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Thursday 16 May 2024

Why You Should Enrich Your Life with Music Lessons

AD* | I've always been a firm believer in the power of music and the benefits that it can bring. From the instant mood lift you get after listening to your favourite song to the rush when you finally nail a particularly tricky piece of music, the universal language of music is one that is firmly rooted in our hearts.

As well as being a massive music lover, I've also tried my hand at several different (and surprisingly varied) musical instruments throughout my life. Like most kids, my musical journey began with the obligatory recorder in primary school. Since I apparently showed prowess at the recorder, I was then offered the chance to take up the flute.

I loved the flute, but the flute definitely didn't love me. Despite diligently practising for several years, I never managed to properly get the hang of it and my woodwind teacher eventually recommended I try my hand at another woodwind instrument - the oboe.

Finding the Right Instrument for You

Even though it is a relatively unusual instrument (and often described as one of the hardest to learn), I instantly clicked with the oboe, finding it far easier to play than my ill-fated flute. Admittedly, my previous attempts at other instruments probably made things easier as I was already a proficient sight-reader and many of the basic keys were in a similar location, but I was still impressed.

Later on, I also tried my hand at the drum kit (a bit of a drastic change, I know) and have had various half-hearted attempts at self-teaching myself to play the piano on my bog-standard Argos keyboard over the years. However, it was always the oboe that really captured my musical heart.

I ended up taking oboe lessons throughout a good chunk of my school career, only ending once I started sixth form, passed my Grade 5 oboe exam and realised that taking any further gradings would require a significantly larger amount of effort and practice time than I had or was willing to put in.

Despite this, I remain grateful to my teachers and proud of myself for at least semi-mastering such a notoriously tricky instrument. Learning the oboe provided me with a whole host of benefits, many of which extended far beyond the confines of the music room - some are still with me today, years later.

Since the music lessons I received were so beneficial to me, it pretty much goes without saying that I'm always ready to champion any way that spreads the word and gets more people interested in learning music. One major drawback of learning an instrument is that once you leave the confines of the educational system, finding decent tutors at an affordable price can become insanely tricky. Fortunately, services like Tutor Hunt are available to help connect you to private, personal tutors through an effective, innovative platform.

Although they offer many different tutoring services (literally encompassing everything from languages to lifestyle), I was understandably most interested in checking out their range when it came to music.

Luckily, there were certainly no disappointments there. Even the most unusual of instruments are covered, with tutors for as wide a range of instruments as you could ever dream of learning to play! To my great delight, the service also offers oboe lessons - a real boost for musical diversity.

A couple of months ago I actually bought myself a second-hand oboe so I could play again for the first time in about five years. While my memory had lost the finer points of musical intricacy, my fingers retained the muscle memory and it wasn't too much of a stretch before it all came flooding back once again.

Learning to play a musical instrument really is a thrill like no other - it's one of those bucket list items that I strongly recommend everyone should try at least once in their lifetime.

* This is a sponsored post

Can you play an instrument? Have you ever had music lessons? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Reading Round-Up: March/April 2024

The Writing Greyhound bookshelves

Spring is in the air, and it's been wonderful to sit and read in the natural light for longer now that the evenings are getting lighter once again. This is the time of year for new beginnings and making fresh starts, and spring 2024 has certainly been a good one for my reading too.

Read on to catch up with everything that's been going on lately in my bookish world!

Thursday 29 February 2024

Reading Round-Up: January/February 2024

The Writing Greyhound bookshelves

It's time for my first reading round-up post of the year! With plenty of books on my shelves, I've been busy reading away to get 2024 off to a strong start for my annual reading challenge. Read on to check out everything that's been going on lately in my bookish world!

Sunday 31 December 2023

Reading Round-Up: November/December 2023

The Writing Greyhound book stack

It's the end of another year and time to say goodbye to 2023. However, that also means it's time for my last reading round-up of the year! 

In this post, I'll share the details of all the books that I've been reading, acquiring, and wishing for during November and December. Be warned though - not only has Christmas fallen in this month's post, but also the delayed YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) was in November this year, so there's been plenty of bookish activity going on over these last few months.

Read on to find out more!

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Book Review: The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond by Louise Davidson

The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond by Louise Davidson cover

AD* | After a terrible tragedy, governess Julia Pearlie finds herself with no job, home, or references. When she’s offered a position as companion to Miss Olivia Richmond, her luck appears to be turning. But Mistcoate House is full of secrets.

Olivia has a sinister reputation. The locals call her the Mistcoate Witch, thanks to her tarot readings, and her insistence that she can speak to the dead. Her father, Dr Richmond, believes this to be girlish fantasy and is looking to Julia to put a stop to it.

Determined to prove herself and shake off her own murky history, Julia sets to work trying to help Olivia become a proper young lady. However, as she becomes a fixture at Mistcoate, it is soon clear that there may be more to Olivia’s stories than Dr Richmond would have Julia believe – not least because somehow, Olivia seems to know something of the darkness that Julia desperately hoped she had left behind.

As the danger grows, and the winter chill wraps around the dark woods surrounding Mistcoate, Julia will have to fight to uncover the truth, escape her past – and save herself.