Style and Formatting Guidelines

As you work on your submission for the TakeLessons blog, keep the following style and formatting guidelines in mind. In an effort to keep our articles consistent across our site, review these guidelines prior to submitting your blog.

The TakeLessons Voice

Our brand’s voice is:

  • Conversational and friendly
  • Informative
  • Knowledgeable (an expert, go-to resource)
  • Motivational and positive
  • Trustworthy and authoritative
  • Community-oriented (we’re in this together!)

It’s OK to speak directly to the reader with the second-person voice, e.g. “You and your teacher will do this…” as opposed to “Students will learn X in their lessons…”

Spelling and Grammar Guidelines

  • Use a single space after a period.
  • For numbers, spell out numbers one through nine; use numerals for 10 and up
  • Always use serial commas (Oxford commas) in lists. “I went to the store and bought apples, oranges, and pears.” NOT “I went to the store and bought apples, oranges and pears.”
  • Contractions are preferable (“It’s important to practice often” vs. “It is important to practice…”)
  • Media usage: Capitalize and use quotation marks around the titles of books, songs, television shows, computer games, poems, lectures, speeches and works of art.
  • TakeLessons: one word, capital T and capital L

Specifications for Music Articles

  • Genres: Lower case (e.g. hip hop [two words, no hyphen, unless modifying something like “hip-hop song”], classical, jazz). Broadway is the one exception.
  • Half steps / whole steps: Do not use hyphen, unless it’s modifying another noun.
  • Notes: Capitalized letter, without quotes or italics. e.g. Play the A above middle C.
  • Sight reading: Two words
  • Warm-up: Use hyphen, as opposed to warmups
  • Song titles: use quotation marks around titles

Drums

  • Drum set, drum sticks, drum roll: two words

Guitar and Ukulele

  • Alternate tunings: Open G, Drop D (capitalized), standard tuning (not capitalized)
  • Ax: Use ax (as opposed to “axe”) for guitar slang
  • Strings: Capitalized letter, without quotes or italics. e.g. B string, G string

Violin

  • Italicize Italian musical terms (e.g. spicatto, allegro, vibrato)

Specifications for Language Articles

  • All foreign words should be italicized, with the English translation in parentheses
  • Word endings should be italicized and lowercase (for example, -a, -o, -er endings in Spanish)
  • Per AP Style: Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races, tribes, etc.: American, Caucasian, Japanese (singular and plural), Jewish, Nordic, Swede, etc. Mexican-American (Hyphenate all except Latin American and Native American)
  • Japanese character types (e.g. katakana, hiragana, kanji) – are lowercase
  • Bold Japanese characters (e.g. 図 or 回)

Please let us know if you have any style or formatting questions. We appreciate your help in following these guidelines!

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