<![CDATA[Belfast Dreams School of Music - Guitar - Singing - Mandolin - Banjo - Ukulele - Music Blog]]>Mon, 23 Nov 2020 07:41:34 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[The Mystique of Acoustic Music]]>Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:38:35 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/the-mystique-of-acoustic-musicPicture
The acoustic guitar still holds a fascination for music lovers even after all these decades of our ears being bombarded by electric guitar music. Electric guitarists love playing with the sounds they get from different tone settings, effects, the use of the different pickups and feedback. The acoustic guitar has only the tone given to it by the wood it is made from and the skill and inspiration of the guitar player. So let us take a look at some acoustic guitar solos and the guitars and guitarists who made them.

Back in the 1990’s MTV decided to coax guitar hero Eric Clapton into playing some songs without the adornments provided by an electric guitar and amp. The resulting album won Grammy awards, gave Clapton’s career a shot in the arm and reinvented the song Layla as an acoustic showpiece. The solo on Layla is far removed from the original theme conceived by Duane Allman which made the song a rock anthem.

Learn more about soloing techniques for acoustic guitar. One easy way to start is the clawhammer technique used in folk songs, or you could learn to improvise your own licks using the major or minor pentatonic or “blues” scale. If you are stuck for an idea on how to begin improvising or making up your own tunes, start with a nursery rhyme or some other popular melody you like, and begin adding notes to it and changing things around to produce something original.

Belfast Dreams School of Music will help you get there, whether you are an electric guitarist or even an acoustic guitarist already, we can point the way for you to achieve the same goals you hear about with outstanding musicians or bands such as Eric Clapton or the Eagles.  You are our star!  We are here to help.

With permission from: /the-mystique-of-acoustic-guitar-solos/

<![CDATA[Guitar sales rise as UK gets into lockdown groove]]>Sun, 23 Aug 2020 00:00:00 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/guitar-sales-rise-as-uk-gets-into-lockdown-grooveLife under lockdown has seen a surge in amateur musicians and podcasters, says the UK's biggest online retailer of instruments and sound equipment.
In the April-to-June period, Gear4music saw the value of UK sales rise 80% on the same time last year to £21.2m.
Among the big sellers were electric and acoustic guitar starter bundles, which contain all the accessories required for a budding player to get picking.
Digital pianos also sold particularly well, said chief executive Andrew Wass.
"People are interested in having a really good hobby that they can get into," he told the BBC.
"Maybe they played music at school and have found themselves indoors and decided to come back to it."

Mr Wass said home studio equipment, including microphones and recording software, was popular as well.
"It seems everybody wants to be a podcaster and they're buying into really professional set-ups at home," he added.
The timing is brilliant for the summer holidays under lockdown. We are here ready to help when you are in need of music lessons after getting your new guitar.🎸🎸
Whether it's Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland or the rest of the UK, online or one-to- one local lessons, we have your back and want to help you make the music you want to play.
"Our staff buys directly from Gear 4 Music and can recommend them highly. Ring them and they will spend time with you to find out your needs for guitars or anything else about musical instruments" says Mick Ferguson of Belfast Dreams School of Music.
~Belfast Dreams School of Music, 40 years playing, 40 years of fun.  At our school, you are our star and deserve the best. ~🌟
<![CDATA[Tell us about your favourite instrument, and artist and why?  And, yes, voice is included!]]>Sun, 12 Jul 2020 20:38:07 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/tell-us-about-your-favourite-instrument-and-why-yes-voice-is-includedAll students are welcome to post on here about their chosen instrument and tell us why and of course who influenced them...]]><![CDATA[Why choosing a Music Teacher v. Online Video]]>Sat, 15 Feb 2020 11:40:57 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/why-choosing-a-music-teacher-v-online-videoPicture
Choosing the ideal teacher by Craig Winston, guitar Instructor

