Shedding Pounds on a Gluten-Free Diet

For people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, a gluten-free diet is not always an easy approach to weight loss. This is mainly because there are so many unhealthy gluten-free alternatives that people tend to indulge in.

A lot of people assume that anything that does not have gluten is healthy. Well, this is not always the case. There are processed foods that are gluten free but still contains added sugar and added fats.

You should always remember that junk food is still junk food whether it is gluten-free or not.

For one to lose weight on this diet, you have to be patient and put in the work just like on any other diet.

Six tips on losing weight on a gluten-free diet

  1. Clean eating

Going gluten-free will lead you to eat more whole foods, e.g., vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. This is basically being very mindful of what you eat and making sure your food is unrefined or very minimally processed.

Gluten-Free does not always mean limited choicesEating whole foods provides vital nutrients for the body and contain fewer calories. This makes it a win for you because you get to fuel your body with all it needs while still maintaining your calorie intake.

Having gluten-free meals do not always mean it is healthy. It also doesn’t mean it has fewer calories. Make sure to be more intentional and make healthier choices to ensure your weight loss journey is not derailed.

You have to focus on what you eat because if not your body will hold on to the weight and even add more. Be mindful and always check on what you eat.

  1. Exercise

Exercising is the best-known way to burn those calories and the fat accumulated in your body. Moving around in your daily activities also counts and contributes to the burning of calories.

Exercise is different from one person to the next. What someone else does to lose weight may not be what you should do too. All you have to do is listen to your body and determine what is good for you.

This could be jumping rope, doing some yoga or high-intensity workouts. Make sure it is something you enjoy doing and can easily stick to for the long run.

For greater results, schedule your workout time and be disciplined enough to follow through. You should make it a point to exercise at least four days a week and also rest to give your body some time to repair itself.

Also, remember to eat well to ensure you have the strength to workout. This will ensure you don’t harm yourself while chasing perfection.

  1. Counting calories

Counting your calories is a major part of your weight loss journey. This is mainly because weight loss basically involves expending more calories than you consume.

You have to calculate how much calories you should consume and how much you burn. This will depend on your weight, height and activity level. Once you have a certain amount of calories, you should reduce it by at least 500 calories. This will be a caloric deficit and aid in your weight loss.

Once you know the number of calories you need, start tracking them using a calorie counting app. This allows you to document what you are eating and lets you know how many calories you are consuming with each meal.

  1. Meal prepping and planning

Gluten-Free Meal PreparationSet yourself up for success by taking time out each end of the week to prepare meals for the coming week. This will ensure that when you need to eat or snack, you have something healthy ready.

Meal prepping makes it easier to stick to your healthy diet and saves you a lot of time. Cook all your meals at once and store them in the refrigerator. Be sure to prepare some snacks for when you just need one.

It is not a secret that once the hunger kicks in you may tend to reach out to the nearest unhealthy meal. This will definitely derail your progress. Meal prep goes a long way to preventing this kind of self-sabotage.

Eating food that you have prepared yourself gives you a lot of confidence. You know exactly what went into the meals and can comfortably enjoy your meals.

  1. Low-carb dieting

In addition to gluten-free dieting, incorporating a low carb will surely boost your weight loss. This is mainly because a low carb diet curbs the production of insulin and regulates hunger.

With these, you would be cutting out all the carbohydrates and only eating proteins, vegetables, and fruits. But you also have to remember to be mindful of your portions and calorie intake.

Also, remember to hydrate. To some people drinking water may feel like a task but you could easily make it more appealing. Take your time to make some infused water either with lime, lemon or cucumber. This will make it better for you.

It is obvious that just like on any other diet, you have to put in the work and be disciplined enough to follow through. It takes some time to see the inches come off, but it will all be worth it in the long run.

It is advisable that you make being healthy and active a lifestyle. This will make it easier for you to wake up each morning and do what is needed.

You should also remember that just by eliminating gluten does not mean you are now eating healthy. Avoid the substitutes that have ingredients that would deter your progress. Also, get into the habit of reading labels to get to know what you are ingesting.

By implementing all those tips, you are assured of tangible results. Always remember consistency is key. Don’t just workout one day and rest for three days then get back to it. You have to be very disciplined and workout 3-4 times a week with at least 2- 3 days of rest.

