The Real School of Music - Blog

Some thoughts on teaching music from Jim Zaroulis

Posted by Jim Zaroulis on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 @ 02:02 PM

Last January I wrote a blog about new year resolutions as they pertain to music lessons. For the four of you who read it, thank you. Those of you who weren’t able to enjoy yet another entertaining array of anecdotes from yours truly, I’ll give quick summarization and move on. In a nutshell, I discussed the many advantages of being a student, (i.e. the “why’s” the “how’s) whether private, with a community program, or in higher education. Unbelievably it is one year later, and I decided this time to talk about music lessons from the teachers perspective. How we do it, and more importantly, why we do it.

“Get that education degree so you’ll have something to fall back on!”. If I were speaking to music teachers in a lecture hall, I would bet everything I own that ninety percent of the working musicians would guffaw at that statement. In truth, I never found anything remotely edifying about that. If you really translate it, it’s saying that you should set out to study something else in case you can’t do what you really want to do. First of all, falling back on ANYTHING sounds painful. I fell back on ice once and now I don’t ice skate. I fell back on skis once, and now I don’t ski. So aside from my disdain for winter activities, “falling back” on education should not be anyones Plan B. I won’t over load this blog with movie references, but I’m sure you have all seen and enjoyed “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. Even though I’ll always think of Richard Dreyfuss as the nerdy “Hooper” from “Jaws”,(no more references, I promise) I thought his portrayal of a frustrated musician forced into the ills of academia (High School) was entertaining and in some ways home hitting. But BOY was he miserable for the first 10 years!

Read More

QUICK TIPS: How To Dial In A Clean Sound On A Guitar Amp

Posted by James Towlson on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 @ 48:04 PM

by James Towlson

Hey there musicians! This Quick Tip is to review the basic concept for getting a nice clean guitar sound out of your guitar amp. The basic idea is to start with your bass, mid, and treble knobs right in the middle (1-10 is usually the number distinction on the knobs so 5 would be the middle) and adjust them from that midpoint lower or higher depending on how you want your guitar to sound. This concept is fundamental with most guitar amplifiers.

Read More

10 Ways to Nail Your Next Musical Theater Audition

Posted by Stephanie Morey-Barry on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 @ 40:04 PM

Nobody really likes it. Standing in a room competing with your peers for that coveted role in your school play or local theatre is never fun. But sadly, it’s a reality for those of us who love the craft! Here are some tips to ace your next audition.

1. Do your research

You need to know the plot and the music for the show very well. Having been on both sides of the audition table, I cannot TELL you how important this is! Sometimes, when I’m hosting an audition, I will ask people to sing directly from the show right on the spot. If you’re trying out for a specific role and you aren’t familiar with that character’s show-stopping number, I won’t think you want it that bad. Know the roles you’re eligible for backwards and forwards and know the character dynamics.

Read More

Practice Suggestions for the Summer Vacation

Posted by Andrew Clark on Sat, Jul 12, 2014 @ 37:03 PM

In my last blog I wrote about using music to help reverse the summer slide. In this blog I'd like to discuss specific ways to use your practice time during the summer vacation to keep your skills up and quite possibly break through to a new level of competence.

Read More

Tags: practice, summer slide, summer lessons, practice tips, practice music

Music Helps Stem the Summer Slide

Posted by Andrew Clark on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 @ 35:12 PM

There have been several studies conducted in recent years concerning the phenomenon of the summer slide for students. Research and data show that students can slip behind more than two months in their educational development during summer vacation. When they return in the fall teachers are faced with students who may have regressed to where they were at the previous spring. While it is agreed that the relaxation of summer is a welcome break from the grind of the scholastic year we run the risk of letting our children backslide if we don’t stimulate their minds during this time.

Read More

Tags: summer slide, summer lessons, music in the summer

Multiple Intelligences and Music

Posted by Andrew Clark on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 @ 15:05 PM

As many educators and parents in the progressive education circles already know, everyone learns differently! As educators in 2014, it is our job to engage all types of learners.

Read More

Tags: Multiple Intelligences and Music, music makes you smarter, voice lessons andover, education, beginning music lessons, Andover, Biological evidence that continued musical educati, music education

The importance of listening when you practice

Posted by Andrew Clark on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 50:02 PM

Have you ever thought about listening when you practice? There are several interesting concepts to consider here. Let's start with the value of listening to yourself and how it can help you improve as a musician.

Read More

Tags: practice, music lessons andover ma, Andover, practice tips, recording, practicing, Lesson Tips, practice music

Tips on how to motivate your child to practice

Posted by Andrew Clark on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 @ 35:01 PM

Getting your child to practice is similar to getting them to do their homework. After all, it could be said that practicing is the homework of learning to be a musician. I think many parents struggle with trying to motivate their child to do their homework and quite often this same child could be a motivational challenge when it is time to practice.

Read More

Tags: practice, practice tips, practicing, practice music, music education

Everybody wants to play music - but who wants to practice?

Posted by Andrew Clark on Wed, Feb 05, 2014 @ 57:10 AM

Everybody wants to play music - but who wants to practice?

It is a simple yet profound question. We hear a dynamic musician play music and we are moved to try it for ourselves. We might purchase the same instrument or try to sing like the person we just saw perform. Millions of young Americans saw The Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show fifty years ago and a very high percentage of them bought a guitar, a bass, or a drum kit soon thereafter. It could be that you or your child has just had this same type of experience. The first inspiration to want to play music can come in many different ways.

Read More

Tags: practice, practice tips, practicing

A peak ahead to RealJams Academy summer camp (on a cold winter day)

Posted by Gavin McCarthy on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 @ 51:12 PM

For the past 5 years, I've had the pleasure of leading The Real School of Music's summer program, Real Jams Academy. The program gathers groups of young musicians aged 10-17 and asks them to do something they may have never done before: write, record and perform an original piece of music--often with other kids they've just met--in the space of just one week. On the face of it, it seems like a lot to ask. How will musicians of this age, some with very little experience, be able to meet a challenge that many experienced adult musicians might find challenging? The answer is: surprisingly well. I believe that it's in part due to the fact that they're placed with other kids of a similar age and musical experience, but more importantly it seems, it's their enthusiasm and desire to create something they can call their own.

Read More

Tags: RealJams, summer camp, music camp, Real Jams academy, RealJams Academy, summer music camp