Music Instruction
by Professionals

Musical Education and Better Brain Function

A lot of time has been spent, both in this blog and in the world at large, discussing the life lessons children can learn with an education in music. And that's all well and good, but there is a whole other side to the benefits of a musical education for children; development and optimization of brain function. While many of the life skills that have been talked about in connection to music lessons are overt and obvious, like self-esteem and goal setting, brain development and optimization of functions have significantly more subtle benefits, like increased grey matter and improvements in... << Read More >>

20 Years: A lifetime With the Same Band

20 years. It’s a lifetime for some, the blink of an eye for others. Think about the friendships and relationships you might have had spanning that time, if you’re old enough. How many ups and downs? How many disagreements and reconciliations? 20 years can put even the strongest relationships through hell and back. Sometimes those relationships survive, and in fact thrive over decades. Some simply fail. This can be especially evident in the world of celebrities. Marriages last only a few years, or even a few weeks. Bands pop up, have a hit, then disband never to play together again. But... << Read More >>

Songs of the City

A few weeks ago we looked at the songs of the road. This week we’re going to be sticking a little closer to home; songs about cities. There’s something about city life that inspires songwriters, whether it’s the people (or the women), the cultures or the attitudes. And with the overwhelming number of variations between cities even in the same country, and the countless styles of music to choose from, this topic has some rather eclectic compositions. From rap and R&B to Rat Pack crooners, classic rock to jazz standards, there are way too many examples to cover everything, but... << Read More >>

Summer Hits of the New Millennium

There are catchy tunes released all year ‘round, but there’s something special about summer hits. A certain something that seems to only be captured in the cheerful clarity of a bright summer day. The pop is poppier, the hits are happier, and the mood is always high! Let’s take a short jaunt down memory lane and revisit the summers of the new millennium. Who was topping the summer charts for the past 14 years, and are they still around today? 2000: Matchbox Twenty – Bent Right away we’ve got a song not fitting the usual happy summer convention. A song about a person... << Read More >>

10 Fundamental Road Trip Songs

Continuing with our summer theme, this week we’ll talk about the open road, and the music that beckons us to travel it! There’s no time like the summer for long road trips with friends and family, and nothing makes those passing miles more memorable or exciting like upbeat driving songs. Presented for your consideration, in my own humble opinion and in no particular order, the 10 most essential songs for your road trip playlist. Enjoy! Tom Cochrane – Life is a Highway Not all road trip songs have to literally be about the road, but this one has to be on the list. Released... << Read More >>

Summer in the City: Toronto Summer Concerts and Festivals

One of the best things about summer in the city is the incredible concert experiences going on everywhere. Just in July alone the Goo Goo Dolls, Queens of the Stone Age, Katy Perry, Jack White, Queen, Jay-Z & Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, Ceelo Green, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, and James Taylor are all playing in Toronto. These, and countless others, performing every kind of music you can imagine, use the summer months to really get their concert tours pumping, and ride that enthusiasm and energy throughout the rest of the year. And what an experience a concert can be! Not... << Read More >>

Break From the Routine with Summer Music Lessons

Finally summer is upon us, and children everywhere are excited to be putting down their pencils, notepads and books the next few months. But really, for kids, summer is a great time to get further ahead on their instruments. With the long days, pleasant nights, and no school to get in the way, there is plenty of extra time for learning and practicing. Summer music lessons are also a great way to pass some of that extra time while maintaining an environment and atmosphere of learning, which remains an important part of childhood, especially during those long summer months. Other... << Read More >>

Performing Can Be Scary, But Worth It

Practice makes perfect, but so what? While a student should never stop practicing, there is only one inevitable end: the performance. Performing is a vital part of any music student’s development. Ultimately, performances can take many different forms, including things like student recitals presented by a music school, concerts with a student’s school band or orchestra, community events and festivals, retirement residences, coffee shops, parties, family gatherings, restaurants, or even clubs. Any of these, and any number of other opportunities, present the student with a wealth of hidden opportunities for growth. First and foremost, think about this for a moment or... << Read More >>

So you want to be a Guitar Hero?

The guitar is arguably the single most popular instrument in the western world. The argument could also be made that because of its popularity, it is also the single instrument most people quit trying to learn. Many people go into the learning process believing that picking up the guitar will be simple; easy as pie. Yet others believe that learning any instrument, let alone one as seemingly complicated as the guitar would be an impossible task for them. The reality is somewhere in between these two extremes. While it’s true that the guitar isn’t for everyone, if it seems like something... << Read More >>

Beyond Sun & Fun: The Benefits of Summer Music Camp

As June begins this week, our minds turn to the coming summer; visions of friends, barbecues, beaches and fun fill our heads. But the summer’s truest fans are kids, and as soon as the last bell rings on the final day of the school year, their freedom begins. Some studies have suggested that during the summer kids can lose the equivalent of 2.6 months’ worth of what they learned over the school year. Keeping their minds working and agile can help fight this effect. Even though the text books are closed, and the school doors are closed, that doesn’t mean the... << Read More >>