Why Every Note On Your Piano Uses Multiple Strings

Why Every Note On Your Piano Uses Multiple Strings

f you’ve ever looked inside your acoustic piano, you’ve noticed a plethora of strings attached to tiny hammers that move every time you press down on a key. 

While it might seem like a piano would have one string attached to every note, that isn’t the case. Depending on the key you strike, the note will be produced with one, two, or even three strings. 

The higher notes on the piano will use three strings to produce a sound. 

The lower notes will use two strings. 

The lowest notes will have a single string. Why Every Note On Your Piano Uses Multiple Strings

What’s more, if you use the damper pedal to create a quieter sound, the strings are impacted by the action as well. When you press the damper pedal, the action is shifted inside the piano so that the hammer strikes fewer strings – it moves down to one or two. 

Head back in time; the piano was originally called piano-forte. Loosely translated, forte means strong, or loud. That’s because when striking the keys, you can produce a loud, full-bodied sound like no other instrument. The strings allow this transfer of energy to occur. 

If you had just one string attached to every key, the higher notes would produce a smaller sound. Those upper notes wouldn’t have the same high-quality tone and volume that you get from the lower notes. Multiple strings provide more tension. Multiple strings give you a more robust sound. 

Multiple strings also provide a tuner a greater chance of producing a quality sound. As a tuner is working to bring each note into tune, she can actually detune the string combinations to change the timbre. As she compares note to note, her goal is to produce a rich, warmer sound. 

The strings on your piano are vitally important to the sound of your piano. If they are out of tune, you’ll hear it every time you press down on a key. 

When was the last time you had your piano tuned?

The Correct Way To Sit – It Makes All The Difference In Playing The Piano

The Correct Way To Sit – It Makes All The Difference In Playing The Piano

Did you know there’s a proper way to sit? 

Sitting the wrong way can cause a variety of health problems, including heart disease, circulation disorders, strained neck, bad back, muscle degeneration … the list goes on and on. 

We’re just now starting to realize the impact sitting for long periods of time has on our physical body. But science is also discovering that it can impact other things too, such as your ability to play the piano. 

Slouching is bad. When you slouch at the piano, your shoulders are curved, your back is rounded, your head tilts down. It isn’t a pretty sight. The Correct Way To Sit - It Makes All The Difference In Playing The Piano

Now compare that to someone who sits up straight. They’re engaged. They are fun to watch. And they play better too. 

Remember the old adage: sit up straight? You may have heard that in school or even with your first piano instructors. Turns out that isn’t true. There’s more to it than sitting up straight. It’s about good posture first and foremost. 

If you “sit up straight”, you tend to puff out your chest, which also puts your back at risk. 

Instead, focus on sitting so your tailbone is properly aligned. Imagine a tail sweeping out and away from your body. Sit properly to ensure it’s comfortable. 

It’s not just about sitting. Your hand placement should also be placed in proper position. If they aren’t, your arms and hands will start to hurt, especially if you practice hours each day. This strain can lead to a variety of health problems. 

Good hand placement doesn’t just make you better at playing, it also impacts your tonal quality. The person who is hunched over can’t get the same power into the notes that someone sitting upright and fully extended. 

For proper hand placement, sit far enough away from the keyboard so the fingertips rest on the keys without effort. The feet should reach the pedals without stretching. Your fingers should naturally curve in toward your body, with your knuckles slightly curved away. The wrist should be relaxed. Your arm should never tense.

While this might feel unnatural at first, with practice, you’ll feel better, and play better too. 

How A Metronome Can Make You A Better Player

How A Metronome Can Make You A Better Player

Have you ever heard a song that didn’t sound quite right? You couldn’t’ quite put your finger on it, but you knew something was wrong. 

The melody was off. Or maybe it was the harmony. 

Or maybe it was the rhythm. 

When comparing the three, rhythm is by far the one thing that can change the way you play than all the others. 

Why? Sit down and play music with no thought process about rhythm. Just pluck out the notes in a random order. 

Not much of a song, is it? How A Metronome Can Make You A Better Player

Rhythm controls tempo. It sets the speed. It also creates structure. 

