Build Your Music Corner!

Build Your Music Corner!

What’s the biggest barrier to playing music?  Taking your instrument out of the case!  This is why you need a music corner.  A music corner is simple in essence — it’s a comfortable place where your instrument and music are all ready to go so you can pick up and play whenever you want.  Of course, you can make it as inviting and elaborate as you want, but all you really need are a few basics to get down to business.  Here’s how to get started!

First Thing’s First…  Display Your Instrument

Find a place to leave your instrument out of its case all the time.  We always say, “A visible instrument is a played instrument!”  You can use a floor stand with the freedom to move your instrument from room to room, or choose a wall hanger to keep your instrument safe from youngsters or pets.

After trying many options over the years, we recommend * the following:

Floor Stand

Wall Hanger

Violin-Specific Wall Hanger

Keep Your Tuner Handy

The best way to sound amazing is to tune your instrument before (and throughout!) your playing sesh.  There are many great free apps that work well if you’re in a quiet setting.  For group playing, it’s best to have a clip-on tuner that senses vibrations of your specific instrument, instead of utilizing a microphone which will pick up your surroundings. We suggest choosing a “chromatic” tuner which will work on any instrument, as well as tune any individual notes that you might want to spot-check:  

Snark ST-8


Display Your Music

It’s not enough just to leave your instrument out, you also need an easily accessible place to hold your music.  This could simply be atop your piano, or on a dedicated music stand.  We suggest using the ever-classic Manhasset stand due to its sturdy construction and adjustability for ideal posture:

Manhasset Music Stand


Finally, Check Your Ergonomics

You’ll play more if you’re comfortable!  Make sure you have a place where you can sit up straight and feel supported.  An adjustable drum throne is often nice for this purpose:

Spectrum Drum Throne

If you’re strummin’ a guitar, ukulele, banjo, or mandolin, we highly recommend using a strap to keep your instrument stable and secure:

Ernie Ball Strap

Lastly, it’s helpful to prop a foot up on a rest to bring your instrument to the right height. You can use a stool, yoga block, or an adjustable foot rest to find the perfect position:

Neewer Foot Rest

Hooray — now you’re ready to jam!








*Boise Music Lessons is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  Amazon offers a small commission on any products purchased through affiliate links at no additional cost to you.  Your purchases help support our work in bringing you quality music resources beyond in-person instruction.


You need a piano!

Piano is the universal instrument.  It helps with literally every element of music theory and composition.  We recommend all our students, regardless of their instrument of emphasis, have access to a piano or keyboard.  Let us help you find a piano for your parlor, a keyboard for your kitchen, a spinet for your studio — you get the idea…

Check out our free Piano & Keyboard Buyer’s Guide and bring some music into your home today!

As always, let us know if you have questions, and hit us up when you’re ready to join our studio and take your playing to the next level !

Tips for Buying Your First Violin

Violins are strange and mysterious creatures.  These instruments make their music with wood from European forests, bow sticks from South America, hair from the tails of horses living in Siberia or Mongolia, strings of different metals, plastics, and even sheep intestines, all brought together with magical tree sap called rosin.   It’s no wonder that shopping for your first violin can be an intimidating experience!

Not to worry — we’ve created a step-by-step process to help you find your size, avoid sabotage from “violin shaped objects,” and assemble the multitude of accessories you need to fiddle up a storm!

Click here to peruse our free Violin Buyer’s Guide and demystify this mythical instrument!

As always, let us know if you have any questions so we can help you play music with family and friends!

Tips for Buying a Rad Guitar

Guitar buying can be an overwhelming experience — there are so many options and possibilities!  Here are our quick tips for finding the guitar that is right for you and will last a lifetime:

  1. Find a guitar with an adjustable neck.
  2. Pick a neck and body size that suits your stature.
  3. Choose an instrument with a solid wood top if possible.

If you would like to learn more about buying a guitar, and explore a list of instruments that meet our stringent jammin’ standards, check our our free Guitar Buyer’s Guide.

As always, contact us any time with questions so we can help you play music with family and friends!

We’re expanding!

That’s right — Boise Music Lessons is expanding west!  We’re happy to announce that we’re inviting an amazing musician and educator, Natalie Staley, to join our crew.  Natalie not only brings incredible street cred as an established local artist; she’ll also increase our offerings by teaching voice, songwriting, and advanced piano.  Natalie’s students will attend weekly lessons at her Satellite Studio in West Boise near Capital High, then head over to the mothership (Main Studio) for monthly Hootenannies.

To say we’re excited to have her on board is an understatement.  Please help us in giving her a warm welcome to BML!

Would you like to learn voice, piano, songwriting, or beginning guitar with Natalie?  Head over to our enrollment page for all the deets!

Hey girl, want to play music with us?

Now is your chance to enroll in our remaining 2017 openings.  Spaces are limited to 25 students per instructor, so be sure to snag your spot!

