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Homestyle Music supports independent musicians worldwide.  Our good friend Christopher Insley of the band Field Manual owns and operates the guitar shop AMP in the suburbs of Manchester in England.  This photo is from an article on the Manchester Evening News' website.  Click on the photo to read the article.  Look for Field Manual's latest album "Someday Streets" on CD Baby and elsewhere on the Internet!

Homestyle Music supports independent musicians worldwide. Our good friend Christopher Insley of the band Field Manual owns and operates the guitar shop AMP in the suburbs of Manchester in England. This photo is from an article on the Manchester Evening News' website. Click on the photo to read the article. Look for Field Manual's latest album "Someday Streets" on CD Baby and elsewhere on the Internet!

Below is a healing flute improvisational video by Homestyle Music's owner Katie Hester.  She did not rehearse prior to recording this.  Students can take flute, piano, guitar, and other lessons from Katie.  For more of her own original music, visit her site katieflute.com!  Scroll down this page for more music videos from other artists along with advice and links to purchase music and instruments.

Click Below for More by Recording Artist Katie Hester:

Keys to Success! 

Former Homestyle Music piano / keyboard teacher Matt Wauchope shared some tips on how students can practice for success.  He has years of experience as an educator, formerly for Dekalb County Schools, and now currently teaching private music lessons.  Matt also has several years experience professionally performing music and is currently playing with his jazz & funk group The Mar-Tans, which played on numerous local sessions including the Grammy-Award winning gospel act, the Blind Boy's of Alabama.  We asked Matt the following:

1.) How long should students practice playing piano/keys each week?
It is entirely dependent on what you want to do in music.  If it is to have fun and be a hobbyist then 20, 30 minutes, or an hour a day is great.  If you want a career performing, then hours and hours a day would be required.  6-8 (hours per day) is pretty standard for conservatory students, and some musicians are famous for obsessive and extravagant practice habits.  Sonny Rollins, for example, took a couple of long hiatuses from performing and practiced all day, every day for months, reinventing himself.  John Coltrane spent the last half of his life doing practically nothing but eating, playing, and sleeping (often little of the latter).  He even made a stick with buttons on it so he could practice fingering when he was on traveling on airplanes.  But the most important thing I would say is to not practice so much that you stop enjoying piano, or get burned out.
  
2.) Are there any particular finger or scale exercises that you recommend piano students practice?  
Just make sure that the technique you are studying is appropriate to the style you want to play.  If you want to play jazz, don't waste time with Czerny or Hannon (although there is a Jazz Hannon, I never did get around to checking out).
  
3.) What advice do you have for anyone who wants to work as a professional piano player?  
Play as many styles as you can as well as you can.  Or, be the best in the world at one style. Either way is good!  If you want to play non-classical styles, you need to learn songs in more than one key.  You don't really know a song until you can play it in several keys.
  
4.) What are good ways to learn piano music outside of individual lessons?  
Listen to records and steal licks, learn songs, and immerse yourself in music, exposing yourself to as much different stuff as possible.
  
5.) Who are some of your major piano influences, and why do you recommend people listen to them?
  
I would recommend Horace Silver, Ray Charles, and Professor Longhair. They are the "meat and Potatoes" of playing Jazz, Blues, and New Orleans Piano, respectively. There are a million guys I could name (Art Tatum, James Booker, etc.) who are more dazzling.  But these three are great to listen to for beginner and intermediates because they play melodic, simple lines that don't require you to already be a virtuoso (Although they are plenty-great players).  

Interview questions by James Hester of Homestyle Music.

 

No Worries: Enjoy the Music!  

I have been to literally thousands of shows through the years, and I have met literally thousands of musicians.  I have found that the most successful musicians are the ones who enjoy what they are performing, regardless of style.  It doesn't matter how famous one is, how incredible a performer's technique is, or how much a person gets paid to play music, if he or she isn't enjoying the experience.  Countless musicians are rich and famous, but are miserable in the process.  My advice is to set realistic goals for yourself.  Ask yourself why you play music and what you hope to gain from it.  Try to keep things simple.  Practice your instrument and enjoy the process of learning music.  I asked Brent Smith of Shinedown what the best thing was about being a rock star.  He said: "I don't know, because I'm not one.  I'm a musician and an artist.  People should just do what they enjoy, and not worry about the fame."  

--James Hester--

Sometimes Little is Better Than More!  

I have performed music for over 27 years, and have played in over 20 orchestras, including studies with members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  With that in mind, I have acquired much knowledge and wisdom about learning music and preparing to perform it.  For children especially, I recommend learning music in small increments.  Practice learning to play small amounts well instead of simply practicing multiple pages of music for hours, just for the sake of saying you spent your time playing.  Learn to be content with playing a few measures of a piece well with proper tempo and technique, rather than wanting to simply be able to play a whole song from its beginning to its end. If those who study music will slow down and learn to play each part well, in the long run it will save time and embarrassment when fewer mistakes are made.  You will feel better knowing you have good technique, and that you played a piece of music correctly.  Others will tend to enjoy your playing more. Your confidence and self-esteem will improve as well! 

--Katie Hester, Owner of Homestyle Music--

Site Summary:

This blog is Homestyle Music's site for advice from music teachers and other professionals in the music industry.  It also showcases music by featured recording artists and serves as a connection to social media outlets.  Thanks for visiting!

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