widely,” says Jessica Korteman from Notes of Nomads. “If I was to give an estimate of a month-long stay in Tokyo, I’d give the ballpark figure of 300,000 yen, or very roughly, $3,000 plus airfare to/from your home country. This figure includes enrollment at a reputable institution (around 100,000 yen or $1000), accommodations (around 50,000 yen or $500 for a room in a share house), visa/insurance (15,000 yen or $150), food/living expenses (around 70,000 yen or $700), sightseeing/leisure (around 50,000 yen or $500) and miscellaneous costs, such as SIM/data (around 15,000 yen or $150).”

Traveling to another country is an unforgettable opportunity, and immersion is one of the most powerful ways to learn proficiency and in-depth of vocabulary. If you have the time and money to invest in a study abroad or immersion program, definitely do your research and determine if it’s a feasible option.

See Also: Why Study Abroad is More than a Vacation

If you want to learn a foreign language, there are a number of methods to choose from and several things to consider. In some cases, a combination of learning tools, like lessons and a software program for example, may be the best approach.

There are several benefits to learning a new language, so no matter which method you choose, feel good about your decision to enhance and improve your life.

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50 Best Audition Songs for Musical Theater (for Male & Female Singers)

50 Best Audition Songs for Musical Theatre for Females and Males to SingLooking for recommendations for musical theatre audition songs that are sure to impress?

If you have a musical theatre audition coming up, or you just like listening to musical songs, you’ve come to the right place!

For starters, check out the video below from our expert vocal coach Betsy. In it, she shares which audition songs are the best (and worst) for each voice type and role.

50 Musical Theatre Audition Songs

Below, we’ve compiled some of the best musical theatre audition songs to sing, broken down by voice type (such as, alto audition songs). Check out this comprehensive list of songs from musicals and then read on for tips to ace your audition!

Musical 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

Alto Audition Songs:

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

RELATED: How to Sing High Notes

Musical 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

Good 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

SEE ALSO: How to Sing Better Instantly

More Musical Theatre 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 Theatre Auditions

Once you’ve picked your perfect musical theatre audition song, keep the following tips in mind to sing better and make a good 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 good musical songs out there, but the list above includes many songs that are appropriate to sing for contemporary musical theatre auditions today.

If you would like a professional’s guidance as you learn how to sing any of these songs from musicals, feel free to schedule a singing lesson today!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing and acting 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, 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!

The 25 Best Karaoke Songs for Women

Karaoke Songs for WomenWant to be the star of your next karaoke night? We’ve got you covered. In this article, voice teacher Elaina R. shares 25 recommendations of karaoke songs for women.

Have you ever noticed that guys like Bruno Mars, Sam Smith, and Adam Levine sing so high that barely any other guys can hit the same notes? What about the fact that female artists like Sia, Ariana Grande, and Katy Perry leave women in the same painful situation?

You aren’t imagining things; the popular music industry has been overrun by high voices ever since pop was invented. It’s nearly impossible for normal people (without digital enhancement) to sing lots of popular songs. In fact, many of the original singers of these songs can’t reliably belt out those high notes night after night – it just isn’t healthy.

This is why if you’re a female vocalist, instead of attempting to screech out “Chandelier” at your next karaoke session, you might want to consider sticking with Justin Bieber instead. Keep reading to find out more.

Why Songs by Guys Make Great Female Karaoke Songs

In my experience, the average woman can belt up to about a G4 or an A4 before things start getting uncomfortable (if I just lost you, check out this article on voice types). I’m a professional singer and I can only comfortably belt up to a C#5 or D5.

In contrast, here are a few of the belted high notes in some popular songs with female singers:

Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” (D5)
Katy Perry’s “Firework” (D#5)
Sia’s “Chandelier” (F5)
Ariana Grande’s “Problem” (G#5)

These notes are a fifth to an octave above what most women are capable of belting. They’re so high in fact, that a trained singer like me can’t belt most of them! It’s physically impossible for most women to sing these songs without straining their vocal cords or flipping up into head voice.

Now let’s take a look at some of the high belted notes in popular songs by male artists.

OMI’s “Cheerleader” (E4)
Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” (F4)
Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” (G#4)
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” (D5)

Aside from the Bruno Mars song, all of those have belted high notes that most women can comfortably handle. And although you might expect the songs to go too low for women, they usually don’t. The lowest note in the four songs listed above is a momentary C#3 in “Shut Up and Dance”. Some women can sing down there, but if you can’t, it’s easy enough to substitute a higher note that fits in the chord (one safe tactic is to simply stay on the previous note).

Have I convinced you? If so, consider some of these hits next time you go to a karaoke bar.

25 Karaoke Songs for Women (Originally By Guys)

1. “The Lazy Song” – Bruno Mars
2. “Forget You” – Cee Lo Green
3. “Photograph” – Ed Sheeran
4. “Trap Queen” – Fetty Wap
5. “Firestone” – Kygo ft. Conrad Sewell
6. “Hold Back the River” – James Bay
7. “Let It Go” – James Bay
8. “Want To Want Me” – Jason Derulo
9. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
10. “Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber
11. “Years & Years” – King
12. “Are You With Me” – Lost Frequencies
13. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
14. “Sugar” – Maroon 5
15. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson
16. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
17. “Avicii” – The Nights
18. “Cheerleader” – OMI
19. “Hey Ya” – OutKast
20. “Happy” – Pharell Williams
21. “I’m Not The Only One” – Sam Smith
22. “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
23. “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
24. “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
25. “Earned It” – The Weeknd

If you’ve tried any of these hits at a recent karaoke night, leave a comment below and let us know how it went. Want to really take the audience by storm at your next karaoke event? Check out the online karaoke classes at TakeLessons Live. Try as many classes as you’d like free for 30 days!

Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

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10 Incredible German Festivals You Can’t Miss

10 Incredible German Festivals You Can't MissGermany is a fun place to visit because of its fair share of holidays and festivals. In this article, teacher KeriAnne N. J. will tell you about 10 festivals in Germany that’ll make you want to pack your bags and travel there soon…

 

“Life is a festival only to the wise.” Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote.

Germany certainly seems to understand how to throw a fantastic festival! Over 10,000 festivals are hosted in Germany in a single year alone. It’s one of the greatest places to explore some of the world’s largest and strangest festivals.

From the exciting celebrations of Karneval, to the acclaimed Munich Opera Festival, to the spectacular lights of the Weihnachtsmarkts (Christmas Market) – there’s always something in Germany’s festivities calendar to suit interests and tastes of all kinds. Let’s take a look at these 10 incredible German festivals…


1) Karneval (Mid-February)

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Karneval begins in the 40 day period before Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Typically, Karneval is a time to party and enjoy music, food, and dance. Costume balls, masks, masquerade balls, parades, and other such festivities take place throughout the country, much like our Mardi Gras festival here in the United States or Carnaval do Brasil in Brazil.

The festivals widely vary, according to each towns’ local traditions. Karneval is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back to the 13th century. Carnevale di Venezia, the original celebration originating in Venice, eventually spread north to European countries, such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and even France.

Three Parts of Celebration

In Germany, there are three different parts to the celebration; they include: Karneval, Fasching, and Fastnacht. Each are part of the pre-Lenten observance, and each has its own unique tradition that reflects the different regions, customs, and cities of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Generally speaking, Karneval is used to represent the area known as the Rhenish, or Rhineland. It’s the celebration of carnival in the northwest region of Germany. Fasching represents the celebrations in Austria and South Germany.

The biggest festival day is the Rose Monday parade. In northern Germany, Braunschweig holds one of the largest parades out of any other cities in all of Germany. This parade dates back to 1293. Fastnacht represents the festivities in the Swabian and Swiss regions of northern Europe.

*For more information about Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht, click here.


2) Munich Ballet Festival (Early April)

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Munich Ballet Festival is perhaps one of the busiest times of the year for the Bavarian State Ballet (Bayerische Staatsballett).

This ballet company, along with other international ballet companies, comes together to perform in week-long performances that premiere new works. These works are created by some of the world’s most modern and innovative choreographers, and contemporary works are created for this special ballet festival in mind.

This festival of ballet has recently become one of the most prestigious events in all of Europe, drawing visitors from all across Europe and beyond. Guest performers and highly-skilled dancers grace the stage in new world premieres, which are often choreographed by some of the most elite and famous choreographers from around the globe.

*For more information about the Munich Ballet Festival, click here.


3) Thuringia Bach Festival (April – May)

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Thuringia Bach Festival (Thueringer Bachwochen) specializes in the baroque music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Various concerts are performed at authentic sites around Thuringia. This music festival is not only enticing to music lovers, but to tourists alike. The Bach festival includes a wide variety of concerts during the festival; solo organ concerts, Bach Cantatas sung by professional choruses from all around Germany, professional vocal soloists, chamber ensembles, and solo instrumentalists.

The festival features international Baroque music superstars, such as soprano singers Emma Kirkby and Dorothee Mields. Other Baroque solo instrumentalists, such as violinist Bjarte Eike, violoncellist Harriet Krijgh, and pianist Magda Amara, take the stage in glorious performances of Bach’s greatest works.

Audiences enjoy observing and listening to musical instruments in their original, well-tempered tuning in Bach’s time. Concerts are held at some of the most beautiful and ornate churches in all of Germany, including Thomaskirche and Traukirche.

*For more information about performances and concerts at authentic venues, click here.


4) International Dixieland Festival, Dresden (Mid-May)

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The International Dixieland Festival in Dresden boasts over 350 Dixieland jazz musicians yearly.

Visitors and musicians alike enjoy the open air events held on the Elbe River. Patrons enjoy catching the Dixie Parade and watching street performers. Performers from all around the world perform for sold-out audiences as they enjoy outdoor performance venues, such as German riverboat tours. Their music lineup includes dixieland, jazz, boogie woogie, and bigbands.

This festival offers concert versions of songs played by solo musicians, performances for children, and events specially designed with families in mind. Musicians offer live entertainment in a fun, festive, and laid-back environment. Musicians also like to wear costumes in order to engage the listeners, adding to the festive atmosphere.

*For more information about performances and various events visit, click here.


5. Rhein in Flammen (May – September)

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Rhein in Flammen (Rhine in Flames) is a spectacular sight of fireworks illuminating the vineyards and castles along the banks of the Rhine River.

Locations in Germany include Bonn, Koblenz, Oberwesel, St. Goarshausen, and Rüdesheim. Hop aboard a brightly illuminated boat to view the spectacular pyrotechnic show along the Rhine. Up and down the shore are live concerts, outdoor fairgrounds with rides and games for the entire family, drinks, food, and much more entertainment and nourishment. Musical performances include the genres of acoustic rock, country rock, American folk, musical comedy, bossa nova, modern jazz, Deutsch pop, and swing jazz.

*For a list of events, locations, and musical entertainment, click here.


6) Rock am Ring and Rock im Park (June)

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Rock am Ring and Rock im Park (Rock in the Ring and Rock in the Park) are two of the largest rock festivals in the world, with crowds reaching 160,000 people annually.

These festivals take place simultaneously over the course of three days in both Nürberg and Nuremberg. Many of the performing artists appear at both venues, performing to vastly large audiences. International artists camp out in tents at each venue, making for hundreds of campsites at each venue.

