free language lessons

Looking for Free Language Lessons? 3 Reasons to Try TakeLessons Live

free language lessons

There are many places to find free language lessons on the internet, from YouTube videos to apps like Duolingo, but they’re not all the best way to learn a foreign language. In fact, some of these free apps and sites can hinder your progress in conversational skills and proper pronunciation.

Without face-to-face interaction with other speakers of your target language, and a knowledgeable teacher to guide you, the road to fluency will be a lot longer. Wondering if there are any free resources that combine quality instruction and speaking practice? Keep reading.   

Free Language Lessons That Actually Work

TakeLessons Live is a great place to start if you’re looking for free lessons that will be truly beneficial for your language studies. With the free membership option, you have access to a wide variety of live classes.

Classes are held online in a virtual classroom, where you can ask a teacher questions, get feedback on your accent, and practice your speaking skills in a group of other students from around the world. You also have the freedom to try out multiple different languages (as well as teachers), and learn on your own terms.

Free language lessons

There are many reasons to take advantage of the free language lessons offered at TakeLessons Live. Keep reading to find out more.

3 Reasons to Try TakeLessons Live

Flexibility to try out multiple languages

Perhaps you’re not sure where to start in your language learning journey and you’re torn between two languages. TakeLessons Live is the perfect solution for these kinds of students as it allows you to try out multiple languages, all at no cost.

For example, you could try out a French class Tuesday morning and a Korean class Wednesday afternoon. Having the flexibility to sample a few different languages will help you make a more informed decision about which one you’d like to learn.

No matter where you’re at in your language studies, there is a class for everyone at TakeLessons Live. You can learn about the basics, get conversation practice, or fine tune your grammar. There are also classes for travelers, those in the healthcare, or the business field. Classes are currently available in Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, and Sign Language.

Finding the right teacher for youfree language lessons

Everyone has a unique learning style. Another great part about TakeLessons Live is that you have the opportunity to work with many different teachers. Instead of paying for a private tutor you might not mesh well with, you can use your first month of free language lessons to interact with a variety of teachers.

Each subject has multiple teachers with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise so you can determine which is the best fit for you and if you’d like, continue taking private language lessons with him or her.  

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

Convenience of learning anytime, anywhere

The best feature of TakeLessons Live is that you can access your free language lessons whenever, wherever. With more than 200 weekly classes available, it’s easy to fit learning into a busy schedule. Plus, you never even have to leave your house!

Our virtual classroom allows you to take a class wherever you feel most comfortable, whether that’s in your living room or a local cafe. All you need is a webcam and internet access. This feature is most convenient for students who live in rural areas. It also benefits homeschooling parents as an educational and fun extra-curricular activity for their children.

free language lessons

While TakeLessons Live is only free for your first month of classes, the subsequent months cost much less than hiring a personal tutor. At only $19.95 a month, you get unlimited access to all of our weekly language classes.

Speaking another language opens up a world of new opportunities from jobs, to travel, to new friends. Pre-recorded videos and apps can help you get there over time, but working with a knowledgeable tutor and interacting with other speakers of your target language is the quickest way to reach your goals.

10 Affordable & Fun Fall Activities for Families [Infographic]

Fun fall activities

Looking for fun fall activities? From all there is to see in nature – leaves changing, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches – to all the fun crafts and recipes you can whip up indoors, this colorful season is the perfect time to start new family traditions.

If your family is on a budget this year, you’ll love this helpful guide. Our list of affordable and fun fall activities will keep your family entertained from September to November without “breaking the bank.” Christmas will be here before you know it!

fun fall activities

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10 Affordable & Fun Fall Activities For the Family

1. Have a Fall-Themed Family Photo Shoot

Decorate your Instagram with adorable family photos taken at the nearest apple orchard. Sport scarves and earth tones to make it the ultimate fall-themed photo shoot. You can even get creative and add the pictures to your holiday cards! (See #9 on this list for more holiday card tips).

2. Take a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Nothing says “autumn” more than taking a trip to a local pumpkin patch. Try to find one with a corn maze for even more family fun. See who can find the biggest pumpkin and take it home to carve it into something spectacular. Don’t toss out those delicious seeds! Here are some yummy recipes for seasoning and roasting them.

3. Get Spooked Together

Are you a fan of scary movies? Check Netflix around Halloween for new seasonal additions. Grab some popcorn, hot chocolate, and get ready to binge watch Stranger Things! If you’re looking for something on the less spooky side, here is a helpful list of Halloween movies for wimps. (Does “Hocus Pocus” ring a bell?)

4. Craft Your Costumes

Store-bought Halloween costumes can be so expensive, but there are plenty of DIY options that are just as fun and creative. Here are a few easy and unique costume ideas. *Note: Many of these ideas will require a visit to your local craft store or thrift shop. Have fun trick-or-treating!

