Why Piano Apps Can Help Motivate A Piano Player

Why Piano Apps Can Help Motivate A Piano Player

Have a child you’re trying to motivate to stick with playing the piano? There’s an app for that. 

For as long as the piano has been around, parents have worked hard to keep their kids motivated for practice. Today the problem is only amplified with our technological advances. Smartphones, tablets, computer games and even television are far more exciting than the average practice book. It can be tedious at best, especially when so many other things are vying for attention. 

Instead of fighting it, why not give into it instead? New digital tools can liven up your child’s practice routines in new and exciting ways. After all, smartphones have made almost everything in our lives better, why not practicing the piano? Why Piano Apps Can Help Motivate A Piano Player

It only takes a few clicks to open up a world of opportunity. Piano apps can help motivate a child through games or let them become the next maestro by conducting an orchestra. They can help a child write their own music or combine different sounds and record their own songs. We’ve even given you a few of our own favorites right here – and here – on our blog. 

There’s something fascinating about using a smartphone or tablet. You’ll see it in the faces of even the smallest child. Being able to slide, tap, and click away to play in a magical world is exciting. With the inclusion of a tablet into your weekly practice routine, it can add to the “coolness factor” that makes learning the piano even more thrilling. Before a child even knows it, they’ve improved their skills. And they can easily convert their knowledge from something they learned in a game to real world practicality. 

As a parent, it can be difficult to know the difference between playing and practicing. Your child’s piano teacher is a great resource for finding high quality apps that can help in the process. You can also learn more on your own by doing a few simple searches online. Innovative tools are being added all the time and are often just what a child needs to turn even the most frustrating practice sessions into fun again. 

Want to learn piano yourself as an adult? Not a problem. We typically have two things in common. We want to learn fast, and we don’t have a lot of spare time. That’s where an app can help. Apps can provide an interactive learning environment that engages you and provides feedback on your process. It can allow you to understand the nuances of your practicing in far more efficient ways. 

Want to learn the piano? There’s an app for that. And we’re sure you’ll be amazed at how beneficial they can become. 

What are your favorite piano apps?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Piano or Sports, Which Is Better For Your Kids?

Piano or Sports, Which Is Better For Your Kids?

For a few years in a child’s life, parents run through the activity list as if it were a marathon. A busy child is a safe and happy child. They can’t get into as much trouble if they are active. And if they’re with friends, they’ll enjoy the activities they are in. 

So as a parent, we try a little bit of everything. T-ball. Gymnastics. Swimming. Soccer. 

What about piano? Piano or Sports, Which Is Better For Your Kids?

The piano is the ultimate instrument in terms of skill and demand. It requires two hands playing together simultaneously while navigating 88 keys. At any given time, two hands can play up to 10 notes at a time. All of those options require the brain to think in a unique way. 

Pianists have to overcome something innate in all of us: the ability to use both left and right hands equally. In most people, we have a dominant hand that we favor throughout the day. Pianists have a demonstrably more symmetrical brain than others when put to the test, possibly because they continually build their brain muscles by putting the two together on a frequent basis. 

Studies show that the more experience a piano player gains, the more efficient their brain becomes. That means a person who plays regularly can be more effective as improvisation skills needed to navigate the day, including problem solving, language, spontaneity, and decision making tactics. Pianists tend to integrate all of the brain’s intake and make more efficient decisions in the process. 

It doesn’t stop there. 

Trained pianists work every day with a complex instrument that taxes the whole brain. Scans show that the longer they play, the more efficient the blood flow becomes as it moves into the brain. Less blood flow means less energy is needed to accomplish the same tasks – to concentrate, to perform certain tasks. When less blood flow is needed in one area, it increases the ability to send blood to other areas. It allows other areas to remain active and engaged at the same time. It can completely change communication skills because it allows the brain to respond in different ways. 

That gives the brain more energy to multi-task and to jump into different situations with less doubt and hesitation. 

