Jammin' With You! - JWY! Music Blog

Play 3 Easy Songs from the Radio on Piano or Guitar!

Posted by Merrily James on Sep 29, 2016 11:22:01 AM

No matter what your level, you can learn to play these popular songs in a matter of minutes! 


1. Work from Home - Fifth Harmony, Ty Dolla $ign (3 chords!) Screen_Shot_2016-05-16_at_8.43.50_AM-1.png

Work From Home repeats the chords F, Db, Ab for the whole song. Fm and Db get 2 beats, and Ab gets 4 beats. 

Notes in Fmin chord: F-Ab-C

Notes in Db chord: Db-F-Ab

Notes in Ab chord: Ab-C-Eb




2. Cheap Thrills - Sia (4 chords!)51d69992.jpg

Cheap Thrills moves between a F#m, D, A, and E chord for the whole song. Each chord gets 2 beats. 

Notes in F#min chord: F#-A-C#

Notes in D chord: D-F#-A

Notes in A chord: A-C#-E

Notes in E chord: E-G#-B





3. Lush Life - Zara Larsson (4 chords!)zara-larrson-interview.jpg

Lush Life moves between Eb, Cm, Gm, and F for the whole song. Each chord gets 2 beats. 

Notes in Eb chord: Eb-G-Bb

Notes in Cm chord: C-Eb-G

Notes in Gm chord: G-Bb-D

Notes in F chord: F-A-C






Tags: learn piano, park slope piano teacher, kids piano teacher, guitar songs, learn guitar, piano lessons, new york music, kids piano lessons, park slope music classes, park slope piano lesson, easy piano songs, fifth harmony, work from home, cheap thrills, zara larsson, lush life, newton piano lessons, sia, easy guitar

Giving The Gift of Music

Posted by Merrily James on Dec 11, 2014 2:05:00 PM

gift of music edit 2-The JamTeam!

Tags: wellesley, newton, guitar lessons, piano lessons, voice lessons, jammin with you, kids music teacher, ukulele lessons, boston, gift guide, gift ideas, benefits of music

Play Easy Pop Songs on Piano!

Posted by Merrily James on Nov 13, 2014 5:13:00 PM

Make piano practice fun by playing these 3 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 list! Learning to accompany yourself while you play is a valuable skill to have. Here are 3 songs on the radio that beginners can learn! 

1. All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor) - 4 chords!


This song follows a cycle of the following 4 chords: A, Bm, E, and A, with the exception of the two lines below that come at the end of each verse:

"Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top": A (2 beats), D (2 beats), A (4 beats)

"If that's what you're into then go ahead and move along": E (4 beats), D (4 beats), A (2 bars)

Notes in A chord: A-C#-E

Notes in Bm chord: B-D-F#

Notes in E chord: E-G#-B

Notes in D chord: D-F#-A



2. I'm Not The Only One (Sam Smith) - 4 chords!img sam smith 092501765169

This song cycles the following chords: F-A-Dm-Bb (each chord gets 2 beats), with the two exceptions below:

*The chords for the end of each verse and chorus are: F(4 beats), C (2 beats), F (2 beats)

*Bridge: Bb-F-A-Dm (last time Bb) - each chord gets 4 beats

Notes in F chord: F-A-C

Notes in A chord: A-C#-E

Notes in Dm chord: D-F-A

Notes in Bb chord: Bb-D-F



3. Something in the Water (Carrie Underwood) - 5 chords!Carrie Underwood carrie underwood 36734 1325 1920

Verse: C-D (each chord gets 4 beats)

Chorus & Bridge: G-Bm-Em-C (each chord gets 4 beats) *last chord of bridge replaces C chord with D chord

Notes in C chord: C-E-G

Notes in D chord: D-F#-A

Notes in G chord: G-B-D

Notes in Bm chord: B-D-F#

Notes in Em chord: E-G-B

Tags: wellesley, park slope, Brooklyn, piano teacher, Fort Greene, jammin with you, new york, piano chords, sam smith, carrie underwood, meghan trainor, all about that bass, Im not the only one, something in the water, billboard, hot 100, radio songs, learn pop songs, pop piano songs, easy piano songs

Easy Popular Songs To Play on Guitar, Ukulele, and Piano!

Posted by Merrily James on Nov 7, 2014 5:34:00 PM

 Check out these awesome pop songs that can be played on guitar, piano, ukulele, and bass!

foster the people, pumped up kicks, guitar lessons, park slope, fort greene, upper west side, upper east side, piano lessons, kids piano teacher

1. Pumped Up Kicks (Foster The People)- 4 chords!

Pumped Up Kicks moves between Em, G, D, and A chords. Each chord gets 4 beats.

