How To Use A Metronome In Piano Practice

How To Use A Metronome In Piano Practice

Learning the piano isn’t just about plunking out a tune on the keys. Learning how to keep time and pace on the piano is one of the most important skills you’ll develop over time.

It’s also one of the most difficult skills to master.

That’s where a simple tool called a metronome can help.

A piano metronome is a small device that is designed to keep a beat at a certain timing. It’s used to help musicians play songs with proper time signature and at the right pace.

You’ll find today’s metronomes come in analog, electronic, or digital, each with their own individual characteristics.How To Use A Metronome In Piano Practice

The very basic analog metronomes are made of wood and use a small pendulum to keep time. They are sometimes best for a beginner because you can see and hear the tempo.

Electronic metronomes look like tiny radios. They sometimes can double as a tuning instrument too.

Digital metronomes are probably the easiest to find thanks to today’s technology. Look no further than your smartphone – there’s an app for that.

A metronome improves your musical abilities by helping you focus on your rhythm. While it’s important to know the notes of a song, it’s equally as important to know when and how fast or slow to play them. A metronome forces you to pay attention to time.

Metronomes force you to become a better learner. With a complicated piece of music, it can slow down the beat to help familiarize yourself with the music before speeding it up to its anticipated speed.

Metronomes are also great to help practice tempos outside of your comfort zone. A lot of today’s music is played in the standard 4/4 signature. But if you freestyle or play pieces using less common signatures, you can use the metronome to improve your technique and skills. Helping you become a better piano player overall.

Looking for a free metronome app? Here’s JoyTunes, a free app that is packed with a lot of different features. Even better, it coordinates with your Apple watch, making it always available to use.


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 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

Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys?

Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys?

Sit down at a piano and strike every key. Each makes a different sound. When played together, they create a beautiful sound. 

Pianos have 88 keys on a standard piano. They have more combinations than any other instrument played today. Each key represents a different note, giving the piano a wide array of playability. 

Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys?But why 88 keys? Why not 50? Or 200? The answer is both historical and practical. 

The piano was originally developed based on the modification of the harpsichord, which has 60 keys. If you travel back in time, you’ll find that era had pianos with 60 keys. 60 keys represented 5 octaves, with 12 notes in an octave. 

As pianos grew in popularity, composers began writing more music specifically for the piano. It wasn’t long before they attempted to create more difficult pieces requiring higher pitches than were possible with the originals. So they began working with piano makers to create pianos with more keys. 

Over the history of the piano, you’ll find many different versions of pianos with different numbers of keys. By the mid 1800s, pianos had reached their modern day 7 octave range, with Steinway creating one of the first 88 key pianos. Other piano manufacturers quickly followed suit.

Today’s modern pianos have 52 white keys and 36 black keys. The white keys represent the musical tones A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The black keys represent the half-step intervals, known as sharps and flats. The grouping of seven white keys and five black keys together make up the 12 notes of the octave. 

Could pianos be made with more than 88 keys? Yes. But the added notes would make the piano bigger and heavier. And more expensive. In truth, notes beyond the standard 88 keys get into octaves that are more difficult for the human ear to distinguish. While it is possible, many consider it impractical. Which is how 88 became the standard.


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

Finding The Time and Place For Perfect Piano Practice

Finding The Time and Place For Perfect Piano Practice

Time. It’s something we all seem to never have enough of.

So we do what rises to the top and commands our attention. Until we collapse at the end of the day.

Whether you’re new to playing the piano or have played for years, finding the time to play can often be difficult at best. Did you know it might not be time that’s holding you back, but the quality and condition of your practice space instead?

If the piano is in the cold, dark basement, no wonder it feels like drudgery to make the time to practice.

Finding The Time and Place For Perfect Piano PracticeFind A Quiet Space
Distractions are a piano player’s worst enemy. If a child can see other family members doing other things, it can be a distraction. If an adult has access to hear a timer going off in the kitchen, or a mobile device dinging in the background, it can stop practice in its tracks.

