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Music Lessons for Mom! Celebrate Mother’s Day with a Music Lesson Gift Certificate

Mothers DayAre you looking for a fun and unique Mother’s Day gift that will make this year’s celebration extra special? If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place! This year, celebrate mom’s special day by giving her an experience she’ll remember forever – the gift of music lessons with a TakeLessons gift certificate!

Whether your mom has previous musical experience or wants to try singing lessons or playing the piano for the first time, a TakeLessons gift certificate is a unique Mother’s Day gift that gives her the opportunity to learn some new skills and have a little fun too. TakeLessons gift certificates are valid for any type of music lessons that we offer, including singing lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons and many more!

Gift certificates can be used for lessons with any of our TakeLessons Instructors and never expire, so recipients can use them at their convenience. Certificates are available in any amount and can even be printed at home or sent to the recipient via email.

Simply give us a call at 877-231-8505 or visit our website to purchase your certificate today – it’s a gift any mom will appreciate!

The Beginner Musician’s Mind: Four Tips for Successful Performances

The following post comes from TakeLessons teacher Jeremy R. in Hudson, Florida. Jeremy has been a professional performing musician for over 10 years and has taught hundreds of students during that time.  Below he shares some of his favorite tips for beginner musicians who are learning to perform.

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As a beginner musician, learning to perform a song is a challenging obstacle. After all, you spent countless hours learning modes and chord progressions and now you must take what you have learned and translate it into a successful performance.  Below I will share some methods that have worked for me.

Clear your head.  Each time I pick up the guitar, I go through the same mental exercise to prepare myself to play. I pick up the guitar, tune, and play a couple warm up exercises. It’s important that your warm up piece is something that you have to really concentrate on and think about to be able to play. It’s perfectly fine to play these pieces verbatim with little or no deviation. In fact, a piece that challenges your abilities that you have worked hard to master is a great candidate for a warm up piece. The point isn’t to play the piece to perfection; rather, the point is to get the other songs out of your mind and focus your thoughts on playing.

Phantom play.  If you have ever played at a large venue or in front of an important audience then you’ve undoubtedly had the issue of nerves clouding your head and distracting your focus. Before you play your song for anyone else, play it in your mind. Maybe even just finger your fret board quietly. Again, the point isn’t the perfection of the song – it’s the mechanics of your mind while you play.

Emotional focus.  You’ve tuned your guitar, played your warm up exercise and gone through the song in your head. Now you’ve got 4 minutes before you go on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a guitar player play the correct notes in the correct rhythms in the correct key but the performance is as flat as rice paper. I look for the emotion that is communicated by the song and then I think about things in my life that bring out the same emotion. A great example of this is “Crying” by Joe Satriani. This song is so sad it should come with a warning label saying it could cause depression. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the song “Baba O’ Riley” by The Who is an extremely upbeat and energetic piece.

Believe.  A great personal friend of mine is a phenomenal song writer and performer. You will often hear my band playing and recording his material for the public. He is an amazing talent but doesn’t share it with anyone. Don’t be afraid to get up and play. It doesn’t matter if you’re the next Celine Dion or William Hung – both have their place in music, and you do too!

Jeremy R.

TakeLessons Honors our March 2011 Teachers of the Week

Each week we recognize a TakeLessons teacher on our Facebook page that has shown outstanding commitment and dedication to our program. If you missed any of our recent posts, take a minute to learn more about each one of the phenomenal teachers that we honored this month!

