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The Ultimate Guide to a Beginner Guitar

So you have decided that you want to learn how to play the guitar!! Now what? First, you want to find the perfect guitar! Guitar shopping can be intimidating, especially when someone is just getting started into the world of music. There are so many options of acoustic guitars, the task of buying a beginner guitar may seem daunting – but no worries!! WE HAVE YOU COVERED!!

Here at Anthem Road Academy we get asked all the time what the best guitars are for beginners. That’s why we have created this list. Learning how to play the guitar doesn’t have to be expensive, you can find great beginner guitars at reasonable prices. Therefore you don’t need to spend a ton of money on a guitar to start! Here we will look at a few recommendations to guide you in your decision:

Acoustic Guitars

Fender CD-60S Acoustic Guitar 

A great value, entry-level dreadnought acoustic guitar that has stellar tone. While the larger size might make it difficult to learn on for those smaller students, it can fit all styles of music making it a super versatile beginner guitar.

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Fender CD-60S

Alvarez RT-26 w/ Gig Bag 

Offers you excellent value and appeals to players from beginner to advanced. This Concert size guitar is especially helpful for those younger beginners.

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Alvarez RT-26

Yamaha FS800 Solid Top Small Body

Another great option – with incredible sound for an incredible price. Great value for an entry guitar without breaking the bank. Therefore, this small body is great for young children who want to learn guitar.

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Yamaha FS800

Taylor GS Mini with Gig Bag

If you are looking for a great travel buddy, this guitar is it! A small body guitar that still has amazing sounds and portability. While many adults enjoy this guitar the smaller size fits the youngest of beginners. With a tone that appeals to all as well as incredible quality, this guitar is worth the price.

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Taylor GS Mini

You Can Feel Like a Rockstar Wherever You Are

Stressing to find the perfect guitar shouldn’t stop you or your loved ones from getting started. That’s why we have this guide to make your shopping experience more enjoyable, so you spend less time browsing and more time playing. Whether you’re in the Tulsa, OK area or not – Anthem Road Academy can teach you music! With online options available for those out of town, take your talent to the next level. Schedule lessons with us online to receive your first lesson, FREE!


7 Tips To Successful Online Music Lessons

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  1. If you need help, we are here for you.  We know this is new for most folks, so if you need help getting online or if your teacher has sent a zoom link or shared a file you need help opening, please don’t hesitate to call, text, or email your teacher, admin team or myself- we want to help you succeed. =)
  2. Give yourself a couple of minutes to get set up before your lesson time, that way you can begin on time or within a minute or so of your regular time.  Most of our instructors have lessons scheduled back to back, so just know they are doing their best to begin and end on time. With technology, switching between students is usually very quick, however, there may occasionally be a minute or two adjustment, please give us a little grace and we will absolutely do the same for you.  (If an instructor is late as a pattern or you feel you aren’t getting a full lesson in, please let us know so we can help you get the best care.)
  3. Keep a Practice Routine. With our ‘normal’ routines out of sorts, it can be easy to put off and even forget to practice. You may be like me, running a business from home, homeschooling kiddos, cooking like Betty Crocker and cleaning like Mr. Clean!  The best advice I can give is to put practice in your schedule at the most realistic time possible and do your best to check it off.  Give yourself grace and flexibility, while also challenging yourself to make the most out of this time.  You’ll feel productive as well as energized by the opportunity to gain momentum and progress. You’ve got this!
  4. Look Ahead. Once gathering restrictions are lifted, we will begin to get new performance dates out.  If you plan and practice for performance readiness now, you’ll be ready to take the stage when the time comes.  Success happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.  We have some exciting opportunities ahead of us, so let’s be diligent in preparation now.
  5. Document. We are living in a time in history that will be talked about and learned from for years to come. Take pictures of what lessons look like, and share them with us so we can showcase you!  We want to celebrate creative innovation as well as remember a time that brought us even closer together, even though we were physically kept apart.
  6. Record. I often send my students voice recordings of their vocal exercises because it gives them something to practice with throughout the week.  Recording your lesson time or asking for an extra recording of an exercise to help you practice with is a great tool to keep you progressing. If your teacher hasn’t offered this yet, just ask.=)
  7. Have Fun!  At the end of the day, it’s our hope to help you reach your goals in musicianship, confidence and opportunity, and have fun while we are at it!  Our time together is something to look forward to knowing you are spending time with a friend, teacher and mentor who sees the best in you, expects greatness from you and understands the challenges you face with grace while giving you the tools to overcome those challenges. We sure look forward to seeing and hearing awesome, wonderful you!

How to Deal When You’re Feeling Ill

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How to deal, when you’re feeling’ ill… and the show must go on.