We know you have an old banjo, mandolin, or guitar under your bed.  Now’s the time to learn how to pick and grin!

What about those drums in the corner collecting dust or the heirloom violin from Grandma no one is currently playing?  Dust them off and play some tunes!

We know you bought a ukulele because you watched “America’s Got Talent…”  We’ll teach you not only how to play that uke, but how to jam with your family and friends.

And hey, what about singing?  Who doesn’t want to learn to sing?  We can help you find your voice and learn some backing chords, too!

Decide which instrument you’d like to learn and what membership option you like best.  Once you’re ready to roll, follow the steps on our enrollment page.

As always, email us with questions or fill out the form below!

5/5/5 Practice Challenge

Today we’re starting our 5/5/5 Practice Challenge!  You know our policy on practicing — while we encourage it, the decision of when and how much is entirely up to the student or family.  That said, we know that students who practice consistently also progress consistently, so we decided to create a challenge to help our students develop some healthy practice habits.   Read on to learn the details of our challenge, how we came up with the idea, and how you can develop healthy habits for yourself or your students!

I’ve read quite a few articles on the interwebs pertaining to habits; music blogs, home de-cluttering sites, and healthy living (exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness) podcasts all have great resources for creating and maintaining life changes.    The more I consumed, the more I noticed a trend — if you want to create a habit, start small.

One recurring analogy I’ve seen is the idea of starting a habit by just “flossing one tooth.”  The musical equivalent of this concept would be to practice  for a minute a day.  While at first I was skeptical of the premise (how could dedicating a mere one minute a day actually help me progress at the violin?), the more I thought about it the more it became evident that taking the first step is the hardest part of any task.  Once you’ve put forth the effort to floss that first tooth, tie your shoes and set out on a walk, take your guitar out of the case and practice one minute, why not floss the rest, walk another block, play a bit more?  If you can actually take the first step, you’re golden!

So, we decided to start a challenge to help our students floss that first tooth.  While I like the idea of a one minute challenge, I didn’t think the majority of our students’ parents would appreciate us seemingly advocating for a minute of practice a day.  We settled on five minutes for our minimum length of time, mostly because 5/5/5 had a better ring to it than 1/1/1.  🙂

Here are the rules of our challenge:

Practice a minimum of 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks.  Record how long you practice on your challenge sheet.  Please practice the TAGGED songs in your book for your 5 minutes of challenge time – then play anything you like if you want to practice longer!

We emphasize that students practice the tagged songs in their books as those are the songs that are current works in progress.  We want them to see what improvements they can make with a truly focused, consistent effort, and reap the rewards in their weekly lesson.  Once they fulfill their minimum five minute practice requirement, we hope they’ll continue playing on their own steam!

It took Marcus and me a while to decide on the challenge prize.  We’re not big on giving out trinkets or treats as rewards (see above mention of de-cluttering and nutrition blogs), so what does that leave?  Here’s what we decided:

If you complete 5/5/5, you’ll get a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Lesson!  Design your own lesson incorporating any instrument, genre, artist, song, etc. and we’ll follow your lesson plan the week after you complete your practice time.

One thing we love about our studio members is their inquisitiveness and enthusiasm for all things music.  Most of them could hop from instrument to instrument all day long, playing and asking questions.  We wanted to reward this enthusiasm by allowing our students to explore something that they’ve been wanting to learn more about, either on their own instrument or another, that takes us off our current path of focus and into exciting new territory.   When we floated this idea a few weeks ago one of our Epic Solo members said with glee, “Oh, that could be dangerous!” when he learned he’d be able to plan a full hour of his choosing.

In addition to seeing our students improve, we’re eager to see where they take us with their Choose Your Own Adventure Lessons (overall, more time on the drum set seems to be the resounding first choice!).  Our debut 5/5/5 Practice Challenge runs from August 7th through September 9th.  We’ll update you down the line with the results of our challenge and stories of students’ awesome Choose Your Own Adventure Lessons!

If you’re a player or musician needing some extra motivation, feel free to download our 5/5/5 Practice Challenge.  If you’d like to learn more about forming habits and successful practice, check out the following articles:

Practice a Little Bit Every Day: 3 Steps to Create Lifelong Habits — I enjoyed the approachable nature of this post.  It’s all about moderation; do a “little bit” of something!

Building the Practice Habit: 6 Science-Supported Steps to Great Musicianship — This is a fantastic article!  The steps it gives to create solid practice habits are actionable and manageable, and we incorporate all of them into our challenge.  Read it for more context, as well as how to identify your “triggers” for practice.

How Many Hours a Day Should You Practice? — Unlike what I was taught in college (4 hours a day minimum — ahhh!!), it seems that practice quantity does not actually trump quality.  This article emphasizes the importance of deliberate practice above all, which is a message we can get behind.

Please comment below if you have any tips as to how to take that first step to practicing!  Our favorite tip is to leave your instrument out of its case in a visible (and safe) place.

Happy practicing!