Today’s post is a lesson for all music students. I’m going to provide a few tips to help you pick the ideal teacher at different points in your musical advancement.
In my guitar lessons I hear many students say that they rely heavily on content they find online to learn their instrument. And truly, for guitar, beyond all the other instruments there’s an extreme wealth of tablature, apps, and free video lessons that can help you to learn a ton of skills. I don’t discourage students from using these tools, but I can say from firsthand experience, it is extremely important to work with an instructor.
The instructor is an expert who can hear and see your musical abilities with a wealth of experience and an external vantage point that we often miss when absorbed in our performance of music.
Additionally, for intermediate and advanced students their instructor can be a valuable mentor as they make important decisions about pursuing music to higher levels.
So how do you choose your teacher? By style, accolades, yelp reviews, Instagram followers, performance history? Should it be the first result in your Google search for “Guitar Lessons Near Me”?

From Mick:

In our lessons at Belfast Dreams you are our 'star'.  We customise the learning for you while giving a helping hand whenever or wherever we can, even outside of our teaching hours by email or online.  Don't feel you need to rely on YouTube, the videos can help, but an instructor can understand the growth areas you will face, the skills and the knowledge to help you overcome them, and even to help understand those lessons you've been watching on YouTube that you enjoy!

Ring Belfast Dreams and Mick today at 078 5625 6653.  Always open till 10pm.

<![CDATA[6 Benefits of Music Lessons]]>Sat, 14 Sep 2019 09:23:38 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/6-benefits-of-music-lessons​Between [Football] and [After-school activities], your school-age kid's schedule is loaded with fun activities. If you're on the fence about adding music classes to the list, take note of the benefits that come with signing your little one up for violin or piano lessons. Maybe she won't be the next Beethoven, but she may have an easier time learning math, practicing good manners (including patience!), and becoming a team player. Read on to learn more about the benefits of music education.
It improves academic skills.Music and math are highly intertwined. By understanding beat, rhythm, and scales, children are learning how to divide, create fractions, and recognize patterns. It seems that music wires a child's brain to help him better understand other areas of math, says Lynn Kleiner, founder of Music Rhapsody in Redondo Beach, CA. As kids get older, they'll start reciting songs, calling on their short-term memory and eventually their long-term memory. Using a mnemonic device to do this is a method that can later be applied to other memory skills, says Mary Larew, Suzuki violin teacher at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Connecticut. Musical instrument classes also introduce young children to basic physics. For instance, plucking the strings on a guitar or violin teaches children about harmonic and sympathetic vibrations. Even non-string instruments, such as drums and the vibraphone, give big kids the opportunity to explore these scientific principles.
It develops physical skills.Certain instruments, such as percussion, help children develop coordination and motor skills; they require movement of the hands, arms, and feet. This type of instrument is great for high-energy kids, says Kristen Regester, Early Childhood Program Manager at Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College Chicago. String and keyboard instruments, like the violin and piano, demand different actions from your right and left hands simultaneously. "It's like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time," Regester says. Instruments not only help develop ambidexterity, but they can also encourage children to become comfortable in naturally uncomfortable positions. Enhancing coordination and perfecting timing can prepare children for other hobbies, like dance and sports.
It cultivates social skills.Group classes require peer interaction and communication, which encourage teamwork, as children must collaborate to create a crescendo or an accelerando. If a child is playing his instrument too loudly or speeding up too quickly, he'll need to adjust. It's important for children to know and understand their individual part in a larger ensemble, Regester says. Music Rhapsody offers general music education classes, in which teachers split students into groups and assign each child a task. Whether a team is responsible for choosing instruments or creating a melody, students work toward a common goal. "These are the kinds of experiences we have in society," Kleiner says. "We need more group interaction and problem solving."
It refines discipline and patience.Learning an instrument teaches children about delayed gratification. The violin, for example, has a steep learning curve. Before you can make a single sound, you must first learn how to hold the violin, how to hold the bow, and where to place your feet, Larew says. Playing an instrument teaches kids to persevere through hours, months, and sometimes years of practice before they reach specific goals, such as performing with a band or memorizing a solo piece. "Private lessons and practicing at home require a very focused kind of attention for even 10 minutes at a time," Larew says. Group lessons, in which students learn to play the same instruments in an ensemble, also improve patience, as children must wait their turn to play individually. And in waiting for their turns and listening to their classmates play, kids learn to show their peers respect, to sit still and be quiet for designated periods of time, and to be attentive.
It boosts self-esteem.Lessons offer a forum where children can learn to accept and give constructive criticism. Turning negative feedback into positive change helps build self-confidence, Regester says. Group lessons, in particular, may help children understand that nobody, including themselves or their peers, is perfect, and that everyone has room for improvement. "Presenting yourself in public is an important skill whether you become a professional musician or not," Larew says. This skill is easily transferrable to public speaking, she adds. And, of course, once a child is advanced enough, she'll possess musical skills that will help her stand out.
It introduces children to other cultures.By learning about and playing a variety of instruments, kids can discover how music plays a critical role in other cultures. For instance, bongos and timbales may introduce children to African and Cuban styles of music. Although the modern-day violin has roots in Italy, learning to play it exposes children to classical music popularized by German and Austrian musicians. Versatile instruments, such as the violin and piano, can accompany a wide repertoire of styles, including classical and jazz (which originated in the American South). It's important to familiarize children with other cultures at a young age because this fosters open-mindedness about worlds and traditions beyond the ones they know.
What to Consider When Selecting an InstrumentUltimately, the instrument you and your child choose should depend on a number of factors. Here's a list of questions to consider before bringing home a new music maker:
  • Is your child excited about the instrument? Does she like the way it sounds and feels? Some music schools offer a "petting zoo" that introduces kids to multiple instruments.
  • Is the instrument too challenging or is it not challenging enough (for both you and your child)?
  • Does your child's temperament match the instrument?
  • Can you afford the instrument and the maintenance that comes with it?
  • As a parent, do you like the sound enough to listen to your child practice it for hours at home?
  • Is your child specifically interested in a particular music style? If so, factor that into your instrument choice, as some specifically cater to certain styles. For instance, a violin player will have a hard time fitting in a jazz ensemble.
Experts don't always agree on which instruments are best for big kids to learn, but many music teachers do agree that it's hard to go wrong with the piano, percussion (like the drum or xylophone), recorder, guitar, or violin.

