Guitar design competition

After another wonderful and rather hectic week, I thought it would be good to show a selection of guitar designs from this week’s competition!

Congratulations to Zara and Ryan, who drew as the winners!

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A Note on Practice

IMG_7092 Now that we’ve all started our first lessons, there’s one little (big) topic that needs addressing.

That’s right: PRACTICE!

This week I met some young musicians who were absolutely shocked to learn that there was ‘homework!’

Now, first of all, music should be a rewarding and interesting experience. Let’s not equate it to doing long division! Without those daily explorations on their instrument, pupils will arrive at the next lesson lost and frustrated that they’re not progressing.

I’ve read a few articles to try to find the best advice for you, but honestly some of the recommendations were so bonkers that I’ve decided to have a crack myself. Here it goes!

How to encourage your child to practise:

1. If this if your child’s first week of lessons, all you need to do is create the habit of picking up the instrument every day. No matter how dreadful it sounds, this daily habit is what will spark the curiosity they need to keep coming back and to keep improving.

2. Use the Practice Schedule that was given to your child this week. Get them to colour in or tick the box each day. When they fill in the whole week they’ll get a sticker from me and they’re on their way to getting a prize! (Remember to pack this in their folder on lesson day!)

3. Ask questions! If you are curious about the instrument, your child will be too. If you can’t wait to hear and understand what they learned, they can’t wait to show you!

4. Stuck for time? Schedule a set time every day for practice. Some people find that first thing in the morning before school is the only time they can fit in practice and that is IDEAL!

It’s great to be back to school and on our way to making some great music! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below!

Amy

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Autumn 2017

This is just a little note to say welcome back to all the students who are returning this year, and a jolly hello and welcome to the new musicians coming on board!

 

In order to make this year a little more streamlined, I’ve added a calendar to this site. You can access it in the menu above, or by clicking here. In the calendar you’ll find a colour-coded chart of important dates like exam deadlines, concert weeks and payment dates.

The calendar will be updated with the concert times a little closer to December.

The FAQ page has been updated for new pupils. This page includes a contact form for any questions you may have.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Amy

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Plans for 2016!

  • I feel really lucky to be able to say that 2015 was a wonderful year for me and my students. Personally, I performed more often than ever before and I tried to reflect that in creating opportunities for my pupils to show their work, too! With a few student recitals under their belts, my younger musicians are starting to brim over with confidence in their abilities!

This year, I already have plans for our first STUDENTS ONLY concert in February for the piano players. What a perfect opportunity for us to learn from each other, show what we’ve learned and have some fun, too!

I’ve spent quite a bit of time scouring the internet for fun ideas and new songs for my young musicians. Duets, composing, music games and new pieces are all on the agenda for this term. It’s all about getting together, collaborating, making music a part of every day interactions. 🙂 I can’t wait!

As for my mature singing students, I feel quietly confident that I can wrangle them together for a low-key recital this year. Adults are always a million times more nervous than children, but my fabulous adult singers have been growing and growing in confidence and ability! Soon they will be ready to stand up and sing for each other!

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The Voice of Ireland

Singing Competition Ireland

Applications are now open

 

The Voice of Ireland has been in touch to say that they are looking for singers to apply for their new series. If this is something you would be interested, you can click this link to fill in the form.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 31st August.

Anyone applying will have to be available sometime in the first and second week of September for auditions.

Good luck!

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Why Send Your Children to Music Lessons?

As I go through life as a musician and a music teacher it is increasingly fascinating to see the approaches of parents to music lessons. Some commit fully to making sure their child develops to the best of their ability, some send their child and hope that something good will happen and some have absolutely no inclination to send their children to music lessons.

Guess which ones I find the most interesting!

Youth orchestra and consuctor

Orchestras can give children a chance to travel internationally and make friends!
(©Bernard & Myrtha Garon)

Well, why should they send their kids to music lessons? It can be expensive! And you might have to drive them to and from the classes, not to mention optional extras like choirs, orchestras or musicianship lessons. Once you set them down the road of music, who knows where it will lead!

I hear you, parents! There is a lot to consider! But consider, too, the positive things that your child will gain from music lessons. Quite aside from being proficient at an instrument there is a world of intellectual, emotional and social skills to be learned through music lessons.

