Posts

Looking Back at the Biggest Hits of 2014 [Video]

2014 has been flying by and best-of-the-year lists are starting to come out of the woodwork. In the year-end spirit, DJ Earworm has created a mashup showcasing the biggest hits of 2014, featuring big names like Taylor Swift and Pharrell Williams, plus newcomers Meghan Trainor, Iggy Azalea, and many more.

Now you can hear all the songs you’ve had stuck in your head this year at the same time, in a mashup that’s both fun and catchy.

Can you name all these hit songs of 2014? Or is there a song that you think was left out? Tell us all about your favorite music of the year in the comments below!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

Amazing Dad Learns to Sing for Unforgettable Wedding Song

What’s something you always thought you couldn’t do? What would it feel like to have a breakthrough and discover that there’s really nothing holding you back?

John Butcher, age 50, always thought he was tone deaf until he took voice lessons to perform a surprise song at his daughter’s wedding. After six months of private voice lessons, Butcher was able to deliver a touching and tuneful performance. This video, which was featured on the UK’s Daily Mail website, shows this incredible dad’s wedding reception song performance of “You Were Always on My Mind”. 

Is there a specific wedding reception song that you would love to be able to sing? Or if singing’s not quite your cup of tea, is there a piano piece or guitar song you’d like to learn? Find a teacher near you who can help out!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

4 Piano Tutorials for Fall’s Top Hits

With all the new songs that have come out for fall, you’re probably thinking of a few that would be really fun to learn how to play on the piano! And as you explore repertoire and find your new favorites, the Internet can be a great resource for finding tutorials and sheet music.

Here are a few piano tutorials for our favorite songs that have come out lately. Maybe you’ll find one that becomes a new standard!

“Rude” by MAGIC!

If you’ve heard this song even once, you already know how catchy it is. Once it’s in your head, it’s probably not going anywhere for a while! So why not play it out on the piano while it’s stuck in there?

This is one of the longest piano tutorials out there, but it’s well worth watching. The host does a great job explaining all parts of the song, including the specific techniques you’ll be using.

“Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

On the other side of the spectrum, you can find a lot of piano tutorials that are not much longer than the song itself. “Stay With Me” is a popular tune you’ve probably heard on the radio. This tutorial does a great job explaining the intricate patterns required, but also makes it simple enough to play even as a novice piano player.

“Fireproof” by One Direction

This is not the easiest of piano tutorials to follow, but it does a decent job of showing you how to play the song. The tutorial is nothing more than a video of someone playing the song with both hands, but it’s at a speed that makes it easy to figure out the chord pattern and melody.

This is a good example of a song to take to your piano teacher to learn how to play it. Not all piano tutorials are easy to follow, but your teacher can help you take a raw video and turn it into something that’s simple to practice. Having the video available to reference between lessons is quite handy as well.

“Centuries” by Fall Out Boy

Here’s another video by the hosts of the “Fireproof” tutorial. Again, it’s nothing more than a simple video of someone playing the chords and melody, but it’s a great tool to take to your private teacher and to reference in between your lessons.

There are a lot of piano tutorials available for the latest popular songs on YouTube. Even if these four aren’t the style you’re looking for, chances are you can find something you like pretty quickly. But remember: make sure that you’re talking to your private instructor when you’re looking for new songs and new piano tutorials. Your instructor might even be able to listen to a song and give you a simple chord progression without even looking at a video ahead of time. Plus, when your teacher knows the type of music you like to play, he or she may be able to find similar tunes to incorporate into your lessons. It’s a great way to add some spice–and fun!–to your lessons.

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of prescreened teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for safe, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

Photo by alexanderward12

5 Awe-Inspiring Kids Playing Piano

Whether playing Mozart or the Muppets, or even “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, nothing beats the joy on a child’s face when they’ve conquered a new song!

No doubt you’ve seen or heard video clips of children showing off their talents on the keys, and it’s pretty inspiring to see. A quick search on YouTube will pull up tons of kids playing piano, some so young you’ll be amazed. Here, we’ve selected a few of our favorites that are definitely worth watching:

Nine-Year-Old’s Improptu Costco Performance

This young man was apparently separated from his family during a trip to Costco. He kept calm, played piano, and became an Internet sensation. His performance of Csárdás moved passersby enough to have one of them take footage with a cell phone and post it on YouTube. If you’re impressed by this clip, you can watch a few more of his performances, all of them a bit less impromptu, by following the links in the video description.

4-Year-Old Prodigy

While we have to disagree that the boy in the video is playing better than any master, he is doing quite well for only being 4 years old. He has amazing command of tempo as well as dynamics, going from forte to piano at will. This isn’t easy even for those of us who have been playing for years. Plus, his excitement before he gets started is incredibly adorable. Try to emulate that joyful feeling the next time you sit down to play!

Bach Played by a 5-Year-Old

Bach’s contrapuntal arrangements are difficult for many beginning pianists to master, so it’s pretty incredible to watch this 5-year-old girl run through this piece like it’s as easy as riding a tricycle.

6-Year-Old Girl on The Ellen Show

This girl has made many appearances on a few different talk shows, and has even played at the White House. What really impresses us about her playing is the way she makes the pieces come to life. She brings the melody out of this passage from Mozart’s Fantasia in D Minor to the point that it feels much more than just playing notes written on a sheet of music.

Even more impressive, she has written some of her own piano songs. Composing songs gives you a lot more insight into the way a particular song should feel when it’s played, since you’re building from the ground up. The next time you’re practicing, feel free to take a little bit of time after working through your planned material, and try making up a new song. You might surprise yourself and notice things about your current material that you haven’t before!