You should tailor all this to your lifestyle to make it easier for you.

How to Cook Like A Pro

Cooking like a professional is quite different from the normal day to day cooking we do at home. It involves having knowledge about your dish, the utensils, measurements and all the ingredients you will be using. It entails having the discipline to keep on improving on your craft as much as possible.

It is something that you can easily learn. You could either be self-taught, attend an open kitchen or hire a personal chef to teach you at your pace. It is definitely something that requires a lot of discipline and dedication.

Cooking like a Pro at HomeTips on how to cook like a pro

  1. Preparation

Before turning on the stove you have to make sure you have everything on hand. Prepare all your ingredients and place them all out for you to pick what you need. Doing this will ensure that you don’t leave out any ingredient as you cook. It also makes the process very easy and fast.

  1. Use the right equipment

When it comes to cooking you have to invest in the right equipment. Having a cheap pan that does not heat evenly will affect the quality of your food. It is best to have a good quality non-stick pan that ensures your food is cooked evenly.

Make sure your knives are sharp to ensure you don’t waste too much time cutting up vegetables with a blunt object. This will adversely improve your game in the kitchen.

  1. Read and follow your recipe

It is always a good idea to have your recipes on hand. Take your time to read the recipe and prepare all that will be needed for that meal. This will go along way to ensuring you don’t mess up your meal. Be sure to follow the exact measurements.

With time you will master it all and be able to eyeball and still prepare a great meal. Be patient and keep on cooking to get better.

  1. Experiment with different cooking methods

There a few different ways you can prepare a meal, it all depends on which method you prefer. Being able to saute, bake, grill and deep fry will give you the ability to diversify how you cook your food. These methods are definitely different and some are healthier options compared to others. Just be open to trying different ways to cook and see how you like the outcome.

  1. Invest in spices

Spices go a long way in providing great flavor to your food. Using spices helps you reduce the use of too much salt and oil that only translates to more calories. Start with the basics and keep on experimenting with flavors and see what works for you. You can also research on how to use spices effectively and what spices are best for your meal of the day.

  1. Get organized

Having a well set up kitchen sets you up for success. Having all your utensils well arranged, aprons in one place and recipe books together will ensure you don’t lack anything.

A cluttered kitchen only shows that your mind is cluttered and cannot function effectively. So take some time out to organize everything and ensure that your kitchen gives you that vibe you need to keep cooking. With this, you are on your way to becoming a great cook.

Cooking is something that you can easily learn and enjoy. There is nothing as great as having a home-cooked meal. This is mainly because you know what exactly has gone into preparing the meal.

Allow yourself to start simple and build your way up. Get yourself a recipe book and try to make some of the meals in there. Follow every instruction and you will be surprised at how good the meal will be. For you to get the hang of this you have to devote yourself to learning.

There are so many resources out there that you can get information from for free. There are blogs and youtube channels completely dedicated to cooking and everything to do with the kitchen. If getting to be a pro is your goal then upgrading your knowledge will be a priority for you.

Practice makes perfect

Cooking feedback from a loved oneAfter you have invested in the right utensils and organized your kitchen, all you have to do now is get to cooking. Cook to the best of your ability and when you fail just keep on going. Don’t just give up after a failed attempt, always keep in mind that practice makes perfect. For you to get the best results, make sure that cooking becomes a daily habit.

It is without a doubt that learning how to cook is a worthwhile investment. Be sure to have fun as you go, experiment with different foods that you have never tried before. This will also improve your palate and allow for more diversity.

If need be you can customize a cooking time table for yourself. Include all the foods you want to cook, the day and the time you plan to be cooking. This will keep you more organized. It also allows your brain to know that at a certain time you have to go cook.

The other way to ensure you stick to this is by getting an accountability partner. This could be a friend or your spouse. It should be someone who will always call you out when you don’t push through with your plans. This will make you want to keep at it and work even harder to prove that you can actually achieve what you set your mind to.

When you get to your desired level you will enjoy all the benefits and fruits of your labor. You will be able to cook for your family and put a smile on their beautiful faces. This will keep you and your family on the right track of healthy eating. Not forgetting how much money you will save from not ordering out each and every night.

