Tips For Finding The Perfect Music Teacher For Me

The perfect music teacher is someone who has experience, knowledge, and personality that you find suitable and compatible with your own. No matter if you are going to a music school or finding an individual teacher, there are a few key items that can help you make sure that your music teacher is perfect for you.


This shouldn’t be taken as the be-all and end-all of considerations. Plenty of well-established music teachers may not have official qualifications rooted in post-secondary education. Some teachers may draw on real-life experiences which shaped their own development and passion for music. 

Some common qualifications include university degrees, Royal College of Music, Suzuki Method Training, or on-the-job training, perhaps playing with bands, orchestras, or musical groups that have a track record for having high-quality musicians. 

Passion for Teaching

Having chops isn’t good enough to be a teacher. There are plenty of musicians who may look at teaching private lessons as an income stream to feed their bottom line. Make sure that the person you are going to for lessons has a passion for teaching music. Some signs that you are dealing with someone that has a passion for teaching music include:

  • Having well-organized lesson plans
  • Having strategies to give you and your way of learning
  • Showing that there is a progression from lesson to lesson
  • The ability to offer additional resources that supplement the lessons

If a music teacher shows up week to week not prepared, not having new material, not knowing the direction and key points of each lesson, it may be time to think about how invested the teacher is in providing music lessons to you.


This might be hard to qualify as we are all different, however, a good teacher should have an open-minded approach with lessons being taught in an engaging, meaningful, and fun way. At times it may be easy to socialize a bit too much, so make sure that you remember the lesson is something you are paying for. A good teacher should respect your time and while socializing is an important part of lessons, keeping the purpose of the lesson to milestones is important. You should always feel like you walked out of a lesson with something to chew on. 

Sometimes you may know after a 5-minute conversion that a music teacher isn’t a good fit and sometimes it may take a few lessons to make a judgement call. At the end of the day, you should feel comfortable in the lessons and walk away with valuable information that is helpful and moves your musical journey forward.

Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

How Can I Make Music Part Of My Lifestyle As A Musician

In last week’s blog, we looked at how we can make music part of our lifestyle as a listener. This week, let’s look at how to do this from the perspective of the developing musician, specifically one that has the challenges of a day job, family and other life items that will compete with the realities of time. Planning, as with many things in life, becomes the key to success. Start with making a to-do list or a calendar event to plan your practice sessions throughout the week. Let’s look at some strategies that go beyond the planning stage which might help you develop and spend more time practicing your instrument.

In Sight, On Mind

Keeping your instrument in plain sight will help as a reminder to pick up that instrument and spend some time on it. Vocalists may have an easier time doing this due to the nature of their instruments, but musicians with actual instruments can leave them in a safe place that they pass by a lot. It’s amazing how a few minutes add up to a significant time on the instrument. Back in the day of the penny (it’s been eliminated in Canada for many years now), the expression “watch your pennies and the dollars will come” offers a relatable sentiment. If you pick up your instrument in passing for 5 minutes 5 times a day, that’s an extra 25 minutes of practice time. You can play through a couple of major scales, the head of a song, chord changes, or anything that doesn’t require a music book or sheet music. Even playing a simple melody you hear in your head will provide not only time on the instrument but some valuable ear training that is beneficial to all aspects of your development. You might also want to think about having not only time-based tasks but also action-based learning. For example, instead of saying “I will practice for 30 minutes every day”, you could say “I will play the F, Bb, and Eb major scale cleanly three times today”. 

Keep A Record Of Your Practice Sessions

Progress is encouraging when it is noticeable. However, there are many progressions that happen in the long term which are hard to notice in the short term. Writing down information such as how fast you can cleanly execute a phrase or major scale today and then comparing it to what you did a week ago shows progression. You might have only increased your tempo by 5 beats per minute, but this is a progression that is a wonderful and positive experience. It adds to the motivation to integrate musical development into your lifestyle.

Dedicate A Space

There is something to be said about a change of environment, however, at times the brain does like predictability and familiarity. Having a dedicated practice space will allow you to be in an environment where the brain knows that it’s time to practice. It’s also good to have a space that is laid out with the tools needed for the practice session. A music stand with the music or exercise ready, pencils sharpened ready to take notes, music books an arm reach away, and the instrument ready to be picked up and played are a few things that will allow you to be efficient with your time in the practice room.

These three tips should help you get started with having music as a consistent part of your lifestyle. Being organized, planning, and having access to your music and instrument makes the process more efficient and enjoyable.

Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

How Can I Make Music A Part Of My Lifestyle As A Listener

If you are a listener, musician, or student of an instrument, you might be wondering how to make music a bigger part of your lifestyle. Let’s break out this idea into two categories, the listener or appreciator of music and that of the musician. 

Regardless of which category you fit into, listening to music has scientific proof of being beneficial in keeping your brain young. It is also an important part of the culture and elevates other forms of entertainment such as TV shows and movies, restaurant outings, and standing in an elevator as you get propelled to new heights. Let us explore how we can integrate music into our life.

Before breaking this topic into our two categories, check out the blog “How To Listen To Music”. An important concept described is passive vs active listening. In a nutshell, passive listening is having that smoky smooth Miles Davis album playing in the background while you cook your favourite dinner while active listening is the act of putting all of the life worries away for a period of time, sitting in your favourite room, and pointing all of your attention to listening to music without other distractions around you. 

The Listener and Appreciator of Music

On the passive side, it would likely be a good guess that you already listen to music on your commute, while doing your housework, and perhaps to accompany other activities. To elevate your passive listening, put away that Spotify suggested playlist and make an effort to build your own playlist. Dig into an artist or genre and do a little research so that you can build your own playlist that will accompany you on your next walk. Don’t just rely on other people’s opinions. Music is subjective and what sounds good to one doesn’t necessarily sound good to someone else. Get to know your musical taste buds and explore different sounds.

Scheduling in some time to sit down with an album or a playlist and really listen to the musical picture that an artist is painting. In a recent interview with Beyonce, the mega artist talks about how she’s an artist that tours and makes albums but we now live in a time where people don’t make albums anymore and don’t listen to a body of work anymore. A complete album has a lot of thought and work that goes into it, from the writer to the artist to the producer to the audio engineers. An album isn’t necessarily a random amount of songs put together. There is a story being told in a way that words alone cannot describe. Read up on the album you selected to listen to, get a story from the artists to dive into what inspired the creation of the songs and the album. Put a time and day into your calendar and sit down without distraction. Some people even darken a room and close their eyes, which creates a level of connection to the music that isn’t interrupted by day-to-day distractions. Explore the emotions that are being generated by the song and album.

Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

Family Love, A Song That Inspires and Dedicates

Born in Kingston Jamaica, residing in Toronto Canada, Belinda Brady is a true artist whose roots are grounded in dedication and passion. Spreading her gift and talent by gathering her family to put together a song, Family Love was created and dedicated to her father. The reggae-pop sensation talked about her latest song in a video on her YouTube Channel (click here) describing how this remarkable song came to be. An 80s vibe beat got sent to her cousin in Jamaica and he was asked if he wanted to write to it. As the song got passed around from family member to family member, a beautiful song was created. Cousins, sisters, nieces, uncles and a Brady Bunch gathered together and wrote a song that can’t help but put a smile on a listener’s face.

“This song is dedicated to my father, his love for life, and his jolly sense of humour was not only infectious, it was copacetic. It is with unreserved honour that we dedicate Family Love to him and his work as a musician, a father, a family elder, and a man of love and faith,” said Brady in an article by the Jamaica Observer.

Words cannot replace the experience of listening to this song and so we invite you to click below and listen to “Family Love” yourself.

Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

How Much Time Should I Practice Music?

There is an ideal statement that every music instructor makes when it comes to how much time a music student should be dedicated to practicing his or her instrument. As with all things in life, the key is consistency and planning. Setting realistic goals will keep you motivated while tracking progress will provide you with a foundation to have a positive frame of mind. 

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” While he probably wasn’t referring to practicing a musical instrument, this mentality can surely be applied to making sure practicing is part of a positive and productive means to becoming the best musician you can be.

So the first task is to take out your agenda or look at that Google Calendar to make some time in your schedule for practicing. Remember that consistency is key, so if you can’t dedicate time every day to practice, then try every two days but make sure you stick to it. 

The next question that comes to mind is how long each practice session should be. Let’s look at two scenarios, time-based and task-based practice sessions.

