Monday, December 31, 2012

5 Ways to Make it a Musical New Year

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s time to make plans to seize the new year! If you’re looking to make music a priority for the new year, check out our recommendations for a more musical 2013:

1. Listen to indie music
If you’ve found yourself in a musical rut, expand your repertoire by finding some new influences. Spin the dial on your radio away from the usual suspects and explore your local independent, college or classical radio stations. Hit the web for programs like NPR’s WorldCafe, All Songs Considered and Sound Opinions - all great places to hear new music. And remember, whatever your taste, there’s a blog out there for you. EcoSalon created a solid list of music blog recommendations - check it out

2. Support live music
At least a handful of your favorite musicians will play a venue near you this year. Moreover, there are tons of musicians you haven’t yet heard who need your support. Whether you’re checking out touring bands or local performers, be sure to get acquainted with your local music scene!

3. Share your favorites
Love music? Make sure your friends know! Its easier than ever to share the artists and songs that make your heart sing. Tweet them, post them, pin them, add them or upvote them. Keep your friends up to speed by curating your own Spotify feed or SoundCloud profile. Get social with music and share the love! We'd love to hear from you too. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google Plus.

4. Learn something new
Whether you’re starting at square one or continuing on with an instrument, be sure to challenge yourself. Try something new. A different style. A new song. An advanced technique. Don’t forget, people. Practice makes perfect! And, if you need assitance along the way, be sure to connect with a good music teacher

5. Train for something
Take a note from the runners out there who train for everything from a 5K to a marathon. Set a goal for yourself and make it happen. Is there a recital in your future? An opportunity to solo at your church? Have you always wanted to make a recording of your work? Whatever your goal may be, make sure you set yourself up for success by using your resources. Online music lessons with a professional instructor just might get you where you want to go.

Make music your social cause this year. The world could use a more musical 2013.

See also:
Never Too Late to Learn an Instrument

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Never Too Late to Learn an Instrument

As a guitar teacher with over 20 years experience, I’ve had the opportunity to work with guitar students of all ages and skill levels. One student, however, stands out among all. We first met when she walked into the music store, came up to the counter and said,  “I want to learn how to play guitar. Can a woman of my age do it?”  I replied, “Absolutely!” Uncertain, she asked, “How can you be so sure? I’ve heard many people say that it’s very hard.” So, I said, “I’ll tell you a secret, the Guitar is the easiest thing to learn and the hardest thing to master.”  

ANYONE can learn how to play guitar. The questions is how far you want to go with it. Think about it: do you need to know the inner workings of an internal combustion engine to drive a car? Most people just put the key in, turn it on, and go. Learning the guitar is the same thing. You could make the choice to learn everything about guitar,  practice countless hours every day, immerse yourself in music theory and learn the little nuances that have created countless classics over the years....  
 photo Guitar_guy2_zps82f84efd.jpg
Or, you could do what 9 out of 10 adults do. Learn some chords, and be able to play some songs.  Learning enough to put a smile on your face, relieve the stress from work,  jam with some people at a party or an open mic.  There are many options nowadays when it comes to learning guitar, or any type of instrument for that matter.  

Private instruction, whether in person or via webcam, is by far the fastest way to learn. The right instructor will have you playing faster than it would take the YouTube video to finish loading. The instant feedback a music teacher can give you is priceless when you think about how much time can be wasted in practicing something incorrectly. Learning how to play the guitar can be taught in as little as 20 minutes.   

It’s just like starting the car, after that, you have the rest of your life to enjoy the journey. As for the woman at the music store, she looked at me and said, “Ok, I’ll give it a shot.” I said, “That’s all you need to do, give it a try… By the way,  if you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?” She smiled, “Would you believe, I’m 88?” No matter what age you are, you can learn. I’ve taught kids as young as 4 ½  all the way up to Miss Alice who holds the record as my oldest student at the ripe old age of 88. 