While there is a need to keep kids bodies healthy and active through exercise, the same can be said for keeping their brains healthy by giving it an activity that can help them develop and become smarter over time. 

Maybe it’s time to encourage them to play the piano. 


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Playing Piano And Engaging Your Brain Two Hands At A Time

Playing Piano And Engaging Your Brain Two Hands At A Time

With most actions, we perform them one hand at a time. Pick up a pencil, write a sentence, or tap out a rhythm and you’ll be operating one hand at a time. 

But when you sit down to play the piano, things get a bit more complicated. Your right hand plays one part while your left hand plays another. And for many just trying to learn, it can be complicated at best. Playing Piano And Engaging Your Brain Two Hands At A Time

Some instructors will have you practice right hand and left hand separately before bringing them together. But is it the best way?

There are two different aspects to playing hands together that make it difficult. When you play two separate pieces of music with two separate hands, each is vying for your attentional resources. Each hand has to figure out what key on the piano to strike and what rhythm to give each note. You also have to keep in mind the details like dynamics and articulation. There’s only so much attention to go around, so focusing often becomes a problem. 

Learning involves attention; if you have to give resources to two parts, it takes double the effort and more time to learn. You must focus on learning one part to success before giving time to the other part. But once you learn one part, it becomes more automatic, giving you more time to spend on the other. In some points of view, this makes sense. 

However, it’s also important to note how the brain works. The left side of the brain controls the right hand, left hand controlled by the right side of the brain. As an infant, humans have a natural tendency for mirror movements. You’ll see this in a small infant as they routinely make hand movements together. But over time, your motor control takes over, and you learn to control this through interhemispheric inhibition. And when you use only one hand, it becomes more pronounced. 

When you bring the two hands back together, it still feels a little difficult and clumsy. 

Surprisingly, there are very few studies to determine which is the best method: hands separate or hands together learning. In a study conducted by Roberta Brown back in 1933, she found that it was more efficient and more enjoyable in using the hands together approach. 

A study by Robert Duke also concluded that when pianists practiced music with both hands together method, it led to a better performance. 

While there certainly isn’t a right or wrong approach, it’s important to remember that piano is a two handed instrument. That means the sooner you bring the two hands together, the quicker you feel the music as it works together with both hands, the more effective piano player you will become. 

What’s your experience with playing piano with both hands?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

8 Tips For The Newbie Piano Teacher

8 Tips For The Newbie Piano Teacher

Every piano teacher remembers giving their very first piano lesson. Nervous? Yes, just a little bit. Excited? More than anything. 

Especially in today’s world with so much vying for a student’s attention, it’s more imperative than ever that you dive into teaching with eyes wide open. But what does that mean? Where should you begin?8 Tips For The Newbie Piano Teacher

Tip #1 Start with a vision

Most newbie piano teachers have a goal of finding one piano student. And once number one is booked, the focus moves to number two. But have you ever defined what these students look like? What do you want your piano teaching business to look like five years from today? If your idea of a piano student is “anyone who wants to learn to play the piano” it’s time to redefine. Will you become an expert for retirees? Will you focus on children under the age of eight? Give yourself a specific target client, and you’ll have an easier time finding them. 

Tip #2 Continue with a plan

Clearly defining your students will help you develop solid plans. If you are working with adults instead of kids, for instance, you can begin building a strong plan to help them get into the music from day one. Keep things simple and focus on what you’ll do day one. Then move to day two. 

Tip #3 Take your time

Take your time and never rush things. You have years of experience; your student does not. Slowing down means they have enough time to truly grasp the concepts. You’ll know when they’re ready to move on. 

Tip #4 Be creative

Playing the piano isn’t just about striking the notes and hearing a tune. Playing the piano is all encompassing. Teach through improve, singing, playing by ear, stories, games – there isn’t a right or wrong way to teach and learn. Try things and see what sticks. 

Tip #5 Enjoy yourself

A student learns better from a teacher who is highly engaged and having fun throughout the process. 

