Classical Pianists

Which of These Classical Pianists are You Most Like? [Quiz]

Classical Pianists

Have you ever wondered which famous classical pianist you resemble the most? Take this fun quiz to find out whether your personality and musical traits have more in common with Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, or Chopin!

Which of These Classical Pianists are You Most Like?

To this day, famous classical pianists such as Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and Chopin are regarded as some of the pioneers of classical music. Students around the world are still studying and performing the works of these four remarkable composers.

But how much do you actually know about their lives and stories? Here are some fun and interesting facts to spark your curiosity!

Fun Facts About 4 Famous Classical Pianists

Ludwig van Beethoven

At seven years old, Beethoven gave his first public performance in Germany as a virtuoso pianist. By the age of 12, he published nine variations in C minor for the piano. He quickly became admired by many aristocrats in Vienna. Although he had tremendous talent, he also reportedly had a terrible temper, too.

Beethoven spent his entire life composing beautiful works, even despite losing his hearing. He was able to make a living performing and commissioning public works.

He also took on many music students, (whom he often became romantically involved with). Many classical music fans consider the “Missa Solemnis” to be Beethoven’s greatest work.

Frédéric Chopin

Chopin is known as the greatest composer of Poland and the greatest pianist of the Romantic era. After growing up as a child prodigy, he quickly rose to fame in Europe. He performed and composed for the piano alone, and accompaniments.

Chopin was very innovative in his piano technique, fingering, and melodies. He became a popular teacher, and as he grew older he actually began to dislike public performances.

Chopin’s etudes and mazurkas have stood the test of time. After losing a battle to tuberculosis, his heart was placed in an urn in the Holy Cross Church of Krakowskie Przedmiscie.

SEE ALSO: What’s Your Piano Style? [Quiz]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart is regarded as the most influential composer of the Classical era. He had a reputation for not being “well behaved” in public. He also reportedly had a daring style and sense of humor.

Mozart came from a family of musicians in Austria and his parents pushed him to greatness. His music became known for its harmonic innovation which he demonstrated in piano, violin, and orchestral compositions.

His operas “The Magic Flute,” “Don Giovanni,” and “The Marriage of Figaro” are still popular performances today. Mozart influenced many composers to follow including Haydn and Handel.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach spent most of his life performing and composing in Germany. He was highly skilled at playing the organ at a young age.

Bach came from a family of musicians and played for many people of noble stature, including royalty. He had an excellent reputation as a performer. He also experimented with religious compositions of the Catholic mass, including the Kyrie and Gloria.

His compositions, such as “Ave Maria” and “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” gained notable popularity over the years. However, few of Bach’s works were published during his lifetime. He suffered major health issues at the end of his life including blindness. Many consider Bach to be the best composer of the Baroque era.

Each of these musicians were innovative thinkers who embraced their own unique musical styles. Without their boldness, the world would be at a loss for such captivating classical piano compositions.

Are you ready to learn some of the great works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin? Schedule a piano lesson today to get started.

Leave us a comment below and share which classical pianist you’re most like!

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LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches piano, singing, acting, and many more subjects online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in Vocal Performance and performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!
Language learning games

Top 10 Language Learning Games for Students of All Ages

language learning games

No matter what language you’re learning, games make the journey to fluency more fun and exciting! Board games, apps, and group activities also help you practice your skills more efficiently in between private language lessons.

For memorizing those vocabulary words and mastering your grammar, here is a list of the top 10 language learning games available today.

Top 10 Language Learning Games

Language Learning Games to Play on Your Phone

language learning games for your phone

1. Languages By Lyrics

  • Cost: Free, with a Pro Version available for $9.99
  • Student Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Requirements: OS X 10.11 or later

Memorizing phrases in your target language is easier with the help of a little rhyme and rhythm. With this fun app, you get to select songs in the language of your choice, see the lyrics translated, and learn to sing along. The Pro Version of the app comes with more advanced exercises.

2. Star Languages

  • Cost: Free
  • Student Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Requirements: Windows 10, OS X 10.8 or later

For more comprehensive practice, this app allows you to choose from a variety of learning games such as spelling tests, crosswords, and hangman. Each game tests a different skill, so you can apply your knowledge about spelling, vocabulary, sentence structure, and more.

3. Vocabulary Games

  • Cost: Free
  • Student Level: Beginner
  • Requirements: Works best on Chrome web browser

These vocabulary games are another great way to boost your memorization skills. Choose from several games including Letter Blocks, Unscramble, and Slang Game. You can play on a computer at home, a tablet, or a mobile phone.