Rhythm is the technical part of the song. Have you ever mentally walked through a song, practicing it in your mind before you sit down to play? The best piano players in the world do this continuously in their minds. They see themselves on stage. They hear their music in their minds. And what improves it all is to keep a regular beat. 

A metronome can help you keep that beat. 

Try an experiment. Set the metronome for your desired song. Before you sit down to play it, play it in your mind first, following the beat. See yourself playing it. Hear it in your mind. Hear the rhythm. Feel how you play it. 

Now sit down at the keyboard and play it for real. Do you notice it’s easier?

Also, try using a metronome when you’re first learning a song. Listen to the “tick tick” and adjust your playing to keep up with the beat. Play through difficult passages, playing again and again until you get it right. You can even use the visualization technique with the metronome keeping the beat. 

Do you notice a difference in your playing? 

When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing The Piano

When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing The Piano

Have you ever put off practicing the piano? 

We’ve all done it. 

No matter how much you know you should sit down and play, the other side of you finds any excuse possible to ignore playing. 

Why is that? It might be because of the amount of practice you think you have to do. 

Do you assign yourself practice sessions in minutes – 30 minutes a day? That can drive bad feelings into the brain. Thirty minutes can seem like forever if you have other things you want to do. 

Or maybe you’ve assigned yourself specific tasks. Maybe you practice a certain amount of scales, or will be playing a song a certain amount of times through before you can get up. Again, these lists of “chores” can seem difficult at best, especially if you don’t particularly enjoy the process. When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing The Piano

Our brains are trained to keep us away from things we don’t like. Think of them as the friend that tries to steer you to only the enjoyable things in life. It’s up to us to control those urges, and keep us on track to do everything we need to do. 

When it comes to practicing, it might be easier if you give yourself rewards first. 

Instead of focusing on a time limit, sit down to play something you enjoy. A favorite song, or maybe even creating your own music. Once you’re sitting, you’ll have a much easier time of flowing into the next phase. 

Or instead of focusing on things you don’t like about practice – scales – leave that until the end. Your fingers will be more ready to take on the action, and it will seem like a part of the process rather than a chore when you sit down. 

Sometimes the easiest way to get started is just to sit down and do it. But give yourself a reward at first, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to the opportunity. 

We Have It All Wrong – 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

We Have It All Wrong – 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

Most school districts around the country are facing tough decisions every year as they put together budgets. What should the keep? What should they give up?

For most districts, STEM classes have received two thumbs up. The arts – not so much. When school systems cut back, the music, dance, visual arts, and theater are the first to go. And that’s not a good thing. 

Music is important – for some kids, it’s the only reason they show up. Maybe it’s time to rethink what kids receive in instruction throughout the day. 

Music engages kidsWe Have It All Wrong - 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

For most STEM classes, the curriculum is one on many. The teacher talks, the students listen. And for many, the only way they’d describe these classes is – boring. When you weave in music programs, it allows kids to express themselves in lively ways. They participate. They show off their skills. They take part in creating something bigger than themselves. And if these classes help motivate them, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged in the STEM classes as well. 

Music builds self confidence

With music, kids get a sense of accomplishment every time they learn a new song. They can see their own skillset changing. They can feel better about themselves based on the music they are playing. They learn how to set goals and stick with them to improve along the way. 

Music builds imagination

Creativity is an important skill to have. It adds innovation into our society. But slowly, we’re taking away the activities that build our imagination skills up. Music allows kids to explore. The arts allow kids to get messy, express themselves through movement, and through the sounds that they make. Music develops the whole brain, both by listening and be using their skills to create their own sounds. 

Music improves academics

Studies consistently show that kids that engage in music do better in all subjects across the board. They rank higher on their SAT scores, and they are more likely to get into medical school. Music develops critical thinking skills in a way sports never will. 

Music teaches a lifelong skill

No other skill can provide enjoyment throughout your life as music can. And playing the piano is something virtually anyone can do. You can learn piano at any age, and perfect your skills a little at a time. With such a wide array of music available, you can be playing your favorites in a short period of time. 