​Reprinted from https://www.parents.com/kids/development/intellectual/6-benefits-of-music-lessons/
<![CDATA[What Instrument Should I Learn?]]>Sat, 22 Sep 2018 09:30:50 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/what-instrument-should-i-learn"We all know that playing a musical instrument is good for the mind. The act of working out how to make pleasant noises out of a box with strings stretched across it, or a stick with a hole running through it, is meditative and calming in an increasingly hectic world.  But working out which instrument is the right one for you can be just as stressful as the stress you were hoping to defuse in the first place." Fraser McAlpine

Which instrument is best for you?  But first a few questions...

Do you like to use your fingers?
Do you like to blow through a straw when drinking a Coke?
Are you a singer when in the shower?
Do you like to pluck a tennis racket when there is no tennis match on the tele?
Do you like hammering and sawing, perhaps at home or at work?

If you like using your fingers you may prefer a guitar or other string instrument like a mandolin, ukulele or a banjo.

If you like to blow through straws or maybe you did as a child, perhaps a trumpet, trombone or tuba might suit.

If you sing in the shower, well, you may want to sing for yourself or for a few others until you get your confidence up, but either way singing lessons would be a good avenue.

Plucking a tennis racket may mean a guitar or electric guitar is for you.  You may be a bass player even and every band needs one!

Hammering or sawing or even tapping the table at your local restaurant could mean the drums or even bowing a fiddle would be your best instrument of choice.

Anyway you choose it should be relaxing or stress free as most of our lives are busy enough.

-Mick Ferguson
Belfast Dreams School of Music

<![CDATA[Relax! Learn to play a musical instrument by Sara]]>Thu, 21 Dec 2017 09:53:27 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/relax-learn-to-play-a-musical-instrument-by-sara
Belfast Dreams School of Music
Irish Traditional Music
(Belfast Dreams School of Music is a member of Music Tutors UK)

"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul."

