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.

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.

5 Must Have Digital Tools to Help With Your Online Music Lessons

Your Online Music Lessons can be elevated by using these free or low-cost tools so you can become the musician you want to be faster.

The truth is, by using tools like metronomes, tuners, play-along apps, and software that allows us to slow down and change keys, your time spent in the practice room will be maximized and will allow you to measure gradual progress, a motivation that will lead to having more fun and advancing on your instrument. 

A Metronome App for your Apple Device

Using a metronome in your practice session can often lead to better time, feel, and faster progression of technique which ultimately makes playing any instrument or song more fun. These are some of the reasons why you should practice with a metronome. There are several free and paid versions of Metronome apps for many platforms, including smartphones. One of the best options we found is PRO METRONOME by EUM LAB. This app allows you to hear, see, and feel the beats on your Apple device of choice.

A Tuner that makes being in tune fun

Like metronomes, tuners are an important tool in any musician’s practice tool belt. With the progression of electronic tuners, there was little that could be improved until Tonal Energy Tuner found a way to make being in tune more fun.

Drone Tones to Help You Hear the Tuning

A highly effective and really fun way to improve your ears is using Drones to internalize intonation. The natural sounds of cellos are best when it comes to drones and the Drone Tone Tool uses just that in an easy-to-use website or a downloadable App.

A Play Along App That Is as Customizable as a Real Band

After the hard work of being in time and in tune is done, practicing to play real music is the fun payoff at the end of your practice road. There isn’t always a band in your home to satisfy this need. In comes iReal PRO, a tool that allows you to get popular songs right onto your Apple Device and allows you to change keys, tempos, and music styles.

When a Song is Too Fast or in The Wrong Key

With the access to songs being so easy thanks to search engines like YouTube, one frustration for the online music student might be that the song is simply too fast for now or that it is in the wrong key. Fear not, because with the Transcribe chrome extension you can slow down/speed up the tempo, change the key, and even loop a section of any video that you find online.
Now that you are aware of these tools, 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.

Learn Your Notes in Six Easy Steps

All musicians start by learning to read music. Just as we learn to read by learning the alphabet, we learn to read music by learning the notes. But the lines and dots on a musical score can intimidate the beginner musician. To alleviate that stress, here are six easy steps to learn your notes.

Step 1: The Grand Staff

The Grand Staff consists of two sets of lines and spaces with corresponding signs. The upper sign is called the Treble Clef. The lower sign is the Bass Clef. 

Notes sit on the lines and in the spaces in each Clef. 

Let’s look at the Treble Clef in more detail in Step 2. 

Step 2: The Treble Clef and Notes 

The Treble Clef has 5 lines and 4 spaces. Each line and space holds a specific note. 

The notes on the 4 spaces are F, A, C, & E.

The notes on the 5 lines are E, G, B, D, & F.

Always read the notes, whether on lines or in spaces, from the bottom to the top of the staff. 

Notice that the space notes spell “FACE”. To help you memorize the line notes, make up a phrase such as, “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.” 

Let’s look at the notes on the Bass Clef. 

Step 3: The Bass Clef and Notes 

The Bass Clef also contains 5 lines and 4 spaces, with each holding a specific note.

The notes on the 4 spaces are A, C, E, & G.

The notes on the 5 lines are G, B, D, F, & A.

As with the Treble Clef, whether on lines or in spaces, from the bottom to the top of the staff. 

A memorization tool for the Bass lines could be, “Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always,” and “All Chickens Eat Greens,” for the Bass spaces. Find a phrase that speaks to you. 

In Step 4 we put the Treble and Bass Clefs together on the Grand Staff. 

Step 4: The Grand View of All Notes in the Treble and Bass Clefs

Here are all the notes, on the lines and spaces, in the Treble and Bass Clefs. Read the notes over many times and use your memorization tools to learn the notes. Try looking away from the Clefs and naming the line or space notes. Do this every day until you know the notes. 

But what about notes on the lines outside of the Grand Staff? They are ledger lines and we review them in Step 5. 

Step 5: Ledger Lines 

Ledger lines are added for notes landing outside the Grand Staff. They are in the Treble and Bass Clefs but only appear if a piece has notes above or below the Grand Staff. 

A common note on a ledger line, especially for piano players, is Middle C. 

Step 6: The First Ledger Line Note – Middle C

Middle C is found between the Treble and Bass Clefs.

