Sunday, August 31, 2014

Story of My Life (One Direction -- Piano/Cello Cover) - ThePianoGuys

As we began our arrangement of One Direction's "Story of My Life" we wanted it to feel like each note of the music was a word in a vivid story being told. When writing a song sometimes you just need a little spark. That catalyst came from a piece of classical music -- one that had such a "storybook feel" to it that we gleaned inspiration from it: Saint-Saƫns' "Aquarium" from his Suite "Carnival of the Animals."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Piano and Child's IQ

There have been countless studies done, such as those done at the University of Toronto and the University of Wisconsin, that indicate that playing the piano enhances the IQ of children. The premise of these groundbreaking studies is that children have higher levels of plasticity in their brain, which comes along with learning and developing, and playing the piano stimulates the brain, making it stronger. Buying a keyboard after the age of 15 in the hopes of boosting your overall IQ probably won't garner the same results that are expected of a child. But the question remains; why does playing the piano improve the IQ of children; why does playing the piano makes kids smarter?

The first step in understanding the salutary aspects of the piano lies in the brain, or rather, the observation of how it works. The brain is comprised of countless millions of neural pathways, all of which have the capability of being stimulated and transformed. When neural pathways are used often, those pathways become easier to access and utilize in the future. Playing the piano activates many neural pathways through various activities associated in playing it.

First of all the act of reading music, recognizing a symbol and translating it into sound, helps tremendously with linguistic/language-oriented parts of the brain. Reading music and associating each symbol with a sound is language in its rawest form. When a child learns to read music, even on a basic level, they are hitting those neural pathways associated with auditory learning, thus improving their cognitive abilities in that area. Playing the piano helps the child better recognize, decipher, and interpret sound and language.

The second part of how a child's IQ is boosted from playing the piano is in the coordination that the child must use to play the piano. When the child learns to hit certain keys on the piano to play notes (and with a specific technique), the child is improving their coordination both cognitively and physically. However, in regard to IQ, we will focus of the cognitive benefits of playing the piano. When a child learns the order of the keys of the piano and how they arranged according to pitch and intonation, they have encoded a distinct pattern. In practicing the pattern, they are better able to recognize patterns and are better able to coordinate their approaches to those patterns.

The third part of how a child's IQ is boosted from playing the piano is perhaps the most exciting part of a child's development; learning ability. Given the significant aforementioned plasticity of the young brain, it only makes sense that a child's learning ability is profoundly distinguished in these early stages. Learning how to play the piano activates the neural pathways for learning, posing those pathways to learn new, more complex concepts that don't necessarily have anything to do with the piano. It all has to do with the way the brain encodes the systematic learning processes that go along with learning the piano. In a way, it is like experience for the brain, valuable experience that poses the child to learn more intricate systems with much more ease than his/her peers.

It seems as though there is no end to the benefits brought upon us through the piano. The education of children is, of course, is an extremely important component to the future of our society, if not the primary one.

For more information on pianos and their many benefits, do not hesitate to contact us!
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Music and Creativity in Ancient Greece - Tim Hansen

You think you love music? You have nothing on the Ancient Greek obsession. Every aspect of Greek life was punctuated by song: history, poetry, theater, sports and even astronomy. In fact, music was so important to Greek philosopher Plato that he claimed the music we listen to directly affects our ethics. Tim Hansen wonders what Plato might have to say about the music we listen to today.

 Lesson by Tim Hansen, animation by TOGETHER.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jazz Guitarist Stanley Jordan on Music Therapy Benefits

Jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan tells WSJ's Lee Hawkins about his study of music therapy and how it's used to help people overcome illnesses and chronic conditions. Photo: Stanley Jordan

Saturday, August 16, 2014

5 Year-Old Piano Prodigy Ryan Wang Performs for 101 Year-Old Dorothy Landry

CBC Music asked 5 year old Piano Prodigy to perform some of his repertoire for Dorothy Landry.

Dorothy is 101 years old and perhaps Ryan's biggest fan. Even though she has seen him perform before she is hard of hearing so never fully got to experience Ryan playing. She gets a front row seat for this performance.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Megan Washington: Why I Live in Mortal Dread of Public Speaking

Megan Washington is one of Australia's premier singer/songwriters. And, since childhood, she has had a stutter. In this bold and personal talk, she reveals how she copes with this speech impediment—from avoiding the letter combination “st” to tricking her brain by changing her words at the last minute to, yes, singing the things she has to say rather than speaking them.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 Benicia Art Walk - Benicia Peddler's Fair

Benicia Peddler’s Fair, look for Art Walk banners

Saturday, August 9th
3:00pm - 7:00pm

Event Promises Art, Entertainment, and an Exploration of Steampunk

The Benicia Second Saturdays Art Walk kicks off the 2014 season at 21 downtown venues that include businesses, galleries, and public art.

Boasting one of the most active arts communities in the Bay Area, Benicia is home to over 200 artists, including painters, sculptors, stained and blown glass artists, printmakers and bookbinders, textile and ceramic artists, jewelers and multi-media artists.

Benicia Art Walk presents the opportunity to experience art in Benicia, and for visitors to enjoy the dining, shopping, music, and history that Benicia has become known for.

