Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Sing with Confidence: Helpful singing tips for vocalists

Feeling nervous about an upcoming performance? It’s a completely normal feeling! Getting used to being in the spotlight takes time. Learn how to sing with confidence using the tips in this article. 

How often do you listen to your favorite bands and pop stars and imagine yourself in their place, singing to an adoring crowd? Lots of people dream of unleashing their inner rock/pop star, but few actually take the bold step of doing so in real life. It takes a lot of courage to learn how to sing and, whether you’re an experienced performing artist or planning your on-stage debut, it’s always helpful to practice a few tips and tricks that will help make your performance the best it can be. 


1) Be Patient--Give Yourself a Minute
It’s natural to get nervous or feel overwhelming anxiety before you perform. This simply means that you care about what you’re about to do! The problem is, anxiety tricks your body into a fight or flight state—your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense up.

When this happens, find a quiet place, close your eyes, and take a slow, deep breath. Hold it in for 10 seconds and then let it out. Repeat 2-3 times until your heart rate slows. A shorter version of this is helpful on stage, too. Take a second before your song starts (your audience won’t mind a 5-second delay) to center yourself and it will make *all* the difference.


2) Practice Often and Be Technically Prepared
Think of practicing as an insurance policy for you voice--the more you practice, the more you know your voice. The more you know your voice, the more confident you are singing in any situation. Preparation is the backbone of self-confidence.

Well ahead of your performance, think about your strengths and weaknesses, and work with your voice teacher to create a plan so that you feel fully prepared. Fumbling around with your instrument? Practice your piano or guitar parts until they become muscle memory. Worried about forgetting lyrics? Hand write them over and over until you don’t have to think about them. Not feeling vocally consistent? Break down the issue with your instructor in lessons leading up to the performance. Feeling like your song just isn’t clicking? Workshop them with a mentor or fellow musician. At North Main Music, we host Performance Workshops a couple of weeks before our student concerts, to give performers an opportunity to test out their song ahead of time and get valuable feedback from the workshop facilitators and attendees. 

Most importantly, be sure to warm up your voice on performance day!


3) Take Risks
You may have heard the quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” When applied to singing, the same rings true!

We often hear this voice in our head when we first start singing that sounds much different than the voice that actually comes out. When applying the building blocks in practicing scales, exercises, and simple tones and in mastering them one step at a time, we then feel comfortable enough to take risks in the creation and formulation of new exercises. If you hear something in your head, but don’t know exactly how to create the sounds, try anyway. 
Taking risks in singing means stepping into uncharted waters of sound and testing all of the different sounds available to you. This can be as simple as humming a line to your favorite song out loud.

Every great singer has to know how to hit the “bad” notes a few times before they understand what it means to hit the “good” ones. In the end, confidence in singing comes from knowing both the “good” notes and the “bad” notes and how to move more fluidly and comfortably between all of them. The truth is, you will never know unless you try and it takes more courage to try than not to. Having the courage to take risks will build confidence in knowing your voice.’’


4) Remember Your “Why” 
Connect with your song and your purpose, and the audience will feel you. Whether it’s a cover song or an original, we must remember the emotion, experience, or memory that brought us to the song in the first place. As singers, we’re often performing the same song over and over. It’s easy to fall into a routine and go through the motions, but your audience will see right through this. There’s nothing worse than watching a performance and the singer is clearly just phoning it in. No matter how many times you’ve sung a song, dig deep each time and remember *why* you wrote these words or *why* you were drawn to this particular song. Find that emotion and use it to express yourself—That is your job as a singer.


5) Enjoy Yourself
For one song, you’ve got 2 to 4 minutes on stage, so make the most of it! If you spend the entire time rushing through, or focused on what could go wrong, you’ll miss the magic. Be present for these moments, enjoy being on stage and connecting with your music and your audience. This is what being a musician is all about!