Time-Based Practice Sessions

This is a good strategy for someone that has less flexibility in their schedule. From a high level, you might decide that you only have 30 minutes a day to practice. Instead of just putting 30 minutes down, dive a little deeper and decide what those 30-minute sessions will look like. Taking this one step further, you can divide your practice over a 3-day cycle to touch on several important elements that make up a well-rounded practice routine:

Day 1

10 minutes on Warm-up and scales in C/F/Bb/Eb (as you get better with major scales, switch it up with other scales)

10 minutes on Fundamental Technique (depending on your instrument, you might want to pick finger dexterity exercises for flexibility)

10 minutes on “Song A” Section 1

Day 2

10 minutes on Warm-up and scales in Ab/Db/F#/B (as you get better with major scales, switch it up with other scales)

10 minutes on Fundamental Technique (depending on your instrument, you might want to work on range development)

10 minutes on “Song A” Section 2 OR “Song B”

Day 3

10 minutes on Warm-up and scales in E/A/D/G (as you get better with major scales, switch it up with other scales)

10 minutes on Fundamental Technique (depending on your instrument, you might want to a tone development exercise)

10 minutes on “Song A” Section 3 OR “Song B” OR “Song C”

Task-Based Practice Sessions

This is beneficial for those that have wiggle room or a more open schedule and want to deep-dive on a specific area of playing. In this scenario, you will still create placeholders or tasks in your agenda or google calendar, but instead of assigning a block of time, you will create tasks that you want to carry out each day. 

You still want to be mindful of the various fundamental techniques that are important to your instrument. Here is an example of a task-based schedule:


Practice/memorize 3 major scales (C/D/E)

Work on verse 1 of “Song A”


Practice/memorize chord changes to “Song A”

Do Range exercise “x”


Listen to Song A and transcribe by ear the first 8 bars of the solo

Play through tone development exercises

No matter if you prefer the time-based or task-based practice approach, record your results. Make lots of notes about how your progress is going by indicating metronome markings for exercises and even write down your thoughts on why a specific exercise may give you a hassle. Recording data and seeing progress, even minor progress like going from 60bpm to 62bpm, will create a sense of forward momentum.

Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

How To Prepare For A Music Audition

You have been practicing your scales, chords, and taking notes during your online music lessons. An opportunity has presented itself to play with a band, but naturally, you feel a little nervous and wonder how to prepare for a music audition. There are several things to consider before the audition to be ready physically as well as mentally. Let’s go over some of these things in this blog to make sure you are in the right frame of mind to nail the audition and land the gig.

Know Your Stuff, Practice Makes Prepared

Besides the technical ability of your instrument, knowing the material that you are expected to audition is of course the second most important aspect when it comes to preparing for the actual audition. If there is a track provided, do some active and passive listening to the song (check out our blog How To Listen To Music). Internalizing the music before getting to the instrument is a great way to help mentally prepare and train you.

Next, it’s important to be able to play through the song on your instrument. Come up with a strategy that makes sense for you, perhaps learning how to play 8 bars a day. Breaking down the song like this will help you achieve smaller milestones and really dive into the song, making you feel good and motivated as you learn one piece at a time. When you practice, make sure you can play the section or song as perfectly as possible three times in a row. 

The Day Before Your Music Audition

The day before the audition is extremely important. There are some definite do’s and don’ts that will help you get in the right frame of mind the next day. If you’ve followed your practice plan, there shouldn’t be a need to cram any last-minute memorization or preparation for learning the song(s). You should plan on doing a light warm-up, run through a routine and the song(s), and then do some more passive listening throughout the day. Make sure you drink lots of water and get a good night of sleep. 

Being nervous is an ingredient of success, so if you feel that you are nervous, think about how prepared you are. You have made and actioned your plan. You know all the parts of the song and now you just need to execute it in front of the band, some of whom you might not know yet. At the end of the day, you have put your best foot forward, feel proud of yourself and know that tomorrow when you are at the audition, no matter what happens, it will be up to the universe and you’ve done your part in being as prepared as you can. Good night!

The Day Of Your Audition, Time To Hit The Stage

Ideally, you wake up from a restful night of sleep. Grab your morning coffee, do a warm-up, run through the song once, and then go about your day until it’s time for the audition. In reality, you may have had a restless night of sleep fueled by worry and excitement. Again, it is important not to get into a panic and practice hours before the audition. Believe that you have done the best you can to prepare. Realize that playing a musical instrument or singing is a physical activity that requires your body to be ready for peak performance and not be exhausted due to practicing before the big game. You’ve got this! 

Make sure you know where the venue is and show up early. Give your mind the time to observe the space you’ll be playing in. New surroundings can contribute to nervousness, so we want to give our body and mind the time it needs to settle in. You also don’t want to warm up shredding the sickest licks trying to impress those around you. Plugin (if you have an instrument that requires doing that), and play a few notes. Get used to the acoustics in the space. Focus on your part, believe in yourself and the preparation you have done. Now it’s time to play and have fun. If you trip up, don’t worry. Try to recover as quickly as possible. Don’t let one mistake trip you up. 