SEE ALSO: 30 Incredibly Effective Tips and Tricks to Learn a New Language

4. MindSnacks

  • Cost: Free for one lesson, with 50 lessons available for $4.99
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

With its addictive quests and challenges, the MindSnacks app helps you practice vocabulary, grammar skills, basic verb conjugation, and spelling. This game is available in multiple languages and will keep you motivated as you learn.

5. Lingo Arcade

  • Cost: Free for one level, with more than 150 levels available for $0.99
  • Student Level: Beginner or intermediate
  • Requirements:  iOS 8.0 or later

If you’re a visual learner, this app is perfect for you. Lingo Arcade will help you with word identification and sentence structure using over 3000 visual aids. The app is currently available in Spanish, French, German, and English.

6. Drops

  • Cost: Free, with optional in-app purchases
  • Student Level: Beginner
  • Requirements: iOS 9.0 or later

How much can you learn in five minutes? With this app, you get the chance to test your vocabulary knowledge by matching words and swiping as you learn. As you increase your speed and accuracy, the game will “drop” more new vocabulary words.

Fun Board Games for Language Learning

language learning board games

7. Kloo

  • Cost: Retails for around $16
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: Kloo deck of cards and 2 or more players

Practice how to build sentences with these unique color-coded cards. To play the game, you’ll match cards with different words until you create a grammatically correct sentence. Each card correctly matched is worth one point.

8. Scrabble

  • Cost: Retails for around $18
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: Scrabble board game and 2 or more players

Scrabble is a fantastic way to practice your spelling and vocabulary skills. Have a friend join you for this fun game where small, lettered tiles are placed onto a board to form new words. Scrabble is available in multiple different languages.

Language Learning Games for Groups

language learning games for groups

9. Bingo

  • Cost: $5-$10
  • Student Level: Beginner
  • Requirements: Bingo cards, game chips or coins, index cards, and vocabulary words

To make your own Bingo game in the language of your choice, create a set of vocabulary-themed Bingo cards in a 6×6 pattern. In each box, include the vocabulary words you want to practice. Next, write the vocabulary words on a set of smaller cards. Choose a player to call out the words. The person who completes their card first wins the game!

10. Jeopardy

  • Cost: $5-$10
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: Poster board with 4-5 columns, markers, and buzzers or bells

To play Jeopardy with a group of others who are learning a language, choose 4-5 categories you’re familiar with such as food, people, places, and animals. Each of these categories will be its own column on a board with five rows. Fill in the boxes with the answers to a set of predetermined questions. Remember, one player will need to be the host.

Each of these interactive games will help you improve your language comprehension skills. You can play these games in between language classes to review and reinforce all you’re learning in a fun way.

 

BarbaraSPost Author: Barbara S.
Barbara S. has been teaching Spanish since 2011 and is a native speaker from Argentina. Her teaching style is flexible, cooperative, and understanding. Learn more about Barbara here!
Japanese Dialects

The Ultimate Guide to Major Japanese Dialects

Japanese dialects

If you live in the United States, you’ve probably noticed that someone from New Jersey doesn’t speak the same way as someone from California. This is because of dialects, or forms of language developed and used in specific regions.

These dialects differ not only in accent but in vocabulary, grammatical structure, and slang (from “y’all” in the South to “hella” in Northern California).

The same is true in Japan. A majority of Japanese students are familiar with the type of Japanese spoken in, and north of, the Kanto region which contains Tokyo. But there are several other Japanese dialects to learn, each with many subsections.

If you’re planning a trip to Japan soon, don’t get caught unprepared! Here are some of the major Japanese dialects you can expect to encounter.

5 Major Japanese Dialects

Standard Japanese (Eastern Japanese, Tokyo-type Japanese)

Spoken in: Most of Japan (Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Kanto region; much of Chubu region)

Soon after Japan opened its borders in 1853, the country went through the Meiji Restoration, which united the nation as a major world power. Along with other advancements in society, a standard Japanese dialect was chosen—the one used in Yamanote, a district of Tokyo. Once technology brought about radio and TV broadcasts, this dialect spread quickly throughout the country.

Western Japanese (Kansai-ben)

Spoken in: (Kansai, Chugoku, and Shikoku regions; part of Chubu region)

Eastern and Western Japan have long been separated by differences of culture and dialect, similar to the Northern and Southern United States. Because of the geographical separation, a different type of speech developed over time in the old capital, Kyoto, and surrounding areas.

