Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lessons Can Be Noisy!

A semi-private piano lesson
can get noisy,
but it's good noise!
Here one student works on a simple piece,
while her brother and sister
work on scales.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Notes on The Wall

Students receive a note on the wall
for every piece they play well.
Five notes on the wall
means a trip to the prize basket!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

An Adult Beginner. . .

Here's another video
of another beginner.
Marta is an adult learner.
The plan is to form
a keyboard choir
for a special event in church this December.
I think we have three pianists who are ready,
and two more who are on their way!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Four Hands. . . .

Four Hands on one instrument!
These young ladies are sisters
and come to The Little Piano House
for semi-private piano lessons.
They're getting ready to play this piece
in church for a special event in December.
This is just a snipet,
but they are on their way!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Is Music The Key To Success?

The author of this article
states that if you look closely
at almost any industry
you will find musicians at the top.

An interesting read, for sure.
Click here to read the article entitled,
"Is Music The Key To Success?"

are you ready for your first
piano lesson?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Do Musicians Have Different Brains?

I guess we do.
I always thought we were just crazy folk.
But here's another article
that goes into some detail
about how our brains are different.
Musicians not only have a better musical memory
but also an enhanced verbal memory as well.
This article comes to us from Psychology Today.

Do Musicians Have Different Brains?

are you ready
for your first piano lesson?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Music Lessons and Cognitive Skills

Yes, it's true.
It's also true
that I've been posting some really good articles lately.
Here's another one!

"German researchers report
that learning to play a musical instrument
is associated with higher grades
and superior cognitive skills."

Read more here. . . 

are you ready for your first piano lesson???

Friday, October 3, 2014

J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto

This has to be my all-time favorite by J. S. Bach,
Brandenburg Concerto 3.
This video is a bit interesting
as it uses 8 hands!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Musicians Hear Better

Yes, that's right.
Musicians hear better.
This article explains it all.
It's not because our ears are better.

Click here to read the article

or listen below.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wow. . Dublin has a piano festival!

I just thought this was awesome!
Dublin does Piano Festivals!
The pianist in this video is simply magnificent!

What if Wyandotte had piano festivals????
It wouldn't hafta be so thick on the classical side,
as this fest seems to be. . .
. . . .it could be eclectic. .
.. just thinking on electronic parchments, folks,
just thinking out loud
on electronic parchment.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How Playing An Instrument Benefits Your Brain

This video is straight to the point.
Playing an instrument benefits your brain.
are you ready for your first piano lesson????

. . .transcript below the video in case you'd rather read it.

Did you know that every time musicians pick up their instruments
there are fireworks going off all over their brain?
On the outside, they may look calm and focused,
reading the music and making the precise and practiced movements required.
But inside their brains, there's a party going on.
How do we know this?
Well, in the last few decades,
neuroscientists have made enormous breakthroughs
in understanding how our brains work by monitoring them in real time
with instruments like FMRi and PET scanners.
When people are hooked up to these machines,
tasks, such as reading or doing math problems,
each have corresponding areas of the brain
where activity can be observed.
But when researchers got the participants to listen to music,
they saw fireworks.
Multiple areas of their brains were lighting up at once,
as they processed the sound,
took it apart to understand elements, like melody and rhythm,
and then put it all back together into unified musical experience.
And our brains do all this work in the split second
between when we first hear the music and when our foot starts to tap along.
But when scientists turn from observing the brains
of music listeners to those of musicians,
the little backyard fireworks became a jubilee.
It turns out that while listening to music engages the brain
in some pretty interesting activities,
playing music is the brain's equivalent of a full-body workout.
The neuroscientists saw multiple areas of the brain light up,
simultaneously processing different information
in intricate, interrelated, and astonishingly fast sequences.
But what is it about making music that sets the brain alight?
The research is still fairly new, but neuroscientists have a pretty good idea.
Playing a musical instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once,
especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices.
And as with any other workout, disciplined, structured practice in playing music
strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength
to other activities.
The most obvious difference between listening to music and playing it
is that the latter requires fine motor skills,
which are controlled in both hemispheres of the brain.
It also combines the linguistic and mathematical precision,
in which the left hemisphere is more involved,
with the novel and creative content that the right excels in.
For these reasons, playing music has been found
to increase the volume and activity in the brain's corpus callosum,
the bridge between the two hemispheres,
allowing messages to get across the brain faster and through more diverse routes.
This may allow musicians to solve problems
more effectively and creatively, in both academic and social settings.
Because making music also involves crafting and understanding
its emotional content and message,
musicians often have higher levels of executive function,
a category of interlinked tasks
that includes planning, strategizing, and attention to detail
and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects.
This ability also has an impact on how our memory systems work.
And, indeed, musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions,
creating, storing, and retrieving memories more quickly and efficiently.
Studies have found that musicians appear to use their highly connected brains
to give each memory multiple tags,
such as a conceptual tag, an emotional tag, an audio tag, and a contextual tag,
like a good internet search engine.
So, how do we know that all these benefits are unique to music,
as opposed to, say, sports or painting?
Or could it be that people who go into music
were already smarter to begin with?
Neuroscientists have explored these issues, but so far, they have found that
the artistic and aesthetic aspects of learning to play a musical instrument
are different from any other activity studied, including other arts.
And several randomized studies of participants,
who showed the same levels of cognitive function and neural processing at the start,
found that those who were exposed to a period of music learning
showed enhancement in multiple brain areas, compared to the others.
This recent research about the mental benefits of playing music
has advanced our understanding of mental function,
revealing the inner rhythms and complex interplay
that make up the amazing orchestra of our brain.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Liberace plays "Bumble Boogie"

