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How To Make Piano Practice Fun!!!


Make It Into a Game

Learning piano for the first time takes a lot of practice and can feel tedious at times. However, there are many ways to make it fun! Here are 3 games for the piano that will be sure to bring some smiles to your practice session!


The Pennies GamePenny Game

Objective: Learn the notes on the keyboard and staff

Step 1: Place stickers on pennies with each of the note names (A through G)

Step 2: Put the pennies face down on the notes they belong to (don't put them in order)

Step 3: Say the note before you turn over the penny, do it until you get them all right!


Draw your own large staff paper with the spaces between the lines big enough for the pennies. Place the pennies on the staff to write your own song!


The Safari GameMake Piano Practice Fun

Objective: Quickly recognize different keys on the piano (in preparation for sight-reading)

Step 1: Buy 2 plastic animals at your local toy store.

Step 2: Start with the two animals placed 5-8 white keys apart from each other.

Step 3: Tell your student which keys the animals need to run to not to get caught by the other one (in this case we will use a rabbit and jaguar) i.e "The rabbit is going to run up to the key Ab to get away, but now the jaguar is going to jump to the key B to try and get him."

This game can be quite fun and help with quick recognition of the piano keys!

The Tip-Toe Game

Objective: Recognize different tempos and learn to feel the beat in your body

Step 1: Either at the piano or on a CD player, play very fast music and have your student jump around the room at the beat of the music.

Step 2: Without warning, switch to slow music and have your student quietly tip-toe around the room to the tempo of the music.

Step 3: Vary the tempos and have your student recognize the changes. Fall down at the end!


Please post your favorite beginner's music games!

2nd Annual Jammin' With You! + Dave Matthews Band Donation


Jammin' With You! teams up with the LoVE Foundation to auction off two amazing tickets to the Dave Matthews Band concert on 11/09/2010 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, MA. The tickets also come with VIP hospitality lounge passes, and an author-signed copy of the soon-to-be-released Dave Matthews Band book. To read more about this event, please click here:

To go straight to the auction to bid, click here:

Jammin' With You! - Dave Matthews Band - LoVE Foundation

Kids Music- Top 10 cutest kids songs!


Kids Music- Top 10 Cutest Songs Ever
Here are some of the cutest kids songs I have heard! In no particular order.

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Bear to the Left - Billy Jonas
A very clever song about using animal names to give directions. It’s a very easy song to sing together and my students love it. This would be a great song to learn as a family and sing together all you need is a leader to remember the words. This song will surely be a family favorite to “Horse Around” with!
Billy Jonas:

All I Really Need - Raffi

Such a beautiful song about the basics that we need in our life, “song in my heart, food in my belly, and love in my family.” Sometimes we get caught up in what we “need”.“Mom, I need that new toy”, “I really need a vacation” , “I really need, a new car” but this song reminds us that we really need love, music and food to survive. I think this is a great song to sing together as a family.

Raffi Singing on Broadway! Who knew Raffi was on Broadway?

Red Red Robin - Rosie Flores
Red Red Robin is an older song, but Roise Flores puts a country, rockabilly feel to it. It makes this song upbeat and fun! I love the mix of the guitar and her vocals. I found this song off of the album  Sing Along With Putumayo. Rosie Flores is a fantastic artist and her new album “Girl of the Century” is worth a look!

Check Out Putumayo:
Rosie Flores:
Me Singing Red Red Robin:

Be Kind To Your Parents - Pete Seeger
So the first line may not seem so cute to parents “Be kind to your parents, though they don’t deserve it...” but this song is very cute. This song helps children remember parents once were kids too! I had a student sing this at this years SuperJam and it went over very well with our audience. I really enjoy the last line, “Someday you may wake up and find your a parent too!”
Pete Seeger-

Sunny Side of the Street - Fox and Branch
“Grab your coat and grab your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep now, direct your feet to the sunny side of the street” What a positive message this old classic song sings!  Fox and Branch give it a fun groove using such instruments as the washboard, spoons and a kazoo. This song makes me smile everytime!
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Smile Smile Smile - Dan Zanes
Speaking of smiling... “Every time I think of you I smile for a while, that’s the one thing you always do is smile smile smile” What a great message to any family member or friend. “Your big heart circles the world every time you smile!” This song fills your head of fun and crazy things we do together like singing broadway songs and passing the baton as we run. Another song that just makes my heart grow every time I hear it!
Smile, Smile,Smile: SO CUTE

Belly Button Song - Music For AArdvarks & Other Mammals
How fun is this guys voice as he is singing about Belly Buttons! Enough Said!
Music for Aardvarks:

If You Wanna Sing Out, Sing Out-  Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
Originally written by Cat Stevens, this version is a bit more upbeat and still sings the positivity of the original. The vocals are clear and harmonize lovely together. This is the first track on their album Racky Tacky which also has alot of other great tunes!

I Will Be Your Friend- Guy Davis
Very cute friendship song! This song is all about taking care of one another and reminding each other of our love. What a great message for anyone at any age.
Make sure to send this to the friend that takes care of you.