Superstar rock musicians, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Korn, Deftones, Black Sabbath, and many others perform to audiences made up of people from around the globe. People visit Germany solely for this event and they enjoy new bands as well as popular favorites.

*Check out the list of artists and performing lineups here and here.


7) Munich Opera Festival (June – July)

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The Munich Opera Festival is held yearly at the Bayerische Staatsoper Haus (Bavarian State Opera House) in Munich.

The Munich Opera Festival was founded almost 140 years ago. It’s one of the oldest and most comprehensive opera festivals in the world today. The Opernfestspiele (Opera Festival) consists of all of the previously-staged operas performed during the past year and always concludes with an opera by Richard Wagner, such as Die Walkure or Gotterdammerung.

Fan favorites, including Die Zauberflote, Il Trovatore, and Don Giovanni, are just some of the operas that have been performed at past festivals. Professional opera singers grace the stage in fully-costumed staged productions with elaborate stage sets. Opera soloists from around the world join the productions to sing some of the grandest music ever written and entertain audiences of all ages.

Here’s a fun fact about Munich: The Weihenstephaner Brewery has been operating since 1040, making it the world’s oldest brewery. For more facts like this, have a look at our article 50+ Fun Facts About Germany You Didn’t Know.

*For performance schedules and ticket information, click here.


8. Festival-Mediaval (September)

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The Festival-Mediaval is a reenactment of the medieval period in living history.

The festival takes place annually in Selb and includes things like performances of medieval music, witches, beggars, theatre troupes, a medieval market with vendors, a fire show, and many people in medieval costumes roaming the fairgrounds. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at archery, now’s your chance.

The festival also offers workshops in metal working, craftsman wares, dancing, and early Renaissance musical instruments. Festivities included at the medieval fair are food, merchandise, jousting, and medieval music and games. Bands and musicians from all around the world play at this festival and delight audiences of all ages with their medieval and Renaissance-inspired music. The festival holds a medieval music concert at the Christuskirche (Christ Church) at the end of the festival.

*For more information on days and times of events daily, click here.


9. Oktoberfest (September – October)

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Oktoberfest is a 15-day-long festival celebrating the harvest of Bavarian beers, wines, and food.

Oktoberfest is one of Germany’s most famous festivities and one of the world’s largest fairs. Over six million people come to celebrate the harvest of beer in order to drink, eat tasty pretzels and German sausages, and engage in general festivities. Music performances by internationally-recognized accordion players delight audiences of all ages.

Concerts, accordion competitions, craft and ware vendors, traditional folk dancing, German music, German foods, and German beers all make for an enormously fun and festive annual event. The German biergartens (beer gardens) make for a colorful and festive atmosphere for people to enjoy celebrating the delicious culture of Germany.

If you want to be prepared for Oktoberfest, including knowing how to order beverages, find a seat, and ask for help, check out our article on 20 Useful German Phrases for Oktoberfest.

*For more information about Oktoberfest festivities, click here.


10. Weihnachtsmarkts/Christmas Markets (December)

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Weihnachtsmarkts are magical Christmas Markets that open during the Advent season all over Germany.

Almost every German village and city has it’s own version of these special Christmas markets. Often, these markets give tourists and locals a reason to brace the chilly weather and come out to enjoy food, fun, and festive vibes. Visitors can shop and browse for the perfect Christmas gift at the local vendors, many of whom sell handcrafted wares, toys, ceramics, and jewelry.

A bright Ferris wheel and some cheery hot mulled wine, called glühwein, are just the things to get you into the holiday spirit. Hot chestnuts and tasty pastries made from local vendors make for an unforgettable and delicious adventure. These Christmas markets have become so popular that other countries have started celebrating their own Christmas markets annually. Some of the biggest markets are in Munich, Berlin, Nuremberg, Munster, Lubeck, Heidelberg and Stuttgart.

Here’s an interesting fact: The tradition of the Christmas tree started in Germany during the Renaissance. It was typically decorated with apples, nuts, and other foods. For more facts like this, check out our article on 15+ Things You Didn’t Know Were Invented in Germany.

*For more information, contact each cities’ website for dates and locations.


Conclusion

Have you started packing your bags yet? If you’re planning on visiting Germany at any time, you have no excuse not to attend one of these German festivals! Just make sure that you’re familiar with the language, at least on a basic level. To start learning travel phrases, you can look at our article 10 Must-Know German Expressions for Traveling Abroad.

If you’re interested in learning more German, scheduling lessons with a private German teacher would be the best option. You can even schedule online German lessons if that’s more convenient for you. There are many ways to learn a new language, but just remember no matter what you choose – consistent practice is key. Study a little German everyday and soon you’ll know more than you did before. Happy learning!

 

Do any of these festivals look interesting to you? Have you been to any of them? Comment below with your thoughts!

KeriAnne NJPost Author: KeriAnne N.J.
KeriAnne teaches classical piano, opera voice, musical theater, and more in Brandon, FL and through online classes. She received a bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance at CSU Fullerton and has been teaching for about 20 years. Learn more about KeriAnne here!

 

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10 Cool Facts About Germany in the Wintertime

10 Cool Facts About Germany in the WintertimeThinking about visiting Germany in the winter? Prepare for lots of fun seasonal events and cultural nuances! In this article, overseas traveler and language teacher Carol Beth L. shares 10 cool facts about Germany that are unique to the wintertime…

 

Perhaps you’re already familiar with what Germany has to offer; delicious beers, a rich history, and fun holidays. But did you know that Germany offers different activities and traditions in the wintertime? These are experiences that you can’t get during the summer, fall, or spring seasons. If you’re looking to travel to Germany, consider the following reasons why winter in Germany is a great time to go!