Private musical tuition
is probably the best method of learning to play a musical instrument. Music is an important aspect of our lives and learning to play is a wonderful feeling of self achievement.
Musical education has formed an important role in all school curricula. It is a well known fact that music can help a person to relax, increase creativity and stimulate certain areas of the brain that can boost academic learning too.

Here are just a few reasons to take that old guitar out of the wardrobe:
  • It increases self confidence
  • Generates social interactivity
  • Develops creativity which in turn helps to solution day to day problems
  • Increases productiveness and concentration
  • Exercises the memory
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improves assertiveness
  • It's FUN
<![CDATA[5 Acts that Defined Rock by Dexter Findley]]>Thu, 21 Dec 2017 09:43:10 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/5-acts-that-defined-rock-by-dexter-findley
The Beatles
They were always going to be on the list somewhere. People get a bit tired of perpetual Beatles mentions, and in the process forget just how much they changed music. While their early hits single-handedly invented Pop (a genre that, for all intents and purposes, can be considered Rock n Roll / RnB 'lite'), their later stuff helped define other sub-genres of Rock - from their psychedelic phase helping shape the sound of the 60s, to their heavier songs from the White Album helping pave the way for Hard Rock and Metal sub-genres.
Jimi Hendrix
When one learns the guitar, there are a few acts towards which one aspires. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Angus Young... but one figure overshadows them all. Possibly the most dedicated guitarist ever, who could coax sounds out of his instrument the likes of which haven't been heard before or since, and who was at one point caught sleeping next to his guitar while in the US Army: Jimi Hendrix. The star by which practically all contemporary rock, blues and RnB guitarists steer by. His sound is truly amazing, his talent unmatched.
Pink Floyd
The wildcard on the list. Beginning life as a fairly conventional 60s pop group (inspired heavily by psychedelica), before moving towards progressive rock, Pink Floyd broke through the haze that ensnared similar acts such as Hawkwind and Genesis and went on to become true musical giants. Their sound, driven by the rhythm section's slow but driving pace, soaring guitar solos and lyrics on complex themes, weathered the fads and trends of the industry with grace. While genres rose and fell, Pink Floyd's songs remained the same.
Led Zeppelin
With the Zep, rock music got a darker and heavier. Without them, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal probably wouldn't have existed, although as we mentioned earlier the precedents for both these genres sound occurred in earlier Beatles songs such as Helter Skelter. But the Zep took it to a new level, with wild, fast, brutal songs like Communication Breakdown on their first album. Throughout all their music was an undercurrent of mysticism, which both genres adopted in the form of magical, infernal, otherworldy imagery.
Chuck Berry
This was the man who wrestled RnB and Electric Blues into a thing called Rock and Roll. As John Lennon famously said, "if Rock and Roll was called anything else, it'd probably be called Chuck Berry". While its hard to assign one individual with single-handedly creating a genre, in this case its probably valid: of all music contemporary to him, he has the sound we would recognise as truly 'rocky'. This innovation, combined with his marketing to a teenage audience, helped thrust Rock and Roll forwards towards the worldwide popularity it enjoys today.
<![CDATA[How music can benefit your child - by Anna Michaelidou (reblogged)]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 14:43:46 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/how-music-can-benefit-your-child-by-anna-michaelidou-reblogged
1. Boost self-esteem and confidence
By encouraging your child to learn music, you are building a confidence in them that they may not have been able to gain elsewhere. For example, if your child has started taking piano lessons and he learns to play his first song, this immediately boosts his confidence.

I remember when my son first started his piano lessons at the age of six, and just a few months later he was so excited to be able to play piano in front of his friends at his birthday party. He was both confident and extremely proud of himself; and I couldn't have been prouder too!

2. Boosts Brain Power
Music has the power to build a child's imagination and curiosity thus boosting their brain power. It also requires counting notes and rhythm which can help a child with their Maths skills, whilst reading the notes and translating them into a finger position will help with comprehension and reading skills. More studies are linking music to better brain function and greater academic achievement.

