Why is the guitar such a popular instrument to learn?

Many great musicians are guitar players, so guitar students can draw inspiration from a rich history of excellent musicianship.  What are some of the reasons that the guitar remains such a popular instrument for students of all ages?

Guitar PlayerGuitar is popular both as a solo instrument and is a fundamental part of a band.  Guitar players are able to play with other musicians in a group setting and the guitar is also enjoyable to play and hear on its own.  Students can play the melody of a guitar riff or solo, as well as the harmonies of any song.  Depending on the interests of the individual, guitar students can work on playing and singing at the same time.

The guitar is a versatile instrument: the guitar is portable and almost any style of music can be learned and played on the guitar.  Guitar students can explore different types of songs and genres in order to find the music that best inspires them.

For information about guitar lessons at the Altadena Academy of Music, please call  (626) 296-0799 or use our email contact form.

Music Reading Tips for Beginning Students

The ability to read music is a valuable skill for any music student.  When learning to read music, beginning students become familiar with individual notes and symbols and learn how to play them on their instrument.  Music students also learn how to recognize patterns and shapes of the melodies written on the page.  It is important for parents to help beginning students with music reading during their practice at home.

To practice individual notes, you can ask your child to name the notes of the song he/she is working on and show you how each note is played on their instrument.  Flashcards are another great way to practice notes and music symbols.

To help students work on identifying musical patterns, you can ask your child to describe the music as the notes move higher, lower or stay the same.  For a fun activity, have your child draw the melody using ups and downs like a roller-coaster.


For information about music lessons at the Altadena Academy of Music, please call    (626) 296-0799 or use our email contact form.

Choosing an Electronic Keyboard

Electric piano close up

An electronic keyboard is often the perfect choice for a beginning piano student.  Compared with upright or grand pianos, keyboards are more affordable, take up less space, and have technology applications that are appealing to students of all ages.  Below are tips for purchasing a keyboard provided by music educator and pianist Theresa Gigante:

  1. A keyboard that has weighted keys mimics the feel of a real piano and allows students to play loud or soft based on the amount of force they put onto the keys.
  2. An 88 key full-size keyboard is the best; however, it is completely acceptable for a beginning student to use a keyboard with around 66 keys.
  3. The ideal setup for a keyboard is to have a proper stand, music rack and seat for the student.  Having this arrangement will foster correct technique and facilitate practice at home.
  4. A sustain pedal can often be purchased as an optional accessory for an electronic keyboard.  Having the sustain pedal will enhance the sound of the student’s playing, even at the beginning level.

For information about music lessons at the Altadena Academy of Music, please call    (626) 296-0799 or use our email contact form.

Five Benefits of Performing at a Recital

Secondary Student Playing Violin

  1. Strengthen Your Practice Routine.  Preparing for a recital provides additional motivation that encourages students in their daily practicing.
  2. Build Confidence.   Even though performing in front of an audience can cause some butterflies in the stomach, the accomplishment of a recital performance (and the audience’s applause) builds confidence.
  3. Express Yourself.  Performing a song in a personal style or interpretation expresses to the audience how a performer feels about the music.
  4. Accept Mistakes.   No one is ever perfect in a live performance (even professional musicians make mistakes) and with each recital experience students learn that the overall performance is what matters and not a wrong note here and there.
  5. Earn Recognition.  Music students practice regularly every week.  Recitals are an opportunity for family and friends to recognize the hard work and effort that has been put in by the student.

For information about music lessons at the Altadena Academy of Music, please call    (626) 296-0799 or use our email contact form.