Cuteness alert: Puppy accompanies teen’s piano performance

via WCNC.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Performing in front of an audience is intimidating. Luckily for 14-year-old Eli Dykes, when he takes a seat at the piano bench he has a little help from a friend.

Eli has played the piano for eight years and has performed in state-level competitions. But it wasn’t until a month ago, he had someone to accompany him.

That someone is Lovey, a 10-week-old Pointer/Spaniel mix that is currently up for adoption.

Eli’s family fosters dogs from the South Charlotte Dog Rescue. About a month ago, they took in three foster puppies, including Lovey.

“We fostered three of the five litter and they all used to sing together,” Eli’s mother, Kimberly Dykes says. “I have three dogs myself and they were the first ones ever to contribute.”

Kimberly says that if Eli started playing, Lovey and her siblings started singing.

“The first time we just laughed because he would stop playing and they would stop howling,” Kimberly says. “High notes, low notes, it didn’t matter.”

The doggy duet was surprising for the family because Lovey and her siblings weren’t big barkers. But even when the pups were outside, if they heard Eli begin to practice piano, they couldn’t help but join in.

“I used to tease Eli saying that the dogs were howling at him playing, but now that I look at the video, she really is singing along,” Kimberly says.
Read the full article here

Couple gives away piano with $600K in gold coins inside.

A hoard of valuable gold coins worth more than half a million dollars has been found inside a piano which was given away for nothing by its previous owners.

Graham and Meg Hemmings, from Shropshire,  England, donated their old instrument to a local school with no idea it was full of gold.

Its new owners, Bishop’s Castle Community College, only discovered the hidden stash after they paid a piano tuner to fix the instrument.

Inside, he found 913 gold coins that are more than a century old.

The hoard is a mixture of old British sovereign and half-sovereign pieces, and between them contain more than 13lbs of gold.

Under UK law, unexpected valuable finds can be taken into the custody of the legal system, and officially declared “treasure” if they are significant enough.

This was the case with the gold coin hoard, with the result that museums will be able to bid for the items, and the people who found them will be paid their market rate.

In this case, the value of the find was declared to be £500,000 ($640,000) – and will be divided evenly between the college and the piano tuner.

Since the Hemmings’ gave the piano away, they have no right to any of the reward – and, remarkably, don’t seem to mind.

Mr Hemmings, 72, said: “We’re very glad that the college will benefit. We knew the piano needed tuning when we moved it to Bishop’s Castle but it played well.”

Read more here

Music education proven to enhance early learning

Music is part of everyone’s life. It is all around us, all the time. It can be heard on the radio, in vehicles, at the grocery store and in our homes. It can be used to calm or to excite, and it can even be used to help the learning process. When a child becomes engaged in learning through the use of music, it stimulates them in more ways than just being easy on the ears.

Tiffany Wibbenmeyer, a band instructor at Perry County School District No. 32, said that music positively affects students, and thata musical education can contribute to other areas of their learning.

“There are very few things that literally every single culture, in any era, shares, and music is one of them,” Wibbenmeyer said. “Music engages the entire brain. It’s so good for the growth of young, and even older, minds. Music invokes emotions; to hype people up, or to make people laugh or cry.”

Many years of research have discovered that music facilitates learning and enhances skills that children use in other areas of their life. Making music involves more than just singing or playing an instrument with your fingers; learning through music makes children use multiple sets of skills at the same time.

Through the use of music they learn to work their body, voice and even their brain together. Just by practicing an instrument, children are improving their range of motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, much like playing sports.

Children love to imitate what they see and hear around them. As the child copies things they see, they pay attention to try and imitate everything from actions to songs and words. According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. Studies have shown that any kind of musical training helps to physically develop the left side of the brain, which is the part where language processing occurs.

Children who are musically involved, versus those who are non-musical, also show signs of a higher neurological development and activity over time. By learning to read music and identify patterns, they are constantly using their memory to perform, even by reading from sheet music. It also promotes craftsmanship and discipline, such as dedicating time to learn how to plan an instrument or a piece of music.

“Sometimes making up silly songs to go along with new material in a classroom helps students memorize things better in school,” Wibbenmeyer said.

“Even very young students use music to memorize things, just like The Alphabet Song. If you want to make something better you add music to it. I can remember songs I haven’t heard in years because the music helped me to remember the words.”