Flight of the Bumblebee on Australia’s Got Talent

Here’s a clip of what some YouTube commenters believe is the same boy as in the second video. Only this time, he’s 7 years old, and playing in front of talent judges! Growing older and taller over a few years has helped him develop even better muscle control than before, as you can see by his incredibly fast fingers and impressive dynamic range. That’s something other pianists spend years trying to perfect!

If you’re watching these videos and wondering how these kids playing piano ever got to be so talented, we’ll let you in on their not-so-secret methods: all of them started practicing diligently at a very young, and have worked with private instructors to fine-tune their abilities. It’s amazing what you can do with a little encouragement and guidance–at any age, really! If you’re interested in learning how to play, take that next step in signing up for private lessons, and who knows, maybe you’ll be next to serenade the crowd at Costco!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

Photo by donjd2

5 Singing Auditions Gone Wrong – And How to Bounce Back

We’ve all had one at some point or another – a bad audition. You prepare like crazy for that singing competition that you swear up and down you’re going to nail. However, despite 30 minutes of scales first thing in the morning and an entire day in line spent practicing, you walk into the audition with your head held oh-so-high only to walk out feeling like your head was handed back to you on a lovely silver platter.

Below are a few singers who didn’t quite measure up to the singing competition they auditioned for. No worries though – there is something to take away from each of these auditions that have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

The Singing Souls

What they lack in vocal quality, they sure make up for in confidence. They might say anybody can outsell the Spice Girls, but these girls really could have learned a thing or two about performing with stage presence had they had a chance to attend a Spice Girls concert. Although, the Singing Souls were most likely belting in diapers while the Spice Girls were out touring the world.

Rhonetta

“Anybody can learn how to sing, but anybody can’t be like me.” Unfortunately, if you’re going to want to compete with JLo and Mariah on the charts, you’re going to need to know how to sing. One out of two ain’t bad, eh Rhonetta?

J Star Valentine 

Picking the right audition song can make or break your audition. He’s definitely got the look, but sometimes you just have to stick to what you know.

Mary Roach

The moral of this story: if all your friends tell you that you’re a great singer… get a second professional opinion.

Qualtrel Da’an Smith

Looks can be highly deceiving. OK, so this audition wasn’t actually that bad at all. We wouldn’t suggest auditioning for a singing competition in this outfit, but Qualtrel captured the essence of what it means to get up on stage and own your performance. Baby, you were born this way!

All jokes aside, an audition gone wrong is merely a practice test better preparing us for our final exam. Every singer loves a good singing competition, but not every singing competitor knows how to sing. Like Rhonetta said, though, anyone can sing. Prepare your material months in advance, set aside plenty of time to practice every day, and power through your audition with confidence and poise. You may find yourself in the middle of an audition that has suddenly gone south, but if you buckle down, re-focus and remain true to yourself, you can show those judges just how determined you are to win, and you may be able to bounce right back up like our superstar in the making, Qualtrel!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

Photo by Sheryl Pouls

You Have to See What Sound Really Looks Like

We’re not talking about digital renderings of sound waves or synesthesia! This amazing video from NPR’s science tumblr Skunk Bear uses an interesting photographic technique to capture what it looks like when sound waves push against the air.

It’s incredible actually seeing the sound of hands clapping:

clapping

and being able to see sound vibrations leave a speaker!

speaker

Whether you’re a musician or a music lover, sound is a huge, yet normally invisible, part of your life. What do you think about these photos and video of sounds? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

“Kiss the Girl” Prank Proves Music Can Make Any Day Magic

In movies, it’s totally cool to have a group of sidekicks suddenly start singing around you, but what if it happened in real life? YouTuber Stuart Edge teamed up with Peter Hollens, Noteworthy, and Vocal Point to bring “Kiss the Girl” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid into real life situations, and the results were adorable:

Even the pup got a kiss! Thanks Sebastian!

sebastian kiss

What do you think? Is life better with a soundtrack? Let us know in the comments below!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

 

Moms Vs. Dads: See Who Dances Better

Since time immemorial, human beings have been embarrassed by the way their parents dance. Then, we grow up and become embarrassing parents ourselves. It’s all part of the circle of life.

For our Moms versus Dads ultimate dance-off, who better to demonstrate the fine art of parental booty-shaking than Jimmy Fallon? His “Evolution of Dance” videos are completely on point and sure to make you laugh!

Ladies first! Take it away, Moms!

Don’t take that laying down, Dads! Show us what you’ve got!

With moves like “the slippery snake” and “driving the station wagon,” this one is too close for us to call. What do you think? Who dances better? Tell us in the comments below!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

This Sweet Rapping Doctor Will Make You Smile

You probably know that music lessons can make you smarter, but did you know that hearing music also helps with memorization and learning new things? This awesome doctor uses that knowledge to educate his young patient and put a smile on her face. Check it out!

Okay, so he’s not the best rapper in the world, but he is the sweetest doctor ever for trying! Can you believe he even found a rhyme for “phalanges”?

Do you have a song that helps you remember something important? Tell us about it in the comments!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

You Have To See This Amazing Teenage DJ

If you’ve ever thought DJ’s aren’t real musicians, prepare to get schooled by a high school student. 17 year old Cole Plante may be young, but his DJ skills have already gotten him work with famous EDM artists, including Skrillex and Avicii. In this TED-Ed talk, Cole shows an audience of his peers how a DJ set is done. Read more