The next note above Middle C, moving up to the Treble Clef, is D. Then you reach E, the first line note in the Treble Clef. 

Below Middle C, moving down to the Bass Clef, is B. Then you meet A, the top line note for the Bass Clef. 

You’ll encounter more ledger notes as you continue your musical studies. 

When you meet a ledger note you don’t know, find an “anchor” note – or the nearest note you do know, and count up or down until you reach the ledger note. 

Two Extra Tips: 

1. When playing a note on your favourite instrument, identify whether the note is on a line or in a space to reinforce that information in your head. 

2. Remember to learn your notes from the bottom line or space to the top of the staff. 

If you’re ready to learn notes, and tap into your musical talent, visit the Brady Arts Academy website. We offer courses in vocal and musical training. 

Written by: Nicole Holas

Ten Tips For Adults Learning to Play Music, Part 2

You are never too old, or too young, to learn how to play your favourite instrument. In this week’s blog we continue with our ten tips to help adults learn music. 

6. Record Yourself

Record yourself when you practice and then listen to the recording. You’ll notice tempo changes, finger flubs, and places where your phrasing needs improvement. Focus on these details in your future practices. Discuss your findings with your teacher. 

7. Listen to Lots of Music

The best musicians are surrounded by music. Play music as you cook dinner, commute to work, or clean your house. Play music similar to the pieces you’re learning. If you’re practicing a Mozart sonata, listen to another Mozart sonata, a symphony, or some chamber music. Also listen to different recordings of the piece you’re practicing. The variety of interpretations is incredible. Finally, listen to composers from the same time period. These tips are the best way to absorb the various sounds of music.

8. Study Music Theory & History

Studying music theory makes it easier to learn the melodies and chords of a piece. You’ll also notice similar musical structures as you learn more pieces. Music history will help you interpret pieces from different time periods and show you the changing philosophies behind making music. Studying music theory and history will make you a more rounded music student. 

9. Perform for Other People

This might sound frightening but take every opportunity to perform for others. The pressure you feel will show you how well you know the piece. You’ll also learn it’s okay not to be perfect. Acknowledging mistakes makes you a better performer because you learn how to play through your mistakes. The more you perform, the more comfortable you’ll feel, and your playing will improve. 

10. Be Patient

Learning a new skill takes time. Practice can be challenging and frustrating. You will make mistakes. Slow down, take a deep breathe, and try again. Or take a day off and start fresh. Be patient. You’ll learn the piece in time. 

If you’re ready to learn to play a musical instrument, contact the Brady Arts Academy today. We offer courses in piano, guitar, drums, trumpet, trombone and saxophone. Visit our website today.

Written by: Nicole Holas

Ten Tips For Adults Learning to Play Music

Learning music is a fun and healthy pastime. It offers numerous benefits including improved memory and muscle coordination. If you didn’t learn to play an instrument as a child, it’s never too late to start. 

In the next two blogs, we share ten tips to help you start learning music as an adult. 

1. Choose Music You Like – It is easier to play music that you enjoy because it keeps you motivated to practice. Pick an instrument you’ll enjoy playing. If you love the sound of a clarinet, or always wanted to play the piano, don’t take drum lessons. 

Also pick an instrument that fits your lifestyle. If you’re constantly on the move, pick a portable instrument like a violin or a saxophone. If you live with others, or in an apartment with thin walls, consider a digital piano with an adjustable volume. 

2. Set Goals – Setting realistic goals keeps you focused and helps track your progress. Consider why you want to play music, what pieces you want to play, and how much time you want to spend practicing. 

Make SMART Goals – SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. 

For example, “I want to learn to play the first four chords of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in the next two months because I want to play it for my sister.” 

3. Practice Consistently – Create a practice schedule with regular, timed sessions. Start with 30 minute sessions. If they are too long, consider a few 10 to 12 minute sessions throughout your days. Music practice is a great way to destress before tackling your next challenge. Also be flexible. Sometimes other tasks are more important than practice. 

4. Practice Sections or “Chunks” – Learn shorter sections of music, or chunks, to make practice easier. The music is easier to absorb and stays with you longer. Start with one measure and then move on to the next. Continue until you learn the entire piece. 

5. Use a Metronome – Use a metronome every time you practice. Set the metronome to a slower speed and master the finger and timing before increasing the speed until you’re at tempo. Practising with a metronome will also help you play with other musicians. 

