They’re the guitar of choice for modern artists like Taylor Swift and Jason Mraz and have a very American history which dates back to the 1970s. So it’s no wonder Taylor guitars are considered the supreme of the string world.
Their inventory is wide-ranging. To help you navigate it, here’s a list of their five most popular instruments.
First among the guitars it promotes on its website, the GS Mini is a solid go-to acoustic guitar. Its at the lower end of Taylor’s cost range at $499 and is adored by artists for its playability and portability.
Check out Shoreline Music giving it a whirl in store.
The clue’s in the name with the Big Baby Taylor – it’s the Baby, but bigger. Add on another $70, this acoustic guitar comes in at $399. It graduates past being the travel guitar category given its extra size.
The 214ce is a 25 and a half inch beast. It’s more expensive, at $999, but guitarists love its rosewood finish. It’s considered the ‘gateway’ into the brand’s more expensive instruments. The Taylor sound thats common throughout the range is also elevated when plugged in.
At a jaw-dropping $8,000, the PS16CE sits at the top of the Taylor range and is part of its Presentation Series. Its designed for performance and comes under the category of Grand Symphony limited edition.
Its sides are a dark, Macassar ebony and the body is Spruce. All in all, it’s a show-stopping guitar with a rumbling belly of sound. Its bells and whistles include Gotoh Gold tuners, a bone nut and saddle, a Florentine cutaway, and Taylor Expression System 2 electronics.
Music education in schools isn’t what it used to be. With seemingly endless cuts to funding for teacher programs, many parents are opting to get their kid’s music education outside of school through private lessons. Even if you teach music in a school, there is a good chance that you supplement your income by teaching private lessons outside of the school.
Teaching privately is interesting because there is no set standard for curriculum like there is in the schools. You can teach each student differently based on their individual talents and their overall goals. Every great teacher is looking for new resources to help them better their teaching style and their own skills as a musician. Here are five of the best resources for music teachers to help you.
Video chat apps like Skype have made it easier to communicate over long distances. Video chat has made it easier than ever for teachers to reach students. Your student-base is now the entire world instead of just your immediate area. It also gives students the ability as a teacher to seek out specific teachers they want to work with.
Outside of real time interaction, another benefit of online lessons is that you can pre-record lessons and put them online. Once online, they can be downloaded and watched over and over again by students, meaning you can be teaching multiple lessons at the same time. A great way to get started is to upload a couple of simple lessons to YouTube to help create interest. Tablets like Amazon’s Fire HD make these easily digestible for students and allow you to film from anywhere.
Traditionally, books have been the music teacher’s greatest aid. Their education value is the same when consumed in digital form and, if you’re teaching kids, you’re more likely to captivate a tech-savvy student’s attention by pointing them to an online version.
Almost every hard copy book is also available in Kindle format or through another device.
There is a mobile application for just about everything, including music education. Whether you use an Amazon Kindle, an iOS, or an Android device, there are hundreds of apps available to help you educate you students more effectively. The best part is that many of these application are available at no cost
Among the most popular is iReal book which contains an online catalogue of thousands of jazz standards. Amazon’s Echo series – which includes the Echo, Dot and Echo Show, also come with built in guitar tuners and metronomes.
There’s more on how to use the Echo as a musician or teacher here.
Speak to other teachers
There’s a lot to be said for reaching out to the community of music teachers near you or beyond to find out how they’re aiding their careers. Whether you’re considering teaching a new instrument or if you need advice, there are a number of great forums like the National Association for Music Education where you can turn to for tips.
Whether it be a full on recording studio or just an HD camera set up in the corner, it is a good idea to have a way to record the lessons you are teaching.
You can give these recordings to your students and they can review them later. Doing this makes it easier for them to remember everything you went over in the lesson. On top of that, you can review the recordings to see how you can improve as a teacher. Just as athletes review game tapes, it can sometimes make the difference between a student progressing past a difficult obstacle or staying stuck behind it. If you don’t want to tape something on camera, recording it on a voice recorder might be a suitable and cheaper alternative. Click on the highlighted words for great options on both.
There’s been a lot of noise around Amazon’s latest tech product, the $179 Echo. Most of the excitement is focused on how it can improve the user’s home life by performing voice-activated functions. But there are a handful of ways the Echo can boost productivity for musicians.
Here’s a list of all the ways the device can help with your music career.
This one may sound obvious, but the benefit of having voice-controlled stop and start functions when listening back is revolutionary for musicians.
Musicians don’t just listen to music for enjoyment. They sometimes need to study music to get ready for a gig or analyze something for a student. Think about it, one of the hardest things about learning a tune is having to constantly put down the instrument or interrupt your work flow to set the tune up and run it again.
The Echo completely streamlines this clunky process. Simply instruct Alexa, the AI assistant which performs all of the Echo functions, to stop and start when yore ready or you want to move on to another tune. The Echo even has a search function, so you can even search through YouTube for tunes you need work on without getting up from your instrument.
If you are a performing or composing musician, you understand the importance of documenting ideas and using them later. Amazon Echo has the ability to record your voice, or whatever instrument you may be playing, so you can save it for later when you are ready to develop the idea further. Both the microphone and the speakers on this device are surprisingly effective considering the size of the device.
One of the most impressive features of the Echo is its implementation of Alexa Skills. Alexa, the robot which carries out all the functions and takes her queues from the voice-over, has a range of built-in functions which lie in a drop down menu on the Alexa app.
Among the skills is a guitar tuner. From the other side of the room, the musician can demand to hear a perfect A from the speaker, just as they would from a guitarist in a band. It’ll be right every time too.