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Christina L. from Carrollton, TX

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Inspirational, professional and friendly are all words that have been used to describe Christina, who teaches piano & voice lessons in the Dallas area. Christina has been teaching with us for just over a year and has worked with 24 students in that short amount of time!  She grew up studying music & knows how to keep her students on track while also making their lessons productive and fun, which is why they love working with her!
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Mark H. from Osseo, MN

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Mark has been teaching music for over 20 years, and specializes in a variety of subjects including guitar, bass guitar, singing and acting.  He loves what he does and his passion and enthusiasm for his students and his music shines through in every conversation we have with him. In addition to teaching, he has done his fair share of performing and touring. He has even composed songs for many local bands and produced musical scores for local theatrical productions.
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Dorothea G. from Sherman Oaks, CA

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Dorothea has been teaching piano lessons with us for over a year. Her students love her because she is great at challenging them and encouraging them to keep setting goals.  In addition to teaching, Dorothea has experience composing and has even composed for movies! She is currently working with some of the other TakeLessons teachers in her area to create a TakeLessons recital down the road. If you get a chance, check out the amazing introduction video on her profile!

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Scott F. from Rutherford, NJ

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Scott has been teaching voice lessons with us since 2008 and comes with the highest recommendations from all of his students, who say he is patient, charming and talented. He helps them gain not only vocal skill, but self-confidence as well.  Here’s a quote from one of his students: “There is nothing worse than a teacher who’d rather show off the entire lesson than teach; thankfully Scott is nothing like that.  He is a very fun, energetic and uplifting teacher who, still after eight months, leaves me waiting for my next lesson with fervor.”  What a gift!

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Congratulations to all of our outstanding Teachers of the Week for the month of March!

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Special Offer from TakeLessons!

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It’s your LUCKY day!

We’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by offering a super deal for new students!  Now through Friday, March 18th, sign up for monthly or quarterly music lessons with us and take advantage of this special offer:

BUY 3 LESSONS, GET 1 FREE!

This offer is good for private in-home or in-studio lessons with any of our TakeLessons Certified Teachers, as well as lessons at one of our Best Buy Lesson Centers. If you’re ready to learn how to play the piano or jam on the guitar, this is your chance!

Simply call us at 877-231-8505 and mention the offer code “LUCKY” to receive the offer.

Remember, this deal is only good for two days, so don’t delay!

*Offer valid for purchases made from Thursday, March 17th – Friday, March 18th ONLY. New Students Only. Lessons can take place at a later date. Mention offer code LUCKY to redeem. Buy 3 Get 1 Free applies to monthly or quarterly lesson plans. Monthly plans must purchase at least 3 lessons to get 1 free lesson. Subsequent billing cycles will be charged at full price. Free lesson given at time of purchase; any changes made to lessons after purchase may not be applied in full. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Offer has no cash value. Must call to receive deal; discount not available online at this time. Teacher availability is not guaranteed.

NAMM Launches “Pledge to Play” Initiative Encouraging Americans to Take Music Lessons

wannaplayDid you know that more than 85% of Americans have never played a musical instrument – but say they wish they did?  In an unprecedented effort to encourage more Americans to start playing musical instruments, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is introducing a new initiative called “Pledge to Play” ahead of its annual “National Wanna Play Music Week” which takes place May 2-8, 2011.

NAMM has created a dedicated Facebook page where interested participants can take the pledge and make their commitment to learning an instrument. Upon signing up, each person will receive a special “21-Day Guide To Playing Music” from NAMM, which aims to help them stay focused and motivated as they begin their musical journey. The guide will also serve as a helpful resource for finding local music stores, music lessons and places to play live.

Every participant who makes the Pledge to Play via NAMM’s Facebook page will be entered in a drawing for the chance to win prizes ranging from NAMM tumblers and messenger bags to tickets to music festivals such as the Vans Warped Tour. Prize winners and a final tally of those who have taken the pledge will be announced on May 6th.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has always wanted to learn to play an instrument, now is the time!  No matter how old you are, the benefits of music education span all ages, from improving academics and memory of children to helping adults reduce stress in their busy lives. To find a teacher in your area, visit NAMM’s Wanna Play Music site and use the music lesson locator to find a TakeLessons Certified Teacher near you!

So what are you waiting for? Take the pledge today!

TakeLessons Honors our February 2011 Teachers of the Week

Each week we recognize a TakeLessons teacher on our Facebook page that has shown outstanding commitment and dedication to our program.  If you missed any of our recent posts, take a minute to learn more about each one of the phenomenal teachers that we honored this month!