5. Whip Up Some Pumpkin-Flavored Treats

Pumpkin-flavored muffins, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie… the list goes on and on. Now that pumpkins are in season it’s the perfect time to satisfy your cravings. Baking as a family isn’t just a great bonding experience; it also doubles as a learning one. You’ll get to work on your cooking skills together and best of all- enjoy the fruits of your labor when it’s all done!

6. Have Fun Indoors with Group Music Classes

If it’s too cold outside to visit the pumpkin patch, try out free music classes at TakeLessons Live. These online, group classes are taught live by an expert instructor, whether you want to learn a new instrument or work on your singing skills. Children and adults of all skill levels are welcome to join in the fun. *Hint: This time of year, you’ll find unique seasonal classes such as “Spooky Halloween Piano Songs.”

7. Go for a Hike or Nature Walk

When weather is permitting, a hike or nature walk is an excellent way to get in some beneficial exercise while enjoying the colorful scenery. Have the kids collect pinecones or acorns and paint them when you get home for some festive decor. Here are some fun tutorials on how to make DIY pinecone centerpieces, wreaths, and more.

8. Enjoy Homemade Apple Cider

Apple cider is a fall-favorite because it’s both delicious and easy to make. Pinterest is a great place to go for cider recipes. Many of them only require a few simple ingredients! Enjoy this warm and tasty treat around the fireplace and as Thanksgiving approaches, share things your family is thankful for from the past year.

9. Work on Holiday Cards

The holidays are quickly approaching and now is the perfect time to reach out to your closest friends and relatives. Express your sentiments in homemade holiday cards or letters this year for a greeting they’ll always cherish. If you’d like to add a family photo, check out Etsy for customizable, DIY holiday card templates.

10. Make a Christmas Wish List

Does the thought of Christmas shopping overwhelm you? Have family members fill out a “wish list questionnaire” of their likes and dislikes, favorite movies, candies, or places to shop. Wish lists are a win-win. They make shopping easier and ensure your loved ones will enjoy their gifts. *Bonus Tip: You can even organize a “Secret Santa” within your family so that each person is only responsible for buying one gift.

Each of these fun fall activities are a great bonding experience for the whole family. Do you have any more ideas of affordable things to do in the fall? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Violin or Cello

Violin or Cello: Which Instrument Is Right For You?

Violin or Cello

Choosing whether to play the violin or cello can be difficult, but this article will help you consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

The violin and cello are two of the most well-known and commonly studied instruments in the string family. Each one is central to the makeup of the orchestra we know today. Becoming familiar with the pros and cons of these two instruments will help you decide whether the violin or cello is a better fit for you.

Violin or Cello – How to Decide

Pros and Cons of the Violin

The violin’s most commonly cited advantage is that it’s practical. The violin is (on average) significantly less expensive than the cello. It’s also smaller and more portable. In addition, many people appreciate the violin’s range and tone, which is similar to that of the human voice.

Because the instrument has been popular now for around 400 years, there isn’t a shortage of repertoire to keep both budding and experienced violinists challenged. Within orchestras, spaces for violinists also tend to be the most numerous, so in that sense violinists have an advantage (especially over winds, brass, and percussion).

Compared to other string sections however, violin can also be more competitive because so many people play it. It might not be too difficult to earn a spot in the second violin section, but earning a place among the upper ranks can be more difficult.

Pros and Cons of the Cello

The cello is often cited for its practical disadvantages – mainly its size and expense. But for students who enjoy the sound of the cello more, hauling around a larger and more expensive instrument is well worth the care and effort.

The cello’s low register and tonality resonates with many musicians far more than the violin’s higher register.

Both the violin and cello have a unique range and repertoire that tend to draw different people. While violin repertoire is probably more extensive, the cello also has a well-established and diverse repertoire, including significant solo works.

Fewer students study the cello than the violin, so cellists are usually in higher demand than violinists. This tends to hold true even when taking into account the typically lower number of cellists required to create an orchestra or chamber ensemble.

Which is Harder to Play: Violin or Cello?

Many students wonder, which instrument is more difficult: the violin or cello? People who have tried both instruments tend to say the cello is less difficult due to its more natural position. The position of the violin can feel awkward at first, however advanced violinists insist that it becomes natural over time.

Many experienced musicians say that both instruments have their own difficulties. For example, although a cellist’s playing position is easier to learn, the thumb position on the cello is difficult for many students. Advanced cellists also must learn three clefs instead of just one.

SEE ALSO: How Easy is it to Switch Instruments? [Infographic]

Making the Choice Between Violin or Cello

Music students and their families can do a number of things to help them in their decision between the violin or cello.