Sunflower - Flooky & the Beans
Local Boston kids band Flooky & the Beans has many great songs, and their shows are great fun for all! This one is about beautiful Sunflowers. It is a very soothing song. The harmonies that the band really helps you enjoy the lyrics. “Add a little sunshine, grow so high, add a little rain, grow so high, add a little food, grow so high, add a little love, grow so high” Oh and that is Josh Shriber, our Director singing! Go Josh!



Please post some of your cutest kids songs too! We would love to hear from you and learn some more great tunes!

Photos by: HLIT &

Jammin' With You! Summer Fun!


Summer has arrived! And this summer we would like to take a moment to interview our teachers and see what their summer fun includes! First up Rob Morrison!

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Jammin' With You!: What do you teach at JWY!
Rob Morrison: Guitar, piano, theory + voice (plus life experience)

JWY!: What have you learned from teaching lessons to JWY! students?
RM: I have learned that there are many learning styles and personalities and therefore there must be alternative teaching methods to accomodate each student.

JWY!: What do you think is different about teaching in a studio vs. in-home music lessons?
RM: The student is generally more comfortable learning at home, but the teacher has to work harder to keep their attention.

JWY!: How have you influenced kids while teaching? AND How have they influenced you?
RM: I feel like I have broadened the horizons of my students by introducing them to improvisation and songwriting at early stages of their musical education. My students have taught me the untrained ear has a lot to offer musically and can produce fresh ideas without the impedence of too much conventional wisdom.

JWY!: What is your favorite summer tune to Jam out to?
RM: Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles

JWY!: What was the best summer concert you went to?
RM: This year, it was Jethro Tull at the Bank of America Pavillion.

JWY!: Is there anything exciting that you are doing over the summer?
RM: I'm taking little vacations to Martha's Vineyard, Vermont, the Cape and Montreal.

JWY!: Where is your favorite place to play music during the summer?
RM: Anywhere outside. Last year my band, Stroamata, played the outdoor festival Harpoon Summer Session, but this summer, you might find me busking (musician-speak for playing for tips in the street) in the public parks of downtown Boston before or after lessons. Barbeques, pool parties or roofdecks are just as good.

Suceed at music recitals! Conquer Nerves!


photo by: Maxwell GS

Photo: Maxwell GS

As spring concerts, recitals and shows start filling our calendars your child may start getting a case of the dreaded nerves. When I first started playing at recitals, I would be so nervous everything I learned from my piano lessons went out the window. I would seem to forget everything, including how to sit at the piano to how to play.But when I learned some easy ways to get rid of my nerves I started playing my best.

Here are 5 ways to help your child calm down and rock out at their performance! 

Accept and redirect: 

When we are nervous it normally shows that we care about what we are about to do. We don't want to mess up because we have worked hard and are ready to show the world our talent! Instead of thinking of nerves in a negative light, look at them in a positive light. 


*nerves mean you care 

*nerves give you a little adrenaline that keeps you alert 

*nerves are natural and you can get through them


When a person is nervous they tend to clench their jaw, wring their hands or move their legs quickly. Anxiety causes tension.  Do a few simple stretches to relax and get the blood flowing.

*Shrug your shoulders toward your ears and rolling your head from side to side

*Bring one arm across your body and pull and do the same with the other side.

*Rotate your ankles and stretch your legs

* Shake your hands like you have just washed them and their isn't a towel around to dry them.

Silently Sing or Play: 

Mentally review what piece you are playing or singing. You can even pretend you have the instrument in your hand and practice the motions. Doing this will allow your mind to relax and take focus to the task at hand. 

Don't Go Bananas!:

Whenever you feel like you are going to get upset start to focus on your breathing and think happy thoughts. Say phrases to yourself like: 

* It's OK to be upset, but I am in control 

* I am great at what I do!

* I am going to conquer this 

You can also think about a time where you did really well at something or a time when you where very relaxed. Close your eyes, take a breath and imagine you are there. 

*Also, speaking of bananas, eat a banana, it helps lower anxiety.


Show off those teeth. Smiling helps relieve tension in our jaw and overall makes us feel happier. When we smile we are shrugging off the nerves and showing a confident exterior which will slowly come to the interior. 

Remember "When your smiling, the whole world smiles with you." 

So before your child starts to worry about how they will sound at their recital remind them that they are great, smile at them, rub their shoulders and hand them a banana! They are going to be wonderful this recital season and I am sure many people await to hear their talent!


Cheap Guitar Lessons - Can You Really Learn Online??


If you google “guitar lessons”  hundreds of pages will come up.  The Internet has allowed us to learn any song we want at any given time.  But can you really have success, learning guitar online?   This depends on a few things. 

in-home guitar lessons


Age- I don’t think any kid under the age of 10 is going to know where to start when it comes to learning online.  Sure, a 7 yr old can Google “how to play Nirvana” but what comes up is not very educational or motivational.  Even a teenager or adult will have a hard time jumping right into their favorite songs without the help of a teacher walking you thru each step.  

Current Ability- Total beginners of any age will be very frustrated if they are looking to learn online.   It is human nature to jump right to the good stuff ie songs, solos ect.