1) Greetings

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In the wintertime, you’ll be greeted differently by passersby on the street. If you’re there on Christmas, the traditional Christmas greeting is “Froehiliche Weihnachten.” The traditional New Year’s Greeting is “Frohes neues Jahr.” This is the standard way to say it, but be prepared for regional variations depending on exactly where you plan to visit. For instance, “Frohes neues Jahr” might become “Gesundes neues Jahr,” or “Prosit neue Jahr.”


2) Trees

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Be prepared to see a Christmas tree or two! Christmas trees were first associated with Germany. They’re said to have caught on after they proved resistance to fire when Father Boniface was preaching to the German tribes. The spruce became associated with the tree of life and with life in general in the religious plays performed for peasants in medieval times. Christmas trees were un-decorated early on; decorations are said to have begun when Martin Luther placed lit candles on his Christmas tree, representing stars in the sky.


3) Markets

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Following the Christmas theme, you’ll want to visit a Christmas market! The first markets began in 1393 to provide basic supplies, but gradually became more festive in-line with seasonal celebrations. Now, most large cities and many smaller ones host a market of their own.

Look out for nativity scenes, nutcrackers, toys, ornaments, and seasonal foods such as dried plums, mulled wine, gingerbread, and bratwurst. If you’re looking for tree ornaments, look out especially for a glass pickle ornament. This is traditionally the last ornament placed on the tree late on Christmas Eve, and an extra present goes to the person who finds it.


4) Treats

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Even if you don’t visit a Christmas market, keep an eye open for some of the seasonal treats mentioned above. Gingerbread houses were first invented in Germany and come up in some of their traditional stories (think Hansel & Gretel, and the later opera by Humperdinck of the same name). Local bakeries may also carry stollen, and other treats may be available in local coffee shops, restaurants, and supermarkets.


5) Calendars

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In addition to the Christmas tree, Germany also pioneered the Advent calendar, with its 24 doors with a treat and some inspiring image behind each one. If you’re in or near Gengenbach during Advent, check out their town hall. It has, for some years now, effectively made itself the largest Advent calendar in the world, with its 24 windows each opening into a different room with a different scene.


6) Christmas Day

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Expect Santa to come a little bit early during winter in Germany! St. Nicholas comes on December 6th in Germany, not on Christmas Day. Here’s another fun bit – he leaves candy in children’s shoes. That’s not to say there won’t still be plenty of Christmas fun to be had on December 25th!


7) Churches

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If you like celebrating Christmas in a religious fashion, try attending a Christmas Eve service at Berliner Dom. If you’re not particularly religious, or if you just like classical music, try the Church of Our Lady in Munich, which has holiday music and concerts. Munich also hosts a Christmas Village in its Royal Residence in addition to the Tollwood Winter Festival.


8) Events

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Though there are many traditions centered around Christmas, there’s still lots of fun to be had after Christmas. For New Year’s, look up the local public New Year’s festivities. For example, if you’re in Berlin, try showing up at Brandenberg Gate for an open air party. There are New Year’s parties going on all over the place!


9) Skiing

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Germany is a wonderful place to ski! The snow is thick and lush in the mountains during wintertime. Choice locations include the German Alps and the Black Forest in south and southwest Germany. Most ski resorts are centered around southern Germany, with a few scattered through eastern and central Germany. Be sure to check around for the best prices on equipment and lodging before you settle on a place.


10) Karneval

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If you’re in Germany in late winter, look for Karneval celebrations. These are a bit akin to Mardi Gras festivals. Like Mardi Gras festivals, Karneval celebrations are a chance for some fun before the season of lent begins. Zany costumes, loads of good food, and thousands of happy people are what you’ll experience at Karneval celebrations.


Now you know that there’s a LOT to do during winter in Germany. Before you pack your bags and go, be sure to look at German expressions for traveling abroad. You don’t have to know the entire language to have a good trip, so why not know the basics? If you’re looking to learn more German, however, a private German instructor is the best way to develop a deep understanding of the language. Keep up the learning and don’t be afraid to search for help!

 

Do any of these facts make you want to visit Germany in the wintertime? Yes or no, comment below!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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a woman playing the piano with proper piano hand position

3 Piano Hand Position Exercises for Beginners

a woman playing the piano with proper piano hand position

One of the keys to successful piano playing is proper hand placement. Below, piano teacher Ryan C. shares three fun exercises beginners can do to improve their piano hand position…

When trying to teach beginner students the proper piano hand position, I’ve often found that telling them to “move this finger in such and such a way” is a fairly challenging task.

This is especially true if they haven’t developed finger independence through other means. It very quickly becomes necessary to relate finger and hand shape to things that everyone can do.

The following exercises are just that – things that everyone, even new pianists or musicians, can easily do.

In fact, the knowledge of what proper piano hand position should look like is something that even non-pianists can master in a very short amount of time.

However, mastering the actual physicality of automatically having your hand take a certain shape can take some time.

Below are a few exercises that beginning piano students can use to establish great piano hand position.

When doing these exercises, always be aware of any tension in your hand, and remember that the first knuckle of each finger (closest to the finger tip) should be firm yet bent, not collapsed and straight.

1. Play Catch

Depending on the age of the student and his or her respective hand-sizes, this exercise will work best with a ping-pong ball or a tennis ball.

  • Have a friend lob the ball at you in an arch or simply bounce the ball off a wall yourself and then catch it.
  • Notice what your fingers do when you catch the ball – they should curve around the top portion of the ball, but not all the way around it.
  • Emulate this hand position when you play piano.

 2. Meet Someone New

This is a great exercise for a student of any age, but will work best with a partner.

