Finding A Piano Competition Near You

Finding A Piano Competition Near You

Want to take your piano playing to new levels? Find and enter a piano competition near you. 

You like to play. You love to listen to masters within the industry. Why not marry the two together and enter your own competition? 

You might think: Not me. Maybe you’re nervous about performing in front of others. Or maybe you don’t believe you’re good enough. Surely there are others better than you … right?

Maybe you’re thinking about it in the wrong way. 

Piano competitions aren’t just about winning prizes. It’s not about ranking you in order based on who shows up for the event. A piano competition can provide you with so much more. 

Critiquing

Up until now, you probably haven’t had a lot of critiquing of your piano playing. Your instructor has their opinions. Family and friends will most likely say: you’re great! When you step onto a stage, you’ll be heard by new people, new judges, all that can look at your work and make suggestions for ways to improve. You can also listen to what the judges say about others: how can you use that in your own practice and training? 

Meet others in the industry

Who exactly is your competition? By attending one, you can start to see the other talent in your local area. And as you talk to other players, you might discover further ways to improve your own work. Are there better instructors that can help you grow? Other competitions you can attend? Scholarships to attend local, national, or international schools? Ask questions and keep your ears open to learn all you can as you attend. 

Training

Just because you’ve entered a competition doesn’t mean you can’t learn as well. A lot of competitions offer masterclasses from judges or others in the industry to give you a wealth of knowledge. Make plans to attend everything you can; sometimes, they hold these classes a day before or after the competition. Sign up if you can, and ask lots of questions to improve your own talent. 

How to find a piano competition

You can start by asking your current piano instructor. Check in with your local music store. If your local college has a music program, you can contact them too for insight into regional competitions. Don’t forget Google – a few searches will bring up a wealth of information. And ask around every time you play in competition – what others would people around you recommend? You’ll be surprised at what you can find once you open up and start searching. 

Piano competitions are a great way to pursue excellence and get a chance to practice your craft in front of a live audience. You might just find yourself in ways you’ve never imagined before. Make 2020 the year you improve you by entering a piano competition. 

Why You Should Learn To Play The Piano – Science Agrees!

Why You Should Learn To Play The Piano – Science Agrees!

Imagine trying to learn a new sport – football – at the age of 85. 

That’s not going to happen. No matter how well physically an 85 year old is, the thought of running up and down a field probably isn’t reality. 

Now imagine an 85 year old sitting down and learning to play the piano. A little more realistic, right?

Musicality isn’t something that ever goes away. You can pick up an instrument and learn how to play, whether you’re 5 or 85. You bring different things to the table. You learn for different reasons. 

And once you learn to play the piano, you’ll have a lifetime to perfect it. It will stay with you and be a part of who you are until the day you die. 

It’s not just musicians, educators, or piano dealers that say this. It’s backed by science too. 

Playing the piano can fine tune your brain, both biologically and neurologically

You don’t have to look farther than some of the greatest musicians on earth to know that they remain sharp well into their sixties, seventies, eighties, and beyond. Think Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger. A study out of Northwestern University confirms it too. There is biological evidence that keeping music in your life has a good impact on the aging process. It impacts everything from retaining memory to hearing. 

Playing the piano gives you a full body workout

When you listen to music – especially classical music – a whole host of benefits occur in your body. But when you engage in the actual act of creating music, it ramps up and helps you even more. Think of it as a whole body workout, mind and body. It strengthens multiple areas of your brain, increasing concentration, focus, and memory. It carries forward discipline into multiple areas of your life. 

Playing the piano reduces stress and anxiety

Do you have stress or anxiety in your life? It almost seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t? But studies show that adults who sit down at the piano have a therapeutic way of reducing stress and anxiety. The simple nature of sitting down and practicing can help calm your nerves and improve your self-awareness. It gives you a chance to breathe deep and take the focus off what’s not working in your life. 

Playing the piano changes your brain structure and mental awareness

The great thing about playing the piano is you can pick it up at any time, no matter how old you are, and the results are instantaneous. Multiple studies confirm that playing music can change the way their brain processes information. Your brain stays stronger and you become more mentally aware of your surroundings. You don’t have to be good at it, or even reach a certain level before it kicks in. This is something you do for you. It’s something that works for a lifetime. 

Why You Should Play Classical Music On The Piano

Why You Should Play Classical Music On The Piano

A lot of people start playing the piano because they have a desire to play a favorite song. But playing the piano is more than playing your favorite pop tunes on the keyboard. If you really want to develop your skills as a pianist, it’s important to play classical music on the piano too. 