If you have at least a few months of guitar lessons under your belt, you can look up some songs and slowly begin to improve your skills.  However, a lot of time is wasted if you come upon certain chords that you don’t know and aren’t explained within the tutorial.  
Intermediate to advanced players will benefit from looking up tabs, chord charts  and “how to play…” on Youtube.  If you have a good base knowledge of your guitar, you can learn any song you want online today.  
cheap guitar lessons
Motivation– If you’re one of those people who gives up if things don’t come easy, learning online is not the way to go.  Private music lessons are the best way to stay motivated as you will have goals, assignments and deadlines each week as your lessons approach.  

Photos by Bob n Renee and Steven Parker

Boston Music Blog: "Is My Child Too Young For Music Lessons?"


Is My Child Too Young for Music Lessons? 


Absolutely not! There are many great programs out there designed to develop your child’s musical abilities, even at a very young age.   Programs such as Music Together, Kindermusic and Jammin’ With You! have all had amazing success developing young musicians.   The question really is not if the child is too young but rather what are the parent’s expectations?


Of course none of these programs are going to have your child singing operas or rippin’ mean guitar solos before the age of 5 but they will give them a base to build on.  This invaluable exposure will allow them to make huge strides as they enter the 5-10 yr old range. If kids get the basics out of the way at an early age, music will become a part of them and building on top of that base will feel very natural. 


Aside from mommy and me programs like Music Together, In-Home lessons from companies such as Jammin’ With You! provide quality music lessons in private or group settings.   Taking In-Home Music lessons keeps the child in their own territory.  Children tend to “be themselves” at home vs. in a big group.  When engaged in a music lesson, it is important for thechild to be free and expressive. 


When your lessons take place in-home, you don’t need to settle on guitar lessons, piano lessons or voice lessons.  If you can find the right teacher, an overall music lesson can be provided assuming the right equipment is available.   This is what makes Jammin’ With You! such a great program.  All of the in-home music teachers on staff are full time, professional musicians with teaching and music degrees.  Many are multi-instrumentalists and all are young, fun and patient.  If music lessons are presented as an exploration and a fun activity rather than straight from a textbook, children will be engaged and doors will be opened. 

Check out these websites and decide which program is right for you.

 Josh teaching keyboards

Boston Music Blog: "Unlocking the Power of Music"


Have you ever been walking down the streets of Boston, singing a song in your head and without even realizing, you are stepping to the beat? Better yet have you ever had a really annoying song stuck so deep in your head that it consumes your thoughts for the day? Well maybe it's just me and maybe I'm a little crazy, but it seems like everything I do has music running through it. Let me explain further....

Today, I went into Boston for an MRI on my right knee. I was there because of an overuse injury, which was totally my own fault. Every day I go to the gym and workout. Although I change my training routine, my lifestyle routine stays the same. Wake up, walk the dog while singing songs in my head. Feed the dog and cats their breakfast... but not without singing the "Who Wants Breakfast!?" song. Next, a drive to the gym with my Sirius Radio blazing. I grab my iPhone and headphones and stroll on into the gym to start my workout.

For my warm-up I usually rock out to a little Coldplay. Nice and mellow but fun and upbeat too. Then when its time to really hit it hard, I throw on some 311, maybe some Outkast or a little 80's Rock. The studies show that the music you listen to will really affect your workouts. For me, unfortunately this is true. It seems that the screaming guitar riffs, funky basslines, and hard hitting drums got my adrenaline going to the point of a nice tear in my right meniscus. Awesome. Thanks a lot Rock n' Roll.

But as I lay there this morning in the booming MRI machine, I wouldn't let the music go. For those of you who have never had the pleasure, the machine is so loud that they offer you either headphones or earplugs. Ha! No-brainer for this music lover. The funny thing about the machine is it keeps a steady boom-chick...boom-chick over and over, like and industrial dance club beat. "Josh you need to stay still!" said the lovely MRI technician. "Sorry!" I couldn't help myself. Boom-chick boom chick. "Josh, we're gonna have to do that one again since you keep moving your foot." "Sorry...I'll behave! In the end, I managed to stay keep still for long enough for them to get what they needed.

My lovely wife has asked me many times..." why are you walking like that?" ... "why do you keep hitting your leg?" or "why do you keep making those weird sounds?" I reply, "Just rockin out to the beat! You don't hear that?" Even as I sit here typing this Boston Music Blog, I can't help but hit my keypad to the rhythm of a song. Right now I sadly have "Poker Face" by Lady Ga Ga running thru my head. Don't hold it against me. 

The music is in me, for sure, thanks to years of PianoLessons, Guitar Lessons and Singing lessons.  Or maybe the lessons are the result of my passion.  I think it’s the former and I have mymany teachers and influences to thank. I’ve been in bands for the last 10 years and if I’m not making music, Ifeel incomplete.  Music has been apowerful force in my life and certainly has changed my life.  So what if it controls my movements orconsumes my thoughts?  So what ifit drives me to “meniscus tearing performance?”  I’d rather have a busted knee than a life without music!!


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