  • Stick out your hand as though you were going to give someone a hand-shake (or give a real hand-shake if possible).
  • After grasping your partner’s hand and holding it for about a second, let go of it while maintaining the position held in your hand.
  • Flip your hand so your palm is down.
  • Voila! – The result should be a fairly solid hand position that features curved fingers, firm knuckles, and a “C” shape between the thumb and index finger.

See Also: Finger Exercises to Increase Speed

3. Take A Drink of Water 

This exercise is very, very simple, as there is no partner necessary. Please note that glasses should be sized according to student’s age / hand size.

  • Simply have your student grab a glass of their favorite beverage.
  • Ask your student about the shape of their hand while they hold the glass. (Some students may lift their pinkies or other fingers, but ask them to experiment around with what feels most comfortable for their hand.)
  • Hold the glass from the opposite side, and instruct your student to let go of it but keep their hand in the same shape it was in.
  • Then have your student flip his or her hand so his or her palm is down and place it on the piano keys.
  • Similar to the “Meet Someone New” exercise, this should result in a piano hand position that’s pretty close to a proper one. Pay close attention to the curvature of the fingers as well as the distance between the thumb and index finger on this exercise.

As always with piano hand position exercises, remember that the goal is two parts. First and foremost, a lack of tension. The hand should never feel tense when doing closed-hand position shapes like we are doing.

Secondly, the knuckles closest to the finger-tips should be firm and bent, not floppy.

Thank you so much for reading this article! I hope that this will give you some practical ways to get started on your journey toward piano hand position mastery.

Photo via Brian Richardson

Post Author: Ryan C.
Ryan C. teaches piano, ear training, and music theory. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a B.M. in piano performance. Learn more about Ryan here!

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benefits of listening to classical music

10 Shocking Benefits of Listening to Classical Music [Infographic]

benefits of listening to classical music

Chances are you’ve heard that there are several benefits of listening to classical music. But is there any actual truth behind this statement? According to numerous studies, there absolutely is.

There are a ton of brainy benefits one derives from listening to classical music. From pain management to improved sleep quality, listening to classical music has both mental and physical benefits.

In fact, simply listening to classical music as background noise can have a significant impact on your mood, productivity, and creativity.

I guess those old guys were really onto something, huh.

Below are some surprising benefits of listening to classical music backed by actual science.

benefits of listening to classical music

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10 Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

1. Decreases blood pressure

Want to keep your heart healthy? According to an Oxford University study, listening to classical music can help reduce one’s blood pressure.

In the study, researchers played participants different styles of music, including rap, pop, techno, and classical.

Classical music was effective at lowering participant’s blood pressure, while rap, pop, and techno actually raised blood pressure.

2. Boosts memory

Did you know that listening to Mozart can actually help improve your memory? According to a study, people who listened to Mozart’s music showed an increase in brain wave activity that’s linked directly to memory.

So next time you have to memorize a big speech or presentation, put on some Mozart while you practice.

3. Sparks creativity

To get your creative juices flowing, listen to some classical music. While listening to classical music won’t instantly make you creative, it will help put into a more creative mindset.

Next time you need to brainstorm, try listening to some Mozart or Bach to get your mind thinking outside the box.

4. Reduces stress levels

If you’re feeling particularly stressed, listen to some classical tunes. A study found that pregnant women who listened to classical music were less likely to feel stressed throughout their pregnancy.

Scientists claim that classical music’s tempo is similar to the human heart, which eases both anxiety and depression.

5. Supercharges brainpower

Do you have a big test or project coming up? Boost your brainpower by listening to some classical music.

In a study, French researchers found that students who listened to a lecture in which classical music was played in the background scored better on a test compared to other students.

6. Fights depression

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, ditch the donuts and opt for some classical music instead.

Several studies have proven that classical music helps relieve depression and melancholy.

In fact, a study from Mexico discovered that listening to classical music can help ease symptoms of depression.

7. Puts you to sleep

Do you toss and turn for hours before finally falling asleep? Rather than squeeze in another episode of Games of Thrones or New Girl, listen to classical music.

According to a study of people with sleep issues, listening to classical music for just 45 minutes prior to bed can help improve sleep quality.

8. Relieves pain

Instead of reaching for another Tylenol, you might want to consider playing a Bach or Beethoven playlist. Multiple studies have shown that listening to classical music can help relieve pain.

According to researchers in London, patients listening to classical music used significantly less pain medication.

9. Makes you happy

Want to get out of that bad mood you’re in? Listening to classical music can help increase dopamine secretion, which activates the brain’s reward and pleasure center.

In fact, a 2013 study found that music can help put people in a better mood.

10. Improves productivity

It’s a Monday morning and you can’t seem to get it together. To help boost productivity, listen to some classical music.

A series of studies have proven that music makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland found that Baroque classical music in the reading room can help improve radiologists’ efficiency and accuracy.

Give it a Try!

While classical music can’t raise your IQ 10 points, there are a ton of benefits of listening to classical music. Not sure where to start? Our friends at Merriam Music put together a great beginner’s guide here.

Whether you need to cram for an important presentation or you simply want a good night’s sleep, classical music can help. But Don’t just take our word for it. Try it out for yourself and let us know what benefits of listening to classical music you experience!

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10 Fantastic Reasons to Learn Violin Online

learn violin online

When it comes to learning violin there are several different options. While in-person lessons are great for some, have you considered learning violin online? From violin tutorials to online lessons, Naomi Cherie S. breaks down 10 reasons you may want to learn violin online…

A lot of non-musicians are surprised when I tell them that I offer violin classes online via video chat. At first, they don’t know what to make of it, but when I explain that violin lessons online offer all the basics and benefits of in-person lessons, they understand that online lessons are a fantastic, convenient teaching method.

With modern technology and a good internet connection, I can connect with my students at the click of a button. I can have them position their camera so that I can see their technique and form, and I can listen for out-of-tune notes and imperfections, just like I can in person. With our fast-paced society and rapidly changing times, it’s no wonder so many students are learning violin online.