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Jim P. from Wheaton, IL

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Jim has been teaching guitar lessons in the Chicago area for over a year, and in that time has worked with eight students. Jim is proficient in a variety of styles (everything from rock to jazz to blues) which his students absolutely love – check out his profile videos to see him show off his skills! His students have also found that he is very patient and is a pro leading them in the direction they wish to go with their lessons, which keeps them excited about coming back for more.

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Dena C. from Horsham, PA

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Dena teaches music lessons in the Philadelphia area and has worked with over 30 guitar, piano & voice students in the nearly two years she has been with us. In addition to teaching with TakeLessons, she also has experience performing professionally and working as a music therapist.  We love working with Dena because she is committed to providing a First Class Experience for every student we send her way! Her students say they have learned more from her than they ever imagined they would when they began lessons – which is music to our ears!

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Jackie R. from Elkridge, MD

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Jackie teaches piano and singing lessons at several of our Best Buy stores in Maryland, and has worked with a total of 16 students since the program launched last fall.  Jackie’s students love her because she is so positive and encouraging.  She even calls and emails her students throughout the week to remind them to practice and see what kind of progress they are making between lessons – talk about dedication!  We applaud her for her positivity and commitment to excellence.

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Steven B. from Las Vegas, NV

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Steven is a piano, bass and guitar teacher in Las Vegas.  He is incredibly proactive, responsible and genuinely committed to providing a stellar experience for each of the students he teaches. His students describe him as charismatic and praise his ability to cater lessons toward their individual needs.  He’s an expert at developing not only their skills, but improving their confidence as well.

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Congratulations to all of our outstanding Teachers of the Week for the month of February!

Watch Our Latest TakeLessons Music Teacher Videos!

Since the first installment of our featured TakeLessons music teacher videos was so popular, we’re back to bring you more of the latest and greatest videos that our teachers have recorded!  Once you’re done watching these videos, head on over to our YouTube Channel to meet even more of our talented piano, voice and guitar teachers.  If you are a current TakeLessons teacher and would like to record or upload a video for your profile, simply click here and follow the instructions.

Adjoa S. – Singing Lessons in South Pasadena, CA:

Mike G. – Guitar Lessons in Dublin, CA:

Scott M. – Guitar Lessons in Denver, CO:

Jason W.  – Guitar Lessons in Burbank, CA:

Gianni D. – Guitar Lessons in Denver, CO:

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a TakeLessons Gift Certificate

vday site imageIt’s February 8th, which means Valentine’s Day is only 6 days away!  Are you still looking for the perfect gift for your Valentine?  Before you buy the traditional flowers (yawn) or candy (boring!), we’ve got a better idea…

This Valentine’s Day, give a gift that will create a lasting impression (and will last longer than a week) – give your sweetheart a TakeLessons gift certificate, good for music lessons at any of our 3,000+ locations across the country (including Best Buy Lesson Centers)!

Is your girlfriend an aspiring singer looking to hone her craft?  Has your boyfriend always wanted to take drum lessons and embrace his inner rock star? Music lessons provide a great outlet for learning new skills, relieving stress, and most importantly – having fun!  From guitar lessons to piano lessons, TakeLessons gift certificates are valid for any type of music lessons that we offer and never expire, so recipients can use them at their convenience.

Gift certificates are available in any amount, and can be printed at home or sent to the recipient via email.  Simply call one of our student counselors at 877-231-8505 or click here to share the love by purchasing your certificate today!

Piano Lessons for Kids: Tips for Motivating Students

Joy's student Ellie pratices the pianoOur Los Angeles piano teacher Joy A. has several years of experience working with young music students, and recently sent us this article to share some of her favorite tips for motivating students. Enjoy!

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Let’s face it – learning to play music is hard, and we all have days when we want to quit. I’ll admit that when I was a kid, I quit my music lessons more than once. As music teachers, it’s our job to help our students continue to love music, even when they feel discouraged and want to give up.  Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years to help students stay encouraged with music.

