Overcoming Challenges of Self Improvement By Learning a Musical Instrument

Overcoming Challenges of Self Improvement By Learning a Musical Instrument

When learning a musical instrument it can become increasingly difficult to strive towards becoming better and improving on your chosen instrument. There are plenty of challenges and brick walls we face when learning an instrument so I will outline these challenges and gives you a few tips and steps you cal follow to overcome the challenges of improving in your instrument and eventually becoming the best you can possibly be.

  1. Self-Criticism > Self-Acceptance: When I first started studying music, I was incredibly self-critical and very unhappy with my musical abilities. I had a lot of bad habits when it came to my instrument playing (particularly piano) but d I slowly learned to correct these and accept that there is no such thing as musical perfection.
  2. Impatience > Patience: I am very goal-oriented as a musician. I love making goals, and I love working towards them. But developing the musical ability is a process that can’t be rushed. It takes time, patience, and steady work. Almost daily, I have to reconcile my tendency to want to charge ahead with the reality that growing as a musician is a rather slow process.
  3. Tension > Physical Freedom: I’ve struggled with physical tension since my teenage years, but learning different musical instruments has forced me to confront it.  For example when it comes to singing lessons, some teachers will say, “You have to be relaxed to sing.” While this is generally true, the reality is that certain muscles (the abdominal and other muscles that support the breath) need to be engaged, while others (the muscles of the neck, for example) need to be relaxed. A combination of singing, yoga, and Fitzmaurice Voicework has helped me learn to balance energy with relaxation.
  4. Training the Mind: Musicians are the ultimate multitaskers. Just to make a musical instrument work, we have to do a million physical and mental things at once. Add repertoire, and it just gets worse: suddenly we’re thinking about rhythms, pitches, text (both pronunciation and meaning), and emotion. If we’re playing in a theatrical production, even more challenges arise. Of course, it’s impossible to think of all these things at once. We have to isolate them and work on them piece by piece until certain elements become unconscious. I have taken up mindfulness meditation to help myself calm my mind and focus my thoughts.

Check out our Music School if you are interested in becoming a better musician.

What You Will Need At Staten Island Music School For Your First Guitar Lessons

What You Will Need At Staten Island Music School For Your First Guitar Lessons

At Staten Island Music School, Guitar lessons have always been and continue to be the most popular musical instrument choice for students and due to this popularity, it is the biggest department at our school. We get a lot of students in this guitar department who have no background to guitar and when starting, have no idea what they will need to bring with them to the lessons.

We have compiled a guide for our beginner guitar players with some of the items needed for your very first lesson at Staten Island Music School.

Bring Your Own Guitar

We strongly suggest bringing your own guitar to our guitar lessons. This is because it will make your learning experience a lot more consistent if you stick to one guitar. This will most likely lead you to the next question which we have preempted. What kind of guitar do you need to bring?

There is no conclusive answer to this question as it solely depends on what kind of guitar you have or, what kind of guitar you wish to learn on. The options of guitar are the following:

  1. Nylon/classical guitars
  2. Acoustic Guitars (Steel String)
  3. Electric guitar

If you are not sure which one to go with, the nylon guitar (often referred to as a classical guitar) is definitely the best guitar to start learning on. The nylon strings are much softer and will make learning the guitar a lot more pleasant and easier on your fingers. Remember, if you choose to learn on an electric guitar, you do not need to bring an amplifier as our guitar teachers will plug you into one of our practice amps.

Bring Your Own Tuner

bring your own guitar tuner to guitar lessons

If you want to learn guitar, having a tuner is one of the most important items to to own. For this reason we recommend you always bring your own guitar tuner with you along to your lessons. We try to kindly enforce this rule as we believe it helps our students remember the importance of tuning the guitar. Of course, if you forget yours at home or have technical

Bring Your Own Guitar Plectrum (s)

bring your own guitar picks and plectrums to guitar lessons

If you want to learn guitar then owning a plectrum (also know as a guitar pick) is an important accessory. You can get the best guitar picks at Guitar Pick Zone. Even if you are learning the classical guitar which comprises of finger picking, we still recommend bringing some plectrums with you just in case. The type of plectrums  you bring are completely up to you and what you prefer. If you are not sure, we have some Staten Island Music School Branded Guitar Picks for sale at our front office for only $1 each. Guitar pick technique is a big part of learning the guitar so make sure you don’t come without one.


Blank Sheet Music and Blank Guitar Tablature

blank guitar tab paper

In your guitar lessons at Staten Island Music School, you will be learning how to read music as well as how to read guitar tablature (Also known as “guitar tab“). For this reason, we recommend bringing blank guitar tab paper as well as blank music paper. This is very cheap and can be found on Amazon or we also have some for sale at our front desk.


Bring Spare Guitar Strings

spare guitar strings for guitar lessons

One should always keep a spare set of guitar strings in your guitar case/bag at all times. String breakage is a common thing and not having a spare set can waste some valuable time your lessons. We want the focus to be on learning and not on changing the string so our professional guitar teachers will assist the student in doing this. After a few times, you’ll also know exactly how to change a guitar string. Not sure what set of strings to get? Don’t worry, at your first guitar lesson our guitar teacher will give you a few recommendations as well as the best place in which you can get your guitar strings.


Bring A Smile and A Good Attitude

The most important aspect to learning guitar as well as any other instrument, is having a good attitude. Being positive and persisting is what will make a successful guitar player. Whilst we believe in raw talent, it is those with the best attitudes and positivity that always come out on top. There’s no need to be nervous or fear lessons at Staten Island Music School, as we aim to educate our students musically whilst having as much fun as possible.