Here are 10 reasons why you should take violin lessons online!

1. You Can Learn in Your PJ’s

learn violin online

This is everyone’s favorite work-from-home perk! When you choose to learn violin online, you can take lessons from the comfort of your home, and maybe even in your pajamas (if you so choose).

I encourage students to set up a little corner in their home as their practice zone. Whether it’s a corner of your bedroom, or your living room or study, pick an area where you feel relaxed and can concentrate.

In your practice space, you should always have your violin out and ready to go, a chair (perhaps with a comfy cushion), a music stand, and all of your music books and accessories (metronome, pencil, tuner, etc.)

Make sure your area is well lit, quiet, and distraction free, and consider adding things that make you happy, like artwork, plants, and inspiration.

2. Distance is Not an Obstacle

learn violin online

There are two main ways you can use the Internet to learn violin online. Some prefer to learn through articles, videos, and tutorials, while others work better with an instructor and choose to sign up for lessons. Having a qualified violin instructor can accelerate your progress by leaps and bounds.

One of the biggest advantages of taking violin classes online is that distance is not an obstacle. If you find a teacher you’d like to work with who doesn’t live in your area, you can still work with this teacher through online lessons. Thanks to the internet, you can learn from someone in New York, Los Angeles, or Kalamazoo!

3. Make Your Own Schedule

learn violin online

One of the biggest challenges I face with my in-person students is scheduling. I find that it’s especially hard for my adult students who have full-time careers and families, or my high school students with lots extracurricular activities to consistently make it to their lessons. Learning violin online gives you the freedom to fit music lessons into your busy lifestyle.

Whether it’s squeezing in an online violin lesson on your lunch break or fitting in some late-night tutorials and practice, learning violin online lets you fit lessons around your schedule.

4. Skip Traffic

learn violin online

If you live in a big city like LA or Houston, you know how annoying it can be to sit in traffic for an hour or more after work. Since lessons generally take place after work or school, there’s a good chance you’ll get stuck in traffic on the way to or from your lesson.

Save your time, frustration, and gas money! Use the time you would have spent sitting in traffic to practice and perfect your evolving violin skills!

5. Learn on a Budget

learn violin online

I’ve heard it many times over the years: “I can’t take lessons anymore because I can’t afford it right now.” Whether you’re in-between jobs, are a struggling student, or have a family to take care of, it’s an unfortunate reality that many of us put our passions, hobbies, and dreams aside due to lack of money. I have worked with many students who have put off learning violin since they were children because they’ve simply never been in the financial position to find a teacher.

If you’re passionate about music and have a strong desire to learn an instrument, don’t let not having a teacher stop you. In the age of the internet, there are countless resources for musicians! With a quick search, you can find online violin tutorials, charts, exercises, and more. With lots of practice, motivation, and guidance from these tutorials, you can learn on your own, or at least give yourself a head start until you’re in the position to hire a teacher.

More: Budgeting for Violin Lessons: How Much Do Violins Cost for Kids?

6. Embrace Technology

learn violin online

A few decades ago, learning an instrument online may have been a challenge, but with today’s technology, this type of learning is very accessible.

If you want to learn violin online, you’ll need a violin and a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone with an internet connection. If you don’t have these tools at home, check your local library for some resources, or check a used electronics shop or eBay where you can find deals on refurbished computers.

If you plan on doing lessons online, you’ll need a computer with a webcam that can render decent quality images (most webcams made within the last five years should do the trick) since your violin teacher will need to get a clear look at the way your fingers are going down on the strings, and your posture, bow hold, and overall form.

Set up for your lessons in a well-lit area where you have a stand or a table where you can position your device so that your teacher can give you the best feedback. Your teacher will most likely ask you to sign up for a free chat site such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Sites like these make it super easy to set up your account, and you can get online and chatting with your teacher within a few minutes.

7. Learn at Your Own Pace

learn violin online

Another advantage to learning through online tutorials, videos, and articles is that you can learn at your own pace. Everyone, whether old or young, learns at a different pace. Some people pick up certain concepts quickly, while others take a little more time.

As you get older, you’re more aware of which learning style suits you. As a result, you may want to learn on your own, online, so you can work at your own pace. Maybe you’re busy with work and don’t have much time to practice, but you still want to learn violin on the side. Maybe you don’t want to deal with the pressure of having to report back to a teacher with a new song or concept each week because you simply don’t have the time to practice consistently.

Don’t get me wrong, as a teacher, I always encourage my students to practice as often as they can, and I always stress that consistency is a major factor in learning, but I know it’s not realistic for everyone. Although it takes some self-discipline, learning online gives you the freedom to learn what you want, when you want.

8. Access at Your Fingertips

learn violin online

Maybe you stayed up too late last night, had a rough day at school or work, or you just aren’t feeling it. Let’s face it, music is a feeling and you’re not always in the mood. Just because your lesson is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday doesn’t always mean your brain is on board every single week.

In music, off days or “bad playing days” happen, and just like “bad hair days,” they’re often inexplicable and unavoidable. When you learn violin online, access is key. Maybe you were having one of those “in one ear, out the other ear” moments with your teacher this week. Lucky for you, with the click of a button, you can look up some online tutorials with charts and visuals.

Curious about how your bow hold should look? Click over to another tab and open a separate tutorial. While most lessons take place once a week, the internet is there for you 24-7 and is great tool to help you access information quickly.

9. You’re in Control

(Pause, Fast Forward, Rewind!)

learn violin online

I’m not going to lie to you: learning a musical instrument can be difficult, and I’ve been told by many that they consider the violin one of the harder instruments to master. Without any buttons, keys, or frets to tell you where to put your fingers, you’re relying solely on muscle memory and your ears to get the notes in tune.

