Finger Exercises for Piano and Guitar - musiclessonscalifornia.com

Workouts for Your Fingers

I love working out and building up the muscles in my body. As a musician we need to build up the muscles in our fingers and create muscle memory so we can play smoothly the passages in our music.

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I find that Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist is the best for this. If you start out slow and then build up speed moving from one exercise to the other you will fly through the entire book in no time.

Try this first exercise of Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist. If you like it you should learn the entire book. You will be glad you did. Hanon Exercise #1

 

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If you want to play like “butter” on the guitar I recommend Hanon Power Workouts for Guitar. This is a great book with the tabs to make it easier for you if you can’t read the music. You will get your fingers whipped into shape by playing these daily.

Try a Hanon exercise now: Hanon Guitar

I highly recommend these books for all pianists and all guitarists. All of my students had to learn these exercises.

Action Step: Do you have a favorite method book for exercising your fingers? Please leave your comment below so we can check it out.

4 Types of Breathing: Which is Best for Singing? - musiclessonscalifornia.com

Types of Breathing

Which type is the best for singing?

Clavicular Breathing

  • Shallow breathing
  • Upper part of lungs fills up
  • Creates tension and affects sound production (strained or breathy voice)

Chest Breathing

  • Rib-cage expands in all directions
  • Potential problems:
    • abdomen is too rigid
    • rib cage is overextended

Abdominal Breathing

  • Abdomen expands
  • Abdominal movement is overemphasized
  • No movement of rib-cage

Combined Breathing

  • Chest and abdominal breathing combined
  • Rib-cage expands in all directions
  • Diaphragm descends fully
  • Abdomen relaxes during inhalation
  • Abdomen engaged during exhalation
  • Fully controlled breathing

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February is National Wedding Month - musiclessonscalifornia.com

February is National Wedding Month

National Wedding Month is February. In February, romance is all around us, thanks largely to the observance of Valentine’s Day. It seems weddings are on people’s minds as well, prompting the National Association of Bridal Consultants to name the month as National Wedding Month.

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy – (February 1809 – 4 November 1847), born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.

A grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn was born into a prominent Jewish family. He was brought up without religion until the age of seven, when he was baptised as a Reformed Christian. Mendelssohn was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his talent.

Mendelssohn enjoyed early success in Germany, where he also revived interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and in his travels throughout Europe. He was particularly well received in Britain as a composer, conductor and soloist, and his ten visits there – during which many of his major works were premiered – form an important part of his adult career. His essentially conservative musical tastes, however, set him apart from many of his more adventurous musical contemporaries such as Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Charles-Valentin Alkan and Hector Berlioz. The Leipzig Conservatoire (now the University of Music and Theater Leipzig), which he founded, became a bastion of this anti-radical outlook.

Mendelssohn wrote symphonies, concerti, oratorios, piano music and chamber music. His best-known works include his Overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet. His Songs Without Words are his most famous solo piano compositions. After a long period of relative denigration due to changing musical tastes and antisemitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his creative originality has now been recognized and re-evaluated. He is now among the most popular composers of the Romantic era.

The Wedding March

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