Tip #6 Pace yourself

Going from 0 to 60 may be great when driving a car, but not in building your piano business. Never get overwhelmed with the number of new students you bring in. Bring in enough that it keeps you focused on helping the beginner and having resources to be able to engage them along the way. Then leave wiggle room to allow you time to read, reflect and plan all over again. This “grow, hold, grow, hold” method will help you evaluate and test, and make changes along the way. 

Tip #7 Don’t forget this is a business

If you’re doing this for a living, you have to make a living. Be sure to spend time on the things that matter to your business. You are a business owner; never forget it. 

Tip #8 Keep learning

We’re all in this together. You never stop learning, you simply find ways of transferring your increasing knowledge to those around you. Real and listen to others that have “been there, done that” and never be afraid to try something new. 


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Piano Sound Production

Piano Sound Production

The modern day piano comprises many different things:

A keyboard made of 88 wooden keys covered in plastic. Black keys make up sharps and flats and are narrower and offset back from the white keys. 

A mechanism called the action that provides for hammers to strike the strings when the keys are pushed. 

All 230 strings are corresponding to individual keys to produce sound when they are struck. Strings are struck in groups of two or three to produce sound. Piano Sound Production

A pinblock is used for tensioning and tuning individual strings. 

The soundboard is created from wood to withstand vibration when the strings are struck. Vibrations are coupled to the soundboard via the bridge, a curved piece of wood and metal that serves as the displacement node for the vibrations. 

During the action process, when a note is played, the action lifts the damper felts from the strings so they can resonate when struck. The string will be struck by the hammer that is determined by how hard and how quickly the key was struck. The return of the hammer occurs immediately after the strike so as not to interfere with the vibrating strings. 

Thinner, shorter strings are used to produce higher sounds, with the strings thickening for the lower sounds. Two strings typically are used for upper notes, with two strings used to create lower sounds. 

With all of these pieces and action occurring all at once, things can go wrong to impact the sound quality. 

Inharmonicity – piano strings can be “off” by as much as one half-tone, with this changing over time. If one plays two notes an octave apart, the inharmonicity of the second octave will cause the sound to be “off” to a listener. To “solve” this problem, octaves are stretched, meaning that a note up an octave will be tuned slightly more to the frequency of the octave below. This ensures you “hear” the sound correctly. 

Aging – piano hammers are covered with felt, with the purpose being to spread out the impact of the hammer strike. These felts dry out, harden, and disintegrate over time. This serves to emphasize a decreasing quality of sound. 

Polarization – pianos are never a perfect instrument. The mechanism changes all the time. And while the action is built with vertical motion, eventually horizontal motion occurs as well, throwing the sound “off.” 

Think your piano isn’t producing the proper sound? Call us today. 


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Why Adult Piano Lessons Help With Aging

Why Adult Piano Lessons Help With Aging

Want to keep your brain young and healthy? Want to bring a little bit of fun into your life?

Consider piano lessons. 

Many people believe they reach an age where they no longer can try something new. Where their ability to learn new skills is too difficult a task to take on. It’s simply not true. The real problem lies in that most don’t want to go through the awkward first steps of struggling to bring something new into their lives. They don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of their peers. Why Adult Piano Lessons Help With Aging

But developing new skills is vitally important in maintaining cognitive strength. And there is no time limit to starting. 

Learning to play music helps to guard against cognitive decline, memory loss, and the loss of being able to distinguish consonants and spoken words. And it’s not just a child this helps. It helps the first time learner, no matter what age they begin. 

Musical training helps to create lasting neural pathways in the brain. Learning and practicing give a person motor control and coordination, as well as listening skills that can boost the brain’s capacity later in life. This impact has been measured through a study that shows professional musicians have significantly more gray matter than non-musicians. And because music requires both the left and right brain for processing, it stimulates many different parts of the brain in a variety of ways. 

Music also helps reduce the difficulty many older people have with discerning conversations in noisy situations. This skill is most likely derived from the preciseness required and developed during music training. Memorizing notes, playing tunes, and improvising throughout the process helps tie cognitive skills together. 