When it comes to voice lessons, it takes patience, practice, and a little bit of risk-taking! Ultimately, you are the captain of your own ship. Learning how to sing is an art and a balance of all of the above tips and advice. With the combination of all of them, you will find yourself well on your way to singing even more vibrantly and confidently in no time.
Want to put these tips to the test? Then sign up to sing at our next Student Concert! Talk to your instructor or stop by the front desk to learn more.



This article was inspired by and adapted from this article on takelessons.com and this one on songbirdsf.com.https://songbirdsf.com/five-tips-for-singing-in-front-of-a-crowd/ 


Photo credit: Doug Guarino

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Piano Myths Busted


Do you dream of starting piano lessons, but worry that you’re too old, or too busy, or lack the discipline to focus and learn to play? These are some of the common excuses that might keep you from learning piano. In this month’s article, Elena Stabile, one our awesome piano instructors, helps us debunk a few of these excuses and myths.
Most everyone has thought about taking piano lessons at one point or another, but there are some pervasive myths and excuses out there that keep new students from taking the first step to actually doing it. We’re going to address these five myths and help you make an informed decision about taking piano lessons.

Myth #1 – “Piano lessons are boring.”

If you’re unfamiliar with piano lessons, you may imagine sitting at the piano with a mean teacher who keeps yelling at you to play the same scale over and over. The truth is, most of us are far from scary! Learning an instrument can be a challenge, but it’s an extremely rewarding challenge. As piano instructors, it’s our job to make that journey as fun as possible! Different instructors have different techniques for accomplishing this, so it’s important to find someone who is a good fit for you and your learning style — and who also understands your goals. At North Main Music, we encourage you to take an introductory lesson as a way to get a sense for an instructor’s teaching style.

Yes, there are some things that everyone needs to learn — such as theory and scales. But learning these things doesn’t have to be boring! What if there’s a way to show you how scales fit into your favorite rock or pop songs? And how knowing music theory will empower you to quickly learn the songs that you love? Even when you’re learning things that seem difficult and less fun, work with your instructor to find creative and practical ways to incorporate this new knowledge. You’ll be amazed at how easy it becomes to learn — and how much fun you’ll have doing it!

Myth #2 – “If you don’t start piano lessons by age 11, it’s too late.”

Over the years, we’ve heard this myth attached to several different ages, and many variations of thought, such as, “You can learn the instrument, but you will never be able to reach your full potential” or “It will be much more difficult to learn if you start after a certain age.”

Age really doesn’t matter. It’s about your passion for music, desire to learn, and your dedication to investing time in practicing and honing your craft. So if you’re an adult or teen who wants to take piano lessons--do it! It’s never too late to start learning the piano.

Myth #3 – “I don’t have time for piano lessons.”

In the 21st century we don’t *have* time, we *make* time for the things that matter most to us. “‘The excuse of ‘not having time to practice’ falls in a similar vein,” said Elena Stabile, North Main Music piano and voice instructor. “People sometimes expect that being a musician means practicing for hours a day. Sure, that's what you'll do if you're a full time concert pianist, but we don't expect that from our students, especially if they do multiple activities or work full time. Teachers help their students find ways to best and most efficiently practice, given the demands of their lives and what they're currently working on. The approach is totally individualized.” Many North Main Music instructors also encourage their students to record their lessons on their smartphone. Doing this provides a great resource for practicing at home because it reinforces what you learned during your lesson.

At North Main Music, we have daytime, evening, and weekend lesson times available and we’re open on most holidays, too. In addition to having a variety of lesson times, many North Main Music instructors also encourage their students to record their lessons on their phone. Doing this provides a great resource to take home and use to reinforce what you learned during your lessons.

Give us a call or send us an email to discuss your schedule and how we can work with you to find a lesson time that fits your life.



Myth #4 – “I can’t start piano lessons because I don’t own a piano.”

The piano is an impressive instrument to behold both visually and musically--especially a baby grand! Although nothing may compare to playing a well-tuned, full-sized piano, the truth is, you don’t have to own a piano to start learning. There are many different types of affordable keyboards that are great to start with, especially for beginners. If the student is a child, we actually recommend taking this route if you don’t already own the piano. Even kids who love music will often want to try a few different instruments before settling on one. Starting with a keyboard will allow them to try piano without having to make a serious financial commitment.