3. Improves Social Skills
While children who learn to play musical instruments are developing a new skill, they are widening their social circles at the same time. Whether they have private one-to-one lessons or group tuition, they are likely to meet new friends, be it during lessons, at school, or at after-school classes.

Learning a new skill means they will have new topics to discuss in conversation, and having a passion for something will inspire them to talk, learn and interact with others. Improving their social skills will almost certainly be transferred into other aspects of their lives such as dealing with meeting new people, and more satisfying interaction with their existing circle of friends.

4. Develops Physical Skills
In the same way that children develop physical and motor skills through sports, they can develop these skills by practising a musical instrument. Their hand-eye coordination, the movement in certain parts of their bodies and the improvement of breathing techniques are to name but a few.

5. Improves Memory
Music is a wonderful world of notes and instruments and learning them can be a stimulating and challenging process for children. Music constantly encourages children to use their memory to perform leading to greater memorisation abilities in education and more.

6. Teaches Patience & Discipline
When learning to play an instrument, children must learn to be in time with the music, and play at the correct moments, so patience and discipline will start to come naturally to them. Moreover, children will need to practice regularly and have the discipline to master their musical instrument. In time your child will prosper and understand that although something might be difficult to begin with, perseverance will prove that nothing is impossible.

In addition, participating in group music activities like an orchestra or choir requires a child to wait their turn, teaching children patience, teamwork and discipline.

7. Improves Language & Academic Skills
Musical training can even help your child develop their language and academic skills - no, really! Music lessons have been found to develop the areas of the brain associated to language and reasoning. It is a fact that music and songs can imprint data and information better on young minds. By teaching children music we are promoting craftsmanship and a sense of accomplishment, and children will always want to create great work - something that can be applied to all subjects of study.

8. Introduces Other Cultures
Children learning music can often be more emotionally developed with empathy to other cultures. Music comes in a vast variety of genres from classical traditions to folk music and each piece of music usually has it's own storyline or background. By reflecting the times and places of the different musical pieces your child will encounter they are learning to appreciate other times and cultures.

<![CDATA[7 Things You Can Do To Make Your Life More Musical Without Really Trying]]>Sat, 07 Jan 2017 20:57:42 GMThttp://belfastdreamsmusicschool.com/musicblog/7-things-you-can-do-to-make-your-life-more-musical
  1. Listen to music.  There are so many different ways to listen to music.  CD player, radio, streaming online, YouTube, Pandora, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, etc.  What’s your favourite?  Listen to music with your children, share why you both enjoy it. 
  2. Go to live music concerts.  There are so many local festivals with free music or go see a show at the Ulster Hall or take in a musical at the Grand Opera House.  We learn so much from the other arts, you don't know what you might pick up from a show.
  3. Make space for making music.  Take a gander at the physical space where you make music.  Does it need different lighting?  Does it need a CD player nearby? Does it require equipment you could get second hand even?
  4. Learn a new song you have been listening to on the radio or your playerLearn a new song or revisit an old favorite. Your child will notice you modelling that behaviour.  Become interested in what your child is working on in their practise time.  Ask them about why they like it.  Be in the same area while they’re practicing if they let you. ;)  
  5. Host a 'mini-recital.'  Share some music for out-of-town friends of family.  Be sure to have a piece that you like to “show off,” and a piece that you’d like to learn special for the occasion, a wedding or a graduation.  It will give you a goal and deadline for learning and perfecting new music. 
  6. Try something new.  Have you always wanted to play from song sheets?  Perhaps you’ve wanted to learn a favourite contemporary piece?  Perhaps you’ve always wanted to improve your theory knowledge or master a technical skill.  Tell your music teacher, and he or she would be happy to help you play those songs and reach your goals.
  7. Add an instrument or extend your lessons.  New Year's is a perfect time to add to your current lesson experience.  Perhaps you’d like to learn another instrument?  Mandolin, Voice, and Guitar skills compliment one another and improve your music skills in all ways.

(This article extended from Emily Ireland, Musical Director)