Mastering your around the kitchen and how to prepare amazing meals is possible you just have to be willing to put in the work.

When Music Becomes a Distraction

We all love a bit of music to listen to during the day. A good song can lift our mood and has a direct link to altering our emotional state for both feelings of elation and sadness. Many people listen to music to help them unwind and relax, but the work environment isn’t the place to either relax or unwind.

Better stay away from the headphones when trying to workWhen we are at work we need to concentrate on the task in hand and should your favorite song come onto the radio you will be more likely to be concentrating on singing along to the lyric than the task you are being paid to do. Work colleagues could be injured due to the momentary lapse of their co-worker because his mind was busy relaxing to his favorite song rather than paying attention to the machinery or plant tools that he should have been watching.

My profession has me climbing ladders all day, and I once tried taking my MP3 player to work to help pass the day. Once the music started to play, I simply couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing and had to switch it off from fear of falling off my ladder. This proved to me that music was a major distraction and not something that was appropriate for the working environment.

There are some jobs where the distraction of music doesn’t have the possibility of being detrimental to a workers health, but I still believe that productivity will be greatly decreased due to the employee stopping from time to time to listen to their latest favorite track.

Arguments can be made that we listen to music in our cars when driving and we don’t crash left, right and center. A great many road accidents occur when drivers are too busy trying to find the right CD or radio frequency and are so preoccupied that they take their eye off the road and the next thing they know is that they have smashed into another innocent motorist. The excuse they could offer wouldn’t go down well, ‘Sorry Officer, I was trying to find my Britney Spears CD in the glove box and didn’t see the other car.’ A conviction for careless driving would be the officer’s response.

Music is a beautiful gift, and I would not like to see it outlawed or have a smear campaign ran against it, its just that there are a time and place for its presence and the workplace =is not one of them. Wait until you get home to turn on the stereo so you can sing and dance your way around the house, or when you go to the local bar even but for the sake of your colleague’s safety and your work ethic; keep your mind on the job until clocking off time.

Review of Om’s Advaitic Songs

It looks like High On Fire isn’t the only Sleep offshoot that has released an album in 2012. Led by Sleep bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, Om has served as a more introspective counterpart to Matt Pike’s brutal ensemble. In addition to being the group’s fifth full-length studio album, it is the second release to feature drummer Emil Amos in place of retired Dragonaut Chris Hakius.

Om BandAnd Ezekiel Saw The Wheel

While Om’s sound is deeply rooted in doom, it is slightly tricky to classify them as a conventional metal band. The tempos are slow, and riffs are prominent even in the complete absence of an electric guitar, but the meditative atmosphere and incorporation of native instruments suggest additional influence from tribal and ambient music. One could find stylistic similarities to Earth or Cisneros’s own Shrinebuilder, but Om does have a sound of their own.

The pair has also stood out for their extensive use of religious aesthetics, specifically a mix of Christianity and Hinduism with an overall Eastern feel. It’s always hard to tell where the band’s affiliations lie, but the exotic presentation places their songs on a level that is more ethereal than evangelical.

At Lebanon, Priest Ascending

But with these elements to consider, Om’s days of being marketed as a duo may be numbered. The bass guitar and percussion still fantastic, but they aren’t the only noteworthy instruments on here. The string section may be the strongest addition as it fills out the atmosphere and oddly gives things a boost of heaviness. The vocals are also worth mentioning as Cisneros continues to satisfy with his pleasant drone and a female vocalist provides mystical Sanskrit chanting on the opening “Abbis.” The extra contributions may shoo out the minimalism, but they still don’t need a guitar to kick your ass!

It also helps that the songwriting happens to be pretty damn good, even though the five songs use a similar basic approach and have some lengthy moments. “State Of Non-Return” is the easiest track to get into here thanks to its particularly heavy bass/string contrasts. The last three songs also manage to be pretty entertaining as they’re more drawn out tempos, hypnotic vocals, and powerful strings. The closing “Haqq al-Yaqin” and “Gethsemane” may be the best tracks on here thanks to its particularly mesmerizing vocal lines through “Sinai” gets some props for the vague Wino influence.

