"HOW TO INTRODUCE YOUR CHILD TO THE GIFT OF MUSIC" (By Renée Duarte Kwiecinski / Music Infusion Owner)
How do we introduce our child to music other than just putting on a radio station in the background. Here is a progression of valuable ideas to consider as they grow:
Sing To Your Child
One of the most re-assuring things an infant or young child can experience is to be held in their parent's arms as a song is hummed or sung to them (whether it be a familiar nursery rhyme or something spontaneous from your heart). You might say "I can't sing" or "I don't have a voice". But, if your child can sense your love through your song for them, it can bring an undeniable connection that yields all kinds of positive benefits - like peace, comfort, security, and more!
Give Them a Musical Toy or Instrument
Giving an infant the simplest child-safe shaker – or giving a toddler a mini toy piano can help them "tune" such things as eye-hand coordination, hearing acuity, and creativity.
Check out our "1st Musical Toys" category for some recommended products! You can now give them a tangible tool for learning, growing, and expressing!
Provide Instruction for Them or Enroll Them in a Band, Orchestra, or Choir in School
Providing private one-on-one instruction by a qualified, caring music teacher is one of the most valuable gifts you can give your child. Once they reach a particular stage of learning, they can then audition for a music team. Or, you can encourage them to join a choir, band, or orchestra. Here is where they'll learn to work as a "team" with other musicians or vocalists, they'll find friends with a common, constructive form of expression, and they'll soon become comfortable performing in front of others.
You have the ability to bless your child and encourage their creative expression. Give them THE GIFT OF MUSIC – and discover how you have, in reality, given them a wonderful tool for life!
"HOW TO CHOOSE A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT" (By Renée Duarte Kwiecinski / Music Infusion Owner)
Whether you are a young child, an older adult preparing to retire, or anywhere in between - playing a musical instrument can not only bring increased cognitive ability, but be a wonderful outlet for fun and relaxation.
Some questions to help you choose are . . .
"What are some of the Most Popular Musical Instruments?
"How Will You Use Your Instrument?"
Ask yourself: "Am I just just playing for my own enjoyment?" "Would I eventually like to play in public as a soloist, in a group, or in a community band or orchestra?"(Answering these questions will help to narrow down some of your instrument choices.)
"Are There Various Sizes of Instruments Available?" - YES!
> Keyboards: The most popular sizes are 61-Key, 76-Key, and the Full-Size 88-Key.
> Guitars: The most popular sizes are 1/2, 3/4, and Full-Size. (See the Sizing Chart Below.)
> Drum Sets: Junior-Size Drum Sets (for age 3 to 7) and Full-Size (for age 8 and above).
> Ukuleles: The most popular sizes are Soprano, Concert, Tenor, & Baritone. (See the Sizing Chart Below.)
> Violins: The most popular sizes are 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4. (See the Sizing Chart Below.)
As a Music Teacher & Performing Artist, I'd be honored to help you determine a rewarding choice.
UKULELE SIZING CHART & INFO
"WHICH UKULELE SIZE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?" (By Damian Lehnis / Blogger for Kala Brand Music Co.)
The soprano size is probably what most people picture when they think of the ukulele. It is the most common size and makes the classic, traditional ukulele sound. The soprano is the smallest and lightest uke size Kala offers, with the shortest scale and the tightest fret spacing. The soprano size is ideal for players of any skill or experience level, especially younger players and those with smaller hands and fingers. Due to its size, it will also have a brighter, softer tone with less projection and resonance than the larger sizes.
The Pineapple shape is a variation of the soprano size designed by Samuel Kamaka in the 1920s. The waist of the body on a Pineapple uke is eliminated to increase the surface area of the soundboard for a fuller sound.
The standard ukulele tuning of G/C/E/A applies to the soprano size.
Concert is the next step up from the soprano in size. The concert’s scale is about an inch longer, the neck is a bit wider, and overall it’s a little heavier than the soprano. The extra length allows for more frets with wider spacing between them. The concert size is great for players of any skill or experience level, but may be more comfortable for those with a bit larger hands and fingers. Being a bit larger in size, the concert has a fuller sound and warmer tone with more mid-range than the soprano. The concert also projects better than the soprano, making the volume a bit louder.
The standard ukulele tuning of G/C/E/A applies to the concert size.
Tenor is the next step up from the concert in size. The scale for the tenor is about two inches longer, the neck is just a little wider, and overall it’s a little heavier than the concert. The extra length allows for wider spacing between the frets. This makes the tenor suited for fingerpicking. The tenor size is the most popular among professional players, but is great for any skill or experience level. A tenor may be even more comfortable for those with larger hands and fingers than the concert size. The larger size gives the tenor a deeper, fuller sound with a resonant, almost bass-y tone. The tenor also projects better than the concert, making the volume a bit louder.
The standard ukulele tuning of G/C/E/A applies to the tenor size.
Baritone is the next step up from the tenor in size. The baritone has the longest scale - about three inches longer than the tenor - with the widest fret spacing of all the sizes we offer. The neck on a baritone is also wider than the tenor. All of these characteristics make the baritone great for fingerpicking. The baritone size is great for all skill and experience levels, but especially for those with large hands and fingers. The baritone has the deepest, fullest sound with the most low end, sounding similar to an acoustic guitar.