There are many great websites where you can find amazing deals on lightly-used keyboards. If you decide you would rather buy new, most music stores offer these options as well. The bottom line is, no matter what you start learning on, the most important thing is to get started!

Myth #5 – “Trying to play ‘by ear’ can actually hinder your progress in learning piano.”

We’ve heard stories of students being told not to use their “musical ear” to assist them while reading notes. And for some reason, many students feel like they need to choose to be either a “note reader” or an “ear/chord chart player.”

While most people are naturally inclined one way or the other, it’s equally important for a student to develop both skill sets. Some instructors like to incorporate ear training exercises for their students, in addition to note reading. This helps to create versatile, well-balanced musicians who can adapt to any situation. Your ability to hear what music should sound like will also prove extremely valuable in correcting mistakes as you are practicing on your own throughout the week. So to sum things up, playing by ear will definitely not hinder your progress in learning piano. In fact, quite the opposite!

Piano lessons can add great enjoyment to your life, regardless of whether or not you aspire to be a professional musician. If you’ve let piano lesson myths keep you from starting lessons in the past, maybe it’s time cast excuses aside and give it a try! Happy playing!



This article was inspired by and adapted from this article on takelessons.com.

________________________________________



Meet Elena Stabile, piano and voice instructor at North Main Music

Elena is a professional singer, with a performance background in both voice and piano. She studied at Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music (BA and BM) and the University of Tennessee Knoxville (MM), and got her start teaching during undergrad as a music theory and aural skills teaching assistant and tutor before moving to private voice and piano. Elena's performance experience is primarily in opera and in contemporary classical music; and she also frequently sings in churches as a soloist or as a part of an ensemble. Elena is new to the area--she moved to Nashua in July 2018--and she's very happy to be working at North Main Music. "Working at NMM has provided me with a very positive and supportive teaching environment," said Elena. "I love seeing the growth my students have already experienced in such a short time, and I'm excited to continue working with them and to help them achieve the goals we set out for them when we first started."


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Guitar v. Piano: Which one is the best fit for you?

Here at North Main Music, we get this question often from prospective students and their parents: should they first learn to strum sweet serenades on the guitar or tickle the ivories? The answer is anything but black and white (insert piano keys pun here.) Piano and guitar are both suitable to most music genres and are equally up to the challenge of accompanying a vocalist. Yet at the same time, these two instruments couldn’t be more different. So, which one is the best fit for you or your child? In an ideal situation, one would get a solid foundation in both piano and guitar in order to know for sure, but we can help make your guess an educated one.

Learning Curves—Guitar v. Piano
The guitar and piano learning curve are not the same. After your first piano lesson, you could very well walk away with a simple tune like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ under your belt. By contrast, the only thing you’ll walk away with after your first guitar lesson is probably sore fingers. Guitar can be uncomfortable at first. Between the sorta wonky wrist position and the hard-to-press strings,it can take up to two weeks before you’re not shaking out your burning fingers every 5 minutes.

Jump to three months or so from your starting date: With practice, you will have made steady improvement on the piano. You can play a handful of simple songs, but coordinating both your hands is a little like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. It may be a little while before you can comfortably accompany yourself.

After three months on the guitar, your fingers haven’t been getting sore for a while, and you’re equipped with a handful of chords. You can strum, with some confidence, a huge repertoire of basic rock songs, and at least 10 Bob Dylan songs. You’re not shredding, but you could do a campfire proud.

After about a year-and-a-half of diligent practice, piano and guitar start to even out again. You can pound out enough chords in C and G Major to play some of your favorite pop songs on the piano. Maybe you’ve got a sonatina or two under your belt. More intricate passages are still tricky and require time and effort. They always will.

