Music Instruction
by Professionals

Reading Tablature & Playing The Guitar

Of all the instruments available to pick up and play here in the Western World, it could be argued that the guitar is the most popular, and most often attempted. We could speculate on why this is all day long; it's a status symbol, desire to emulate heroes, wide variety of possible genres to play. The list goes on and on. One interesting aspect of learning to play the guitar is that you do not necessarily need to know how to read music. I've known more than a few people who had never learned to play an instrument because they... << Read More >>

Simple Tips for Musical Instrument Care and Maintenance

Last week we took a brief and simplistic look at how to tune your new holiday instruments. Hopefully my basic instructions helped you get your instrument tuned to your liking, or at least prompted you to find directions more specific to your instrument. In either case, now that you're all tuned up, this week we're going to talk a bit about to care for and maintain your instruments so they will be with you for a long time. Last week I had to be a little vague for simplicity's sake; with all the different orchestral sections and the near limitless... << Read More >>

Tune Into A New Years Resolution

With the holiday season now behind us, many people are turning their attention to their New Years Resolutions. While most of these promises will be broken before January has gone, some beg for a little more attention than most of us give to our waistlines. If you are one of the countless people who received a new instrument over the 2014 holiday season this could be the realization of a life long goal, or it could be a spur of the moment gift idea. Either way, if you want to learn to play this new instrument, regardless of what it... << Read More >>

Gift Ideas for the Musicians in Your Life

With Christmas just over a week away, what seemed like an endless amount of time to finish your holiday shopping has been reduced to a matter of mere days. Hopefully, if you have been a responsible adult, you completed all your gift shopping weeks ago, and are now able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the lead up to Christmas. However, if you are more like me, you have only just begun to shop, and the next few days will be chalk-full of late evening shopping sprees, and wrapping into the wee hours of the morning. Well, regardless of which... << Read More >>

Christmas & Music, Part 2: The Meaning of Modern Christmas Music

Welcome back! Last week we started talking about the long history that music and the Christmas season share. This week we'll be focusing our attention on more modern musical expressions of the season. But first, let's have a quick recap on what we discussed last week. We began with ancient carols: carols are so old in fact, they actually pre-date Christmas by millennia. Pagans sung carols as they danced around stone monoliths, celebrating the Winter Solstice. From these humble beginnings, the Christmas carol, and other holiday songs, became a big part of the Christian holiday as they were integrated first... << Read More >>

Christmas & Music, Part 1: Carolling Throughout History

Well, it's that time of year again. The leaves have fallen, there's a chill in the air, retail stores are suddenly indoor winter wonderlands with cheerful tunes and carols streaming from their sound systems. It is around this time that we start to see an interesting divide among holiday revellers. A divide between those who love Christmas music, and those who can't stand it (if you've ever worked in retail, you're probably part of the latter group). But regardless of whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or even atheist, or your true feelings on the subject of the holiday season... << Read More >>

Physical & Mental Performance Prep Work

With Thanksgiving and now Halloween come and gone, in the blink of an eye it's the holiday season again. This week our neighbours to the south prepare for their own Thanksgiving feast, while we all hold out collective breath in anticipation of Black Friday Sales. For musicians however, the end of November marks the beginning of a season of potential excitement, flocks of stomach butterflies, and, for many, relief when it's all over. It's Holiday Performance Season everybody! Performing can often be one of those hot-button, divisive topics among amateur musicians. Many people live for the attention, feeling true excitement when... << Read More >>

Listening to Music Reaps Some Real Benefits Too

We've talked quite a lot about the benefits of music for both the body and the mind, with a somewhat bigger focus on the benefits that come with playing music. Many of you might be saying to yourselves, “I may not be able to play an instrument, or carry a tune, but I love music too. Are there no big mental health benefits for the rest of us?” Well, as I touched on before, the benefits of listening to music, as opposed to playing it, are different, but no less important to everyday mental health. Making music a part of... << Read More >>

Watch Out For RTIs

Last week we took a quick look at one of the possible hazards of playing an instrument professionally: hearing loss. As I tried to stress last week, and want to stress again now, this is not usually a problem for amateur players. Most people are simply not reaching the required decibels on a frequent enough basis for there to be much risk of hearing impairment. That being said, there are some things that even the casual musician must be on the look out for; harm with the potential to end your ability to play your instrument permanently. The damage I... << Read More >>

What’s That Ringing?: Loud Music & Hearing Loss

We've talked a lot here about the many emotional, psychological, and physical benefits that go hand in hand with an education in music, regardless of the age of the student. But, like everything, too much of a good thing can be bad. While playing an instrument casually, for family, friends, or your own enjoyment, can help stave off hearing loss, studies have shown that professional musicians are far more likely to suffer from excessive hearing damage. According to a new study by a German research team, professional musicians are nearly four times as likely to suffer from noise induced hearing loss... << Read More >>