Best Way to Learn Piano for Adults

Some adults may be thinking right now that they won’t be able to play the piano in their entire life. However, they can’t be farther from the truth. It is never too late to learn to play the piano even for adults. As long as they know the best way to learn piano, then they should be able to play the said musical instrument with practice.


If you are interested in adult piano lessons in New York City, then you have to get an idea on how you should go about it. What is the best way for you to learn piano as an adult? Here are some of the best tips that you can go by for you to learn how to play the piano even when you are already an adult.

Adult man playing piano for a womanFind a piano genre you enjoy

If you are interested in playing the piano, then it is highly likely that you are musically inclined. If that is the case, then you are most likely an avid fan of certain music genre. In playing the piano, it is better for you to choose to play the music genre you like. It can be jazz, classical or pop. You will find it more entertaining and fun if you are learning how to play according to your music genre, after all.

Pick a good teacher

While you can just teach yourself how to play the piano, it is still better to have a teacher. Your piano teacher will give you an idea of what is the most efficient method for you to learn how to play the piano. You will be given new ways on how to practice, learn, and refine your skills. The piano teacher will surely help you excel more and learn better.

Choose between piano and keyboard

You need a musical instrument. Since you are learning how to play the piano, it is imperative that you decide whether you will get an acoustic piano or a keyboard. Each of them has their benefits and drawbacks. It is important that you know just what the right kind of musical instrument to play. You have to choose carefully which of the two you want to play.

Familiarize the musical alphabet

Learning to read music is vital. If you know how to read music, then it should be faster and easier for you to learn how to play the piano. You can start learning a few notes on a clef. After that, you can gradually learn more and more notes.

Join ensembles

Check your local community college to see if they have an orchestra (non-audition ones) where you can just sit in. Try local studios to see if groups or bands are looking for a keyboardist. You’ll get better and better when you play your instrument with others.

Establish a routine

You have to make a routine and make sure that you stick to it. This routine should effectively allow you to learn how to play music as well as improve your skills. You should never skip on your routine if you want to get better at learning the piano in 10128.

Be patient

Unless you are a super genius, you won’t be able to learn how to play the piano overnight. It takes constant practice and lots of lessons before you can play without any mistakes. You have to be patient.

These are just some of the things that can help you learn how to play the piano as an adult. These tips are not that difficult to follow. It should motivate you, even more, to play the piano in no time.

How the Music Industry is Cutting its Own Throat

Throughout most of the 80’s the Major Labels were all about consolidation. Top 40 was their invention. What they wanted was everything neat and divided up easily. They wanted to be able to tell people that these are the top R&B songs. These are the top country songs. These are the top mainstream songs. That’s all you can listen to because that’s all we want to sell you. They tried to minimize the number of artists and the number of albums. That maximized profits. What they hated was when there were thousands of little bands, each with a loyal small following. Consolidation was the best way to minimize costs. Once you had an album, it’s cheaper to run 5 million copies of one CD. It’s just a matter of scale. The more copies you make of a unit, the cheaper each unit is. That’s something anyone who’s ever had business cards or t-shirts printed has found out.

MTV became popular in the 80sThe plan was coming along well.

Then the record industry was struck with a one-two punch. Hip Hop and Nirvana ruined the whole thing.

First hip hop came along. Sure, it had been around since the 70’s, at least. But it was put out on its record labels. Little indie labels that the big boys only noticed when they would occasionally buy one of their producers or pick up one of their acts.

But MTV put on Yo! MTV Raps in 1988. While it had been big before, now Hip Hop blew up. Instead of sticking to their plan of releasing a million Milli Vanilli and Tiffany clones they had to change their strategy. There were a lot of rap acts suddenly making money, and the record industry wasn’t getting their cut. So they had to sign all the big rap acts, or they had to buy the indie labels that hired them.

Then Nirvana came along, with a thousand little moderate punk bands with them. The labels had to do the same thing with the white music. This mostly destroyed top 40 as a genre. Kurt Cobain called 1991 “The Year Punk Broke,” well Rap broke about the same time.