After a year-and-a-half of furious practice on the guitar, you’re kind of bored with strumming, and you’ve moved on to lead guitar passages and fingerstyle. That can keep you busy for, oh, the next ten years! Intermediate to advanced guitar progresses in much the same way as intermediate to advanced piano.




Portability and Space
This pro v. con is a no-brainer. Hands down, a guitar is more portable and space-effective than a piano. Get an acoustic guitar, and you can take it almost anywhere. Get a piano, and you can barely take it up the stairs (with an army of burly gym rats). You can, of course, remedy the portability problem by getting a keyboard, but you’ll still always need a power source. This one goes to the guitars.




Start-up Costs
While it may be true that guitars are less expensive than pianos, a beginner guitar costs about as much as a beginner keyboard, and really, a keyboard is all you need when you first start piano lessons. Since there’s no need to break the bank buying the best equipment in the beginning, both instruments get a point for this topic.

Theory and Ear Training

It can be easier to conceptualize melodies on the linear piano than on the nonlinear guitar. What does linear vs. non-linear mean? There is only one way to play each unique note or frequency on a piano. There’s only one middle-C, one C above middle C, etc. On the other hand, the guitar has around six ways of playing the very same pitch. When playing by ear on a piano, if pitch in a melody increases, your hand necessarily moves to the right. When playing by ear on a guitar, if the pitch in a melody increases, your hand might move toward the body of the guitar or to an entirely different string.

Now one for the guitars: Some people find it somewhat easier to conceptualize harmonies and chords on a guitar than on a piano. This is because the piano is divided in a somewhat arbitrary way with black keys. It is fairly easy to understand music theory in the context of one key (C-Major) on the piano, but the way the keys are arranged obfuscates the fact that harmonic progressions are simply distances and relationships between chords. It’s easier to demonstrate these relationships with chord shapes on the guitar.

Accompaniment and Vocal Type
Piano and guitar are both quintessential for vocal accompaniment, but they lend themselves to different types of voices. Because they are loud and bright, pianos can sometimes drown out the beautiful mellower types of voices. Pianos sound great with voices that might be described as soulful, clear, salient, bright, or virtuosic. Guitars can accompany any type of voice, but acoustic guitars complement voices that might be described as darker, soothing, airy, or “folksy.”

So, there you have it. We hope that this Guitar v. Piano list gives you some food for thought as to which instrument might be suit your musical interests and current lifestyle. If you have further questions, you are always welcome to contact us at 603-505-4282 or email us at northmainmusic@gmail.com.



Inspired by and adapted from this article on mollymusic.org.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

10 Things That Will Happen When Your Child Begins Piano Lessons

Are you considering enrolling your child in piano lessons? In this month’s blog post, we’ve put together a list of 10 benefits to starting piano lessons for kids. Here at North Main Music, it never ceases to amaze us when we see the positive impact that piano lessons have on kids.

If you’re considering piano lessons for your child, here are 10 great things that you can expect to see as your child moves forward on his or her musical journey.

1. Your child will do better in school
Research shows that children who study music do better on standardized testing and in school overall. After all, music and math are very much intertwined.

2. Your child will become more disciplined
Practicing everyday teaches kids discipline as well as patience. Oftentimes, the discipline it takes to learn the piano carries over into other areas of life, such as school or sports activities.

3. Your child will gain confidence
Learning to accept constructive criticism from a music instructor will help your child build self-confidence. What’s more, being able to do something special, like playing the piano, helps kids feel good about themselves.

4. Your child will become more outgoing
Of course, participating in student concerts and group programs, such as being in one of our bands, helps kids feel less self-conscious. However, talking one-on-one with a teacher also helps children feel more comfortable speaking with others.

5. Your child will make new friends
At North Main Music, we pride ourselves on having a true music community, where many of our students become friends with one another within and outside of our music studio. At NMM, your child can make friends with other music students by participating in one of our group programs, accompanying another student in a semi-annual concert performance, or by attending one of our other many activities and classes throughout the year.


