Don’t Start Lessons Without Asking This Question

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

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

3 Steps to Prep Your Studio for Back to School

piano studioAs summer winds down, teachers everywhere are preparing for the back-to-school rush. And as a private teacher or tutor, you might see your schedule filling up as old students come back from summer vacations, or new students find their calling in band or orchestra classes in school. To stay ahead of the game, here are three steps you can take to prepare:

1. Check your inventory. Whether you teach at your studio, online, or travel to your students’ homes, you need a good set of supplies on hand. Set aside some time to go through your collection of sheet music, books, and other supplies, and determine what you need for the year. If you teach contemporary pop music, for example, consider purchasing sheet music for the current hits, so you’re ready when students ask for it. If you’re tutoring students, see what new or updated resources are available. And don’t forget the little things either – you can find great deals this time of the year on notebooks, folders, highlighters, and more!

Read more

In-Home, In-Studio, or Online? Here’s How to Decide

When it comes to lesson location, are in-studio, in-home, or online lessons better? The convenience of in-home lessons is undeniable, but there are a few other factors to consider when making the decision.

– Will being at home be a distraction?
If your home life is hectic—family members going back and forth, pets running in and out—it may be difficult to concentrate. Ditto goes for if your child is the type who wants to show off his new toys or gadgets instead of paying attention to his teacher. If you anticipate distraction being an issue, consider booking the lessons at your instructor’s studio.

Read more

10 Outside-the-Box Music Goals for Summer

Summer is officially here! Friday, June 21st marked the start of the season, and we can’t wait to see what the summer of 2013 brings. For many students, vacations and trips might mess with your normal practice schedule – but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. In fact, summer can be the perfect time to try something a little outside of the box.

Have you ever thought about composing your own song? If you’re on the road and don’t have your instrument, try downloading a keyboard app for your smartphone, and put your theory knowledge to work as you experiment with chords and melody lines. Or how about writing lyrics? A picturesque beach might be just the inspiration you need.

Read more

Tips to Make Practicing a Breeze this Summer

Are you having a hard time getting yourself or your child to practice? You already know that just showing up for lessons isn’t enough to get you to your musical goals. The work you do between lessons, your practice time, is when you really build your skills and start to make serious progress. So how do you beat the summertime blues and start making your dreams come true? Two of our top TakeLessons instructors, Kathy B. in Detroit, MI, and Ginni A. in Chandler, AZ, were kind enough to share some of their expert advice for students and parents who need a little help getting into the practice groove. Read more

20 Modern Resources for Savvy Musicians

For many people, learning to play an instrument means more than just mastering techniques and memorizing songs. Playing music is an outlet for self-expression and creativity. These musicians get the most enjoyment out of their instrument when composing their own material to express their innermost thoughts and feelings.

Are you wondering how to make the leap from just playing an instrument to writing your own songs? Take advantage of the many resources for musicians available online to expand your musical knowledge, boost your creativity, start writing your own pieces, and share them with the world. Read more

Google Makes Big Music Move

At their developers conference last week, Google announced the launch of their new streaming music service, Google Play Music All Access. Google’s streaming service will allow you to make playlists, listen to custom Internet radio stations and easily share music with friends. Google’s music streaming service costs about $10 per month, although currently they are offering the first 30 days for free. This is a big move for Google, but will it pay off? Read more

Infographic: What Makes 54% of us Buy New Music?

According to the 2013 Music Industry Report, music sales were up in 2012 for the first time since 1999. Could this be due to the fact that there are now more ways to find new music than ever? The Internet has opened up many avenues for how to find new music, from thousands of music blogs to streaming services like Spotify and recommendation apps like Twitter’s #music.

Surprisingly, a recent survey found that 54% of people are likely to buy music because of a recommendation from a friend, a much higher percentage than those who will buy based on a blog or YouTube video. It seems that even as the Internet creates more spaces to find new music, social connections and trusted friends continue to  have a big impact on actual purchases. Learn more about the survey’s findings in this infographic via Hypebot: Read more

How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Band or Teaching Studio

Do you ever feel like your Facebook posts are falling into a vacuum? Whether you’re promoting your band or your teaching studio, you want to make sure that you’re really reaching your audience. Facebook can be a great tool if you understand how to use it to your full advantage. As a teacher, you can use the space to spotlight your students, document recitals, and really connect with your students. As an independent artist, you can grow your fan base and post pictures, videos, and upcoming concert dates. But what can you do to make your Facebook posts more visible?

Read more

The Importance of Playing Duets

violin duetsThere are tons of benefits to playing duets, whether it’s with another violinist or another instrument altogether. Read on as Washington DC music teacher Kaushik S. explains…



Duets/duos are an integral component of comprehensive music training. In covering the importance of duets in learning music, there are two primary types that will be covered.

Read more