Music benefits and engages us like no other. To create well-rounded children that can use their skills throughout their lives, add music to their lives today. 

Piano Playing Tip: An Easy Hack For Concentrating

Piano Playing Tip: An Easy Hack For Concentrating

Have you ever noticed that sometimes practicing the piano seems like a mundane task, while other times it’s exciting and fresh? 

What’s the difference?

Some might tell you it’s your approach, or even what you’re practicing. And that can be part of it. 

But something much easier might be influencing your performance. It might be your hunger and hydration levels. 

Studies show that we have a more difficult time concentrating when we’re hungry or thirsty. Hydration itself plays a huge role in how productive we are throughout our days. 

Rather than jumping into your practice routine, spend a few minutes preparing for practice instead. 

Have a nutritious snack. Fruit, veggies, or a handful of nuts can do the trick. Piano Playing Tip: An Easy Hack For Concentrating

Then drink a glass of water for full hydration before you sit down. 

This isn’t something you should do once in a while. Top athletes know that hydration is everything. Those in the best physical condition will drink:

  • Up to 16 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before a workout
  • Up to 8 ounces 15 minutes before a workout
  • Up to 4 ounces every 15 minutes throughout the workout

Though you might not think that playing the piano is the same as a strenuous workout, you’re still engaging the brain at high energy levels, so it’s important for it to have proper nutrients. 

Having trouble practicing the piano? It might not be your practice. It might be your hydration levels. Drink water first, and see how well it improves your playing. 

Playing The Piano May Help Curb Depression

Playing The Piano May Help Curb Depression

Have you ever had a stressful day, retreated into your home, and put on your favorite tunes to relax? There’s a reason for that. 

From the dawn of humanity, music has been a part of the healing process. With nothing more than drums and simple instruments, people used songs to communicate and find ways to articulate and express all that was happening in their lives. 

Music therapy was first recognized after World War II when musicians began visiting veteran hospitals to help those suffering from both physical and emotional tolls of war. When nurses and physicians started seeing responses, they began to hire musicians to play. Playing The Piano May Help Curb Depression

Today, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is the largest music therapy association, and serves communities around the world by promoting and educating people on the benefits of using music as a part of a therapeutic process. 

Music therapy has been proven to:

  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Increase motivation
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Provide emotional release
  • Enhance relationships

Music therapy works by using music to help with physical, emotional, and social needs of an individual. While listening has been proven to work, adding in physicality can help even more. By playing and participating, it has been found to stimulate the senses, help calm a person down, reduce heart rate, slow breathing, and reduce physical attributes of stress. Participation is everything. 

With many instruments, it takes a high level of skill to create a good tone. It takes even more skill to be able to play a song. With a piano, you press a key and the note is there. Even the most musically challenged can sit down and within minutes, be plunking out a simple tune. You can have fun from the moment you sit down. 

Want to feel better? Maybe it’s time to pick up a new habit this year. Why not choose to learn to play the piano and see how it helps you change your outlook on life. 

Music Boosts Self Confidence and Self Esteem

Music Boosts Self Confidence and Self Esteem

Want to boost your child’s self confidence and self esteem? Maybe it’s time to introduce music into their lives. 

Many studies exist showcasing just how important music is in our lives. 

One study allowed participants to create in an open studio for 45 minutes, then provide brief comments about their creations. In all cases, the creative process improved positive self efficacy.  

Another study showed that when participants engage in music therapy, they are more open to experiences and ways to explore and perceive themselves and others in different ways. 

Still another study showed that the more time a child spent on music activities, the deeper they moved into training and learning, the more self esteem grewMusic Boosts Self Confidence and Self Esteem

Whether your child takes piano lessons one on one, or uses their knowledge in a group setting either in school or in a private setting, you’ll be teaching your child many lifelong skills. 

Real World Skills

Children that engage in music regularly improve critical and creative thinking, hand-eye coordination, motor skills, as well as social skills. They learn persistence, problem solving, and learning how to work hard on a project until it’s completed. 