6. Your child will develop a “Musical Ear”
Studying music makes kids into musicians. This applies to all areas of music, not just the piano. Many of our students also participate in their school’s or town’s band, orchestra, chorus, or musical theater.

7. Your child will learn to read music 
Reading music is a skill most people don’t have. People who can read the treble and bass clefs required for piano playing can read music for almost any instrument.

8. Your child will gain a new hobby
Social media, TV, and video games are fun for kids, but playing the piano is much better for young minds.

9. Your child will improve concentration
Concentration is something one must build. At first, your child may only be able to concentrate for 10 minutes, but as he or she advances and the music becomes more difficult he or she will learn to concentrate for an hour or more at a time.

10. Your child will learn to handle stress better
It is a well-known fact that playing music reduces stress. Today’s kids have higher stress levels than previous generations--playing an instrument can be a positive way to deal with life’s difficult moments.

The bottom line is that piano lessons are great for children. There are so many benefits to learning the piano--from developing life skills to creating a lifetime of memories. If you’re a piano parent congratulations, you are giving your child a wonderful gift! If your child is interested in taking piano lessons, give us a call at 603-505-4282 or email us at NorthMainMusic@gmail.com.




This article was inspired by and adapted from this article on takelessons.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thriller Night: 40 killer songs for your Halloween playlist

Halloween: a time for regrettable costume decisions, novelty props, worm-shaped treats, and, of course, rockin' Halloween tunes. Halloween music is ephemeral: its brief October life-span means it was made to blast real loud for a few weeks each year and get everyone in the spooky zone. 

So, whether you’re hosting a haunted house party or handing out candy, North Main Music has put together a playlist that is sure to get you in the Halloween spirit. We picked out some great kid-friendly classics, plus tunes for the grown ups to enjoy from David Bowie to She & Him, Rihanna, the Gorillaz, and more. 

Whatever your plans this Halloween, add these chilling tunes to your creepy All Hallow's Eve playlist!


1. Time Warp - The Rocky Horror Picture Show




2. This is Halloween - Marilyn Manson




3. Love Potion No. 9 - The Searchers




4. Howlin' for You - The Black Keys




5. Boogieman - Childish Gambino



7. Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon





8. The Monster Hop - Bert Convy




9. The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden






10. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads




11. My Beloved Monster - Eels




12. A Nightmare on my Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince



13. Pet Sematary - Ramones







14. Spellbound - Siouxsie and the Banshees





15. The Addams Family TV Theme




16. Bat Dance - Prince



17. Halloween - Dead Kennedys




18. I put a spell on you - She and Him



19. Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones





20. Dracula's Wedding - Outkast featuring Kelis





21. I want candy - Bow Wow Wow






22. Burn the Witch - Queens of the Stone Age






23. Disturbia - Rihanna




24. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - David Bowie







25. Heads will roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs




26. Somebody's watching me - Rockwell






27. Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett



28. Hunting for Witches - Bloc Party



29. Thriller - Michael Jackson








30. Invisible - Ok Go





31. I was a teenage werewolf - The Cramps




32. Dracula - Gorillaz





33. The Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley




34. Season of the Witch - Donovan





35. Bark at the moon - Ozzy Osbourne



36. Zombie - The Cranberries





37. Ghost Town -The Specials



38. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker, Jr. 








39. Black Magic Woman - Santana




40. Halloween -  The Misfits





Got a favorite Halloween song that's not on this play list? Let us know in the comments below!



This article was inspired by/adapted from these articles on takelessons.com, nme.com, and freepeople.com.



















Thursday, September 13, 2018

The 5 Easiest Instruments for Adult Learners

Are you an adult interested in learning how to play a musical instrument, but nervous about getting started? We've compiled a list of some of the easiest instruments for adult learners that we teach at North Main Music.

It’s a commonly held misconception that learning to play a musical instrument as an adult very difficult, if not impossible. The myth that one must pursue music lessons early in life in order to master the craft has kept many capable adults from exploring their musical potential.