It can take a lot of time and finesse to get a stringed/bowed instrument to make sounds that are pleasing to the ears. Sometimes it requires learning a technique or concept several times before it sticks. Often when you’re working with a teacher, there’s a lot of new information to take in, and unless you have a great memory, you may not remember everything you learned that day (or two or three days later when you finally get around to practicing).

Learning online or using online resources as supplemental tools allows you to fast forward and rewind (for those of us who grew up in the VHS/cassette tape era).

“You can replay the lesson over and over,” says Beth Blackerby from violinlab.com. “You can catch all kinds of information you missed the first time around.” You can go over a specific part in a tutorial video 20 times if you need to, and you can read and reference an article again and again until the concepts make sense.

10. Avoid Bad Weather

(and Other Unforeseen Circumstances)

learn violin online

If you live in Seattle where it’s rainy all the time, or get snowed-in on the mountains of Colorado and don’t want to venture out into the cold, online lessons are the perfect alternative. Online lessons are also ideal for people like me who live in very hot states (Texas) and don’t want to trek across town in the hot, humid weather.

Online lessons aren’t just more convenient during times of inclement weather, they’re very beneficial in a lot of different situations. Violin lessons online help those with limited transportation, those that live in rural areas, and families with multiple kids with various extracurricular activities.

I hope this list gets you excited about learning violin online! Music is a life force for many and can inspire and motivate you in ways you never thought possible. Don’t ever let the flame of your musical passion go out, and don’t let a blizzard, rain storm, lack of time, money, or transportation stand in the way of your goals. Best of luck on your musical journey!

Interested in taking violin lessons online? Find a teacher, today! 

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin online in Austin, TX. She’s a classically-trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. She works with all ages and has been teaching for over 14 years. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

Photo by losgofres

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5 Ways to Sneak Piano Practice into Your Busy Schedule

 

Is your crazy schedule making it difficult for you to find time to practice piano? Below, piano teacher Julie P. shares five creative ways you can sneak piano practice into your busy schedule…

You want to improve your piano playing skills, but your busy schedule doesn’t allow time for you to practice as much as you should.

Between school, work, and extracurricular activities, your schedule fills up fast. Just because you have a busy schedule, however, doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in some piano practice.

If you get creative enough, you can find more time than you thought. Below are five ways to sneak piano practice into your busy schedule.

5 Ways to Sneak Piano Practice into Your Busy Schedule

You don’t need long blocks of time to practice the piano. Piano practice is actually more effective if you break it up into shorter sessions over a longer period of time.

In doing so, your brain has time to process what you’ve learned in between your piano sessions. Instead of practicing for an hour one or two times a week, find five or six 10-20 minute chunks of time throughout the week.

For example, it might work well for you to practice for 20 minutes every morning before school. Or maybe you can practice 10 minutes before work and another 10 minutes after work each day.

The key to shorter practice sessions is to set smaller achievable goals. Pick one thing on your practice assignment and only practice that one thing. You might even focus on just one section of a piece, rather than the whole piece.

Your time on the bus or in the car can be used to improve your piano skills. For example, flash cards are great for reinforcing note-reading and other musical terms and symbols.

You can find hundreds of free, printable flash cards at Pianimation. Another great option for the car or train is a silent keyboard. It’s very useful for practicing scales or other simple songs and exercises.

For those days when your busy schedule has you exhausted and you don’t have the energy to sit down at the piano, there are a lot of great piano apps you can play.

Piano Maestro from JoyTunes, for example, is a fantastic iPad app that you can use in conjunction with your piano or keyboard. The app has a large library of songs for all playing levels and different genres.

For each song, the sheet music scrolls across the screen while the app plays accompaniment music. You play the notes as they go by, either using the keyboard provided on the screen of your iPad or your own piano.

At the end, you get points on how well you did and progress through the different score levels. This app requires a subscription fee, but teachers and their students can use it for free.

Another great iPad app for kids is SproutBeat. It has hundreds of music theory worksheets that kids can complete right on the screen by drawing with their fingers.

You can even print out worksheets to take in the car. The app comes with 20 free worksheet downloads and charges a flat fee for complete access to their library.

Any time your ears are free, you can work on your piano and musicality skills. The more quality piano music you listen to, the more you learn about what great piano playing is.

For instance, you can learn a lot about tone quality, the dynamic range of the piano, or what great rhythmic accuracy is, all from listening.

Try to find high quality recordings of the pieces you’re learning. If you can’t find recordings of your pieces, ask your piano teacher to make some quick recordings for you.

Even browsing through YouTube to hear more advanced pieces can be a great way to get a better sense of great piano playing, and get inspired to practice at the same time.

If your free time for practicing is too early in the morning or too late at night to be making noise at the piano, you can use mental practice.

For mental practice, you look at your music and visualize in your mind the arm and finger movements for playing it. This might be tricky at first, but you’ll get better at it the more you practice it.

If you try mental practice, you’ll be amazed at how much better you play your music the next time you sit down at the piano.

Your Turn!

Now that you know how to get more piano practicing into your busy schedule, go find 10 minutes that you can practice today.

Even better, make a plan for the next week to get in those smaller practice sessions and try one of the other practice methods that will fit into your schedule.

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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violin practice tips

25+ Violin Practice Tips to Help You Improve…Fast!

violin practice

Whether you’re a beginner violinist or you have been playing for years, there are always ways to improve. But here’s the kicker:

If you want to get better, you have to practice! Luckily, we want to help you do just that! Here, music instructor Julie P. shares over 25 violin practice tips for players of any ability…


Violin Practice Routine

violin practice

Setting up a consistent routine can help you stay on track. Here are some violin practice tips that will help you establish a practice routine that works for you.