We’ll list the remaining five tips in our next blog. If you’re ready to learn how to play music, consider the Brady Arts Academy’s courses in piano, guitar, drums, trumpet, trombone and saxophone. Visit our website today. 

Written by: Nicole Holas

How to Overcome Performance Anxiety

Performance Anxiety is Common 

All musicians experience performance anxiety at some point in their career. It is common to feel anxious before or during a performance. 

In today’s blog, we discuss a few techniques to help you get centred when experiencing performance anxiety.  

1. Practice, Practice, Practice 

The first step to overcome performance anxiety is to practice. Feel confident that you are fully prepared for your performance. You practiced your pieces and you know the tricky movements. You’re ready to take the stage and give your best performance. 

2. Recognize the Symptoms of Performance Anxiety 

There are physical and psychological symptoms associated with performance anxiety. 

You might feel “butterflies in your stomach,” shallow, rapid breathing, or tense muscles. Or you might experience racing thoughts, or an inability to focus and concentrate. 

Consider learning mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is the ability to know what you are thinking or feeling at any given moment. Learn to scan your body and identify when you’re feeling confident and relaxed or when you’re anxious.

Ask yourself, “What am I thinking at this moment?” “How am I feeling right now?” and put your emotions into words. By practicing mindfulness techniques, you will be more focused and centred. You can use these techniques anytime you are anxious. 

3. Stop and Take a Breath 

Deep, slow, rhythmic breathing is the easiest way to overcome performance anxiety. Before every performance, or anytime you’re feeling rushed and out of control, take a few moments to breathe. Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. When exhaling, try to push your belly button towards your spine. This empties your lungs and helps you take a full breath. 

Deep breathing slows your heart rate, increases your blood oxygen levels, and relaxes your muscles. This also relaxes your mental state. 

Consider making deep breathing part of every practice and pre-performance ritual. 

It Is This Simple 

These techniques can help you relieve your performance anxiety. If they are not working, or you’re experiencing severe symptoms, consider speaking to your doctor or health care professional. 


Remember these tips the next time you’re feeling anxious before or during a performance:

  • Practice. Master your pieces to the best of your ability
  • Tell yourself you are fully prepared for your performance 
  • Learn to recognize the symptoms and feelings of anxiety
  • Practice deep breathing to relax mentally and physically

Contact Brady Arts Academy today to discuss your musical education. Our dedicated instructors can help you perfect your musical abilities. 

Written by: Nicole Holas

Music Education and Social-Emotional Learning

Our world is full of challenges. We worry about our health, our families, and money. 

Music education teaches leadership, self-expression, and creativity. Practising music is a rewarding, fulfilling pastime that builds self-confidence. Don’t make it into another worry. 

Incorporating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into your musical education is one way to deal with your worries. SEL helps you become more self and socially-aware. Adding reflection from SEL to your practice time helps you make responsible decisions. 

SEL and Music 

You can develop SEL skills by: 

  • Setting your own musical goals.
  • Working out your problems individually or with your fellow band members if you play in a group. 
  • Examining your performance anxiety. What is holding you back from being your best?
  • Studying the history of music, especially how it affected social change

Your music will improve as your emotional awareness improves. Use these techniques to incorporate SEL into your music education. Discuss your answers with your music teacher:

  • “Fist to Five” — Use this technique to rate your late performance, measure, etc. Using one hand, make a fist to illustrate something that did work. Then use your fingers and thumb to illustrate five things you did perfectly. 
  • Emotional Vocabulary Building — Use an Emotions Wheel to find the correct expressive word to describe your emotions. Instead of using “fine” to describe your playing, say, “I feel confident.” A poster of facial expressions can help younger musicians describe their emotions. 
Photo Credit: Instagram
Photo Credit:
  • SEL-Based Questions — Become more reflective about your motivation and self-awareness by asking yourself these questions during a music lesson or practice:
    • “What is my one musical goal this week?”
    • “What are my musical strengths and challenges?”
    • “How do I respond to constructive criticism?”

Music education helps us learn dedication, perseverance, and cooperation skills. SEL skills affect every aspect of our lives, both inside and outside of music. They help us confront our challenges with strength and skill. 

Contact the Brady Arts Academy today to discuss the benefits of music education.

Written by: Nicole Holas