As the saying goes, it’s never too late to learn! In fact, there can be some advantages to learning music as an adult. Adults are much more independent and self-motivated than kids who may be pushed by their parents to take music lessons. With the right help, guidance, and motivation, any adult can excel at playing a musical instrument.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are five of the easiest instruments for adults to learn.


1. Ukulele
Inexpensive to buy, highly portable, and super fun to play, the ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn. With just four nylon strings (instead of the guitar’s six), you can quickly pick up simple chords and play some of your favorite songs within a few weeks. When you learn ukulele, you also gain many fundamental skills that will make it easier to graduate from the ukulele to the guitar, should you decide you want to explore a new instrument in the future.


2. Voice
Everyone can sing something. Most adults usually have some level of vocal skill coming in to lessons and tend to underrate their own ability. One of the best things about having your own voice be your "instrument" is that your instrument is always with you and you can practice it anywhere--while driving, in the shower, walking your dog, etc. 





3. Piano

Beginner pianos or keyboard are inexpensive, but to some, the piano may seem complicated — after all, you need to learn to coordinate both hands at once — but it’s actually one of the easiest instruments for adult learners. Because the notes are all laid out in front of you, it’s easier to understand than many other instruments and good for your mind because you are reading music from day one of your lessons. Plus, though you may play wrong notes sometimes, you can’t ever play out of tune the way you can with other instruments. Moreover, due to its popularity, you’ll have no shortage of useful learning materials when you choose piano as your instrument! 



4. Guitar
There are some great advantages to learning the guitar as an adult. First, the guitar takes some hand strength to play, so it is not a suitable instrument for most small children to learn. Second, many adults have had some prior experience with guitar lessons as older kids or teens, and therefore guitar lessons, in some ways, can be liking "riding a bike" and feel like you are picking up where you left off all those years ago.


5. Drums
For sure, learning to play the whole drum kit is difficult. It's also not a requirement for taking drum lessons. You can start your lesson with just the snare drum and add additional pieces as you become more comfortable and confident in your playing. 


Learning how to play a musical instrument as an adult is not as intimidating as it may sound. While the options listed above may be some of the easiest instruments to learn, there’s no need to limit yourself! You are always welcome to take a 30-minute introductory lesson in any instrument that may interest you to get a feel for it.

Whatever instrument you pick, excelling at music will eventually feel easy and natural, just as long as you’re genuinely engaged in your lessons, practice regularly, and have a dedicated teacher who will nurture your inner musicality along the way. Check out the talented and caring instructors at North Main Music and start becoming the musician you’ve always dreamed of being!



This article was inspired by/adapted from this article on takelessons.com


Photo credit: Doug Guarino

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Finding The Right Teacher For Your Music-Loving Kid









How do you match your child with someone competent, trustworthy, and inspiring?



Once your child has zeroed in on the instrument they would like to learn, the next step is to find a teacher. For many families, that means scouting about for a good private music school and instructor — which can be a challenge on many levels. Asking friends and parents of your child's peers for recommendations is a natural first step, but it doesn't have to be your only method. There are other ways to evaluate if a teacher is likely a good fit for your child and if they can help plug your kid into your local music scene.

In the internet age, it is fairly easy to do some research on your new potential teacher. At North Main Music, each of our instructors has a detailed bio on our website, describing their education and experience, as well as their teaching philosophy. You’re also welcome to call us to ask questions about an instructor’s background, teaching style, and their students’ successes – specifically the students that share your same level and goals.


How can I tell if a teacher is a great match for my child?





This presents a particularly tricky minefield for parents who aren't musically inclined themselves, or whose own memories of childhood lessons are occupied by boring old bats or sadistic, tough-talking taskmasters--or a combination of both. Given the perceived layers of mystery that all too often surround learning to play music, novice parents might wrongly assume that bad teaching is just the way things are supposed to be, but this is far from the truth. 

