Music Instruments

A Look at the Piano Brands and Finding the Best Piano for You

A short post today, courtesy of Robert Estrin of Living Piano TV on piano brands and how to find the best piano for you:

Piano Shopping with my Adult Student

Piano shopping with one of my adult students was educational for me as well. It also proved to me that the piano chooses the musician.

World Music Exploration - Cajon Peruano

This week's clip features my tertiary instrument: the cajon! This percussion instrument is Afro-Peruvian in origin, developed by slaves. Now, it's played worldwide in Latin, Flamenco, pop, rock and jazz music.

(c) 2011 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Looking for Piano Tuner?

Pianos, like cars, need regular maintenance to keep them in top shape. A major part of that is piano tuning. Three easy ways to find a good tuner are:

  1. Ask your music teacher for a recommendation - once a teacher has found a good tuner, he/she sticks with that tuner.
  2. Visit the Piano Technicians' Guild online directory of Registered Piano Technicians.
  3. Look in the Yellow Pages.

(c) 2007 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

On Group Classes & Boomwhackers

On the weekend, Maestro and I held two intermediate group classes for the piano kids. Although I'm sure we all would have loved to sleep in on Saturday, it seemed like everyone was having a good time. There were seven junior intermediate students in the morning class. They introduced themselves by setting their names to a rhythm and joining in one person at a time. The polyrhythms meshed together nicely.

The kids then played a song they are currently working on - a kind of "show and tell". The student in the audience, armed with markers, wrote down words or sketched something to describe what they were hearing. Two students played their songs twice - once according to the original score and a second time with their version; a shy pixie who played The Mouse in the Coal Bin by Charles Peerson and one of my hardest working students played The Prowling Pussy Cat by William Gillock. They succeeded in their performances as the others described them as "sneaky", "sly" and "mysterious."

The afternoon class was comprised of four of my senior intermediate students. They enjoyed playing with the Boomwhackers (far more than they enjoyed playing for each other). I jotted down the letter names of the notes to a famous tune on the whiteboard, such as Aloha, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Each student was in charge of two notes. Without speaking, they had to sightread the notes and come in at the right time. We had to repeat the songs a few times before they became recognizable, but it was a fun process.

Maestro was in seventh heaven. He managed to steal the bongo drums a couple of times in class and play them with his paws. He has this "scratch, scratch, pat, pat, arf arf, flip the drums over"rhythm that he likes. He snagged the tambourine once as well. Yes, Maestro is a bit of a show off.

I wish my piano teachers held group classes when I was younger. The social interaction and the music games really get the kids going. At the end of the last class, I overheard one of my students asking the rest of the students for their e-mail addresses so they could keep in touch.

Now that's a great idea.

Boomwhackers and Resources:

Boom 'n' Tunes: Just for Fun look inside


Boom 'n' Tunes: Just for Fun By Linda Forrest. For Boomwhackers, Unison choir. Novelty. Book and accompaniment CD. Published by Heritage Music Press (LO.30-1946H)

...more info

(c) 2007 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.