  • First, consider what opportunities are available at school or in the community. Keep long term goals in mind.
  • Make sure the student has exposure to both instruments. This can include videos, CDs, or local concerts. Local colleges and conservatories often perform concerts for the general public and many of these feature the violin and cello. Local symphonies also put on free concerts in the park.
  • To be sure you’re making the right choice, it’s always a good idea to sample each instrument and take a couple lessons. Check out this directory of violin teachers, and this directory of cello teachers. Lessons are available both in-person and online all over the country.
  • Above all, the student should love the sound of whichever instrument they choose, whether it’s the higher and more cheerful violin or the deeper and rich cello.

What are your thoughts on whether the violin or cello is a better instrument? Let us know in the comments below!

Carol
Post Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches viola and violin in Sacramento, CA. She currently plays viola in the Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra and has been teaching students since 2012. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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How to Learn a Language Quickly with 3 Foolproof Steps

how to learn a language quickly

Fact: a native Spanish speaker will have an easier time learning French than they would learning Japanese.

According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, one of the biggest factors affecting the speed of language acquisition is how different your target language is from your native tongue. Languages in the same “family” typically have similar alphabets and tones, making it easier to branch out as long as you stay within the same grouping.

No matter what language you’re learning though – whether it’s French, Korean, or Spanish – there are a few foolproof steps you can take to get fluent faster. Keep reading to find out how to learn a language quickly and effectively in three simple steps.

How to Learn a Language Quickly

Step 1: Find a Language Teacher

how to learn a language quickly

Yes, learning how to introduce yourself is important, but to quickly progress past the basics it’s highly beneficial to work with a language teacher. A language tutor can cater to your individual needs and learning style.

A teacher can also catch mistakes you’re making in pronunciation and help you work on your accent – something no app or software can do. Face time with a quality teacher gives you the personal attention you need to quickly master and move past concepts that are particularly challenging to you.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best language teacher for you. Here are some questions to ask about a prospective language tutor’s background:

  • Did they study the language in college?
  • Have they lived in a country where the language is spoken?
  • Are they a native speaker?
  • How much teaching experience do they have?

Answering each of these questions will help you narrow down your options. You should also consider a few logistics when looking for a teacher. Would you rather take online lessons or in-person? How often would you like to meet and when?  

Many students find it beneficial to take hour-long lessons twice a week. Browse through the language teachers at TakeLessons to get the help you need to meet your language goals as quickly as possible.

SEE ALSO: 8 Questions to Help you Find the Right Private Teacher

Step 2: Practice. Practice. Practice.

how to learn a language quickly

To become fluent faster, you’ll need more than weekly lessons. It’s necessary to reinforce all you’re learning in lessons by practicing every day as much as you can. Constant practice throughout your day will help you successfully develop speaking, reading, and writing skills.

There are dozens of fun apps that can help you memorize common phrases quicker with games and quizzes. Use apps to brush up on your skills during your commute or on lunch breaks. Some even have a hands-free option to help you learn while driving.

Another way to learn quicker is to label items around your house with their names in your target language. Before you know it, you’ll be able to make shopping lists in your new language!

Here are a few more fun ways to take advantage of your free time and practice your target language throughout the day. Remember, it’s important to practice both with others and on your own.

  • Read books and magazines in your target language
  • Subscribe to a blog
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Record yourself and listen to how you sound
  • Write to a penpal in another country
  • Write in a language journal
  • Call up a friend who speaks your target language
  • Teach someone else what you know

Step 3: Immerse Yourself

how to learn a language quickly

The final step you should take to learn a language quickly is to immerse yourself as much as possible – surround yourself with the language! There are a few incredibly easy ways to do this.

First, change the language settings on your phone and laptop. This will allow you to get familiar with everyday vocabulary and actually think in the language throughout the day.

Swap out your usual radio stations or shows and listen to music or watch movies in your target language. Experts agree that music aids memorization, and movies allow you to see and hear conversations in your target language. Put on the subtitles so you can follow along!

Another way to immerse yourself while practicing conversational skills is to find a language partner near you. Pick a time to meet up regularly and agree to only speak in your target language. If there isn’t anyone available locally, there are many online language partners to choose from.  

If you have the resources, the best way to learn a new language is complete immersion. Any amount of time in the country of origin will be well worth the effort, as long as you make a commitment to speak only your target language with the locals. Being surrounded by the new language and forced to speak it will help you become fluent much faster.

Now you know how to learn a language quickly! How fast do you think you can pick up your new language? Be sure to set goals for yourself along the way that are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Each of the steps mentioned above are fundamental to becoming fluent in a language and they should be done simultaneously for the best results. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Take lessons from a private tutor to ensure you’re learning the best way possible
  • Make practice a part of your daily routine
  • Lastly, try to immerse yourself as much as possible

Follow these steps and you’ll be speaking like a native before you know it!

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