But, little by little, the recording industry did it again. They bought lots of little labels and just folded them into the more prominent company. They created their own small fake indie Labels, like Interscope. See, Nine Inch Nails had a contract with a little indie label called TVT. Something went wrong with the negotiations when a big name tried to buy them for their wonderboy, Trent Reznor. So they just had him break his contract, gave him his fake label called Nothing Records under another phony label called Interscope. They dared anyone to say anything because they knew they had the meanest lawyers in town. Interscope was just started in 1990 and released such greats as Gerardo’s Rico Suave. It was always owned and distributed by Atlantic records or a subsidiary.

They also signed a lot of indie artists from Sub Pop (name some others). They were initially offered outstanding contracts. Then later, in the mid-1990’s these contracts weren’t renewed. Michelle Shocked had her name stolen from her. The record label claimed they owned her name and wouldn’t allow her to record it for ten years. Juliana Hatfield had her contract just dropped. She found that the album she had only recorded didn’t belong to her and her label refused to release it. Even though, it was finished and already paid for. They still hold the album God’s Foot hostage. Fortunately, you can find some static-y copies on Pirate Bay. Some fans say it’s her best album ever.

Again and again, this pattern was followed. Buy or create an “indie” label. Cherry pick the musicians you want and drop the rest. It worked, and few noticed.

Popular 90s singers Christina Aguilera and Britney SpearsFinally, their plan worked. Everyone was paying them. The companies had their fingers in everybody’s pie. In the late 90’s they had managed to cut down their roster of musicians to just a few. It was mostly just Britney, Christina Aguilera, and the boy bands. It was a horrible time for music. MTV didn’t play videos anymore. Radio didn’t play anything new unless it was by one of the approved artists. The underground music scene, which had been around since the Beatniks, was underground. You didn’t hear about a band that wasn’t one of the majors.

Then downloading came along. It was nothing new. The record labels had been aware of the possibility since the 80’s. They saw it as a content delivery system, though. Their vision was that you would go to the record store, tell them what album you wanted, and instead of them having it in stock, they would download it and burn it for you. The Record Store as we knew it would just be an empty store where you could have anything you wanted.

The labels couldn’t wrap their head around it. Every metric in their system, all the accounting, was based on shipping units of CD’s, cassettes, LP’s whatever. They had split themselves up into several units. One of these was distribution. If you cut them out where would all those VP’s and Presidents of distribution go? How would they make their cut from the indie stores?

Classical Piano – The Fastest Way to Master Playing It

Whatever speed programs you may have seen advertised on the Internet, there is no substitute for dedicated practice when learning an instrument.

Mastering the classical piano takes a lot of practice and dedicationThe following tips will help improve your musical skills whatever your instrument of choice:

1. Take it one step at a time, perfect one thing before going onto the next.

2. In the beginning, learn pieces you already know well either on another instrument or from listening to them. If you are learning to read music at the same time as learning your instrument, this will help you to relate the sound you play to what is written on the page.

3. If you can afford to, go to a good teacher you get on well with, if you enjoy your lessons, you will learn far more.

4. Boring I know, but scales and studies aid the learning process. They will strengthen and increase the dexterity of your fingers, improve timing and accuracy, and train your ear. If you’re learning to sing or play a wind instrument, you should also incorporate breathing exercises into your practice.

5. Enjoy playing, play what touches your heart; be that Beethoven or the Beatles.

Reasons Why Live Music is Better

During occasions and special events, music is something that keeps things lively. In all honesty, even at casual times of our lives, we simply cannot imagine it without music. Have you ever heard of the song ABBA’s “Thank You For The Music”? Parts of the lyrics had mentioned, “…thanks for all the joy they’re bringing. Who can live without it? I ask in all honesty, what would life be? Without a song or dance – what are we?” So, indeed, we say you for the music. We may not be exactly able to trace who started it or how was it invented but one thing is for sure, music has existed for as long as humans did.

Abba Thank You for the MusicAs years went by and technology has developed quickly, there are lots of things that changed. Entertainment started it out through live performances of singing and dancing. Then, cameras, recorders, radios, and televisions came along. They offered us motion picture and recorded music that we can hear and watch again and again so we can enjoy it even more. Now, you can see young millennials doing almost everything while listening to music. They do a simple walk or a job with their earphones on, they wake up with their favorite song, and they would even listen to music as they let the time pass by on the train. It is a great joy to all of us that we can bring music anywhere we go.

