Savoring the Acoustic Piano

Key Discovery

Developmental biologists now know that infants are born with large numbers of excess brain cells that are loosely connected together into the neural network that provide thought, creativity and intelligence.

Each experience, such as being read to, playing with a brightly colored toy or listening to music, strengthens the connections between frequently used brain calls, even as those that are unused are winnowed away.

 Rats and mice raised with toys and other forms of stimulation are more intelligent and creative than those raised in the absence of such a mental playground. The same is true for humans, virtually all scientists now agree.

 But no one had previously associated a specific stimulus with improvements in specific abilities. The new study is apparently the first to do so.

 The team recruited 111 – 3 and 4 year-olds at three preschools. One was an inner-city school for single mothers who had gone back to community college, while the other two served middle-class families. Thirty-three of the children withdrew from the schools during the study and were not included in the analysis.

 The children were randomly divided into four groups. One group received daily singing lessons and two 15 minute private piano lessons per week at school. A piano was also made available if they had none of their own. A second group received only the group singing lessons. Members of the third group received two 15 minute private computer lessons each week, while those in the fourth group received no lessons at all.

 At the beginning of the study, each student received four tests of mental ability, including one that measures spatial-temporal reasoning. In the spatial test, students might be shown a picture of a camel broken into four pieces and be asked to reassemble it. They might also be shown a simple geometric figure and be asked to match it with one of a group of similar figures.

 At the beginning of the study, all of the students scored at the national norm on the tests.

 At the end of six months, those who received piano lessons scored an average of 34% higher on the tests of spatial-temporal ability, while those in the other three groups showed no improvement on any of the tests.

Because the children later enrolled in public schools, the team was unable to follow up to determine how long the effect persisted.

 Raushcer, who studied piano and the cello as a child, thinks that the lessons were beneficial because “music is one of the few art forms that occurs over time. It requires mental imagery, transforming mental images and being able to reason in sequence.

 It seems as if music and science share some things in common.

 The team chose the piano “because it is one of the easiest to start children on,” she said. “You can see a direct linear relationship between the keyboard and the musical scale.

That’s not true with stringed instruments, for example.

 

Did you know?

* Pianos were the first meaningful brand names, the first “status symbol” and the first major items sold on an installment basis, which was the cornerstone of several major banking institutions of today.

* Silver, glass, gold and silk have been used in making strings for musical instruments.

* Nearly all of Beethoven’s compositions were created on pianos that were built by
Nanette Streicher.

The Piano Technician’s Guild (PTG) is the world’s premier source of expertise in piano service and technology. They represent more than 100 years of collective knowledge, have a membership of over 4000 reaching around the globe and have the industries only recognized piano certification program.

 Learning to read music, transferring the information through our fingers and experimenting with self expression are not only satisfying for the creative juices but significantly enhancing to our thinking skills and presence of mind.

Even playing “from your heart,” as in the case of Irving Berlin who couldn’t read music, it’s likely that your persistent efforts will bear rich fruit unto rare joy and satisfaction.

 

Truly,

~ Herb Bridgman

 

P.S.

The *Bump at the bottom of the key travel says volumes for the expression of the piano … and the brand.

The *Bump is, in the profession, referred to as “after-touch,” and is actually a “more pronounced” resistance at the bottom of key travel. After-touch allows the player to “play their feelings” more perfectly into their music.

Manufacturers that incorporate significant after-touch; such as Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Knabe and many more spend long hours engineering strategic after-touch into the “feel” of their pianos 88 keys.

 You’ll rarely find After-touch outside of the “acoustic” piano. Your Gramma’s old upright had it.

It is in the piano at Carnegie Hall, it’s in the piano at Steinway hall; it’s in the Yamaha concert grand in the theater at University of California in Riverside, as well as all pianos in the UCR music department.

We can regulate/adjust it more expressively into the piano you may purchase from us, or the piano that presently resides in your home.