Monday, 14 August 2017

Benefits of keyboard lessons

Knowing how to play a musical instrument has many known benefits. When someone takes music lessons as a child they develop in a significantly more advanced manner as an adult. When people learn to play as adults they show significant improvement in their stress levels and their attention level. Specifically, below you will find some of the many benefits of taking keyboard lessons:

1 Improves Hand- Eye coordination
While playing the piano or the keyboard your eyes are constantly concentrating on different aspects, from reading notes to following the movement of your hands. When hands and eyes concentrate on different actions you train them to respond better, faster and more efficiently. This acquired skill is useful in many fields, from sports to manual and office work.

2 Develops multitasking skills
Because you are concentrating on reading, listening and playing, playing keyboards and pianos allows you to develop great multitasking skills which are extremely sought after by employers as well as being great skills to have while studying and training.

3 Improves attention levels
Students that have played the keyboard or the piano for 3 years or more tend to have superior cognitive functions than their peers. Furthermore, they also tend to excel in mathematics and languages. This is believed to be linked to the brain being more prone to learning and multitasking.

4 language development
Keyboard and piano students also tend to have a much broader vocabulary and a greater gift for humanities and foreign languages.

5 develops creativity
Music is one of the most scientific and at the same time creative fields in the world. Playing the keyboard or the piano gifts its students the ability to both train their brain towards musical and non-musical achievements but it also opens the mind to creativity and innovation.

After knowing these five great facts about the benefits of playing the piano or the keyboard you have no excuses, start your keyboard lessons in Birmingham today!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Weird & Wonderful Facts About The Music Industry

It’s possible that you’re reading this while listening to songs on your phone or iPod. Music is a part of everyday life so much so that we may not fully notices its presence.

But do you know everything there is to know about the music industry? Discover some amazing facts* below.

  1. No member of the Beatles could read or write music.
  2. Your heartbeat will mimic the beat of the music that you are listening to at the time.
  3. Depending on the version of a song that is heard first (either the original or cover), that will be the preferred version.
  4. In 2007, a study found that plants grow faster with the help of classical music.
  5. Have you ever had a song that’s stuck in your head, repeating over and over? That’s called an earworm.
  6. The Real Slim Shady by Eminem was written 3 hours before the final album cut was due to the record company.
  7. A study in 2015 found that babies will remain calm for twice as long when they are listening to a song than when listening to people talk.
  8. 1 in 10,000 people have perfect pitch, meaning they have the ability to recognise a pitch without reference.
  9. The Japanese national anthem, at four lines long, is the shortest national anthem.
  10. The longest national anthem is the Greek national anthem at 158 verses long.
  11. The inventor of Stratocaster and Telecaster, Leo Fender, could not play guitar.
  12. The harmonica is the world’s best-selling musical instrument.
  13. Termites eat wood at a faster pace when listening to heavy metal music.
  14. Monaco’s orchestra is larger than its army.

Which of these surprised you? Tell us in the comments!


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Learn to play a musical instrument as an adult!

Was your New Year's resolution about trying new things? Did you think playing an instrument was out of your age bracket? Well you can rejoice because it is never too late to dream a new dream! Here are 5 reasons why learning to play a musical instrument as an adult is the way towards a happier life:

Stress relief 

We often welcome the New Year with a positive attitude and we are smacked in the face by the reality of everyday life. Work stress, as well as general life stress, can often be paralysing and it makes us think there is no way out. However, learning something new is scientifically linked to stress relief as well as music, so give yourself a present this year and learn to play! 

Love bond 

Relationships are hard! And managing a work-life balance as well as a relationship is often the hardest part. Many experts agree that the way towards a happy and meaningful relationship is to share passions and new beginnings; music could be the way forward. With Valentine's day approaching why not get you and your partner a gift that keeps on giving? Learn how to play an instrument, let go of  your day's stressful thoughts and concentrate on learning together!

Active Mind

Sudoku is not the only way to keep your mind active and sharp. Music has been directly linked to concentration, mind sharpness and memory abilities making it an incredibly useful (and fun!) tool to keep your brain young. People often think that they cannot learn how to play an instrument as adults and give up before even trying! However many are missing the point, as learning as an adult is exactly what makes you young again.


As an adult, it is arguably easier to learn an instrument because you have more discipline and focus than many kids would have. This means that learning will be much faster because of the determination you would put into it and the experience of succeeding in other fields (characteristics a child doesn't always have). 


Nobody is making you do it! This means that you genuinely want to learn to play music and the only thing stopping you is fear; however, there is nothing to be scared about. Passion means that an adult would be potentially more determined than a child and would get a lot of benefits from learning and playing!

Still think it's too late to learn? Happy New Year and happy learning!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Caring for your musical instruments

It is a well-known fact that taking care of a musical instrument is essential for when learning to play the instrument. The proper care of musical instruments will help to maintain  the quality of their musical output.

Musical instruments vary in their size, usability and manufacturing material. Depending upon these characteristics, the methods applied to take care of different instruments do of course differ.

Caring for wind instruments

Wind instruments can be played by blowing air through their channels.

  • Do not pick up wind instruments by their keys. Ensure to hold the instrument at the two ends when removing it from its casing and the same care will need to be taken when replacing the instrument back after its use
  • The channels in wind instruments tend to catch moisture from the air that is blown through them when they are being played. The moisture can affect the internal surface of the instrument and create cracks
  • When cleaning the instrument, use clean, dry cloth
  • If an instrument requires assembling before usage, be sure to clean the joints prior to the assembling
  • Try to take your instrument to a repair workshop to ensure that the instrument is perfect and in working order
  • Clean and wipe the mouthpiece of these instruments immediately before and after using them

Caring for brass instruments

The popular use of brass instruments is usually within a band.