ANYONE can learn to play guitar, you just have to give it a try.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

5 Last-minute musical gift ideas for the Holidays

With 5 days remaining until Christmas, it’s time to take a look at that list you made and check it twice!  Short on gifts for that musician in your life? Never fear, The ZOEN has assembled a list of musical gift ideas just for you:

1. Musical Instruments
 photo ID-10083838_zpse2b7a2b9.jpgIf you’re looking to encourage a future musician in the household, an instrument is the best place to start. Research shows that playing music is a great mental exercise. Kids who take up an instrument are known to perform better in school and have better odds of getting into college. For great last-minute holiday deals on instruments, check out the following:

  • - Featuring what is perhaps the widest selection of musical gear online, Sweetwater boasts beginner-level instruments as well as high-end professional gear, accessories and recording equipment.
  • Guitar Center - Far more than just guitars, Guitar Center is a great place to find just about any instrument as well as accessories like cases, stands, tuners, picks, pedals and microphones, amps and more and they even guarantee delivery by Christmas.
  • Musicians Friend - With its extensive offering of musical instruments, Musicians Friend is a great place to find both new and used equipment.
  • Amazon - Solid selection of musical instruments as well as accessories like guitar picks and straps.

2. Music Lessons
Once a musician takes up an instrument, the next (and arguably hardest step) is finding the right teacher. Thanks to the internet and live online music lessons, you aren't limited by Geography to choices within your own neighborhood or even your own time zone. You can find your teacher and take online music lessons without ever leaving your home. What's more? You can even buy Gift Cards and Gift Certificates for music lesson packages that complement your musical instrument gift. Check out Gift Certificates from The ZOEN. They’re a simple and thoughtful gift for any aspiring musician and can be redeemed for online music lessons with any music teacher on the website.

3. Digital Music
Musicians love music. Why not give them access to even more of it? So often a musician’s journey begins with “that song” that inspires them to learn to play it. For established musicians, its helpful to listen to the music they’re learning in order to play it. iTunes Gift Cards make for great gifts - as do iPods. Also consider gift subscriptions to online music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.

4. Musical Apps
Music apps for smartphones and tablets can help a musician tune up and keep a beat. Many of the apps available are built for beginners but can also assist those with intermediate to advanced skills. For those needing a metronome on the go, Metronomics Metronome is available in the Apple App Store. The Cleartune-Chromatic Tuner is a great app for almost any musician to have on hand. Apps like Loopy, Beat Maker and Figure are fun ways to learn music production. What musician wouldn’t want to compose their own ringtone? These apps make that entirely possible.

5. Sheet Music and Guitar Tabs
Online resources like Sheet Music Plus and Sheet Music Archive give music students access to thousands of sheet music and guitar tab titles for all genres and skill levels. Sheet music or tabs for a favorite song are a great add-on to online music lessons.

Did we miss anything? Hit us with your suggestions in the comments section below.

Friday, December 14, 2012

3 Things Busy Moms Would Do With an Hour Saved Through Online Music Lessons

One of the benefits of pursuing music lessons online is the time-saving convenience of staying at home. A 30-minute lesson with a music teacher across town can quickly add up to an hour or more of time away from home once drive-time is included. And then there’s the traffic... 

Curious about what off-duty mom’s would do with some extra downtime, The ZOEN surveyed a group of women about the activities they’d prefer to pursue if they didn't have to spend time shuttling their kids to and from music lessons, not to mention the waiting involved. The top 3 answers were: 

  •  Read - Finally! Time to get through that last chapter. 
  •  Sleep - Get to bed earlier or just sleep in later. 
  •  Exercise - Why, an hour is enough for cardio and strength training. 
In addition, a survey by concluded that 58.8% of women who manage to make time for themselves are forced to do so either early in the morning or late at night, sacrificing sleep and other daily rituals. Online music lessons with an accomplished, professional teacher might offer one solution to bringing mom time back into daytime.

What would busy moms do with an hour saved?

Mom time is important. Lets resolve to have more of it in the new year! 

Consider giving the gift of online music lessons this holiday season. Learn more on our website.