In times that we celebrate, music also comes along, and it has been a dispute whether it is better to put on a recorded and a perfect song or hiring a performing live band or musicians is better. People have so immersed with the availability of music at hand that it seems like they’ve forgotten about eh beauty of hearing it being performed live. Do you still remember when was the last time you listened to a live band play?

There are lots of reasons why we should pick live music and why it is better, especially during times that are important to us like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Sure, having a recorded one keeps mistakes at bay, but a live performance brings more magic to it. Adam from Around Town Entertainment knows this has got something to do with what we hear and see. Hearing each instrument and that melodic voice turning into harmony is just very heart warming. But now, imagine getting to hear and see it at the same time: how the guitar is strumming, the ivories of the piano clicking, and that beautiful sound from the singer’s mouth- it just becomes an entirely fantastic vision. We somehow get to feel the music even more because we see the emotion that is given as the singers and musicians perform.

Live music also offers interaction. Besides the interpretation of emotions or feelings that are portrayed, seeing them in front also provides communication between the performers and the audiences. You get to see each other eye to eye and sometimes these kinds of moments are just unforgettable. Unlike something on your CD or within your storage, live music is something that nobody can repeat and have a memory of it makes it more precious and valuable. In weddings, for example, the first dance is one on the most important moments of the event.

A recorded music will surely keep it smooth, but a live band will feed more of the energy that they see in the couple. They can easily adjust according to the mood and the pace, and therefore, things become incredibly intimate and sincere. Isn’t that something that we’d all look forward to in our weddings? Live music may not be exactly perfect but compared with anything else; it is a lot way better.

Raising a Child’s Interest in Music

Most kids love music, but becoming a musician takes a commitment from both parents and children. Children who are encouraged at a young age to learn an instrument make important early advances in the areas of math and see an increase in standardized test scores over time.

But raising a musician means more than just attending lessons each week, practicing and playing in recitals. Young children need to be exposed to many different types of music on a regular basis to develop a love for music and a commitment to becoming the best they can be.

Kids can appreciate music as young as three years oldEarly Musical Training

Early music training needs to begin long before a child takes her first piano lesson. Research shows that even in the womb, babies respond to outside stimuli. Providing a musical environment at home during pregnancy is a great way to prepare your baby for music.

After a child is born, music should become a part of her life on a daily basis. Playing music at night while she is falling asleep, singing to your baby while changing diapers or at bath time all help her identify music as a part of her routine.

Toddlers respond to music naturally and often begin to dance when they hear familiar songs. Preschool television programming uses music to drive home important pre-language and reading readiness skills. Picking up CDs of various children’s music artists at your local library and making them readily available to your child makes her know that music is a priority in your home.

Music Lessons

A big question on most parents’ minds wanting to raise musicians is when to start formal music lessons. Most music teachers recommend starting piano lessons when students can read. This means a wide range of music lesson readiness, but the standard is somewhere around second grade. Children in second grade are ages 6-8 depending on their birthday.

This aged child has a longer attention span and can sit for longer periods of time and absorb information. The answer for each child and family will be different. Some children are ready for lessons at age five, depending on the program offered, and others need to wait until they are closer to age eight, based on their development.

Once you determine when to start music lessons with your child, the question of which instrument is the next thing to decide. Children who begin on the piano have a great foundation for other instruments along the way. Piano lessons provide a foundation for stringed instruments, the organ, the keyboard, and percussion. The skill and music learned through piano lessons are carried over into other areas of music, making joining the band in the upper elementary grades easier. Make sure you find a piano teacher that is nurturing, patient and enjoys working with children. Getting the wrong music teacher can quickly turn a child off to music.

Encouraging kids to practice will make them better musiciansMusic Practice

When lessons begin for your child, so does practicing. Most music teachers recommend 30 minutes of practice each day for at least five days a week. If you can get your child to practice seven days each week, they will move along aster, but you run the risk of doing too much too soon and causing discouragement.

A great way to get the 30 minutes in each day is by breaking it into ten-minute segments. This is especially good for children who still have trouble sitting for long periods of time. Divide the music practice between homework and outdoor playtime, and be sure you give your child a break for after school before beginning music practice. Allowing some downtime and a healthy snack before exercise promotes positive feelings about music.