  • Brass instruments are generally easily dismantled. However, if you a certain cork is tight, do not force the screws of the cork to open - it’s best to ask for some professional help
  • Once dismantled, these instruments can be washed with some warm water to remove dust particles inside the instrument. Be sure to use a soft cloth to dry the instrument. You may dry the instrument thoroughly in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight
  • Take care to grease all the valves of the instrument with a special valve oil prior to reassembling the instrument
  • Avoid using any chemicals to shine your instrument as they tend to leave a sticky residue on the surface of the instrument

Caring for key instruments

Key instruments are primarily played with the help of the black and white keys and foot pedals.

  • Ensure you are protecting the keys by covering them whenever the instrument is not in use. You can use plastic coated pads as instrument covers
  • Over a period of time, the dust will accumulate on the keys. The dust should be wiped clean with a soft dry cloth
  • If the keys are sticky or jammed, it is recommended that you seek a professionals’ help

Caring for string instruments

Common string instruments are guitars, violins, violas, bass etc

  • Always use a clean dry cloth when cleaning the instrument
  • It is essential that you apply a fresh coat of varnish and wood polish for wooden surfaced instruments
  • Replace strings gradually so not to reduce the strain on them
  • When hanging an instrument with 2 bow strings, make sure to use the one opposite to the chin rest
  • Always follow the user guide issued along with the instrument

General caring needs of musical instruments

Below are some suggestions applicable to any type of instrument. If they are followed correctly, they will help maintain the monetary value and quality of your instrument.

It is advised to keep musical instruments away from extreme temperatures such as excessive cold air, direct sunlight and artificial heat. Make sure to sure your instrument in a cool dry place when it is not in use.

If your instrument needs a repair. If you neglect your instrument it will give a degraded emission sound or a buzzing sound.

To prolong the life of your instrument, it is beneficial to invest in a superior quality protective case; avoid using bags to cover instruments. Also, be sure to return the instrument to its case after every practice or performance, cleaning it beforehand.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Whether learning a musical instrument is due to pursuing a career or for personal fulfillment and recreation, one to one tuition will greatly benefit a new music student.

Working with a private tutor can help a student keep up with peers in a group setting. Each child learns at a different pause and because of the different aspects of performing an instrument, children will progress at varied paces, which is why one to one tuition can be the way forward.

Private lessons can also help minimise frustration when learning. Some may give up learning an instrument because of frustrations, however, with one to one tuition, the teacher will be patient and is there to guide the learner through every step of the way.

Children will learn more quickly the fundamentals of playing. Solid foundations are built for the child to continue learning, playing and succeeding. They will build confidence and, ultimately, won't give up.

They will also learn how to practise and perfect their new found skill - something which will be vital in later life. It is important they practise at home so they are progressing much quicker rather than coming back to private tuitions and possibly forgetting what they have learned if there are gaps between lessons.

Lastly, it's easier to stay motivated with private tuitions. Instructors are knowledgeable about different music literature and styles and can help the student discover what new music to learn and what goal to pursue next.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Sing Lessons vs Vocal Lessons FAQs

We're covering some FAQs regarding singing lessons and vocal lessons below.

What is the difference between singing and vocal lessons?

It is mainly semantics. Those who are just starting out in singing will ask for singing lessons, but those who teach singing will often call themselves voice teachers as they will teach you how to master the use of your 'instrument', which is your voice.

If I've taken time off singing, could I get anywhere if I start up again?

Sometimes, because of like choices, adults with an abundance of talent and music training might stop for a while. This could easily be due to a number reasons - either personal or not having much luck in the industry. However, because the foundation is there, it is easy to pick it up again and get a good sound together. It may also prove to be a benefit as it could mean that a performance is more emotional due to all of that life experience.

Should I take lessons if I only want to sing as a hobby?

This is entirely dependent on your personal preference but if lessons make you sound better and singing makes you feel good as well as making those that enjoy hearing you sing happy, put it in your life.

How can I tell if my child needs voice lessons?

Many children and teenagers will start to sing naturally because they have an impulse. A great place to develop a young singing voice is in a choir. They will learn fundamental musicianship, harmony, counting, and staying tune.

However, if there aren't any choir opportunities nearby, you may want to get them into voice lessons that are gentle and fun, using a combination of pure singing and easy pop singing. They will develop good habits but stay interested!

Progress Academy offer both singing and vocal lessons!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Latest News from Progress Academy

A lot has been happening at Progress Academy - and we thought that now would be a good time to tell you all about it...

In January, Steve and Gaz attended the NAMM Show in Los Angeles - the largest music trade event in the world. This was swiftly followed by a hugely successful showcase event carried at at St. Paul's Church in Birmingham. This saw over 35 students performing in front of a crowd of well over 120 people.

In March, Steve toured all over the world demonstrating the new Marshall Code series of Amps.

Closer to home, one of our brightest students - Beth Ford - performed at The Symphony Hall in Birmingham... at the tender age of just 15!

In April, The Voice visited Progress Academy to check out students for the upcoming new series, while Universal and Polydor Records came for a secret scouting event where they talked to and watched 10 of our best students perform.

Finally, Gaz is part of the Natal Drums team organising the drumbeat UK event. This is a world record attempt of 1001 drummers playing together. You can find out more at