At the end of the audition, say thank you for the opportunity. Leave with a good impression both playing the instrument and being a person that is humble. Being in a band is more about being a team player than it is about having the best technical or musical skills. Also, don’t forget to make notes of your potential bandmates. Are they people you can see yourself getting along with? Do you like the music that is being played? The audition is as much for you as it is for the band.

Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

Dealing With Frustration When Learning A Musical Instrument

No matter the activity in life, frustration is a reality even when doing something fun like learning a musical instrument. Accepting this fact and having strategies to deal with frustration will turn a seemingly negative element into something that can be used to move your playing forward and ultimately help you grow. Let’s explore some strategies on how to deal with frustrations and turn them into a tool to help us out in the long run.

Frustration Due To Jealousy

It is natural to look at other musicians and be envious of their abilities. However, it is important to realize that while every musician has been on the same path as you, they just might be on a different section of the path. It is often easy to chalk off someone’s advanced ability to natural talent. Hard work and determination will pay off in the long run. Instead of letting frustration and jealousy turn into a negative emotional mindset, ask the musician that has an ability you wish you had how they got to where they are. You might be surprised with the answer, and might learn something new from them. Once you know this information, instead of trying to duplicate what the other musician did, determine a way to adapt the new information to your current strategy. For example, if the new information is that the musician practices 2 hours of technique and 1 hour of music a day but you only practice 10 minutes of technique and 50 minutes of music, try switching it up to 45 minutes of technique and 15 minutes of music. Both combinations equate to a total of one hour of practice.

Frustration Due To Inability On The Instrument

Every musician has been here! You practice for hours and don’t seem to make any progress. Frustration takes over and you wonder why to even bother. At times it is hard to observe progress due to the nature of the long learning curve some skill sets take. Having a practice journal can help us see incremental progress. Let’s say there is an exercise with a fast run of notes. Set the metronome to 60 beats per minute (bpm) and work on the exercise for a few days until you can finally play the exercise cleanly. Record the progress in your practice journal and then try bumping up the tempo to 62 bpm. This time it might only take you two days to play the exercise cleanly. Again, make an entry into your practice journal. Then bump up the tempo to 64 bpm. You might be surprised that it only took one day to adjust to this new tempo. While going from 60 bpm to 64 bpm may not be a big jump, you know it took 5 days of work and can see this progress when reviewing your practice journal. This provides a good positive feeling which motivates you to keep going. After two weeks you might be at 80 bpm or faster and observing incremental progress might have helped get you there.

Frustration Due To Being In A Band

When playing with others the sources of potential frustration increase due to the social circumstances of being in a group. Ideally, everyone has an equal voice and ability so that the band as a whole can move forward as one unit. In reality, there will always be stronger and weaker players who must find ways to contribute to making music together. After a while, It is natural to feel frustrated when there is someone that doesn’t take responsibility and gets defensive when elements in their playing are pointed out. The saying ‘if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all’ helps to lower the potential frustration level. At times, the best strategy is to play your instrument to the best of your ability and let the other musicians figure things out. Unless you’re the bandleader, the job of deciding who is or isn’t in a band isn’t yours. Keep your head down and focus on making the best music you can. If you aren’t having fun anymore in a group, perhaps consider moving on to a different group. After all, music is meant to be fun, not frustrating. 

Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

Supporting Your Child’s Music Education

As a parent or caregiver of a younger musician, you might be wondering how best to support your child’s music education in the best way possible. As with other elements of a child’s development, having a degree of involvement will help the child progress and feel supported during his or her musical development. Taking lessons from a great teacher is the first step, but what will determine how successful your child grows in music will largely depend on what happens in between music lessons. No matter if your child is taking music lessons online or in person, this blog will offer some suggestions that when followed will allow your child to grow his or her music skills.

Scheduled Practice Sessions

Many times we hear that the start of a plan is making a list or writing down goals. This is true to when it comes to music practice. During a busy schedule, it can be tricky finding the time to get together and practice with your child, but consistency is key here. If your child only has 20 minutes three or four times a week to practice, it is better than not practicing at all. Put the practice sessions in your calendar. Having a calendar on the fridge provides a great reminder of what the schedule is and since going into the kitchen is an everyday activity, it’s the perfect place to display the schedule. While on the topic of consistency, having a dedicated space to practice is also great for keeping things organized and giving your child a visual indication that it’s now time to practice. For the younger children, having them put a sticker on the schedule when a practice session is complete provides a reward for doing a good job. 

