Category - Inside the PIano

Can you carve out a career by ear?

Jake Mirow is one of those students you don’t forget. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure all my current and former students but Jake was different. In fact, that’s how Jake came to my studio, because his mom and dad knew he was different and that he needed something different.

What does different mean? Jake has an uncanny ability to play by ear with style and flair. The best way to explain it? He’s hard-wired differently than most.

Example? After seeing the movie Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey in 2009, Jake returned to his lesson and played a jaw-dropping medley of the soundtrack. It’s like his ears have a photographic memory?!?

Mmm….what does a classically trained pianist trying to get over her own fear of improvising do with a student like Jake? Read More

Yamaha’s P255 Digital Piano: You’re Gonna Want One!

Are wondering which digital piano will fit your needs?

Are you looking to add your first digital piano to your studio?

Are you hoping to add an additional digital piano to your studio?

Have you noticed the “buzz” around teaching piano in groups? If you are gearing up to teach in groups, most experts in the field admit that you can do so with just about any kind of keyboard. Yes, even an old Hammond organ will do!

But, when you are–

  • done putting up with an old keyboard
  • ready to offer your students a serious and digital instrument
  • searching for a reasonable price tag
  • looking to upgrade the level of technology in your studio
  • wishing to add your very first digital piano to your studio

–whatever the case may be—you’ll want to buy Yamaha’s P255 digital piano.

The P255 recently joined my growing collection of Yamaha pianos. I wouldn’t trade my C6 or my Clavinova CVP 505 for the world. The P255 took the place of an ancient Roland keyboard. I set five requirements for the replacement of the ancient keyboard.

The P255 digital piano meets all my requirements and then some


1) Compatibility

The digital piano is MIDI capable (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) which means it can be wired to and “talk” to an iPad or computer. This feature is not unusual now-a-days, but is extremely important to me as I want students to be able to play Piano Maestro with head phones, and notate compositions using either Notion or Noteflight. Both notation programs are MIDI compatible and allow composers to enter notes by playing them on a MIDI compatible keyboard.

2) Portability

It is my intention to provide students more playing opportunities and to “play it forward” at various public and private venues. Since there is never a guarantee that a decent piano will be around, it is crucial that my new keyboard is light enough to carry with me on the go. At 38 pounds, this is not a problem. I purchased an X-stand so that it can be set up anywhere (see pic below.)

This also means that I can move the keyboard around in my studio to suit my needs when teaching in group settings. Read More

Get Inspired! Don’t Miss Episode 5

YouTube has revolutionized the music world. With a couple of clicks, we can be transported to music and instruments of earlier times. With another click, we can travel back to the present and view the latest pop song video. Justin Bieber can thank the birth of YouTube for his rise in a remarkable career and fan base (understatement, I know). Budding musicians can find a performance of just about any piece to enhance their education and boost playing skills. All of this is so easily accessed and free (but not free from ads!).

Episode 5 features two artists that found YouTube to be a vehicle for teaching, demonstrating and inspiring (and building a fan club, too). While one artist connects us to the history of today’s piano, the other brings us to unique sites with today’s piano .

The artists play on vastly different instruments and it’s obvious–keyboards changed over the centuries. However, how we learn about these instruments and view performances has changed even more. Click here to find out why. (Episode 5)

FYI: Stay tuned for Episode 6, the last one of 2012. It will feature a gift idea for your hard-to-shop-for music-student families. More details coming soon!

Get the “Inside” Scoop on the Piano

Today I had little time but wanted to find a lab activity to explain how the piano “works”. Wow, did I strike gold! Not only did I find work sheets, concise historical facts and fun online games, but I also found a helpful video showing the intricate action of the piano. Today’s students all commented on how they enjoyed the video hosted by Clarence Zeches and recorded by Allan Roth.

All pianists should be well informed of their instrument and I am always so thankful to those who help to explain the complicated but wonderful “insides” of the piano!

Get the full scoop at Piano Learning Center.

ADDITION! Check out my growing Youtube playlist featuring videos about the piano–its history, how it works and more.