According to an article by Primphonic, classical music doesn’t have a popularity problem. Instead, it has an accessibility problem. When asked, up to 31 percent of Americans state they enjoy listening to classical music. That rises with age as well as education levels. 35 percent of those with a degree enjoy classical music, while 48 percent with postgraduate degrees enjoy it. 

But listening isn’t the only thing that benefits your life; playing classical music has a variety of benefits too. 

It enhances concentration levels

Classical music requires almost all areas of the brain to be activated to play it correctly. It requires you to concentrate on tempo, pitch, rhythm, note duration, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination as you read through the music. 

It teaches discipline

Learning to play classical music on the piano is one of the most challenging things you can take on. It requires frequent practice and discipline to stick with the task at hand until you achieve success. 

It’s great for your joints

Any type of movement is great for your body, and piano playing is no exception. It helps keep the joints of your wrists and fingers agile while improving your posture as you sit. It also allows your joints to remain loose, aiding with degenerative diseases such as arthritis. 

It’s great for your memory

The more you play classical music, the more you stimulate the brain. And according to research, it can help improve your memory as well as help you retain larger amounts of information. It enhances the ability to memorize things. 

It gets your creative juices flowing

Classical music is some of the greatest music ever produced. Sitting down and mastering it will allow you to express yourself creatively. Whether you do it for yourself or perform in front of an audience, you’ll begin to see the world in new ways. 

It’s fun!

The more you learn to enjoy playing the piano, the more you’ll want to explore. Classical music lets you play with all kinds of styles, tempos, and rhythms, giving you a chance to have fun with it no matter what your experience level. If you want to be a better pianist, give classical music a try. You’ll love the way it teaches you to play. 

Why Piano Practice Is Important

Why Piano Practice Is Important

Why do we need to practice? The most obvious answer is: to get better. 

But it really goes beyond that. 

Piano practice gives you the ability to dive into the music and perform it to the best of your ability. Whether your performance is only for yourself, or you have dreams of playing in Carnegie Hall, our desire to get better stems from the ability to perform. 

Practice might seem like an easy thing to do. Just sit down at the piano and play. But it’s more complicated than that. With only a few strategies in place, your piano practice will improve, and you’ll enjoy playing and performing even more. 

Listen

Playing the piano isn’t just about touching the keys and making a sound. It’s also about hearing what you’re playing. To improve the music that you make, you have to listen to what you do. It’s also important to listen to others that play too. 

Are you trying to improve the way you play classical music? Listen to it. Pull it up on your Spotify and listen on your way to work or school. Feel the way a classically trained musician puts it all together. You’ll be surprised at how much listening can improve the way you play. 

Focus

There’s so much more to playing music than focusing on the notes. It’s also about the tiny details that change a piece of music from good to great. The more complex music you work with, the more the direction they’ll have written in the music. Are you taking all of those details into account while you play? It might not come easily, but focus in on every detail. Play sections over and over again, paying attention to a different detail each time. Slowly, you’ll see progress in the way you play, and hear it in the final melody. 

Beat

Consider the last difficult piece of music you worked on. Certain parts flowed while others were more difficult to carry through. You played to tempo in some areas where others dragged. One of the best ways to overcome that is to set the beat. Use a metronome to create a workable rhythm, and then play the entire piece up to speed. Work on the difficult parts until you can play them well. You’ll see improvement every time you sit down to play. 

What tips do you have to make your practice better?

Keep That Resolution – Learn Piano This Year

Keep That Resolution – Learn Piano This Year

A lot of people add “learn piano” to their resolution lists each year. Yet only a small number succeed. Want to change your odds? 

Try giving yourself even better reasons to learn to play. There are many benefits to learn to play the piano; it will change your life in more ways than one. 

Encourages creativity

Playing the piano takes a lot of thought and an equal amount of hand-eye coordination. It triggers the part of the brain responsible for creativity. When you activate your mind by playing and practicing, you’ll see it carry over into other areas of your life. 

Increases organization

If you want to learn to play the piano well, you have to build it into your life. And that takes both time management and organization skills. It’s a fun way to develop lifelong skills. 

Improves concentration

Scientists have proved that it takes discipline to play music. It activates different parts of your brain every time you sit down at the keyboard. It increases your patience as well as allows you to be more focused on everything you do. 