Western Japanese is known for its shortened words, much like southern American English – think of the southern drawl. Here are some examples:

Meaning Standard Japanese Western Japanese
Look Miru (見る) Mii, miyo (見い,見よ)
Wide Hiroi (広い) Hirō (広お)
Dropped Otoshita (落とした) Otoita (落といた)

Western Japanese also includes many words with modified syllables, as you can see here:

Meaning Standard Japanese Western Japanese
Paid Haratta (払った) Harōta (払おた)
Will not do Shinai (しない) Senu (せぬ)
To exist Iru (いる) Oru (おる)

Unique dialects within Western Japanese include Osaka-ben (spoken in Osaka) and Kyoto-ben (spoken in Kyoto). These two dialects are very similar, which makes it fairly easy for people from Kyoto and Osaka to speak to one another. The cities are only half an hour apart by train.

Kyushu Japanese

Spoken in: The island of Kyushu

Kyushu has long been an important part of Japan, especially as an ancient center of relations with China and Korea. Since it’s separated from the main island both culturally and geographically, it makes sense that a new dialect emerged here.

The Kyushu dialects differ so much from each other that it’s difficult to identify specific congruences between them. As a whole, there are many modified conjugation types, shortened words, and alternate words.

There are three unique dialects in Kyushu: Satsugu/Kagoshima, Hōnichi, and Hichiku. Each of these include their own sub-dialects.

  • Satsugu/Kagoshima: Southern Kyushu, mostly Kagoshima province
  • Hōnichi: Eastern Kyushu, including most of Oita prefecture
  • Hichiku: Western Kyushu, including Fukuoka (Hakata-ben) and Nagasaki (Nagasaki-ben)

SEE ALSO: How Long Does It Take To Learn Japanese?

Okinawa Japanese

Spoken in: The island of Okinawa

Some people joke that Okinawa isn’t really a part of Japan, and its controversial history (including annexation by Japan) implies as much. The island is home to several languages that UNESCO now considers endangered as Okinawans lean toward standard Japanese.

Okinawan Japanese borrows many words from standard Japanese, but they have different meanings. For example, “korosu” means “hit” in Okinawan Japanese and “kill” in Standard Japanese. Okinawan Japanese also borrowed some words from English ever since the Battle of Okinawa.

Whether or not Okinawan Japanese is actually a Japanese dialect is often debated, so comparing it to Japanese can be quite difficult. It might be safer to think of the two like Italian and Spanish—similar in many ways, but distinct.

Mixed Dialects

Spoken in: Parts of the Chubu prefecture

Since the borders between Eastern and Western Japan are superficial, the dialects tend to mix. This is most evident in areas of Chubu, where two dialects have meshed into something new.

Let’s look at Nagoka-ben, as Nagoya is Chubu’s largest city. Differences are subtler than those between standard and Western Japanese, but they are still obvious to anyone who speaks either dialect. This mostly manifests itself in slight contractions or conjugation modifications.

Meaning Standard Japanese Nagoya-ben
It gets smaller Chiisakunaru (小さくなる) Chiisanaru (小さなる)
I don’t sleep Nemasen(寝ません) Nesen (寝せん)
It was fun Tanoshikattayo (楽しかったよ) Tanoshikattani (楽しかったに)

Tackling Japanese Dialects

Considering the dizzying array of Japanese dialects, do you think your current Japanese skills are enough to get you through a trip to Japan without a hitch? If not, consider working with a Japanese tutor to study the dialects of the specific areas you’d like to visit. You’ll be glad you did when you’re able to understand Kansai-ben and Kagoshima-ben!

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Elaina RPost Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches singing in Ann Arbor, MI. She earned a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan. She is also proficient in multiple languages and speaks Japanese, English, Italian, and German.  Learn more about Elaina here!

5 World-Famous Hispanic Musicians With Inspiring Stories

Hispanic Musicians

Many of the world’s most well known and talented musicians come from a Hispanic background. The music of these singers, guitarists, and pianists has won globally recognized awards and transcended cultural borders.

Several Hispanic musicians, such as Santana and Gloria Estefan, have overcome the odds to chase their dreams and here, we’ll share their inspirational stories. Keep reading to learn about five artists that are sure to leave you motivated, encouraged, and moved.

5 Inspiring Hispanic Musicians

Gloria Estefan – Pop Singer

Hispanic musicians - Gloria Estefan

Source: Jesus Cordero

Gloria Estefan was born in Havana, but her family fled from Cuba to Miami when she was a young girl. After serving in Vietnam, Gloria’s father became very ill. With her mother working and attending night classes, Gloria was left at home to care for her father and sister.

These responsibilities were a lot for a teenager, but Gloria turned to music as an escape. She would lock herself in her room and sing for hours. In 1975, Gloria became acquainted with a keyboardist who later became her husband. He led a band called “the Miami Latin Boys” and asked Gloria to be the lead vocalist as soon as he heard her sing.