3 of my favorite tips and tricks to bring my best to the stage when I’m not feeling my best.
1. Be Self-Aware: Pay attention to the signs…
You know that feeling before you get like a day or two before sickliness sets in? That tired feeling, dry-scratchy throat, weak voice and maybe drainage or congestion. Maybe you haven’t gotten good sleep and you’re experiencing some vocal fatigue. Maybe you went to a sporting event and yelled or stayed up too late chatting it up and wore out your voice. Maybe you drank something that dehydrated you and you forgot to replenish. Whatever the cause, pay attention to the signs your body is sending out earlier vs later. If you do and it’s not show time yet, you can restore some energy and strength before it’s too late! If you ignore the signs, they’ll eventually make sure you pay attention by bringing you down!

2. What to do if the signs of coming sickly doom are present…
Step 1: Hydrate. Everyone knows this, but we still aren’t doing it well or consistently. Water is your friend so drink it up. Keep a bottle with you at all times.
2 of my favorite “feel Better” drinks are…
Hot Tea: I like many varieties, but the antioxidants, lower caffeine dose than most coffee (so less drying) and soothing warmth of tea always gives me a little boost.
Warm 100% Juice Apple Cider: I make mine with 100% Apple juice filling about 3/4 of a coffee mug with apple juice and the remaining 1/4 of the cup with 100% pure squeezed orange juice. Then I sprinkle in a good dose of cinnamon, stir together and heat. It’s a yummy drink! It does have natural sugars of course, but it also has lots of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, B6, Calcium, Potassium, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. So not only does it boost energy, but it soothes and calms inflamed vocal cords and replenishes needed nutrients if you are lacking. This is my Go-To save me drink! It really helps!
Step 2: Shut up and Sleep!
It’s hard for a talker like me to shut up, I have to work at it really hard, but it’s vitally important to healing. Even better, if you have the time and you aren’t on stage in half an hour… get some good shut-eye. It’s incredible what even a couple of good hours of extra rest can do to help restore your body. Be sure you hydrate well before nodding off because that can help your body do it’s best recovery work. If you find yourself between shows, waiting for the next call back, or between church services without time to sleep and tempted to spend your time talking… don’t. Find a quiet place where you can sip your warm drink and rest your voice. The worse thing you can do is continue talking and wearing out already fatigued, swollen vocal cords. You’ll just further damage them and set yourself up for a less than pitch perfect performance.
Step 3: Meds are sometimes necessary… but not my first go -to. Here’s what I use if needed and in moderation.
Let’s face it, sometimes you simply don’t have time to fully recover before you need to go on. Sometimes there’s not a replacement and maybe you aren’t sick enough to back out of your commitment, but aren’t feeling well enough to bring 100%. If I’ve hydrated, done my best to shut up and get whatever sleep I can, I’ve warmed- up vocally and physically (if you are cold, you’ll be more tense with more air constriction so if it’s like 63 degrees where you sing, wear something warm), then my next defense is just 200 mg of Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory. It will reduce swelling which is what you need if you have a worn out voice. DO NOT TAKE Tylenol for an inflamed throat. Tylenol is an acetaminophen- it doesn’t reduce swelling or inflammation, so although it may help with the pain temporarily, you can cause more damage singing while taking tylenol because the inflammation and swelling are still there, you just aren’t feeling the pain as you further damage your cords. Tylenol is great for a headache or fever… not for your throat. I am not a proponent of getting into a habit of taking meds at the first sign of an issue, I think it’s better to try and heal the source first, but sometimes we need a little help and for vocalists, you need to reduce swelling to reduce your chances of vocal damage when you are singing with less than healthy cords. The other medicine would be something for allergies or congestion if you are dealing with drainage or congestion. Those two things can contribute greatly to inflammation of your vocal cords so talk to your doctor about the best solution for that. I will say, be careful with De-Congestion meds because they likely dry you out and you need hydrated cords for best performance.

3. It’s ok to Bow Out… it might be someone else’s time to shine. Some questions to ask yourself to determine if it is indeed time to bow out!
1. Am I contagious? If you are going to get everyone else sick, that’s just rude, stay home and recover if at all possible. At your earliest opportunity get your replacement or reschedule your audition, whatever you have to do if you are running a fever and hacking all over the place or throwing up.

2. Is there someone ready, willing and able to take my place who can execute at a higher level than I can in my illness? Sometimes this isn’t an option, but if it is, you will show the other person you believe in them, you aren’t so insecure that you can’t take a day off and let someone else shine and that you know your limits. It gives people permission to heal and recover when they need to as well so that everyone is able to bring their best.

3. Is this a once in a lifetime opportunity or not? I mean, if it’s literally the Super Bowl and you are getting to perform, you pretty much do whatever you have to to make it happen. I mean it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and you can get back into bed after the show. Taking into consideration of course, if you can even execute. You may need to change the key, improvise the melody or change the set altogether to accommodate your likely limited range during illness. On the other hand, if it’ something you’ll likely have another chance or many more chances to do.. like your gig down at the local coffee shop.. or leading a song instead of letting someone else have a chance for your weekly worship service.. You gotta weigh the pros and cons. If you over sing with damaged cords, you might lose your voice altogether and be out for a couple weeks instead of a day. This part is up to you, and it’s always hard taking a break from something you love, so you just gotta weigh this one out and check your motives.

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