Monday, December 10, 2012

3 Elements of Saxophone Success

Superior saxophone skill requires the successful development of three areas of playing. Without these three basic components you will have limited success in developing your playing style and overall performance ability.
Wayne Land - Saxphone Instructor, The ZOEN

TONAL QUALITY is simply the character of the basic sound itself. A beautiful tonal quality is apparent when you play a single note as well as when you are performing entire tunes. Even if your ultimate goal is to play with a “smoky” sound or an expressive “raspy” quality, begin by striving for a clear tone without air, buzziness or other distortion. Then build your individuality or preferred tone on top of that ability to play with a perfectly clear sound. Developing control is the key to becoming a truly masterful player.

Developing control is the key to becoming a truly masterful player.

INTONATION refers to executing the correct pitch of each note you play in relation to all the other notes you play. Only the very finest saxophones are built so all the notes play at the correct pitch relative to each other without the player making any adjustments. Saxophones don’t “automatically” play in tune with themselves. Adjustments must be made by using more or less lip and jaw pressure on the reed and mouthpiece. Practicing with a tuning device is helpful but the ultimate goal is to hear the difference yourself and develop the necessary adjustments until they are second nature. Eventually, you don’t want to be consciously thinking about correct pitch all the time you’re playing but in the early stages of development, it is crucial.

Practicing with a tuning device is helpful but the ultimate goal is to hear the difference yourself...

TECHNIQUE refers to the precision and fluidity of fingers, tongue and facial muscles while executing the notes. Technique is important all the time, not only when you play fast or “technically difficult” passages. Technique is not an ends but a means: having the control of technical proficiency is what enables us to play with communication, expression, musicality. Too often technique is denounced as the antithesis of musicality. Technique is the means to be more musical--they are inseparable.

Technique is important all the time...

Everything you do when practicing should be designed to promote better Tonal Quality, Intonation, and Technique simultaneously. These skills are not something we take turns developing - rather, they must be attained as a whole because not one of them can be mastered in isolation from the other two.  

Check back for the second part of this post where we address 5 Tips to Improve Your Sax Skills.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How can online music lessons increase family time?

The gift of music brings joy into the family home and the benefits of music lessons for a child’s development are well known. Now, parents are finding an effective new way of giving their children this gift, connecting with great music teachers and enjoying the time and cost savings of online music lessons at home. Our new video illustrates the experience of a live online piano lesson. Have a look:

Can you think of anyone who’d like to check out a live online music lesson? Be sure to share this post or the YouTube link with them. Seeing is believing.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Daniel Foran: Why Take Music Lessons Online?

As a voice teacher and singing performer, I have much to share about  the wonderful instrument of the voice and techniques to use it properly. However, in my first contribution to The ZOEN blog, I'd like to address the revolution we are bearing witness to in live online lessons. While the internet has become ubiquitous in societies around the world, the field of online music instruction is still in its pioneering stage.

Music lessons have been growing online and The ZOEN is at the forefront of this evolution. There are a multitude of positive reasons to consider online voice lessons, not the least of which is the flexibility and convenience of learning in the comfort of your home or wherever you have your computer.. And, imagine the fuel saved with gas prices as they are today.

Perhaps your favorite teacher is going to move. Or, maybe you live in California and you want to study with a teacher from New York City. With online lessons, that's now entirely possible. The world has become far more accessible now and you have an opportunity your grandparents never knew and quite possibly never dreamed of.

Today, there are many online homeschooling groups, book exchanges, curriculums and many other resources available to homeschooling families. Music has always been a difficult field for the homeschooling family because teaching it requires one who has been adequately trained. Not only does The ZOEN fulfill this opportunity, families can now also find teachers that are the 'perfect fit' for their children. 

In this new online phenomenon, we are seemingly limited only by our imaginations. The world is changing quickly and new opportunities are opening new doors never thought possible or even considered before. I have been privileged to be part of The ZOEN from the beginning and I have been teaching online lessons for almost two years. For more information about me, be sure to check out my profile on The ZOEN.