Seclusion Isn’t Necessary
While quiet is necessary to keep your attention focused, it shouldn’t be so isolated that you feel concealed and forgotten. Instead of keeping the piano in the family room, maybe it’s better suited for the living room. Instead of the basement, why not try making a music room upstairs?

Keep It Private
Practice can be difficult, messy at best. It can be downright embarrassing as you stumble over the notes. If people are around and you don’t want them to hear your mistakes, you’re less likely to play. If you simply can’t get away, it may be time to invest in a digital piano with headphones.

Or Keep It On Display
Sometimes it’s nice to have an audience. That’s why many piano players invest in more than one. Nothing is more fun than having an attentive, encouraging audience nearby to keep them on track with practice and assignments.

Acoustics
Have you ever listened to music in dead space? How about high ceilings and an echoey room where the sound bounces around? Not a lot of inspiration as the music dies. If you don’t have the perfect space, you can create it with various soundproofing measure.

Create Inspiration
Piano playing lights up the senses. Make sure the surrounding area adds to the experience. A dingy room depresses, not inspires. Instead, add life to the room with color, artwork, plants, or flowers. Make it a room that welcomes you every day.

What do you love about the place you practice your 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

Diagnosing and Fixing Sticky Piano Keys

Diagnosing and Fixing Sticky Piano Keys

Have you ever been playing the piano when all of a sudden one of the keys you press sticks and doesn’t make any sound? You press down several times, and still no sound? 

You might have a sticky piano key. 

Several things can impact your piano keys and make them stick. 

There may be something between the keys. It could be as small as a particle of dust, or larger, such as a crumb of food. This can be quickly resolved by cleaning each individual key with a solution of water and vinegar. Do not get the keys damp. Instead, rub with a dampened cloth and gently rub the impacted keys. In the future, be sure to have clean hands every time you sit down to play the piano, and never eat over the piano. Diagnosing and Fixing Sticky Piano Keys

There could also be changes in humidity. Changes in moisture content can build up and trap moisture between the keys, which can also lead to creating cracks and warping issues. You can invest in humidifiers, digital hygrometers, and air conditioning systems to keep humidity at acceptable levels. It’s important that your piano is always located in a climate controlled environment, and is never stored in excessive heat, cold, or humid conditions. 

There may also be excessive moisture between the keys. If keys are warped and no longer fit side by side, it may be time for repair or restoration services. It’s more difficult to fix than simple cleaning between the keys. If this is the case, you should consider calling a professional piano technician to clean the keys and give your piano a tune up. 

Some things can be do-it-yourself projects. Proper cleaning and maintaining is something you should work at on a consistent basis. But when the job stretches beyond simple maintenance, choose a professional that will give your piano a proper check up and ensure it is in proper playing condition. 

If you have any questions about sticky piano keys or any other problems, we’re here to help. 


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

Why Piano Playing Is Therapeutic

Why Piano Playing Is Therapeutic

“Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Anderson

Music has long since been a part of our lives. We incorporate songs into our culture and use them to hand down stories throughout the generations. 

New studies are now showing that music does more than bind us as a culture; it also shows dramatic lifelong improvements in everything we do: language, math, memory skills and more. What’s more, music is also being integrated into therapies, helping everyone from special needs kids to elderly suffering from debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Why Piano Playing Is Therapeutic

By definition, music therapy is an interpersonal process in which a therapist uses music to address health concerns. Music can impact all aspects of well-being: emotional, physical, mental, social, and spiritual. 

Private piano lessons or learning on one’s own via software is not considered music therapy. Yet it does show positive effects by engaging in a challenging activity; the benefits are therapeutic. It’s something that is known to be a stress reliever, and can be used for stress reduction throughout one’s life. 

When taken to the next level and integrated into a therapy program, the results can be astounding. 

Behavior – music can be mood-enhancing, helping to stimulate the senses and focus attention. It can slow inappropriate behavior and increase compliance. 

Calming – anxiety is one of the biggest challenges faced by children today. Classical music can reduce stress and ease frustration. It can also reduce muscle tension and slow down the heart rate. Studies continue to show that children with all types of special needs – autism, cerebral palsy, ADD, ADHD and more – can relax and calm down when music is integrated into their lives. 