The baritone’s similarities to guitar continue with the tuning - D/G/B/E - like the four highest strings on a guitar, making it the easiest transition for those already familiar with guitar.
Disclaimer: There are other ukulele sizes, we are only covering sizes we currently offer.
GUITAR SIZING CHART
VIOLIN SIZING CHART
"ENCOURAGEMENT" (By Renée Duarte Kwiecinski / Music Infusion Owner)
Encouragement Goes a Long Way
Having been a music teacher, I can tell you the BEST thing anyone can do to help their child look forward to practicing is to be very generous with your sincere, heart-felt encouragement.
Acknowledging Their Effort
Every child likes to be acknowledged - not just when they've reached perfection, but when they've made an effort to accomplish something, however great or small.
You Can Leave a Lasting Positive Impression
Most of us adults can remember at least one "out-of-the-ordinary" teacher as we were growing up who made a special impression on us by the WAY they encouraged us. We can make that same kind of impression on our own children by being creative with our encouragement toward practice.
Ways to Encourage
Instead of saying "OK, it's 4 o'clock - time to do your practicing", try a variety of the following:> "I'm so proud of you with your music!"
> "I've been noticing how you've been progressing with your music."
> "You're practicing time is really paying off!"
> "I look forward to what you'll be practicing today!"
A sincere word of encouragement can make a positive impact for years to come!
"KEYS FOR SINGING GROUPS" (By Renée Duarte Kwiecinski / Music Infusion Owner)
Choosing the Right Key is Vitally Important
If you've ever been a part of a singing group, you know that choosing the right key to sing the song is vitally important. My suggestion is that you put the song in a key that is best suited for the person LEADING the song so that he or she can comfortably "sing out & lead".
Using Vocal Harmony to Compliment Other Vocal Ranges
If the other "back-up" vocalists are having a hard time singing in the same key as the lead, the director of the group should suggest certain harmonies that would complement their vocal range. OR, on certain more difficult songs, you can just have them sing on the chorus or bridge.
AS AN EXAMPLE: If you watch other "back-up singers" on TV or in concert, they are never "copy-catting" the lead. They come in and out of the song - sometimes singing in unison - sometimes harmonizing, but ALWAYS complimenting the lead singer.
Finding What Works Best for Your Vocalists
Mix it up a little - don't be afraid to try different things. You'll learn after awhile what works best for your particular group's strengths & weaknesses.
"THE IMPORTANCE OF STAGE PRESENCE" (By Renée Duarte Kwiecinski / Music Infusion Owner)
I have always been intrigued with Stage Presence - that special element that CONNECTS the performer with the audience.
The Power of "Presence"
As a young child, I remember going to see a performance of a very famous singer and dancer. Even though there were several hundred people in the audience, I felt like this person was singing right to me! I FELT their "Presence". They were not in their own little world with their eyes closed all the time. Rather, they took the time to LOOK my way and convey something from their heart and soul to mine.
The "Eyes" Have It
Guillaume de Sallusie, a 16th Century Poet, once said: "The eyes are the window to the soul." So, as a performer, if you cannot convey and "captivate" with your eyes - or at least via the passion of your performance, you have not begun to touch the deeper places of your audience - no matter how "note-for-note perfect" the performance might be!
Accuracy Plus Inspiration Brings Life
As a performance judge of aspiring young singers and instrumentalists, not only am I concerned with the accuracy of their piece - but, I am even more concerned with the "feeling" conveyed in the process. To take any song to the next level, a performer must realize that every composer had something in their heart "inspiring" them to write. In fact, the word "inspire" means "to breathe into". So, a well-rounded performer will also know how to "breathe life" into a song.
Understanding Intent and Conveying Emotion
THIS is what brings PRESENCE to the stage! Don't just sing the words - but convey their INTENT. Don't just play a tune - FEEL the emotion of the voicing - the rise and fall and the heart of the song. Even a song without words - if you play it well, you can actually tell a story through it (perhaps even the composer's story) if you are tuned into the movement of the song.
The Benefit of Having Stage Presence
Having STAGE PRESENCE is what will set you apart from the average performer. Tune into the intent and movement of a piece - have passion for what you do - and do not be afraid to connect with people with your eyes - and you'll be MILES AHEAD in touching your audience with your song!
"HOW TO" TIPS
"HOW TO TIGHTEN VIOLIN BOW HAIR" (Click on the Video Image Below)
(EXTRA TIP: Loosen the hair on your bow before putting it back in your case.)
"HOW TO ROSIN YOUR VIOLIN BOW FOR THE FIRST TIME" (Click on the Video Image Below)
FREE ONLINE MUSIC THEORY LESSONS
CLICK THIS LINK: MusicTheory.net to view our BEST recommendation for a FREE interactive online Music Theory source!
TED-ED VIDEOS ON MUSIC
Here are a few of our FAVORITE Ted-Ed Videos on Music. Click on the following links to view:
> CLICK HERE for "How Playing An Instrument Benefits Your Brain" By Anita Collins
> CLICK HERE for "How to Read Music" By Tim Hansen
> CLICK HERE for "Music As A Language" By Victor Wooten