Here's a blast from the past,
from before I was born.
But still, great stuff.
Old footage that I hope never goes away!
Liberace playing "Bumble Boogie,"
or Rimsky Korsakov "Flight of the Bumblebee."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hungarian Rhapsody

Victor Borge
They just don't make pianists like him anymore.
Not just an extremely talented musician,
he was just plain great fun.
His comedic approach to the piano
continues to inspire.

One piano, four hands.
Hungarian Rhapsody 2 by Franz Liszt.
The pianist with him is Sahan Azruni.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Music Is Well Said To Be The Speech Of Angels

Love this. . .
had to share.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gift - Pink Butterfly and Piano Poster

I've posted a lot of gift ideas
here on the Little Piano House Blog.
I'll be organizing them soon,
so you'll be able to find exactly what your looking for.

For now, though,
here's a really cute butterfly piano poster.

Pink Butterfly & Piano Print
Pink Butterfly & Piano Print by GodsPath
See more Butterfly Posters
A great gift for
the little piano princess!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Andrea, The Piano - A video that shows our restoration wish for her

Many who follow me on facebook,
either my personal page
or my Little Piano House Page,
are aware of the beautiful antique piano
we recently purchased.
That's her in this photo.
She is an 1872
Steinway and Sons Square Grand Piano.

This video below demonstrates
what she might look and sound like once she is completely restored.
. .and restoration will cost a pretty penny.
Still, we hope and dream and pray for the day Andrea, The Piano, will look and sound like this!

This video courtesy of The Antique Piano Shop, located in the state of Tennessee.
And they are, most likely, the people who will do the restoration work
on Andrea, The Piano, once all of the necessary funding is in place.
More on that later.
For now, Take a look at what's possible for Andrea. . . .

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Andrea, The Piano

Andrea will most likely start her own blog soon.
But for now, here are photos of her arrival
and pics of students and family
making music with this old gal!

You'll see the song come out. . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What Is A Square Grand Piano?

OK, folks,
I know it's been a while
since I posted anything new
here on the
Little Piano House blog.
So many new things going on. . .
a fresh paint job in the rooms,
new carpeting. . .
and well,
perhaps the biggest news of all,
which I will detail
at the end of this blog entry. . .  .
And I must admit
that I posted this same blog entry
(more or less)
but more on that later....

Right now,
I'd like to explain or describe
what a Square Grand Piano is.

Where to begin?
Where to begin?
Most people have never seen
a square grand piano in person.
Most people don't even know
what one is.

what is a square grand?
It's an antique piano
that is, basically, square in shape
(a rectangle, really).
Sometimes she is known
as the box piano.

Square grand pianos
have their place in history.
They are, for the most part,
19th century instruments.
Steinway and Sons of New York
first gained infamy as master piano builders
with the square grand piano.

Square grand pianos are from the Victorian era,
as such they are very beautiful to behold.
These magnificent instruments were created,
built and carved by hand by artisans
extremely skilled in their craft.
These pianos have intricately carved legs,
music racks and pedal lyres.
This, alone, gives the square grand piano added value.

Steinway and Sons often used Brazilian rosewood.
Brazilian rosewood is almost extinct today.
In 1967,
the Brazilian government outlawed the export
of Brazilian rosewood logs
and in 1992,
the newly formed CITES
(Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
declared that Brazilian rosewood
is a threatened species.
The aim of the CITES Convention
is to ensure that international trade
in specimens of wild animals and plants
does not threaten their survival.
As a result,
most nations throughout the world
declare it illegal to harvest,
export or import any Brazilian Rosewood.
This ban includes import and export
of finished products made of Brazilian Rosewood.