Notes in Em chord: E-G-B
Notes in G chord: G-B-D
Notes in D chord: D-F#-A
Notes in A chord- A-C#-E




viva la vida, coldplay, easy guitar songs, easy piano songs, park slope piano, park slope guitar, kids music lessons

2. Viva La Vida (Coldplay)- 4 chords!

This song moves between the chords C, D, G, Em. Each chord gets 4 beats.

Notes in C chord: C-E-G
Notes in D chord: E-G-B
Notes in G chord: G-B-D
Notes in Em chord: E-G-B




3. It's Time (Imagine Dragons)- 5 chords!

imagine dragons, easy piano songs, easy guitar songs, park slope guitar lessons, park slope piano lessons, fort greene, music lessons, kids music teacher, learn guitar, jammin with you This song moves between D, A, Bm, Em and G. Each chord gets 2 bars (8 beats).

Order of chords on verse: D-A-Bm-G
Order of chords on chorus: D-Bm-Em-G

Notes in D chord: D-F#-A
Notes in A chord: A-C#-E
Notes in Bm chord: B-D-F#
Notes in G chord: G-B-D
Notes in Em chord: E-G-B




4. Bubbly (Colbie Callait)- 3 chords!colbie callait, bubbly, park slope, fort greene, upper west side,

This song uses the pattern G, D/F#, C, back to G (each chord gets 4 beats)   

Notes in G chord: G-B-D
Notes in D/F# chord: D-F#-A (instead of playing a D in the bass, play an F#)
Notes in C chord: C-E-G




5. Clocks (Coldplay)- 6 chords!easy piano songs, easy guitar songs, park slope guitar teacher, park slope piano teacher

The verse and chorus of this song follow the pattern D (1 bar), Am (2 bars), Em (1 bar)

The bridge follows the pattern Fmaj7 (2 bars), C (1 bar), G (1 bar) 

Notes in D chord: D-F#-A
Notes in Am chord: A-C-E
Notes in Em chord: E-G-B
Notes in Fmaj7 chord: F-A-C-E
Notes in C chord: C-E-G
Notes in G chord: G-B-D



Tags: guitar lessons, piano lessons, Brooklyn, in-home music lessons, jamminwithyou, kids music lessons, voice lessons, kids music classes, singing lessons, boston ukulele, wellesley music classes, massachusetts guitar lessons, wellesley guitar lessons, newton drum lessons, boston music lesson, guitar lessons newton, wellesley piano teacher, coldplay, colbie callait, imagine dragons, bubbly

Cough, cough: Singing With a Cold!

Posted by Merrily James on Nov 7, 2014 5:26:00 PM

 voice lessons singing with cold


It seems like colalicia keys grammyds always have a way of hitting right before a big performance. Those first few sniffles days before a show can bring a feeling horror. Unfortunately colds are a fact of life that not even superstars can escape. I recently saw a world famous band play a sold out show where the lead singer was complaining of a cold, and watched an interview with Alicia Keys who came down with a cold days before her Grammy Award performance. Do not fret, there are measures you can take from the first sign of a cold to ensure the speediest recovery.

If your cold is in your sinuses (i.e you just feel "stuffed up") and not in your lungs it means your vocal chords are probably healthy enough to sing. If you start getting a bad cough and are getting hoarse it's best to rest your voice and if at all possible cancel your show. 

singer warm-upsThe best way to deal with phlegm is with light vocalizing. This will keep your voice supple and flexible and cause the phlegm to vibrate off. Practice singing at a low volume on EE vowel scales and glissando's (start from you highest pitch and slide down to your lowest pitch).

Try to move the the keys of your songs down. When you have a cold you lose clear access to your high falsetto notes and passagio notes (notes in the "break" of your range between chest and head voice). The voice will tend to be shifted lower, with a thicker tone. If possible, move your songs into a lower key.

You know the drill when you're sick: sleep tons, drink tons, have some chicken noodle soup, and wash your hands. Here are some other tricks of the trade: 

1. Neti Pot- A neti pot looks like a small teapot. You fill it with special salt and warm water and  gently rinse out your nasal passages. This is a great natural way to clear out your nasal passages. It is recommended that you use a neti pot regularly even when your not sick. It clears

neti pot singing with cold

 out bacteria to help prevent  you from getting sick and also helping with allergies. Make sure to only use the special salt intended for neti pots.

2. Inhale Steam- Inhaling steam is a very effective soothing method for you vo

cal cords and lungs, especially is you have a lot of phlegm in your lungs. Remember, drinking tea and water is great for hydration but it does not touch your vocal cords directly. The only way to get moisture directly onto your chords is by inhaling it. 

3. Zinc- Take zinc as soon as your first symptoms occur. Zinc can shorten the duration of your cold and make you less contagious. You can also try zinc spray for your throat and zinc swabs for your nose. 