1. Ditch the Lesson Book. Some kids love the structure lesson books provide, while other kids loathe the dreaded books.  As educators, it is our job to figure out what works best for each student.  I’ve always had the philosophy that if a lesson book is making a student dread music class, it’s time to find a different approach.  Some kids love to play Disney songs, others love Taylor Swift, and some of my students even play Miles Davis.  As a teacher, I am constantly working to find the best possible material for each student so they can grow as musicians.

2. Play Pots and Pans not Piano! Yes, you heard me – pots and pans and other household items make great instruments!  Ever tried to play a bunch of syncopated beats on a frying pan?   It’s hard, but it’s also incredibly fun!  One of my most promising students came in saying she was having a “pain-o” day.  Instead of forcing her to drag her way through the prepared lesson, we collected pots and pans from my kitchen, and played percussion ensemble for the entire lesson.  Sure my neighbors were less than thrilled, but it was just what she needed to feel like music was fun again. She later even used some of the rhythms we played around with to compose a piece on the piano!

3. Encourage Students to Write Music. Some students are great at reading notes off the page, others are great improvisers, and some love to compose and write their own songs. Encouraging creativity and individuality is a great way to keep a student loving music!  I like to help students record their songs and create CD’s to give out as gifts. They love it!

4. Put on a Show. Everyone needs a goal!  Even though recitals can be a little nerve racking, I’ve always been amazed at how happy and motivated students are when they come in the week after the performance! Many of my students ask when they get to do the next recital. Last year, several students came in incredibly excited and inspired to learn pieces they had heard other students perform.

Best of luck with your lessons in the new year!

Joy A.

Joy A

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Top 9 Reasons TakeLessons Gift Certificates Make An Awesome Holiday Gift

Holiday adThe holiday season is in full swing, and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for that hard to please musician or music lover in your life, look no further.

Presenting….the Top 9 Reasons Why TakeLessons Gift Certificates Make an AWESOME Holiday Gift!

9.  Our gift certificates NEVER expire!

Whether the recipient wants to start lessons right away or a few months down the road, a TakeLessons gift certificate provides a flexible option that lets them start lessons when they’re ready.

8.  Gift certificates are good for any type of lesson we offer.

With more than 30 types of lessons to choose from, there’s something for everyone!  If you know what instrument the recipient is interested in learning, simply give us a call and one of our student counselors can check our database of teachers to confirm availability at the time of purchase, or you can do a search on our site and find a teacher yourself!

 

7.  More convenient than fighting the crowds at the mall…

Gift certificates can be printed and mailed to the recipient – or, if you’re a last minute shopper, email delivery is also an option.

6.  Lessons for any age or stage in life.

Old or young, beginner or advanced – everyone can benefit from music lessons.  Our instructors help their students set goals and create a customized curriculum to help them achieve those goals!

5.  A first class experience from start to finish.

Nothing is more important to us than keeping our customers happy.  When you purchase a TakeLessons gift certificate, you can be sure that you are making a risk-free investment.  Should the recipient not be satisfied with their lessons for any reason, we will gladly set them up with a new instructor to ensure that they have a wonderful lesson experience.

4.  A great addition to music instrument gifts.

Planning to buy Junior that guitar or drum set he’s been begging for?  A gift certificate for lessons with one of our TakeLessons Certified™ Music Teachers will make sure he starts his music career off on the right foot.

3.  A fun and unique gift option that will be remembered.

Chances are the recipients on your gift-giving list have all the neckties and kitchen appliances they need.  This year, why not give a gift that will make an impact and potentially change a life?  Which brings us to our next point…

2.  Forget Rockband and learn to play for real!

Sure, video games are fun – but learning to play an instrument provides many more physical and mental benefits, including improved memorization skills, increased self-confidence, and enhanced creativity.

And the number one reason to purchase a TakeLessons gift certificate this holiday season?

1.  It’s better than fruitcake.

Enough said.

Call us at 877-231-8505 or click here to purchase your TakeLessons gift certificate today!  Happy Holidays!

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