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Blogs

Picking up a new instrument often feels like a daunting challenge, especially if it’s a woodwind instrument that requires such a unique set of muscle movements. That’s why we asked Seth Kibel—SMT’s own clarinet, saxophone, flute, and woodwind teacher—to tell us about his own Secret Sauce for Musical Success. In the following collection of practice tips, Seth talks about how you can make the most of your woodwind lessons and dodge some of the biggest pitfalls of beginning musicians! 1) PRACTICE OFTEN: So much about learning music involves muscles and muscle memory. As woodwind players, we use muscles in our fingers, our lips, our tongue, our cheeks, and more—which is why it is VITAL to practice regularly in order to build...
  • March 28, 2021
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It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you have been playing music—it can always be a challenge to sit down and practice your instrument on a regular basis. But have no fear… our SMT teachers are here! As a means of helping our beloved music students stay motivated, we asked our teachers to share their top tips for how to practice on a regular basis and make the most of your music time. Over the course of the last month, we have published two collections of practice tips (here are the links to our first and second collection)—so now without any further ado, here is our third and final anthology of teacher tips! To Start Us Off,...
  • February 17, 2021
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It doesn’t matter if you just started taking lessons or if you’re a longtime instrumentalist—it can be difficult to sit down in front of your instrument for practice on a regular basis. Believe it or not, music teachers experience the same problem. That’s why we reached out to our SMT teachers and asked for their top tips on how you can use your time efficiently, how to stay motivated, and how to get yourself to practice regularly. We published the first collection of teacher practice tips last month—so now, get ready for part two! Short and Simple: Here are 3 Basic Practice Tips From Marta Samuel (violin/fiddle, viola, piano) 1. Practice consistently and focus on the basics. 2. Do a...
  • February 11, 2021
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With so many hundreds of guitar method books being pushed on the beginning musician, it can be difficult to figure out which ones to use. Over the years, I myself have worked through a number of different theory books with my students—and I have found that they are not all created equally. Most method books are pretty good in terms of content, but even though they may contain a lot of the same information, they all offer something different. While it is important to consider a student’s individual goals, age, and experience when selecting a book, I have found that these are some of my all-time favorite method books for guitar: 1) The Hal Leonard Guitar Method is a classic...
  • February 2, 2021
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It doesn’t matter if you just started taking lessons or if you are a longtime instrumentalist—it can be difficult to sit down in front of your instrument for practice on a regular basis. Believe it or not, music teachers experience the same problem. That’s why we reached out to our SMT teachers and asked them to give us their top tips on how you can use your time efficiently, how to stay motivated, and how to get yourself to practice regularly. Let’s Start Small: Here Are Three Short and Simple Practice Tips From Carol Anne Bosco (cello and piano) When in doubt, sing it out. No matter what instrument you play, singing the rep helps your ability to listen and...
  • January 21, 2021
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Learning all the notes on the guitar fretboard is a daunting task; six strings against a fret-studded ebony fingerboard can seem like an abyss of chaos and mystery. Just kidding! It’s not actually as difficult as you might think—all you need is the CAGED system. The CAGED system refers to the geometric shapes that 5 basic chords/scales make (C, A, G, E, and D) and how they connect to the next shape up the neck. I was first introduced to the CAGED system through a series of YouTube videos—and once I got the hang of it, everything clicked into place. Here’s an example of the CAGED system in action: if you move from the C major chord in open position...
  • January 20, 2021
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Which is best: phone, tablet, or computer? Ultimately, use what you have—but you might also want to take these ideas into consideration: Zoom’s computer interface allows any participant to record part or all of the meeting. Do you want to be able to record your teacher demonstrating something for you to reference while you are practicing? If so, use a computer if you can. This feature is not available on tablets and phones. Some devices are better at connecting to Wifi than others. If you have multiple devices, you might experiment to see which offers the best connection. Audio Original Sound On. Video conferencing platforms use technology to isolate the human voice and filter out other sounds. This often includes...
  • January 20, 2021
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