The band’s name was later changed to “the Miami Sound Machine.” Their albums launched to the top of the charts, and Gloria was called a demure, Hispanic version of Madonna.

Her story doesn’t stop there, though. A car accident while on tour in 1990 left Gloria with broken vertebrae in her back. Never one to stay down, she made a miraculous recovery and was back on tour and making albums within the year. To this day Gloria Estefan is still making music, with many projects paying tribute to her native home of Cuba.

Santana – Guitarist

Hispanic musicians - Santana

Source: Libby Fabro

Santana has become a very familiar name, working with artists from every genre such as Michelle Branch and DJ Khalid, but it hasn’t always been that way. Growing up in Mexico, Santana’s father originally taught him how to play the violin, but he found that he liked the electric guitar much more.

As a teenager living in Tijuana, Santana started out performing at a variety of small venues.  He later moved to San Francisco and spent his days working as a dishwasher in a diner and playing for change on the streets. B.B. King and Ray Charles were two of his biggest musical inspirations.

Santana never gave up on his dreams though, and eventually decided to pursue music full time. What started out as “The Santana Blues Band” later became known as “Santana” and gained a mass following, even performing at Woodstock.

The crowds loved Santana’s sound – a mix of blues, rock, and jazz. The band released multiple albums that went platinum and Santana has continued to win Grammy awards. He also recently published a memoir called “The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light” with the hope of inspiring others, and it became a national bestseller.

Ruben Gonzalez – Pianist

Hispanic musicians - Ruben Gonzalez

Source: Ebet Roberts

Ruben Gonzalez is proof that it’s never too late to pursue your passion. He released his debut album at the age of 78! Ruben originally studied medicine, but later in life he decided to pursue music.

He was known for his Latin jazz sound and was requested by many bands and ensembles. Ruben was best known for working with the Afro Cuban All Stars and the Buena Vista Social Club, specializing in Latin dance and traditional Cuban music.

His album with the Buena Vista Social Club won a Grammy in 1997, and that same year Ruben decided to release his first solo album – “Introducing…Ruben Gonzalez.” After releasing a second album in 2000, he died three years later knowing that he had done what he loved with his life. His music is still enjoyed by many.

Placido Domingo – Opera Singer

Hispanic musicians - Placido Domingo

Source: Barbara Davidson

Both of Placido’s parents were singers for Spanish operettas in Madrid, which definitely contributed to his remarkable tenor voice and musical abilities. This didn’t mean that his success came easily, though.

After moving to Mexico at eight years old, Placido began appearing alongside his parents in performances. He originally played the piano and enrolled in school to become a conductor, but later decided to focus on singing. Placido had a few small television appearances and often played in piano bars to earn money.

At 18 years old, he began landing roles in various opera productions. Placido continued to work hard and eventually won a Grammy award for Best Opera Recording in 1971. Fourteen Grammys later, he is now in his seventies and lives by the motto, “If I rest I rust.”

Placido didn’t even let health problems such as cancer slow him down. He is still performing, recording, and running a prestigious voice competition called “Operalia” to discover and nurture new talent.

SEE ALSO: 20 Spanish Traditions, Customs, and Superstitions

Selena – Tejano Singer

Hispanic musicians - Selena

Source: Dave Einsel

We can’t discuss Hispanic musicians without mentioning Selena. Known as the “Queen of Tejano,” Selena’s legacy lives on today despite her early death. (Tejano is a type of music that incorporates Mexican and other styles of music such as country.)

Selena began singing as a child. She was the lead in her family’s band alongside her brother and sister. The band originally performed at her parents’ restaurant, weddings, and fairs. As their music became increasingly popular, the band started to record albums and go on tour.

Eventually Selena was signed as a solo artist, and her Spanish-language albums received major accolades and awards. She began to work on her first English album, but before she could see its release, she was killed by one of her own fans at just 23 years old.

Selena’s untimely death was shocking to all who enjoyed her music. Her English album, “Dreaming of You,” was later released in 1996. The album sold more than a million copies and introduced many people to Tejano music. Selena’s story lives on, and she continues to inspire many with her impressive accomplishments in such a short career.

Each of these Hispanic musicians are inspiring in their own unique way. From different regions and different walks of life, they all overcame obstacles to introduce the world to their musical styles and abilities. Tell us about a musician you love in the comments below!

Feeling inspired to work on your own musical talents? Learn how to become a better musician and performer from expert instructors in the online courses at TakeLessons Live.