And when originally crafted,
most of these beautiful pianos had ivory keys.
And so, this, too,
gives added value to the square grand.
Effective this year (Feb. 2014)
Ivory cannot be imported to the U.S. at all,
not even for historic reasons,
like restoring an antique piano.
So, if the square grand has her original ivory keys,
her value,
in the last few months alone,
has just gone up.
If the square grand piano with ivory keys
is in Europe and someone from the U.S. purchases it,
at an auction, for example,
they will not be able to legally bring that piano
into the United States.

I respect the ivory laws.
And I most certainly respect
the beasts of our world.
But our musical history is as such
that most square grands
were crafted with ivory keys.
And as such, they are valuable.
And the new ivory law
makes them even more valuable.

Made of Ivory and rosewood,
you just can't buy this piano today.
She isn't made.
And with the name "Steinway & Sons,"
well, she is a treasure beyond measure.

Now let us also consider the fact
that the square grand piano
has her place in the history and evolution of pianos.
She came before the upright and player pianos,
and she certainly came before the modern day grand.
And so, she has value because she is,
in fact, a part of piano evolution. 
She is, in fact,
the grandparent of the modern day grand piano.

When restoring these instruments
new owners of these old pianos
are often amazed that the hammers
have leather instead of felt.
Again, we must look to the times
when these instruments were built.
Piano builders of the day
would have used the material they had on hand.
As such, they had more of a harp sound.
From leather to felt,
this is a part of the piano evolution.

By about 1880-1890,
the upright piano grew very popular.
It was considered as much more fashionable
than the square grand piano.
The upright piano was smaller
(can you believe it?)
and took up less space.
And so, the square grand piano
became obsolete by about the year 1900.

It really is an irony
that these old upright pianos,
the ones that gained favor
after the square grand lost favor,
are the ones all over craigslist
as the instruments people are giving away.
It just blows my mind
that the upright piano is so unwanted today,
so out of favor.
They sound absolutely phenomenal!
My brother owns an upright
and I've always been jealous
of that beautiful sounding piano.
But just a word before you give yours away,
before you post her on Craiglist as "free".. . . . .
...she may have ivory keys!!!

...But, again, history has replaced her
with The Grand Piano....

And even more,
nearly anyone and everyone
can afford or has room in their home
or apartment for an electronic keyboard.
The piano evolution continues,
and not many seem to be aware
of what exactly they have
nor of what the history is. 

Sadly, many give away
or throw out an old piano totally unaware.
I have a facebook photographer friend
who takes photos in abandoned buildings
and is always posting pics of pianos
that have been abandoned. . . .
. . .makes me so sad. . . . . . 

. . .how I wish I could take all of them in.
How I wish I could save
and restore every unwanted upright, grand and square. . .
 . . .in my next life
I'm going to save all of the pianos,
start a piano museum,
restore and repair and tune them
and then give them to loving families who want them.

 . . But I digress. . . . 
Back to the square grand. . . 

Even though the square grand piano
has her place in history,
there are those who would detract
and state that the square grand piano
has an inferior sound.
The truth is,
it is a softer sound than the grand or upright.
As previously stated,
some actually sound like a harp.
So we can't compare apples and oranges. 

We need to understand
what was going on in history
and what materials where available at the time,
as well as look at what venues
these pianos were crafted for. 

Today, we want baby grands and concert grands.
We want Elton John's pianos
to have bigger and bigger sound.
We want louder and louder pianos
every time we see him. 
And, in fact,
looking at things historically,
putting things in perspective,
today's modern music really
does carry a harsher/louder sound.

Back in the day,
there were theaters and parlors
that needed the music of the piano.
Back in the day,
an instrument that made music
to fill The Palace of Auburn Hills
wasn't being considered.
It was a softer sound, a gentler sound,
that was so desired. 

And so,
now that I've more or less explained
what a square grand is,
you probably wonder why.
It is because with great joy
we want to tell the whole wide world
that we now find ourselves
as the new owners of a very, very old antique piano.
(Pianos are considered antique at 100 years old.)

We are the new owners
of an antique piano that is museum worthy.
She is a square grand piano.
She bears the name, "Steinway & Sons."
She is 142 years old.
I've named her Andrea.
Hey, people name their boats.
Why can't I name my piano? 
She hasn't been delivered yet.
She won't come home for a couple of more days yet.
But I will let you all know once she gets here!!

This blog, then,
is dedicated to finding creative ways
of raising necessary capital
to have her completely restored. 

Please, help me welcome Andrea the Piano
to The Beautiful City of Wyandotte, MI
. . . and more specifically,
to The Little Piano House!