Here it is being used by someone for the first time. After instructing Alexa to enable the tuner, the user can be heard demanding what note he wants to hear. The Echo returns it four times.
My Metronome is another built-in Alexa skill. It keeps the tempo for musicians, holding from 10 to 300 beats a minute. To activate it, just tell her what you need by shouting: ‘Alexa, start My Metronome and 80 beats per minute,’ for example.
Of course, if you’d rather use your own, there are some great options here and here.
One of the coolest things about Alexa is her ability to teach you how to play an instrument. There is even a built in app designed to help you learn how to play the piano. It is very simple, making it a great device for those who are beginners to playing music and children who have very little experience learning an instrument. It starts you off by teaching you simple notes and showing you where they are. Eventually, you will work your way to being able to play a duet with Alexa! The songs are pretty simple and mostly consist of nursery rhymes, but they can be a great primer for a student who is interested in taking piano lessons who’s parents are not sure if they are really going to be into it.
The Echo also has a built in function that will play back any note that you ask and can even play a series of notes, providing students with a reference point for a pitch when they are practicing. This means you can test out ideas ahead of time or even use the device as a means to improve your ear training by trying to sing the pitch before the Echo plays it. There is even a quiz on the Echo that you can use to work on your ear. It will play a note and you will try to guess what it is. This may seem like a skill you are either born with or not but the ear is something you can develop over time and, with enough work, you can almost give yourself perfect pitch.
If you are an improvising musician, you know one of the best ways to practice is to simply improvise. Of course, you can’t always call your friends to have them come over and play some tunes with you, so you need a solution. One way you can use the Amazon Echo to practice is to utilize play a longs. A play along is a recording of music that has your part taken out, so you can play as if you are playing with a band in a live situation. One popular version of these for jazz musicians is the Jamey Aebersold series. He has recorded thousands of tunes that students can practice over ranging from jazz to funk and RnB classics. Download them to your Echo and get started today.
Here’s an idea of the sound quality you can expect
Amazon Dot: A cheaper version of the Echo
The Echo sits a stop a cylinder speaker which is powerful enough to be used alone. But if $179 is too steep a price tag, the Dot is a great alternative. At $49, it’s considerably less expensive and performs pretty much all of the same functions as the larger Echo.
The only major difference is the lack of speaker. So if you have your own already, the dot may be the way to go.
Amazon Echo Show: The Echo with a touchscreen
A huge hook of the Echo is its voice-controlled function. In commercials it plays out very smoothly and it appeals to a lazier, Siri-obsessed generation. But some people would still like to have the option to control the device by hand.
To accommodate them, Amazon recently released the Echo Show which combines the Echo with a touch screen for easy use. It’s the most expensive device in the range at $229. In essence, it looks like an iPad with a speaker attached at the bottom.
It can however be a great tool for musicians who are trying to learn lyrics. The Echo Show will display the words on screen. It’s also a great way to pull up sheet music to play along to with a tune running in the background for support
When it comes to choosing a bass guitar, the options can seem endless. Acoustic vs electric? Fretless or fretted? There are thousands of ways to go, just like with most other string instruments.
To try to help narrow down your search, here’s a list of the ten best bass guitars of 2017 as voted by beginners and pros. If you’re still stuck by the end, check out the bassist at the bottom of the article as he compares a $100 instrument to a $10,000 one and see if you can hear the difference.
This full-size electric bass guitar comes with a rosewood fingerboard, a high performance-to-cost ratio, ships fast, and is teacher-approved for beginner bassists. Owners say it plays well and is lightweight so easy to carry around. Not bad a bad option for anyone thinking of taking up the instrument, it’ll only set you back $69.99.
This bad boy has a 34-inch maple wood neck and rosewood fretboard with abalone fret dot inlays. The passive dean soap bar pickup delivers both volume and treble control. Vintage styling, adjustable intonation, and die-cast tuners make this a complete package for $136.85
This candy apple red classic design features an Agathis body, maple wood, medium jumbo frets, and a precision bass pickup. It is equipped with a single coil Jazz Bass pickup, master tone, and double volume control. Plus it boasts the iconic Fender name. It is available for $199.99.
This offering from Ibanez is finished with a natural-wood grey-burst veneer. It has a spalted maple top and a mahogany body. Musicians love how light this bass is. They also vouch for its playability and the deep palette of sounds it can produce. The Ibanez and its 22 rosewood frets are available for $249.99.
This silvered champion comes in an Agathis body type, with c shape maple neck in a 9.5 radius and 20 medium jumbo frets. It is equipped with a single coil Jazz Bass pickup, master tone, and double volume control. It is available for $199.99 and also comes in the famous Fender candy-apple red. Beginners love its short scale which makes it easier to learn upon and some even prefer it to more expensive guitars from other brands, namely Ibanez.
This liquid-black finish bass guitar from Silvertone comes complete with everything you need to get started including an instructional DVD, amp, a carrying case and all the connective equipment. It is available for $199.00 and is billed as a beginner’s product so seasoned bass players shouldn’t expect any miracles from it.
A classic black and white body style, die-cast tuning pegs, Agathis body, and c-shape maple neck. It also features a 2-saddle chrome bridge, volume and tone control, and a specially designed single coil pickup. It is available for $149.99. Popular among non-serious players and pros alike!
This classic black bass guitar comes with a 34-inch mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard and pearl dot inlays. It also features a passive Dean preamp with treble and volume controls. It starts at $179.00. Musicians love the smooth acoustic tones the Dean achieves and appreciate its size.