If you remember only one piece of advice when choosing a music teacher, remember this golden rule: More than degrees, titles, or awards, a teacher’s level of emotional intelligence — the awareness of their own emotions and the emotions of others–will determine their effectiveness as a teacher. Is your candidate responsive to your messages, questions, and input? Are they flexible and spontaneous? Can they balance structure and fun, and do they seem to genuinely love what they do? These are the characteristics that truly matter, and that keep a student engaged, challenged, and committed to music lessons.



The Trial Lesson



At North Main Music, we offer a trial lesson for just $32, so you can to test how the personalities of a teacher and your child mesh. During the trial lesson, you are welcome ask questions: What's the teacher's background as a musician and as an instructor? What kinds of teaching materials and music does she use? How much practice time is expected for students, and does that vary by the student's age? Will the teacher allow the student to record the lesson? (This can be a terrific practice aid, especially when it comes to remembering how something is supposed to sound.) What are the expectations for students and for their parents?

A good teacher will be a friendly, encouraging, and inspiring presence — even when a student hits rough patches. He will point out the student's weaknesses without being harsh or dismissive, suggest innovative ways to overcome challenges, and create engaging ways to tackle even rote activities like playing scales or honing fine motor skills. The instructor's age and experience might or might not be a deciding factor; oftentimes a newer teacher’s youth can help a student, especially a teenager, feel more at ease. On the other hand, another student may be more motivated and inspired by a “seasoned” musician with a great deal of experiential wisdom.

So what if you try out a teacher for a little while and you're just not sure it's a good fit? It's crucial to trust your gut. It's better to make a change sooner rather than later, especially if you feel like a teacher's experience, energy or approach just isn't right for your child. Sure, that will probably be an uncomfortable conversation, but isn't that preferable to wasting money, time and your kid's initial enthusiasm? At North Main Music, we are always open to feedback on how to make your child’s lesson experience as positive as possible, and we are happy to work with you to match your child with the best teacher for them.



“We scheduled a trial lesson! How do we prepare for it?”
Congratulations! You’ve made a great first step. Now you need to do a little preparation. First you need to find an instrument if you don’t have one. Start your research but you may not need to purchase anything just yet. Ask you new potential teacher for advice on that. We also have a comprehensive FAQ page on our website, which may answer some of your questions as you prepare for your first lesson.

And that leads to the next point – GOALS. It’s very important that you can verbalize clearly why you want to take music lessons. You’ll want to tell your new potential teacher your goals in the first lesson:

  • Are you doing this just for enjoyment?
  • Do you want to strengthen your skills so you can be a part of a community group? (a church choir or musical theatre troupe or band, etc.)
  • Are you in middle/high school and you want to join the orchestra? star in the school musical? play in the jazz band?
  • Are you considering majoring music in college?
  • Do you want to start a band?
  • Do you want to be the next American Idol?
Whatever your goals are, make them clear to yourself and your teacher so that, together, you can determine whether or not this teacher can help you to reach them and make the most of your learning experience.


“My kid had their trial lesson. How do I know he/she was the right teacher?”
You might not be able to answer this question after just one lesson. But here are some things to think about:


  • A good teacher should be able to nurture and make you feel comfortable and good about yourself especially when you are having difficulty mastering the subject
  • A good teacher should challenge you to achieve to a level that maybe you think you can’t attain.
  • A good teacher should be honest with you but not in a belittling way – in a way that elevates you to a higher level.
  • A good teacher listens to your desires and goals and creates a plan to achieve those goals.
  • A good teacher can communicate their ideas clearly to you and when you don’t quite understand, they can come up with several different ways to communicate the same concepts until you understand (because not every student learns the same way).
  • A good teacher is willing to tell you when you should find another teacher if they feel like you have achieved everything you can with them.
  • A good teacher will not belittle you if you decide that it is time to move on to another teacher.




You know you are with a good teacher if you leave your lessons feeling excited about what you are doing! Of course there will always be some times that you will have a difficult lesson here and there but the right teacher will guide you through those difficult times and celebrate your success when you come through it.


Good luck on your search!


The above article was inspired by/adapted from this article on npr.org and this one on pianopower.org.