The Art Walk takes place in Benicia's historic downtown First Street area, from Military East to the scenic waterfront along the Carquinez Strait. Spend the day strolling our downtown, take in some of our exciting art offerings, and take advantage of the opportunity to shop and dine, too.

To download the brochure, please click HERE

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Is A Woodwind Instrument? Facts About Flutes

What is a woodwind instrument? The woodwind instruments are instruments that produce sound as a result of air flowing through them. Instruments that belong to this family include the oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon and flute. While all of the other instruments mentioned are actually classified as reed instruments because that is the way that the air flows through them, the flute is an instrument that makes its sound from air being blown across an opening. The openings are closed or kept open depending on the notes that the flute player would like to produce. The flute is easily one of the most difficult instruments to master, but it is also one of the most beautiful sounding instruments as it is often used to signify light and joy in music.

Some fun facts

There are many things that you should know about the flute before you start playing, not least the myriad of fun facts that surround the instrument itself.

  • A flute player is most commonly referred to as a flautist or a flutist. The less common version of that is a fluter, but that is an old English term that is seldom used anymore.

  • The flute family has got five types of flute that you can choose from in terms of playing. There is the piccolo, alto, tenor, bass and contrabass flute. The piccolo generates the highest pitched sounds and the contrabass flute, the lowest pitched sound.

  • The most popular concert flute is pitched to play in the key of C as that is the universal key, and it has a range of about three octaves.

  • The flute is one of the most common instruments throughout history. The earliest example of it was found in Germany (c.35, 000 BCE), but other cultures such as the Chinese and Japanese are famous for their flutes as well.

  • Throughout history, the flute has been made of several different types of materials including resin, brass, bone, wood and sliver. Silver is the most popular material that the flute is made from today.

  • Lots of famous people throughout history have taken up the flute as a hobby, one of the most famous being Leonardo Da Vinci who believed that the pursuit of music made man a smarter being.
If you are interested in playing the flute, you should start right away. It is a beautiful and very rewarding instrument to learn and you can enjoy many happy years with your flute.

If you want to learn to play the flute at a great music school, you should go to Phoenix Benedict Music Academy. Renowned for its world-class standard of tuition, this is one music school that truly has it all when it comes to tailored music tuition. Every teacher is certified, and you too can gain not only an international accreditation, but a great education as well. For more info, visit us at
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Friday, August 1, 2014

7 Ways That Learning a New Instrument Can Help You

You may have been thinking about learning how to play a new instrument, or you may have been thinking about enrolling your child in music lessons. For many people, they just do not understand how much learning a new instrument can help them or their child in the end. Here are just a few ways how learning a new instrument can help you.

You can learn how to express yourself. Music has always been a way for people to outlet emotions. Feelings of happiness, anger, and sadness are all common emotions that have been vented through music. Many people feel so much better after they have been able to play their instrument for a little while when they are feeling pent up with emotions and cannot express it adequately.

Expressing yourself through music is a safe way to let those negative emotions. Rather than having an outburst at someone you love, you will be able to pick up your instrument of choice and play it all out until you feel better. You will not have harmed anyone with your words, fists, or other actions that you cannot take back.

It may become a new hobby. Learning an instrument is a great way to pass the time. Numbers of people have started a hobby and then stopped it because they became bored or found something better to do. Playing an instrument that you love never gets boring or dull. Some people love their hobby so much that they decide to teach it to others or to join a band.

You can meet new people. If you decide to play in front of others, you will be amazed at how many connections you make with other people who love music. While music can be a solitary experience, it can be a very social one, too. It is all about what you are comfortable. At the very least, you will meet a new professional through the person who gives you lessons.

It may open up a new world to you. Once you start playing an instrument, you will become more aware of the separate sounds in your favorite songs. You will be able to pick out certain things about musical instruments that you were likely never aware of before. You will be amazed at all of the knowledge that you have learned when you have a good professional teacher helping you to learn all aspect of your musical endeavor.

You may have something to fall back on. Some people may not realize just how much music can bring to them. After learning for so long, a person may be inclined to study music professionally or to teach it as a side job or career. You never know what you might feel after you have gotten so far with your music lessons.

Learning a new instrument is continuous. When you learn how to play your favorite musical instrument, there will never be a time when you decide that you are done learning. There is always something new to learn or a way to play. You will get comfortable playing in a certain way and have your own style, but you will always be able to improve and learn more as you go on.

Playing an instrument is a healthy way to have fun. It can be easy to get involved in less healthy habits when you find yourself with a lot of time to spare and nothing to do. Learning how to play an instrument takes up that extra time and keeps people out of trouble. If you find yourself picking up bad habits, take that time to pick up your instrument instead. You may wean yourself off your habit more easily than you expected.

LetsPlayGuitar offers music lessons to children, ages seven years and up, to adults of all ages. These lessons can teach anyone how to play the electric or acoustic guitar in privacy or inside of a school. Two full time Professional RGT Registered Tutors and BA Hons in Music qualified teachers are confident that they will be able to teach anyone of any skill level new techniques and applications that will have students playing better than they ever had before. LetsPlayGuitar was awarded "Most Loved Music Teacher in Gloucestershire 2013" By, and hundreds of students have enjoyed learning with the best of the best. For more information about LetsPlayGuitar, please visit the website at or call 07816 900422.
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