Listening to music has been proven to help young children detect different elements in sound, like an emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have a better auditory attention to pick out patterns and sounds from surrounding noise. By understanding music and how it works, children are taught to visualize the different elements and how they perform together. This can train skills in the brain that are used to solve multistep problems often found in math, art, gaming and even computer work.

Students also have been seen to improve test scores more than other students not involved in music. In a study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, students from an elementary school involved in a superior music education program scored about 22 percent higher in English and about 20 percent higher in math on standardized tests. Another report indicates higher SAT scores from students with musical experience.

Read more here

Gold found inside piano

LONDON — British officials are trying to trace the owner of a trove of gold coins worth a “life-changing” amount of money found stashed inside a piano.

A coroner investigating the find on Thursday urged anyone with information to come forward.

When the piano’s owners took it to be tuned last year in Shropshire, central England, it was found to contain a hoard of gold sovereigns minted between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.

Investigators have determined that the piano was built in London in 1906 and sold to a pair of piano teachers in Saffron Walden, eastern England. They are seeking information on its ownership before 1983.

Anyone wanting to make a claim has until April 20, when coroner John Ellery will conclude his inquest.

If the gold’s owner or heirs cannot be traced, it will be declared treasure, and the piano’s current owners will reap the reward.

Officials have not disclosed how much the coins are worth. Peter Reavill, who assesses finds for the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, said “it’s a hoard of objects which is potentially life-changing for somebody to receive.”

Read more here

The Grand Opening of Jordan Kitt’s New Rockville Showroom and Music Education Center

On January 25th, Jordan Kitt’s Music celebrated the grand opening of its flagship showroom and Music Education Center in Rockville, MD with a special concert and reception.

Grand Opening
Tony DeSare performs to a capacity crowd at the new Jordan Kitt’s Rockville Showroom

The Grand Opening Concert featured the enormous talents of Tony DeSare, who enthralled a capacity audience of just under 100 with a performance melding contemporary, jazz, pop, and classical piano.

Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei.

Jordan Kitt's Grand Opening
(L to R) Chris Syllaba, CEO of Jordan KItt’s Music, Tony DeSare, Ray Fugere, CFO of Jordan Kitt’s Music.

In an effort to expand its showroom, recital facility and Music Education Center, as well as consolidate it’s warehouse from a separate facility into an adjoining one, Jordan Kitt’s Music moved into this new location in December, and became fully open in mid January. The new space is more convenient to customers accessing the store from the beltway, and offers more than 5,000 square feet of new & used pianos from manufacturers such as Yamaha, Bosendorfer, Mason & Hamlin, Roland, Cristofori and others.

Recital Hall
A reception was held in the new recital facility designed for audiences of up to 90, and featuring a Yamaha concert grand for performance.

The facility also has a greatly expanded 1,500 square foot Music Education Center, offering piano instruction to hundreds of students weekly.  It includes private teaching studios complete with performance grade pianos, a large group teaching facility, a waiting area for parents, and a recital hall for seating of up to 90 complete with a Yamaha CF series concert grand piano.

The store expansion in Montgomery County marks Jordan Kitt’s Music’s 105th year of continuous service to the customers, institutions and piano students in metropolitan Washington, D.C. and continues to be the area’s (and one of the nation’s) oldest continuously operating music stores.  Jordan Kitt’s Music has matched the perfect piano with over 250,000 customers since 1912, as well as having taught over one million piano lessons.

MSMTA
(L to R) Michiko Yurko, member of Maryland State Music Teachers Association (MSMTA), Chris Syllaba, CEO of Jordan Kitt’s Music, Artist Tony DeSare, Lily Chang, founder International Young Artist Piano Competition (IYAPC) and member MSMTA, Alice Shiu, a teacher at the new Rockville Music Education Center and member MSMTA, and Ray Fugere, CFO of Jordan Kitt’s Music

The new showroom and Music Education Center is located at 11726 Parklawn Drive in Rockville, just 2.6 miles from the Washington Beltway (495) off the Rockville Pike (Rte 355) exit.  Anyone wishing to find out more information about lessons, the recital facility, home or event rentals or information about new or used products should contact us today at info@jordankitts.com

 

 

Jordan Kitt’s CEO elected to the NAMM Board of Directors

Just days ago, the National Association of Music Merchants elected a new board of Directors, including the appointment of Chris Syllaba, President and CEO of Jordan Kitt’s Music.

NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, commonly called NAMM in reference to the organization’s popular NAMM trade shows, is the not-for-profit association that promotes the pleasures and benefits of making music and strengthens the $17 billion global music products industry. It serves as a hub for people wanting to seek out the newest innovations in musical products, recording technology, sound and lighting. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages.

NAMM welcomed the following members to the organization’s Board of Directors: Lauren Haas Amanfoh, President, Royalton Music Center, Inc.; Bryan Bradley, Senior Vice President/General Manager, HARMAN International; Philip Cajka, President and CEO, Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.; Kathy Donahoe, President and Member Partner, American Way Marketing, LLC.; Alun Hughes, Managing Director, British Band Instrument Company Ltd.; J. Scott Mandeville, President, Tim’s Music; Eric Matzat, President, Palen Music Center, Inc.; and Chris Syllaba, President/CEO, Jordan Kitt’s Music.

Jordan Kitt’s Music was asked to be a part of this extraordinary organization for a number of reasons related to its own community outreach efforts, including:

    • Its participation in the Music Education Advocacy DC Fly-In, an annual advocacy effort organized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) to promote music education in our public schools.
    • A partnership with Strathmore, supporting annual student concerts for Montgomery County Public School 2nd and 5th grade students resulting in 20K+ students each year being exposed to music and the different instruments of the orchestra.
    • Its presence on the Give a Note Foundation Board of Directors: formed by leaders of NAfME (National Association for Music Education) to “nurture, grow, and strengthen music education opportunities – every student, every school, every community.”
    • CEO’s involvement with classical music outreach as a member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) Trustee Council.
    • Its commitment to community music outreach through free public concerts featuring area talents at its recital facility
    • Providing music education through approximately 20K lessons taught per year out of five education centers in 2 major markets at Jordan Kitt’s Music School.
    • Its support of music education by providing recital hall, rehearsal rooms and meeting facilities for area music teachers, local Music Teacher Associations, and Piano Guild auditions.
    • The support of local Piano Technician Guild (PTG) meetings and organizing manufacturer training and education opportunities for the local piano technician community.
    • The support of numerous Music Festivals and organizations, including the Washington International Piano Festival, local Music Teacher Associations, and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

Read more here.

National Philharmonic at Strathmore this weekend…

National Philharmonic:
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2

Haochen Zhang, piano
Piotr Gajewski, conductor

Rachmaninoff
Dvořák  
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor
Symphony No. 8 in G Major

Few openings in the piano concerto repertoire can equal the mounting tension at the beginning of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, a piece that established the composer’s fame.

Since his gold medal win at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 26-year-old Chinese pianist Haochen Zhang has captivated audiences in the U.S., Europe and Asia with a unique combination of deep musical sensitivity, fearless imagination and spectacular virtuosity.

“Such a combination of enchanting, sensitive lyricism and hypnotizing forcefulness is a phenomenon encountered very rarely.” — The Jerusalem Post

Get more information and tickets here!

 

11 Year Old Piano Prodigy Surprises Crowd

Via the telegraph

If you close your eyes you could be setting foot in a blues bar on New Orlean’s Bourbon Street.

But this is across the pond in Perth, Australia, and the pianist is 11-year-old Louis Rebeiro, wowing crowds with an impromptu performance.

The self-taught piano prodigy was strolling through the Fremantle Markets when he stumbled upon the music stall and put in a show-stealing jam session.
He was with his cousins and one of them dared him to play for everyone. He just jumped on with no reservations,’ his mother Lorena told Daily Mail Australia.

Footage shows the little legend capturing hearts with an improvised performance spanning nearly eight minutes.

Self taught is great, but so are lessons. Sign up today for Jordan Kitt’s Music School here

Piano helps you stay alert as you get older…

via the DailyMail.com

Pensioners should revive their youthful dreams of becoming a rockstar, new research suggests.

Learning to play an instrument could prevent their brain succumbing to the effects of old age, scientists claim.

A study found musicians have faster reaction times than those who are unable to play the piano, drums or a guitar.