In order to keep your body fit as you age, exercise is an important skill to take on in a variety of ways. The same holds true with your brain. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. 

The damage done to cognitive function by age can be reduced by stimulating the mind and encouraging the brain to continue to work in new ways. How you do that is up to you. 

Learn piano today. 


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

7 Reasons Music Is Good For Our Brains  

7 Reasons Music Is Good For Our Brains  

Want to keep your brain healthy? Step away from the television. It’s even a good idea to turn the radio down. 

Researchers are still discovering all the ways music enriches our brains, but the impact is undeniable. We know now that music plays a big part in helping our brains stay healthy and connected. We’re developing therapies and enrichment classes around music because of the differences it makes in people’s lives. 7 Reasons Music Is Good For Our Brains  

It’s not just listening to it; it’s playing it. Taking an active role in making music. 

Playing the piano offers something for everybody. You can play whether you’re 5 or 95. It’s a form of enjoyment that lasts for life. Need a reason to bring the piano in your life right now?

Right Brain, Left Brain

Studies now show that when a person is involved in making music, the white matter between the brain’s two hemispheres increases. This means greater communication between the two sides, which can mean faster communication and a greater approach to problem-solving skills. 

2.Brain Function

More white matter also makes a person better at making decisions, processing and retaining information as you learn it. It can keep you on course when having to change based on mental demands. 

3. Speech Processing

Understanding the parts of music can also help you understand verbal communication on a stronger level. Both music and speech rely on the same neural pathways for processing, which means you may become sharper at language skills including reading. 

4. Memory

Making music helps increase your brain function, including the ability to remember. It allows you to store and use information for recall, which can translate to other activities and help improve your retention overall. 

5. Focus On Emotions

Tuning an instrument and learning how it works with other instruments can put you more in tune with subtle emotional cues of those around you. It can help fine tune your relationship skills. 

6. Increases Motor Skills

Playing an instrument requires stellar hand-eye-ear coordination. It can help musicians at all ages complete complicated tasks throughout life. 

7. Slows Brain Aging

Studies are showing that the more music you bring into your life, the more adaptable your brain is to the aging process. Speech improvements are made and stick with you for life. Even those who haven’t studied music for ten years or more still remembered more sensory information, including auditory, visual and tactile data. Studying music helps. 

What would learning to play the piano do for your life?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Practice Sight Reading Piano Music

Practice Sight Reading Piano Music

The definition of sight reading is:

To read or perform without previous preparation or study

In reality, we all sight read every day. Pick up a new book and read it for the first time. That’s sight reading. It’s easy for us because we understand the English language so well.Practice Sight Reading Piano Music

But what happens if you pick up a book in French (providing you’re not also fluent in French)? The concept of sight reading is a little trickier. But if you study French for a bit, you can pick out some words you know. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

The same happens with music.

If you’re not a musician, understanding music may seem like a foreign language. That’s because it is. You might not understand where the notes lie on the staff, or the difference between bass and treble clef. But if you study it for a while, it becomes easier.

Mastery comes with practice. You don’t stick with the easy things; you expand and add more difficult concepts to your skill set all the time.

You can do that easily by training online. If you want new material, update your training materials so they don’t become stale. Look for sites online that have graduated exercises so that you don’t become bored at too easy of a level.

You can do that by purchasing method books. There are many books designed specifically for sight reading. They each take you through the practice methodically where each exercise builds on the one before. As it builds, it adds something new each time.

You can change it up every day. What makes you a successful sight reader is keeping it fresh every day. Read and play the music once. Then move to another song. Don’t jump beyond your skill level, yet focus in on things that will make you grow.

Be sure to look at the music all the way through before you play it for the first time. Not things like key signature, changes in clefs, and the dynamics of the piece. Look for chords and determine where they are. Also note the trickiest part of the piece – a series of sixteenth notes, for instance – and determine the speed you’ll need to play at to accomplish it all.