4. Mucinex (Guaifenesin)- Guaifenesin is in a class of medications called expectorants. It works to relieve chest congestion by thinning the mucus in the air passages to make it easier to cough up the mucus and clear the airways. Remember to drink lots of water with this medication. If possible, avoid "cough suppressants" and stick with expectorants like mucinex. Cough suppressants will just make the phlegm stay in your lungs for longer delaying recovery.

In the end, there is nothing fun about singing with a cold. Do your best to prevent sickness by getting proper rest, plenty of fluids, washing your hands often, exercising to circulate blood, and monitoring stress. If you have to sing with a cold, be sure to go home and rest your voice straight afterwards. Rock on!

Tags: Jammin' With You!, jamminwithyou, voice lessons, jammin with you, vocal health, warm ups, vocal range, exhale, singing lessons, New York voice lessons, alicia keys grammy, zinc, steam, mucinex, neti pot, singer, cold, winter, wellesley music lessons

Learn To Read Music With Online Games

Posted by Merrily James on Nov 7, 2014 5:25:00 PM

It is always fun to mix up practicing with fun games. The best way to become skilled at reading music and other musical concepts is to drill the information regularly. The more times your brain has to recognize and identify the notes, the more automatic it will become. Playing the games below will improve musical knowledge, sight-reading, and rhythm. These games are easy to access on your browser and a great supplement to practice on any instrument.


compose your own musicCompose Your Own Music- Drag notes into the staff, and create your own song that you can send to your friends! This is a great and creative way to practice your musical notation skills.




learn rhythm readBe a Rockin' Rhythm Master!- Copy the rhyhtms to the parrot and drummer! This game is great for rhythm and transcribing.




learn to read notesNote Name Game- Drag the note names to the wiggly notes!




musical memory gameMusical Memory Game- Play back the notes that are played. This game helps students to memorize patterns.




learn to read musicMission To Magmamon- You get sent to the musical planet of Toness where the inhabitants only communicate through music and tones. Get through volcanos, pirates, and trpas with your music skills! Very fun.



learn composersComposer Time Machine- Scroll through time different time periods and find the composers of that time. Hear their music and learn about different styles such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern.





Tags: read music, Jammin' With You!, jamminwithyou, jammin with you, park slope music lessons, sightread, kids music classes, brooklyn music classes, fort greene music classes, read music game, music game, online music game

5 Easy Piano Songs For Beginners!

Posted by Merrily James on Nov 7, 2014 5:18:00 PM

 Make piano practice fun by playing simple songs from the radio and singing along. This is a great way to drill new chords and improve rhythm and groove. Learning to accompany yourself while you play is a valuable skill to have. Here are 5 songs on the radio that beginners can learn!


1. Fallin' (Alicia Keys) - 2  chords!              easy piano songs jammin with you

Fallin' goes back and forth between Emin and Bmin7 for the whole song. Each chord gets 4 beats.

Notes in Emin: E-G-B

Noten in Bmin7: B-D-F#-A






2. Dynamite (Bruno Mars)- 4 chords!                        

5 easy songs piano Jammin' With You

The verses and chorus of Dynamite repeat Am, C, G, & F. Each chord gets 4 beats.

Notes in Am chord: A-C-E

Notes in C chord: C-E-G

Notes in G chord: G-B-D

Notes in F chord: F-A-C




3. Come Together (The Beatles)- 4 chords!

the beatles easy piano songs

Come Together rotates between Dmin (4 bars), A7 (2 bars), and G7 (2 bars). The hook line is Bmin (1 bar) and G (1 bar).

Notes in Dmin chord- D-F-A

Notes in A7 chord- A-C#-E-G

Notes in G7 chord- G-B-D-F

Notes in Bmin chord- B-D-F#-A




4. Walking On Sunshine (Katrina & The Waves)- 3 chords!

Walking on Sunshine Jammin' With YouThis very fun song rotates between E, A, B, A in the verse (2 beats each), and A, B, A for the 2 lines of the chorus  (2 beats each). When the line "don't it feel good!" comes along, the chords go back to E, A, B, A.

Notes in E chord- E-G#-B

Notes in A chord- A-C#-E

Notes in B chord- B-D#-F#




5. Hey Ya (OutKast)- 4 chords!     

Outkast Hey Ya Jammin' With You

This song rotates between G (1 bar), C (2 bars), D (2 beats),

E (2 bars). Watch out for the 2/4 bar on the D chord!

Notes in G chord- G-B-D

Notes in C chord-C-E-G

Notes in D chord- D-F#-A

Notes in E chord- E-G#-B




Jammin' With You offers in-home lessons for all ages. Currently serving Massachusetts and New York. Please visit http://www.jamminwithyou.com for more information.