Alertness is known to decrease in old age, but experts say picking up the skill could keep their brain healthy.

Learning to play an instrument could prevent their brain succumbing to the effects of old age, scientists claim

Learning to play an instrument could prevent their brain succumbing to the effects of old age, scientists claim

Researchers from the University de Montreal, Canada, decided to see if there was a way to prevent the negative effects of aging on the brain.

They compared the reaction times of 16 musicians and 19 non-musicians.

The musicians had started playing between the ages of three and 10, and had at least seven years of training.

There were eight pianists, three violinists, two percussionists, one double bassist, one harpist and one viola player.

All but one also mastered a second instrument, or more.

They were sat in a quiet, well-lit room with one hand on a computer mouse and their index finger of the other on a vibro-tactile device – a small box that vibrated intermittently.

A study found musicians have faster reaction times - which decline in old age because of a breakdown in natural brain processes

A study found musicians have faster reaction times – which decline in old age because of a breakdown in natural brain processes

They were told to click on the mouse when they heard a sound from the speakers in front of them – known as audio stimulation.

While they were also asked to click when the box vibrated – referred to as tactile stimulation.

What learning piano in my twenties taught me — and why you should try it

by Rob Price via the Business Insider.

When I was about seven or eight, I went for a taster violin lesson at school. The idea was to get an idea for the instrument, and see if I wanted to learn properly. I enjoyed it — but the expected lessons never materialised.

A few years later, I asked my mother why: Apparently the tutor had refused to teach me.

It’s fair to say that I am not a natural musician.

But at the start of 2016, I resolved to change that. I decided to learn the piano.

It was a year of immense frustrations, and deep satisfaction — and endless Philip Glass. It expanded my horizons, and forced me to confront my failings head on. And for that reason alone, I’d recommend it to anyone.

Why? I wanted to do something totally new

I’m 24 years old, I live in London, and I’ve gone through life without knowing the first thing about music. I love to listen to it — I’ve got a pretty big collection, and I go to gigs regularly. But how it’s made has always been one great big opaque mystery to me.

Both of my brothers play — saxophone and guitar, respectively — but the extent of my musical education was tapping out basic beats on a glockenspiel and learning the first few bars of “Neighbours” on the piano at school. So why did I take the plunge now? Well, there were a few reasons:

  • I wanted to challenge myself. 2016 was the start of my third year living in London. I’d settled into a routine, and wanted to add some variety to my life — and something that would push me in a new direction.
  • I wanted to do something totally new. Learning music for the first time isn’t like taking up a new team ball-sport, or an unusual arts-and-crafts activity. Music is an entirely new category of human endeavour I have never meaningfully engaged in before. That makes it pretty exciting — and intimidating.
  • I love music. Pretty self-explanatory. I hoped that learning an instrument for the first time would enrich my appreciation of the artform.

I also set myself a few goals — some strict, and some more nebulous.

  • Pass my Grade 1 piano exam by the end of 2016. If you’re not familiar with the system, you can take exams as you learn instruments, from Grade 1 through to Grade 8. A clear target of reaching Grade 1 by the end of the year would give me something to work towards, a way to measure my success or failure.
  • Improve my knowledge of classical music. I had no strict timeframe for this, or a set point when it would be “completed.” But I’ve never known my Bach from my Beethoven, and I wanted to change that.
  • Learn “Metamorphosis II,” by Philip Glass. This was a longer-term goal, beyond 2016 — it’s a beautiful, flowing, and technically tricky bit of music that I wanted to work towards as I got better.

How did it all go? The short version is that it was fantastic — I’m extremely glad I did it, and I’d strongly urge to anyone thinking about taking up an instrument to do it, whatever your age.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, however.

Learning something new is a lesson in humility and patience

Note: The following sections go into some detail on what and how I learned. If you just want to know whether I passed the exam or not, skip down to the “arcane mystery” section below.

Let me make this clear: Piano is hard. Really hard. It requires you to think in a way you’ve never done before, juggling a thousand balls simultaneously. Interpret the music. Keep the tempo. Vary the volume. Move both hands independently of one-another. Make sure it all actually sounds good.

You know that brain-straining feeling when you try and multiply three three-digit numbers together? That’s what it felt like to be interpreting and playing music on the fly.

Read more here