As your child grows and matures in her musical ability, she’ll be able to practice longer and more thoroughly. Quality practice time is the ultimate goal. Giving older children choices in what time they practice and which day of the weekend they practice gives them ownership of the process.

When children struggle with a specific piece, encourage them to go on to another song they like and come back to the challenging piece later. Make sure they are using their time wisely in practice, but don’t stand over them or set timers unless necessary. Talk to your child’s teacher in private about what they want the child to accomplish during practice time. This gives you the opportunity to encourage along the way without being overbearing.

As with any endeavor, providing the right tools is important. Make sure your child has a music binder with a strap to carry books to and from lessons easily. Provide plenty of sharpened pencils in the binder and a spiral notebook so the teacher can write down assignments for each week.

The Older Young Musician

By the time your child reaches middle school, they may have added instrument. Getting your child involved in band and orchestra programs is an integral part of musical development. Playing parts along with other instruments develops an understanding of harmony and creates a different level of musicality. Continuing with private lessons or providing them during these years is crucial to the development of your young musician.

The high school musician is an entirely new league, as students begin to develop maturity in their playing and seek out opportunities of challenge and leadership. Competing for chairs, playing in solo and ensemble festivals and auditioning for college scholarships push the young musician to be the best they can be. At this level, students begin to decide whether or not their music experience will take them into college and beyond.

Regardless of whether or not your child continues in music after high school, the foundation you’ve built has made her a life-long musician. It is a gift that will enrich them for a lifetime.

Photoshop in Beyonce’s L’Oreal Ad

Pop music queen Beyonce has been a spokesmodel for L’Oreal since 2001. But the ad has some members of the back community crying foul.

The black community’s color complex is deeply rooted. At times it seems the community “brown paper bag” tests itself and shows an unvarnished preference for lighter complected celebrities.

Advertisers and public relations people have apparently taken notice and once cocoa complected celebrities are being bleached, lightened, whitewashed, and faded from head to toe.

Beyonce’s L’Oreal Ad

Cosmetics giant Loreal denies photoshopping Beyonce's skinOn August 6, 2008, TMZ so graciously pointed out the released L’Oreal ad featuring a pale complected Beyonce Knowles.

“Unless she just got vitiligo – L’Oreal has some serious splaining to do about its bleached out Beyonce ad,” read the caption.

Bloggers and journalists began attacking both the company and the R&B superstar, suggesting the ad was disrespectful to the black community.

Although L’Oreal has skin whitening products promoted, they fired back, releasing a statement denying they Photoshopped the image:

We highly value our relationship with Ms. Knowles,” the statement read. “It is categorically untrue that L’Oreal Paris altered Ms. Knowles’ features or skin tone in the campaign for Feria hair color.

Beyonce backed up the company’s story, insisting her skin color was not changed.

Although both parties denied the lightening of the superstar’s skin, a side by side comparison of Beyonce and the ad reveal a striking difference.

There are other factors to consider. Lighting and makeup can change a person’s complexion. But isn’t it the company’s responsibility to their consumers and clients to accurately depict their representatives. Nonetheless, Korean beauty trends are proudly demonstrating the effectiveness of their products, there needs to be truth in advertising. However, a Thai cosmetics company still launched this racist ad:

There are so many negative images of African Americans in the media. From self-imposed stereotypes (rappers singing of gun slinging and drug dealing) to the popular “welfare mother/deadbeat dad” myths, the last thing the community needs is a company changing the appearance of famous African American celebrities.

Beyonce’s Style

Most fans may not have noticed, but Beyonce didn’t need L’Oreal’s help to change her appearance. She began to switch things up before the release of her solo debut “Dangerously In Love.” Her skin began to take on a lighter bronze-like color, her curvy hips slimmed down, and she stopped wearing her natural dark brown hair color. She emerged as a blond haired, fair skinned R&B diva.

Was this an attempt at being “less black?” Or was this Bey’s attempt to step out on her own and claim her individual style?

No one will ever know for sure, as she has seemed to master the art of strategically answering questions so no interviewer will ever get a straight answer. But the question now becomes: If the blackest berry makes the sweetest juice, how does Beyonce’s taste?