If any of this is unclear or if you have any questions regarding guitar lessons or any of the other musical instrument lessons we offer, contact us here and will you kindly help you. Read more about our music school here and some of the achievements we as a music school have attained.

Instrument Lessons We Offer At Staten Island Music School

Instrument Lessons We Offer At Staten Island Music School

The following are the musical instrument lessons we currently have on offer at our music school. These lessons are the most popular by demand however, we are looking to expand our lesson and instrument offerings in the near future which include a performing department.

Here is a list of lessons offered at Staten Island Music School:

Piano Lessons

Piano was the first instrument that was taught at the Staten Island School of Music. We continue to take pride in this historic department and carry on its legacy. Initially, the school only taught classical piano however, we now offer the options between:

  • Classical Piano
  • Contemporary/Pop Piano
  • Jazz Piano

Guitar (And Bass) Lessons

Currently the guitar department is the the most popular at our school and the desire to learn guitar seems to be one that is always popular As a result, we have some of the best guitar teachers at the school. We offer both guitar as well as bass guitar lessons with the focus on either or a combination of the following:

  • Classical Guitar/Bass guitar
  • Contemporary guitar/bass
  • Jazz guitar/bass

We compiled a guide for beginners about what to bring to your first guitar lesson here.

Accordion Lessons

Along with piano lessons, accordion lessons were also some of the first to be offered at the Staten Island Music School. We continue the accordion lessons to this day however the interest in this historic instrument seems to be dwindling. We hope to see a resurrection in popularity for learning the accordion.

Singing Lessons

We have singing lessons available at the music school. Students have the option to choose from one or a combination of the following different types of singing lessons:

  • Jazz singing lessons
  • Contemporary/pop singing lessons
  • Opera singing lessons

There are regularly questions asked about our singing lessons on offer. Read our guide answering some questions about singing lessons.

Drum Lessons 

Drumming lessons are a relatively new addition to the Staten Island Music School. However, due to popular demand we started offering drum lessons to our students. You’ll learning everything from proper drumstick technique to how to hold the drumsticks. As well as a wide array of more advanced lessons. We also happen to offer some of the best drum teachers in the country.

Brass Instrument Lessons

We have quite a large brass department here at our music school. With the brass instruments, our most popular lessons are the saxophone followed by the trumped. We also offer trombone as well as a wide variety of other brass instruments.

Music Reading Lessons

Learning how to read music is taught as part of all of our instrument lessons. However, if you would like to learn how read music without taking an instrument, we can certainly cater for you as we have exclusive learning how to read music lessons only.

If you have any more questions about the lessons we currently have on offer, you can contact us here.

Clearing Up Questions About Singing Lessons For Beginners

Clearing Up Questions About Singing Lessons For Beginners

Learning how to sing is just one of the many different musical lessons one can take at Staten Island Music School. In recent time, learning how to sing has become increasingly popular at our music school and as such we tend to get a lot of the same types of questions about singing lessons especially when it comes to learning how to sing for beginners.

Here are some of the most common questions along with their respective answers about singing lessons at Staten Island Music School. If you still have more questions about singing or any other musical lessons at our school, contact us here.

Why Should Someone take singing lessons? Isn’t Everyone Able To Sing?

If you are able to speak then you can learn to sing. However, most people don’t know the full potential of their voice. Singing lessons teach you how to control your breathing and ultimately learn a full, healthy and gorgeous voice. Singing lessons will also teach you basic music reading as well as other musical skills. This means you’ll be able to sing solo, sing in a band or as well as in the studio.

Is it Possible To Learn How To Sing Using DVD’s, YouTube, Books and CD’s?

Whilst it is certainly possible to learn how to sing without a proper teacher, we definitely do not recommend it. Our recommendation has always been that of one-on-one lessons to our students through the knowledge and expertise of our incredibly talented teachers.This point follows on to the next question:

Reasons a Beginner Needs A Teacher?

I said that it is possible to learn singing via books and videos etc but I recommend making use of a proper trained teacher. Doing so can provide the following benefits:

  • A Singing teacher will help you to take care of your voice
  • They will help you to monitor your own voice and pitch accurately (Did you know: You aren’t able to completely hear your voice as it resonates inside your skull so a teacher is essential.)
  • A teacher will help you keep your singing posture.
  • Singing teachers will motivate you and help you to set, monitor and achieve your goals.
  • A great singing teacher can also help choose good songs that will suit your voice.

Is There A “Correct Age”  To Begin Learning How To Sing?

In our opinion there is not correct age in which one can learn how to sing. In fact, we recommend that singers of all levels maintain lessons as it is the best and healthiest way to achieve a voice that will last your lifetime. Of course learning singing techniques at a younger age is beneficial. However, your age should not put you off learning.

What If I Am Tone Deaf, Can I still Learn To Sing?

People who generally believe that they are tone deaf, generally are in fact able to learn singing. If you are able to enjoy music, tunes and are able to recognize songs then you can learn how to sing. The problem is that you most likely having difficulty distinguishing different notes. The good news is that with the help of our professional teachers, we can guide you to learning how find a singing voice that suits you and we will help you develop it as with anything in life, practice makes perfect.

What Is The Best Style Of Music To Learn To Sing for beginners?

Truthfully there is no specific type of singing we recommend for beginners but what we do recommend is that if you can recognize a certain style you enjoy, then starting off learning that style will be the best option. You can always learn other different singing styles afterwards should you wish. The most important thing is not the style of music but the fundamental and foundation work that you will learn which is something that stays consistent no matter what type of music or genre you wish you sing.

Does Staten Island Music School Teach Performing Along With Singing? 

Performing is not something we currently have as an option at Staten Island Music School. However, we are looking into getting a performing department which can be taken in conjunction with whatever instrument your’e learning.