Improves coordination

It takes a lot of skill to play the piano well. Your left hand plays one tune while your right hand plays another. Your eyes watch the music as your brain takes in the notes. 

Prevents hearing, processing, and memory loss

Continued research shows that the auditory skills required to play the piano slow down things like hearing, processing, and memory loss. Piano has also been used successfully in a wide variety of music therapies, including use for cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s or neurological disorders like autism. 

Improves learning

When piano lessons are taken in conjunction with regular school activities, there is increasing evidence that it improves abilities such as reading, language skills, math, and reading comprehension. 

Increases self esteem

It takes a lot of work and dedication to play the piano well. When you master new songs or put on a performance, it can raise your confidence levels and make you more sure of your abilities. 

Is this the year you learn to play the piano?

Keeping Up With Piano Practice Over The Holiday Season

Keeping Up With Piano Practice Over The Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … 

It’s also one of the busiest times of the year. 

If you’re having trouble finding the time to fit everything in between parties and activities and dinners, don’t let piano practice be the one activity that takes the hit. It’s easy to push piano practice aside, figuring it can wait until the new year when things return to normal. 

And while kids need a break from the same old routine, stepping away from the piano means a lot of the work they’ve done up until this point will be forgotten and disappear. 

Instead of taking a breather from playing the piano, change up the routine over the holidays instead. You can change the way your child practices the piano by doing these four things instead. 

Encourage mini recitals and sing-a-longs

Have you ever noticed you do more singing around the holidays? That’s because the most well-loved songs come out and become a part of our daily lives. Have your child work up a selection of music appropriate for their skill level. Then have them either play it in mini recital format, or create a family sing-a-long. Either way, it’s a great way to have your child show off their skills. 

Surprise your piano teacher

While you might want to give your piano teacher a special gift for the holidays, what they’d like even more is if you surprise them with a new song on the day of the first lesson after the holidays. Work ahead in your practice book, or find sheet music of a song you love. 

Download a new app

When was the last time you looked in the app store for piano apps? You might be surprised at the number of new apps that have been added. Help your child select a new app – find a game that helps them practice, or an app that lets them create their own music. You’re sure to find something that keeps their creative juices flowing. 

Go shopping for new music together

It’s easy to stick with the piano lesson books assigned by your piano teacher. But when was the last time you browsed through the available sheet music at your favorite music store? Let your child select a few songs appropriate for their skill level, and let them work on something new during the holidays. 

How Playing Piano Can Create Mindfulness

How Playing Piano Can Create Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the process of becoming fully aware of the present moment. It’s about becoming fully aware of thoughts, feelings, and actions, and using them to stay calm and focused on where you are. 

While how well mindfulness impacts a person’s health is still out for question, studies show that it does have impact with everything from anxiety and depression, to post traumatic stress disorder. 

When people think mindfulness, they usually think of meditation. But increasing evidence suggests that playing the piano can have a similar effect. Playing the piano offers proven benefits that more people are paying attention to – both physical, mental, social, and emotional impact. 

Physically, when you play the piano, it can have therapeutic results. While you play, anxiety, heart rate, blood pressure, and even immune responses decrease right along with it. 

Mentally, playing the piano may increase your thinking ability. A study conducted by one researcher showed that when kids were active in different after school activities, those who were given piano lessons saw the largest increase in IQ

Socially, piano gives you more focus and perseverance. Playing the piano takes time and effort. It’s not something you’ll accomplish in a matter of weeks; it’s a lifetime endeavor. It takes practice and patience, and makes you a better team player. 

Emotionally, playing the piano increases your listening skills. When you play, you listen for distinct differences in tone, speed, even quality of the music. This transfers over to both voice and body language of the people around you. Piano players make better listeners at reading different situations.

Want to give your child mindfulness early in life? Maybe it’s time to have them start playing the piano.  

Why You Should Consider A Silent Piano

Why You Should Consider A Silent Piano

Playing the piano in a busy household can sometimes be a problem. More people quit the piano because – “I don’t have time to play.”

It’s not necessarily they are too busy and are never home to sit down in play. Instead, it comes down to having the time to practice when no one else is around. 

Practicing the piano isn’t like turning up your audio equipment and listening to some music. 

Practice is choppy – you play slowly trying to master the tune. 

Practice is repetitious – you might practice the same line over and over again. 

Practice is boring – from the outside, it can be quite tedious listening to someone practice. Scales, short stanzas, and simple tunes aren’t always exciting for people listening. 