Communication – music can help build social skills and encourage interaction and conversation with peers. Music helps people define pitch changes in speech and increase vocabulary. It can also make people more apt to pick up a second language. 

Memory – people of all ages have found that music helps them focus and puts them in a better mood for learning. We have an innate ability to memorize songs. and it stays with us for a lifetime. 

Music can be the gift that keeps on giving now and throughout our lives. Are you incorporating piano playing into your family’s 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

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

Does Your Hand Size Impact Piano Playing

Does Your Hand Size Impact Piano Playing

When you watch a professional piano player in action, you’ll see their hands zip up and down the keyboard, flying over the keys. Between their thumbs and fingers, they touch note after note bringing music to life. 

Musicians come in all sizes, male and female. It doesn’t seem to matter how large their hands are or how large of a hand span they have to stretch two specified intervals on a keyboard. Or does it?Does Your Hand Size Impact Piano Playing

The average octave placement for hand span ranges around 6.7 inches. Adding in a 9th note increases the hand span to 7.6 inches, 10th note increases to 8.5 inches, and 11th note increases the hand span to 9.4 inches. 

When you compare that to the average hand span of a woman, you’ll find that 70 percent can not comfortable span an entire octave, with an even larger majority not being able to add a 9th note to their playing ability per hand. 

For males, the playability is better, with a significant majority of males able to play an octave very comfortably, stretching to a 10th note or more fairly easily. 

The female hand is, on average, 15 percent smaller than the male hand. And because children often start playing the piano at an early age, it is also important to realize that they will have an even smaller range than the average woman. 

Standardized keyboards are a relatively recent development and the size we commonly use today is large compared with historical context. The 6.5 inch octave keyboard does not suit the vast majority of women and children. It’s also often not the best choice for men, from an ergonomic perspective. 

Some of the greatest pianists of the past have used pianos with narrower keys. And with people who enjoy playing the piano and have a passion for improving the way they play, they often find using alternative sized piano keyboards to be a better fit. Downsized keyboards allow pianists to play more music without fear of injury. Hand position is immediately improved and power increases because the hand is compact. Redistribution of complex fingering is no longer necessary. 

As it becomes more apparent that the art of piano playing can change simply by rethinking the size of a keyboard, we’ll see more changes in the instruments we play. 

Do you have experience with a smaller keyboard?


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

Benefits Of Learning Piano As An Adult

Benefits Of Learning Piano As An Adult

Many people think of the piano when it’s time to get their small children involved in activities. However, many adults could benefit as well.

Maybe you didn’t take them seriously as a child and gave piano lessons up long before you learned the mechanics of playing. Maybe it’s been a lifelong desire. In all cases, it’s important to realize it’s never too late. There are many benefits to learning to play as an adult.

One of the biggest advantages is relaxation and stress reduction that comes along with playing an instrument. Many people have high demanding jobs and look for ways to calm and settle down when they return home for the evening. Playing music facilitates relaxation and renewal after a challenging day. benefits-of-learning-piano-as-an-adult

The opposite is also true. If you have a mundane job where repetition is key, playing the piano on your off hours can put challenge into your life. It can push you to learn new things and give you a little creativity boost into an otherwise lackluster day.

Another benefit comes from learning something new. Increasingly, studies are showing that playing music can impact brain health. It’s been proven to help in all kinds of situations, from helping children test better, to improving stability in Alzheimer’s patients, to becoming a helpful therapy in a variety of cases.

It can also induce a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from being able to play a complex instrument. Playing the piano takes time and practice to become proficient. It’s a skill that can be worked on for the rest of your life. The beauty of it also lies in the fact that for most, they can play the piano at all ages. Compare that to other hobbies, such as riding a bike or joining a softball team.

It can also provide the creative outlet you’ve needed to boost your career. One creative activity often leads to others. It can help inspire you to add magic to your sales presentations or design a new piece of computer code. It can help you discover answers to problems and find the new approach you’ve needed to move forward with a demanding customer or employee.

Is this the year you learn 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