Our Yamaha makes it to the White House

Early last week we had the privilege of delivering a brand new Yamaha Grand Piano to the White House for the State Dinner. Yamaha artist John Legend was in attendance and played the beautiful piano to a crowd of A-listers, including the President and his family, the British Prime Minister, and many others.

You can see the piano in pictures from the event here.

My First Time on a Yamaha AvantGrand N3

A few weeks ago I learned that I was scheduled for a service to fix a pedal noise on a Yamaha AvantGrand N3. I learned that our electronic tech had been out and had determined it was an “acoustic” related problem. What that means is that although the AvantGrand is a digital piano, it has acoustic piano parts and functions. Yamaha calls it a hybrid piano, and I have learned that is a very accurate name for it. The piano has a grand piano action with wooden keys and the same moving parts as a concert grand. Digital sensors translate the movement of the keys and action parts to create a simulated digital piano sound.

In preparation for the service call, I decided to disassemble an AvantGrand N3 in our store to familiarise myself with this unique piano. Yamaha had e-mailed us an instruction manual which proved very useful in getting all the case parts off. Once I removed the circuit boards and sensors, I found myself looking at something that was very familiar to me, an acoustic grand action. I noticed that it was the very same mechanism that Yamaha uses in their concert grand pianos with just a few exceptions. There are no felt hammers since there are no strings that actually get struck. There are hammer shanks with steel weights on the ends of them with heavier weight in the bass gradually getting lighter towards the treble.

This very accurately replicates the way an acoustic action would feel. All other aspects of the action are exactly the same as those in acoustic pianos. I have been a concert tuner for twenty years working at venues like the Kennedy Center and Strathmore Music Center, since I had gone to the trouble of taking everything apart I couldn’t help but want to give the piano what we call a complete concert level “regulation”. This means getting the keys to respond with the optimum level of response and evenness of touch. When I was done I discovered I was at a piano that had the same feeling of a nine-foot concert grand. A concert grand that takes up less space and allows you to play anytime if you put on the headphones so you don’t bother your neighbors or sleeping family members.

The end of the story is that when I went out on the service call , I found the pedal problem was a simple matter of tightening and adjusting the pedal lyre braces. When I was finished I asked the client how she liked the piano? She was pleased with it overall, but said she wished I could change the way the action felt. After further discussion and evaluation I determined there were things I could do to adjust the touch so she would find the piano more to her liking . So just as I have done for world renowned concert artists on nine-foot grands, I was able to customize the touch of the AvantGrand to the needs of it’s owner. There is no other digital piano on the market that could be adjusted with such precision. The AvantGrand N3 truly is a Hybrid grand piano. You get the advantage of advanced digital technology like Midi as well as the touch and response of a full concert grand, the best of both worlds ! I recommend players of all levels should come into one of our stores and check out these remarkable new instruments, you really need to feel it and hear it for yourself.

Robin B.Olson RPT

What is the right age for my child to start piano lessons?

Piano Lessons

When children are about six or seven years old many parents begin to wonder if it is time to enroll them in piano lessons.  Piano teachers might want to check to see if the child’s hand is ready or whether the child is mature enough to practice or can read and follow directions.  But did you know that the optimum time for training the musical ear begins much earlier than this?

At three years old your child’s brain is already highly receptive to analyzing the world of sound.  If a child is immersed in music at an early age and given a structure in which to explore music- making, the brain can become “hard-wired” for music. Just as a child exposed to one or more languages will learn to speak them all fluently, the young child acquires fluency in music by much the same means.

Allow me to introduce you to Yamaha Music Education.  Yamaha has two delightful music education programs designed specifically for the preschool years when children are so receptive to music, but need to learn in a special way appropriate for their age.

Music Wonderland is a delightful parent and child class designed to appeal to the imaginative mind of the three year old.

Yamaha Junior Music Course (4 and 5 year-olds) gives young children a foundation in the building blocks of music:  lyric singing, the solfege (do re mi) rhythm, movement, piano playing, musical notation, and musical appreciation.  Children learn to hear, sing and play music long before they are ready for a “traditional” piano lesson.

Oh ,and did I mention Yamaha Music Courses are REALLY FUN ?!  Parents and children spend quality time together.  We sing, dance and play! Also, the take-home materials – books, CDs and videos are all top-quality.

Yamaha classes are offered by certified instructors in two semesters beginning in September and February.  Jordan Kitt’s studio locations are Beltsville, Fairfax, Rockville, and Sterling.   Check us out on the web at www.keyboardcenter.com or follow the music education link at www.jordankitts.com

Pat Keithly
Teaching Specialist
Studio Manager