Then play, from beginning to end. Don’t stop if you make a mistake. Just keep playing. You’ll get better and better at it each time you try.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

How People Judge Music

How People Judge Music

Think about music for a moment.

Music is something we listen to. It’s an auditory activity. We pop earbuds into our ears and listen to our preferred songs. We hit a few buttons in the car and listen to preselected music stations, all chosen for our preferred listening habits.

But is music just for listening? Do we judge what music we like simply by what we hear?

It’s not always the case.How People Judge Music

While music is auditory, we associate music with visual preferences. Watch your favorite musician in action. You enjoy the performance just as much as you do the music.

It also impacts musicians at every level of performance.

Classically trained pianists that compete regularly are often judged differently depending on whether judges have audio or visual access. It’s not just amateurs or non-professional musicians that judge it differently; seasoned judges view it differently as well.

When we see someone perform, we judge more than the music they create. We judge their passion, their creativity, the way they move, the theater they put into their performance.

Overall, humans have evolved to weigh visual information heaviest. We rely on visual cues to identify different traits. While you may be able to hear great playing in a recording, when you add in body movements, costume design, even performance backgrounds into the picture, it can sway how a person really feels.

Music is truly an art form, one that can change and grow depending on the person it’s impacting. Get into it. Let yourself go. And enjoy all it has to give.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

How Piano Tone Is Created

How Piano Tone Is Created

What does it take to make beautiful music?

Even the best singer in the world didn’t start out that way. They sang because they enjoyed it. They sang with their favorites songs on the radio. They signed up for the school musical. And somewhere along the way a coach jumped in to help refine their music, hit the notes that made their voices sound magical. And they keep refining to this very day.How Piano Tone Is Created

The same goes with a piano. Piano refining is about creating beautiful piano sound. Piano tone doesn’t happen at the time a piano is built. Piano tone isn’t something that’s set and never needs work again. Piano tone is something that is acquired through work and restoration, over and over again throughout the life of a piano.

And it happens whether it’s with a newly built Steinway or a decades old piano you take loving care of every day.

Why?

Every time a key is pressed and a hammer jumps into place on a string, a system is put into play. If any part of that process isn’t pure precision, the tone of the piano is “off.”

This is where tone regulation comes into play. It’s a multi-step process. It includes:

  • Piano hammer voicing
  • Piano string voicing
  • Piano action regulation

Piano Hammer Voicing
Each time a key is pressed, the hammer strikes the string. This “whack” bends the string ever so slightly before returning to its original state. Piano hammer voicing defines how much pressure is behind the hammer when it hits the string, and how the bend in the string takes place during that contact. To regulate hammer voicing takes a variety of accomplishments, from steaming the hammer felt, to hardening the hammer, to adding or removing hammer weight, and more.

Piano String Voicing
Piano string is a stiff, taut wire. The wire is connected and wrapped around various bends and loops as it connects the pieces together. These bends and turns must occur in a certain way and be consistent to have the string vibrate in a certain way. If the turns or connections are off, the tonal effects will be anything but pleasurable.

String bends must be consistent throughout the piano. Notes use more than one string in order to produce sound; if one of the strings is off, it will impact on sound quality. String voicing is performed on all pianos, from the brand new to the decades old. Without consistent string voicing, tonal quality will always be off.

Piano Action Regulation
The piano action is the series of levers that connect the keys to the hammers. The way the hammer contacts the string defines the quality of the tone. The speed at which the process takes place also has impact. This is where action regulation comes into play. Different accelerations create different tonal qualities. With even a tiny adjustment in the speed, a tone can be dead on or completely off. Furthermore, if the action doesn’t provide precision connection between the hammer and the string, connection isn’t perfection and the result can be noisy and harsh.

For all of this to happen in unison, it takes a specially trained technician to fully adjust every part, every step of the way. With 37 steps in the process, it’s important to have an expert who knows how to retain tonal quality every time.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172