Learning music is not solely about becoming the next Lang-Lang or Pavarotti, if it were then we couldn’t walk in a straight line without hitting multiple prodigies. The truth of the matter is than when we teach music we are teaching listening, focus, empathy, expression and patience among other things. We are educating the doctors, teachers, citizens and concert-goers of the future! We want to instill these very important qualities in them!

music for kids

Playing music together encourages children to work as a team.
(Photo: © PanARMENIAN Photo / Davit Hakobyan)

Not only that but learning music in a group situation like musicianship classes, orchestras or choirs helps children to form meaningful friendships outside of their usual social circle. Through playing together (multiple meanings intended!) humans develop lasting bonds and learn how to cooperate in a group situation. This is particularly important for personal development.

So for those who are thinking “Why should I send my kids to music lessons?” I hope I’ve given you a few good reasons to consider it. After all: once you set them down the road of music, who knows where it will lead…

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5 Tips on What to Expect at Your First Singing Lesson

If there is one thing that I’ve noticed in the last years of teaching adult beginners it’s that everyone is pretty nervous to start off. I don’t blame them, singing in front of one person can feel a little strange and the thought of it is really what makes many people too anxious to start singing lessons. With this in mind I thought it might be a good idea to give you an idea of what to expect when you step through the door for the first time, and some tips to get the most from this session.

Cork Music Lessons

What to expect at your first lesson…


1. Lesson One is often not a lesson at all.

When you first step into the room with your new vocal coach or singing teacher, you probably won’t be asked to start singing an operatic aria on the spot! The teacher will want to talk to you about your experience, even if it’s minimal and what you hope to achieve in the lessons. Then he or she will listen to your voice by playing a few short and easy melodies on the piano and asking you to copy them. This will help the teacher to assess what approach is best to take with your voice and what material may suit you. If you feel comfortable, you may be asked to sing a song you like for the teacher to get an idea of your phrasing, diction and breathing.

2. Know what you want from singing lessons.

“I’m just doing it for enjoyment,” is a great approach to have to singing lessons! Teachers love to hear that adults and young people alike are learning to sing because they love it. Even if you are not considering exams or taking to the stage, it is important to have a few goals in mind to help you to progress in your singing. After all, what you can achieve is limitless and it’s rewarding to have markers to show how far you’ve come.

Here are some goals you might consider:
-To be able to sing in a choir and feel confident.
-To know a certain number of songs off-by-heart by the New Year.
-To gain the confidence to sing at a social gathering. 

 

Think carefully

Think about what you would like to achieve in singing lessons, and what music you would like to sing.

3. Make a list!

It will help the teacher and you both if you can make a list of the music you are interested in singing before your first lesson. Often when people are put on the spot, they panic and can’t even remember one song they like! Making a list of the type of songs you would like to sing will give the teacher an idea of what vocal style you’re most interested in and how to get you there. Don’t worry about suitability, your teacher will advise you when he/she assesses your voice. Dream big!

4. Weird things happen in singing lessons…

Although your teacher won’t expect you to sing a big number on the spot, you may find yourself going through a lot of breathing exercises and stretches. It’s best to understand that although this may seem strange, when we sing our bodies are our instrument and it’s crucial to have the apparatus in good working order! For some pupils breathing takes months, for others it is simply a few weeks. The main thing is not to be caught off guard when your teacher asks you to close your eyes and become aware of the position of your feet or similar!

Singing advice

Always keep a record of exercises and tips your teacher gives you.

5. Keep records.

The best way to make progress from one lesson to the next  is to keep a journal of each lesson. Singing teachers say A LOT of things during a lesson that you will need to remember, so it’s best to either keep a paper journal or to record the lesson on a dictaphone or other device. (Remember to ask your teacher if it’s ok to record first!) Keeping an audio recording is useful as you can listen back and sing along with exercises. It’s also a great way of seeing how much you have improved from week to week!

Make sure you bring paper and a pen to your first lesson at the very least, as you may be asked to do a few exercises or research singers or songs before your next lesson.

 

So there we have it! I hope that this helps you to prepare for your first lesson! If you have any queries about starting singing lessons, you can comment below!

 

Happy singing!

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