Especially if those family members have an agenda of their own. 

Ever had each of your kids trying to do something at the same time? One can’t concentrate on getting homework done while the other is practicing. 

That’s why digital pianos are popular. You can plug in headphones and only the person wearing them will hear. 

But there is another way. The silent piano is still an acoustic piano, but it has the possibility of muting the sound enough where only the person wearing headphones can here. 

That’s perfect for homework sessions, or if you feel like practicing in the middle of the night. 

You can usually pick out silent pianos in two ways if you visit a showroom floor. 

Look for the acoustic piano with a headphone lying nearby. 

Look for the acoustic piano with a console attached underneath the keyboard either on the right or left hand side. It will give you access to plugin a headphone jack with an audio-out option. 

This is made possible by having the console producing sound digitally when the silent piano mode is used. Because the samples are produced using a high-quality acoustic piano, it will sound similar to when you play without the silent mode. Signals are used to go between the two units, so as you touch the keys on the keyboard, it calculates what sound to produce in silent mode. 

These units also allow you to record your performance, which can be a great way of critiquing your practice sessions from time to time. 

Is a silent piano the right choice for you? 

Finding The Perfect Place For My Piano

Finding The Perfect Place For My Piano

“Just stick it in the corner.” 

“Put it against the wall.”

If you’ve had a piano delivered to your home, you might have uttered a phrase similar to the ones above. But are they the best choices? Where is the perfect place to put a piano? Does it make a difference?

While it may sound like sound vibrates throughout a piano, in truth, it’s created by the soundboard. The soundboard is a large piece of wood that amplifies the vibration of the strings. 

If you were to pluck a string, it wouldn’t create much sound. You wouldn’t get the rich tonal quality you expect every time you strike a key on your piano. That’s why the soundboard is in place.  

Depending on what type of piano you’re playing determines where the soundboard is placed. On an upright, the soundboard sits right in front of you as you play the piano. All sound vibrates back at you. For an upright, the soundboard is lying flat. The sound vibrates up towards the lid before bouncing back out into the environment. 

The upright pushes sound back towards the player, while the grand pushes sound out towards the audience. That’s one of the primary reasons you see grands used in concert settings. 

If you place an upright along the wall, the sound will be flattened by the wall, and bounce back through, possibly into the music rack. That further muffles the sound, making it softer, more closed. 

If you place a grand in the corner, an open lid will bounce sound up, out from the lid, into the wall, and project the sound out into the room. Think of it as a projection system, one that can add greater concentration of sound throughout the room. 

This doesn’t mean a corner is the best choice for piano placement. What it does showcase is placement matters. Be conscious of where you place your piano depending on the results you hope to achieve. 

Walls make a difference. Be conscious of how close you put either uprights or grands in your home. It can significantly impact sound quality. 

Be careful if you have drapes or rugs nearby as they can further deaden sound. 

If you have further questions on creating the perfect music room, just ask. We’re here to help with all of your piano needs. 

The Science Behind Learning The Piano

The Science Behind Learning The Piano

Why do you play the piano? Ask dozens of students and they’ll all give you different reasons. For fun. For enjoyment. For skill. Possibly even for a career. 

What’s more, learning the piano can ensure a lifelong skill. Unlike sports or other activities, piano is something you can enjoy and take part in for the rest of your life. And there’s further reason to so. According to many studies, there are many benefits of learning to play the piano

It increases brain processing

As we age, the ability to process usually slows down. Some studies show that if you continue to be active in playing the piano, the process doesn’t occur as fast. Playing the piano can also help slow memory loss, giving you the ability to continue to work through complex problems much longer in life. 

It helps with comprehension

Have you heard that musicians are better at math? There’s scientific evidence proving it. If you’ve heard of “The Mozart Effect”, it showed that even listening to Mozart for ten minutes before performing specific tasks can increase a wide variety of skills, including comprehension. A great reason to put classical music on while you study or attempt to solve problems. 

It helps with coordination

If you’ve ever sat down at the piano for even a moment, you know it takes a lot of concentration to put every action together. Both hands touch different notes, while your eyes focus on reading sheet music. That means every time you sit down you’re working at controlling both hand and eye coordination. 

Learning the piano no matter what your age can give you a lifetime of enjoyment. It’s something you can play, listen to, and enjoy for many years to come. 

Are you ready to learn the piano? Get started by finding the perfect piano for your home. Stop by today and see our full selection of acoustic and digital pianos. There’s a perfect one waiting for you.