  1. Practice at the same time every day. When you have a designated practice time, you are less likely to make excuses or skip practice.
  2. Use a violin app to track your practice. Try out Music Journal or Practice Center.
  3. Tune your violin at the beginning of every practice session. There are lots of violin tuner apps, but Cleartune and Tuner Lite are two good ones.If you need help tuning your violin, follow this instructional tuning video for beginners.
  4. Keep all of your violin sheet music together, so that when you practice, you have everything you need.
  5. Always have a pencil on hand when you practice so you can mark your violin sheet music with helpful reminders.
  6. Use a music stand so that you can practice with proper posture. Good posture is not only essential to help you play better, it’s also important to prevent injury. Besides using a music stand, check out these 10 wacky ways to improve your posture.

Don’t have much time for a lengthy practice session? Try using a quick, 15-minute routine such as the one in the video below. Some practice is better than no practice at all!


Violin Practice Tips

violin practice

These violin practice tips will help you make the most of your time so you can have a more efficient, effective practice session.

    1. Do a simple warm up at the beginning of each practice session to get your fingers, arms, and ears ready to play.
    2. Use a metronome to practice playing with a steady beat. You can also use a metronome to challenge yourself to play at different tempos. Tempo is one of many great metronome apps you can try.
    3. Record yourself at different points during practice. You never have to share the recordings with anyone, unless you want to. You can use them as learning tools; you’ll hear new things about your playing by listening to the recording.
    4. Rosin with care: Using too much rosin on your bow will make your tone scratchy, while not enough rosin will limit your dynamic range. Make sure you check out these maintenance tips for your violin bow.
    5. Enlist a friend! Everything is more fun with a friend, and violin practice is no different. You can play all of your music together and even play some fun duets. “I always seem to make the most progress when I mix in music that is just for fun,” says Todd Markey, founder of TheStringClub.com. “After playing scales, exercises, and pieces assigned by your teacher, it’s good to have some music that you can play fairly easily to enjoy expressing yourself on your instrument.  Too often we are playing at the very edge of our technical capabilities and not just relaxing with something relatively simple.  And its even better if its done with friends!  That’s why I created TheStringClub.com.  I want my students to be able to find music they like and have fun playing right away.”
    6. Learn to play with accompaniment:Playing violin with accompaniment will help you learn different skills such as coordinating tempo, dynamics, and rhythm. According to stringsalong.com, “you can learn faster and with more enjoyment if you practice with accompaniment! It’s the natural way to learn and love music. (Try practicing with the pros at Strings Along to accelerate your learning progress!)”

More: How Often Should You Practice Violin to Really Improve? 


Violin Practice Exercises

violin practice

From technique to control, these violin practice exercises will help you focus on the most important aspects of your playing.

  1. Play slow scales to fine tune your intonation. [Here’s a great video tutorial on violin scales for beginners.]
  2. Try this exercise to warm up your bow arm: Play a scale with a quarter note for each note of the scale, then two-eighth notes on each note, then four 16th notes on each note.
  3. Gain more bow control by switching between bowing a single string anfd bowing two strings at once (called a double stop).
  4. If you’re starting to learn how to shift and play in third position and higher, go back to your beginner violin books and try playing simple melodies in third position or higher.

Violin Practice Games

violin practice

Violin games can break up the monotony and make violin practice more fun! Try adding a couple of these fun activities to your next practice session.

  1. To mix things up, write down all of the things you have to practice (as well as some fun songs you already know how to play) on separate pieces of paper. Put them in a jar and shake them up. Pick out three to five papers for your practice session that day.
  2. For a difficult passage, use quarters to keep track of your progress. Place three on the left side of your music stand. Each time you play the passage correctly, you can move one to the right side of the stand. If you mess up, all the quarters have to be reset on the left side of the stand. Your goal is to move all three to the right side of the stand by playing the passage correctly three times in a row.
  3. Music Magic’s Violin Activity Book” has fun games and activities for very young violinists (ages three to five).
  4. Games – Workbook for Strings” by Evelyn Avhsharian is great for children ages three to seven.

If you’re looking for more ways to make violin practice fun, try these 20+ violin games for kids.


Violin Practice Online

violin practice online

There are lots of great online resources to help you learn violin. From games to videos, here are some sites that will help you practice and improve.

  1. Play the Violin Fingering game at Fiddlerman.com.
  2. Make a video to post on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Vimeo.
  3. Get inspired by watching violin videos on YouTube. Not sure where to start? Check out Bryson Andres playing “Secrets” by One Republic or Hillary Hahn playing a Bach Sarabande.
  4. ViolinOnline.com has tons of information about basic violin playing technique and posture. They have instructions with pictures.

Violin Sheet Music

violin practice

Fortunately, there are a lot of places to find violin sheet music online. When you get tired of practicing the same easy violin songs over and over, you can search for violin sheet music and learn some new songs.

  1. Find free violin sheet music at 8notes.com, violinsheetmusic.org, and violinonline.com.
  2. Use this page from violinonline.com to practice your scales. They have one- and two-octave violin scale pages in both major and minor keys, as well as scale duets.
  3. You can find tons of pop songs by artists like Katy Perry, Adele, Flo Rida and Coldplay at McCourt’s Violin Studio.
  4. IMSLP has tons of free classical music available for download or printing. All of their music is part of the public domain.

While all of these tips will help you learn how to play the violin, it’s nearly impossible to use them all in just a couple weeks. Try one or two tips at a time to improve your playing without getting overwhelmed. Each week, try out a few additional tips. With perseverance and consistent practice, you can get better, fast!

What are your favorite practice tips? Share them with us in the comments below!

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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