Ask Your Music Teacher So You Can Support Your Child

You don’t have to be an expert to support your child during music practice. Often an adult might feel that he or she is “not musically inclined”, but there are simple steps at the beginning stages of every instrument that can be followed in order to give your child some support. Make sure you ask your child’s music teacher what to look for when it comes to posture so that physically good habits can be reinforced. Going slow and steady is always a good thing. In the beginning there usually aren’t too many notes at once, so get to know what fingering to use for specific notes, or how to tell if you are on pitch for specific notes. Your music teacher likely has a few apps or tools that can help you. If you are completely stuck, record your child’s music lessons and listen back, paying attention to specific rhythms, tempos, or any other information that will help you confirm that your child is on track to musical success.

Passive Listening

In a previous blog entitled ‘How To Listen To Music’ we explored the difference between passive and active listening. When possible, record an exercise or get the audio track of the piece of music your child is working on. Then, whenever there is an opportunity to listen to the exercise or audio track, put it on in the background. This could be when you’re in the car, preparing dinner, or putting your child to bed. By passively listening, your child will be able to get a sense of what an exercise or piece of music sounds like. When it comes time to play the exercise or music, there will be a sense of familiarity. 

Keeping Track Using a Dictation Book

Most teachers will be used to having a dictation book, either physically or electronically, to take notes, write out key takeaways of the lessons, keep track of short-term and long-term developments, and as a means to communicate in writing with the parent. This can also be done for practice sessions. Keep track of what exercise or music was practiced during each session. Take note of the tempo that your child was able to play cleanly. Over time you will see that the tempo marking goes up, giving a sense of success and encouragement that with practice, development happens. Going from quarter note equals 60 to quarter note equals 62 may not seem like a big difference, but going from 60 to 62 is a progression and exciting to the young music student

Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? If you are wondering if online music lessons really work check out THIS BLOG  and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.

Types of Microphones for the Developing Music Student

If you are an online music student you might already own a microphone, but this blog will discuss the different types of microphones are out there and ultimately which is best for you. While there are many technical considerations, we will focus on the general concepts of each microphone.

There are many different reasons why you might want to invest in your own mic, and certainly the Pandemic has added another reason. Sharing anything is not something that is encouraged during today’s climate. 

There are of course several considerations when looking at what might be suitable. Cost, type of environment, and the level of care needed are considerations for the three types of mics we will discuss, which are Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon.


Affordable, strong, and up for many tasks, this type of microphone is a great first investment. The most popular Dynamic Microphone found in most recording studios is the Shure Beta57 and Beta58. At a price point of under $150, it is a favourite amongst beginner musicians as it can take a beating, but of course, care should always be taken to not drop it. Out of the three mics discussed here on this blog, this one can take the most abuse. It is just as good for a noisier environment as it is for picking up what is directly in front of it but ignoring what is around it. Where it does lack is when needing to pick up quieter sound sources. If this is what’s needed, a condenser microphone might be just the thing!


Higher cost, more sensitive, and able to pick up quieter sound sources. This microphone is a great step up from its dynamic brother. It comes in both large and small diaphragm versions and does require a power source called phantom power in order to operate. There are many makers and models, preference largely comes down to taste and dependability. AKG C1000S are great for horn microphones, the Rode NT2A is a wonderful all-around option, and if you are trying to pick up a room sound look at the Rode NT5. Still, want more? 


If you want to pick up and replicate the most accurate version of your sound source, a Ribbon is your best friend. However, this friend comes at a cost and it’s not cheap. Most are $1000 and up, some can be below this price point but quality must be considered when searching for the perfect Ribbon. These are also the most fragile of all microphones. Consideration must be given to handling with the utmost care. Royer 121/122 and the AudioTechnica AT4081 are great starting points when researching this type of mic.

Other considerations

Of course, no mic is complete without a stand. Consider not buying the cheapest stand, especially if you take the stand with you to gigs. A mid-level stand can be around $50 but is well worth the extra money due to the longevity.

XLR cables, the type of cable that connects the mic to the soundboard, are also a good investment. Try to get a 50’ cable to make sure there is enough length, but remember that you can also put two XLR cables together to extend. Last but not least, a windscreen or windsock will be useful, especially when using the mic outside.

Now that you are familiar with the basics, explore and find out which mic gives you the sound you are looking for because at the end of the day that is what matters most.

What else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? Check out THIS BLOG if you are an Adult Learning to Play Music and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.