Become A Better Student

When a child builds self esteem, they try harder in the classroom. They feel more confident in their answers, and are more likely to engage in team and individual activities. They provide a well-rounded education. 

Increase self expression

When a child has higher self esteem, they are more likely to express themselves in a variety of ways. They develop their “voice” by playing music, and use that in all activities they choose to take part in. 

Increase their sense of belonging

Playing music introduces them to a variety of people in their community. They work one on one with music instructors, work together as a team to play a song. They learn performance skills and how to interact with an audience. They also develop interpersonal skills and create lifelong friendships in the process. 

Is your child ready to make music a part of their lives? 

How To Stick With Your Resolution Of Learning To Play The Piano

How To Stick With Your Resolution Of Learning To Play The Piano

Three. Two. One. Happy New Year!

What’s on your resolution list this year? 

For most, people list out wishes and dreams. They want to lose weight, get healthier, destress, and pick up a hobby. While playing the piano might not help you with your weight loss goals, it can help you with the other three. 

People often add learning to play the piano to their wish lists. And with good reason. Making music is a part of our culture. It’s a universal language that every human on earth has, no matter what country you’re from. And once you learn to “speak” it, it stays with you forever. Ever sat in an audience of a choir or a band from half a world away? It doesn’t matter if you speak English or French, Russian, or German, the beat of the music is there within you, speaking to you. How To Stick With Your Resolution Of Learning To Play The Piano

If you want to learn an instrument as an adult, the piano is one of the most logical choices. It’s the only instrument that plays both harmony and accompaniment, and can play every range. Solo or with a band, you can fully enjoy playing the piano any time. 

Not only does learning to play the piano expand your brain power, but it also helps you relax and unwind too. If you fully concentrate on your practice, you don’t have time to worry about what’s happening at work or a family issue keeping you up at night. You breathe deeper. You roll your shoulders to destress. You flex your fingers to help relax. And you listen … And feel the music vibrate through you. 

Playing the piano has also been proven to help keep your brain active. It takes a lot of thought process to work both hands together to play a song, while reading the music set up before you. Add in pedals, and you have your entire body active in the process. Music therapy is now growing in popularity to help all kinds of conditions, from depression, ADHD, and even Alzheimer’s. Listening may work, but taking an active role is even better. Why not take an active role in keeping your brain healthy and start learning now?

So what’s on your resolution list this year? Is it learning to play the piano? 

The Best Stress Management Tool Is The Piano  

The Best Stress Management Tool Is The Piano  

Tired of feeling frustrated, angry, tired of everything in your daily life? 

Looking for a way to destress and get rid of some of those negative feelings?

Maybe it’s time to look at playing the piano as a stress management tool. 

Studies show that musicians are some of the least stressed. When you create music, you get emotional with your work. And by releasing your emotions into your work, you learn how to express your emotions in a variety of ways. The Best Stress Management Tool Is The Piano  

If you hold back those feelings, and release them in ways you don’t like, sitting down at the piano may just give you the release you need. Don’t yell and scream at traffic, turn up the tunes and listen to some of the best piano players in the world. Then take what you hear and put it to good use when you get home – play the piano and let the stress go. 

As you bang out a tune, you can direct your emotions right into the keys. Feel the energy dissipate and direct your focus into the notes. 

Of course, you may be thinking that learning to play will only increase your frustration. What if you can’t get a song right? What if you try something over and over again, and you just can’t get past what you’re trying to learn? 

That’s where lessons come into play. 

You don’t learn to play soccer all by yourself. You sign up for a team. This allows you to receive training from a coach, and put your knowledge to good use with others around you. 

The same applies to learning to play the piano. By signing up with an instructor, you can learn how to do what you do better. They can provide hints to help you get past the frustrating parts, and advance to increase your abilities even more. 

Want more of a challenge? Play with a band. It might only be one or two other instruments, but working together can teach you a lot more than you’ll learn by yourself. It challenges you in new ways. It helps you grow even more. 

Looking for new ways to destress this year? Give the piano a try.