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April 2016

A monthly newsletter to inform

and entertain our friends

5 Facts About The Piano


There are few activities more rewarding than learning to play the piano. While it is an amazingly complex instrument that takes years to master, it can also be fun for players of all levels. One of the greatest aspects about the piano is that it is immediately approachable and very versatile.
This is due in part to the wide selection of music available for piano, which spans many different styles and genres. 



Here are 5 unique and interesting facts about the piano that you may not know:



1.) While a piano may seem like a simple instrument to operate, it has more than 12,000 parts, 10,000 of which are moving. The extensive number of moving parts is one reason why tuning a piano can be such an involved process.


2.) The piano has earned the moniker “The King of Instruments” primarily for its wide tonal range. The piano can reach the lowest note of the contrabassoon and the highest note of the piccolo. There is no other orchestral instrument that can match its complete tonal range.


3) A standard piano has about 230 strings, each of which has about 165 pounds of tension. The combined tension of the strings is more than 18 tons. For the concert grand piano, that number increases to more than 30 tons.


4.) Piano keys were originally made from ivory, thus the origin of the phrase, “tickle the ivories.” This lasted until the 1950s, when cost and environmental concerns caused piano makers to switch to plastic keys.


5.) A new piano needs to be tuned at least four times in the first year. Seasonal changes in temperature and humidity will cause the piano to go out of tune. After the first year, it should be tuned twice a year. (Courtesy of Sheet Music Plus)


Study reveals practicing a musical instrument helps children focus and plan ahead



A recent study published by researchers at the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine provides more evidence of the benefits music can bring to children and young people.

According to the examination of 232 brain scans of children aged six to 18, lead by Professor James Hudziak, practicing a musical instrument positively influences developments in the brain which help children to cope with emotions, improve attentiveness and sharpen executive functions.

Concretely, the Professor of Psychiatry’s study revealed that a positive activity, such as playing music, impacted the development of the cortex, the brain’s outer layer. Hudziak previously discovered that cortical thickening in certain areas of the brain is linked with the development of psychological problems like anxiety, attention difficulties and behavioral issues. The study’s authors noted that practicing music had a beneficial effect on “executive functioning, including working memory, attentional control, as well as organization and planning for the future.”

Hudziak suggested that giving a child a violin may be more helpful in dealing with anxiety than a bottle of pills. “We treat things that result from negative things, but we never try to use positive things as a treatment,” Hudziak said.

One major difficulty with this approach identified by the study is that in the US, three quarters of high school students do not take any musical or extracurricular tuition. Allowing children to secure the benefits of music practice would require considerably expanding access to music lessons by increasing funding.





Over 100 recital videos are now on YouTube! Visit "Sweet Sounds for You" to see you and your friends performing at past recitals!


Recital videos are also available on facebook!

We are pleased to send you this monthly issue of our newsletter. It is our way of saying that you are important to us and we truly value your business. Enjoy!
Coming Attractions:



May 14, 2016

IMA Contest Prep &

General Recital


Illinois Music Association

Contest May 21 & 22, 2016


August 21, 2016 

Summer Recital 


October 15, 2016

Halloween Recital 




The Glass Armonica


In 1761 Benjamin Franklin was in London representing the Pennsylvania Legislature to Parliament. Franklin was very interested in music: he was a capable amateur musician, attended concerts regularly, and even wrote a string quartet! One of the concerts Franklin attended was by Deleval, a colleague of his in the Royal Academy, who performed on a set of water tuned wineglasses patterned after Pockridge's instrument. Franklin was enchanted, and determined to invent and build 'a more convenient' arrangement.

Franklin's new invention premiered in early 1762, played by Marianne Davies—a well known musician in London who learned to play Franklin's new invention. Initially Franklin named it the 'glassychord', but soon settled on 'armonica' as the name for his new invention—after the Italian word for harmony "armonia". Apparently Franklin built a second instrument for Ms. Davies, as she toured Europe with hers, while Franklin returned to Philadelphia with his own.

The armonica made quite a hit, particularly in Germany. Mozart was introduced to it by Franz Mesmer, who used his to 'mesmerize' his patients, and later Mozart wrote two works for it (a solo armonica piece, and a larger quintet for armonica, flute, oboe, viola and cello). Beethoven also wrote a little piece for amonica and narrator (!), and many of their colleagues of the day composed for it as well—some 200 pieces for armonica (solo, or with other instruments) survive from that era.

But musical fashions changed. Music was moving out of the relatively small aristocratic halls of Mozart's day into the large public concert halls of the 19th century, and without amplification it simply couldn't be heard. During this period, musical instruments in general were significantly redesigned to make them louder to be heard in the larger public concert halls—the piano went through a major transformation from a "quiet little harpsichord with hammers" of Mozart's day to the massive instrument we know today, and instruments of the orchestra—strings, winds, brass—were all modified to increase their volume. But there really wasn't any way to make the armonica louder. Concert reviews from the period bemoan the fact that the armonica sounded wonderful—when it could be heard. So, alas, Franklin's marvelous invention was ultimately abandoned.

Amplification is of course no longer a problem, but even today there are only a dozen or so glass armonica performers worldwide.  (Courtesy of Glassarmonica.com)

















Thank you to all of the students, instructors, and families that participated in our duet recital last month.



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