Tags: wellesley, newton, piano lessons, new york music, park slope, new york music lessons, piano teacher, playing the piano, Jammin' With You!, kids music lessons, piano lessons for kids, voice lessons, with you, jammin with you, jammin, practice

Music Lessons with Rick Smith!

Posted by Beth Pacione on Oct 20, 2011 12:12:00 PM

As our school year begins, we wanted to talk to our teachers about how things are going in their lessons. Our first teacher to share his story is pianist and drummer Rick Smith.

Side view resized 600

Jammin' With You!: What do you teach at JWY!?
Rick Smith: I teach Piano, Drum Set and Percussion.

JWY!: What do you like most about teaching students music?
RS: I have wonderful memories of my childhood music teachers. They showed me how wonderful music can be. Today, I strive to have that kind of impact on my students. It also works great for my life as a professional touring musician.

JWY!: What are you looking forward to this year with your students?
RS: As this is my first full year teaching for JWY! I look forward to developing honest and long lasting professional relationships with each family I teach. I want to continue teaching the foundations of proper technique, while exploring the individual wants and needs of each student. At the end of the day we play music because it's FUN!  Thats something I always want to come across in my lessons.

JWY!: What are some fun things you have been doing in lessons this fall?
RS: The piano penny trick. Place a penny on top of your hand and play scales up and down WITHOUT dropping the penny.  It helps young (and older!) students keep their fingers curved and promotes smooth legato transitions from note to note.  For added challenge try both hands with 2 octaves! 

As for Drum students who have a lot of coordination problems with one hand, I ask them to spend a day (or more!) switching hands. If your right handed, become left handed! Eating, opening doors, shaking hands, brushing your teeth, everything!  This can really help when it comes to balancing out your right and left limbs - most students (and myself) enjoy the challenge.

JWY!: Who inspired you to become a music teacher?
RS: Professor Gervacio Brondial, or Mr. Brondial to me most of my life, was my piano teacher. I started with him when I was 5 years old and continued until he was hired to teach at California State Long Beach when I was about 12 or 13.  He started me on the right path, taught me the benefits of proper technique, how to make the most out of my practice, but most importantly, he showed me  how to have fun with music! He was the best teacher I ever had.

JWY!: Any fun music teaching stories?
RS: I had the opportunity to teach a few physics and engineering graduate students from Boston University last year. They were beginners so it was really fun talking about drums in such a technical way. I could talk about the different grip fulcrum points and stick height to volume relativity and other really nerdy specific drumming techniques that I don't normally get to talk about.

More recently I've had a blast teaching Stick Control by ear.  The book Stick Control, as all you drummers know, is a must-have and industry standard kind of book.  The book features numerous different combinations of Left and Right stickings.  What I do is have the student learn a page on the snare drum.  Then I have him play each limb on a different drum or surface (rim, table, floor, whatever)  After that I have the student sing the "melody" the 2 different  surfaces make.  This way they connect the difficult to follow string of lefts and rights into a tangible and easy to sing melody!  I will play different passages from the book in that way and have the student guess which one I'm playing.  Its fun, and it's ear-training, something that all good drummers use everyday.
Rick Warped2010


Posture makes your Music Lesson!

Posted by Beth Pacione on Oct 10, 2011 11:21:00 AM

TBad posture 1 at the pianohe other week I was teaching a student and I looked over and her posture was all wacky. Her back was curved and she was hovered over the piano. Her legs were lounging forward and not bent and she was sitting sideways. "Oh my" I exclaimed "We need to fix your posture."

Posture is one of the tools that students learn when they first start to learn piano. If you look in any beginning lesson book there is a section on posture in the first few pages. Posture is a very important tool for any instrument, but as musician we tend to forget the correct ways to sit and this causes problems in our playing.



Bad posture 2 at the piano

Not sitting correctly with your instrument causes problems with your playing?

Yes! Just like any sport or dance, the postures you use help you perform. Music lessons are just the same. Sometimes when your posture is not correct you make more mistakes because your body is not in the correct postion.






                                 Key things to remember for correct piano posture:

1. Sitting with your feet flat on the floor.Good piano posture

2. Your knees are slightly under the keyboard.

3. Sitting on the front part of the bench

4. Back Straight

5. Loose shoulders

6. Curved Fingers on keys


Remembering this position will make a world of difference in your playing and performing.

Tags: piano, piano lessons, piano teacher, playing the piano, in-home music lessons, piano lessons for kids, practice, posture, insturments

How To Make Piano Practice Fun!!!

Posted by Josh Shriber on Sep 11, 2011 5:14:00 PM

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!

Tags: fun, pennies, student, piano, new york music, music teacher, piano teacher, Jammin' With You!, jamminwithyou, Kids music, lessons, with you, jammin, practice, beginner, music