Autism organization helps 7 year old piano prodigy meet Taylor Swift

via Fox News

Taylor Swift sent a sweet message to a 7-year-old fan on Wednesday after watching a video of him playing a piano medley of her songs.

Jacob Velazquez, who lives in Florida, was diagnosed with autism when he was 4 years old. A gifted pianist, he listens to Swifts albums daily and watches her videos constantly, his mother, Lisa Velazquez, wrote in a guest post on the Autism Speaks website.

“He dreams (literally has dreams) of meeting her every night,” Lisa wrote. “I have explained to him that she has millions of fans who would all love to meet her.”

Autism Speaks posted the video of Jacob playing a medley from Swift’s latest album, 1989, and shared it on their social media pages. Swift retweeted their post on Wednesday then followed up with a tweet directly to Jacob’s account, @Jacob’sPiano, to invite him to one of her shows.

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Personality Studies Show the Difference Between People Who Play Music and Everyone Else

via Music.Mic

violin 8-15What drives people to pour hours into making perfectly timed plinking noises with simple brass and stringed instruments?

There’s no easy answer. For decades, researchers have studied what drives certain individuals to spend so much time making and thinking about music. What they’ve found is nothing short of incredible: The minds of musicians and non-musicians are not the same.

Musicians share a number of personality traits that guide them through the difficult work of translating human experiences into a series of otherwise meaningless melodies. Here are some of the ways they are different from everyone else:

They are more open, conscientious and agreeable. A 2004 study from the University of Melbourne subjected musicians to a battery of personality tests. They found that instrumental musicians score significantly higher than non-musicians on the openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness factors of the Big Five personality measures.

A 2012 study out of the University of Arts in Serbia uncovered similar findings. Musicians’ openness to experience is linked to “independency in thinking, active imagination, aesthetic sensibility, inner receptivity, preference of diversity, intellectual curiosity and divergent thinking,” the authors write. This is common to all creative types, but is absolutely vital in helping young musicians establish their expressive scope and creative faculties. The authors recommend educators seek out students that demonstrate this openness when looking to fill seats in higher education.

Musicians are more stable and agreeable than even other artists. This may have a lot to do with the fact that live musical performances are a distinct give-and-take conversation with the audience.

A 2010 study found that visual artists and musicians demonstrated greater openness to experience than students studying psychology. However, that comes with a higher degree of neuroticism in visual artists. Musicians scored far higher on the scales of extraversion and agreeableness, though several studies show the opposite — that musicians are more accurately characterized as “bold introverts.”

However, this may have a lot to do with the choice of instrument. Anthony Kemp, in a groundbreaking book-length study on musicians’ personalities, found strings frequently attract “the quieter, more introverted and studious child,” whereas brass and singing appeal to more “socially outgoing and extroverted” types. But these are only variations on a theme, and all musicians can boast some pretty incredible cognitive and personal benefits because they decide to follow through with their practicing.

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Alicia Keys NY Skyline Yamaha Piano raises $150,000 at charity auction

Alicia Keys Skyline Yamaha

via wkbw.com

Remember that awesome piano Alicia Keys had made when she and Jay Z collaborated for “Empire State of Mind?”

You know, the one with the New York City skyline painted on the outside that she showed off in the official music video and at the 2009 VMAs? (Video via Universal Music Distribution / Jay Z)

Well, turns out, the gorgeous instrument now belongs to Queen Latifah.

And it’s all thanks to a very special good Samaritan she met at Alicia’s Black Ball charity auction.

“I sit next to this white guy, I don’t know this guy. But he seems cool, like, he seems chill. And so, he looks like, ‘Yo, you wanna get this piano?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s start bidding!’ So we start trying to get the room to bid on this thing. And we get it up to like $150,000 for this piano,” Queen Latifah said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

“Wow,” Jimmy Kimmel replied.

Yeah, wow is right. But the Queen was even more surprised when she and the mystery man went up to pay for the piano.

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Frederic Chiu releases new album “Distant Voices”

Frederic Chiu Album
Our good friend Frederic Chiu announces the release of his new album “Distant Voices”.

Frederic Chiu’s acclaimed discography features two dozen recordings ranging from the complete works of Prokofiev to rare piano transcriptions to major works of Chopin. In 2015 he emerges from the recording studio in full force, with two major recordings.
The first release is also a premiere for Yamaha Entertainment Group – their first Classical album launching a new series of high-end projects that include audio, video and DisklavierTV.
“Distant Voices” includes music of Claude Debussy – whose music Frederic has played in concert for 30 years but has never recorded before now. It also introduces the music of Gao Ping, inspired by Debussy as well as the culture of his Chinese homeland in Chengdu. Frederic pushes the boundaries with Gao Ping’s pieces for Vocalizing Pianist. You have to see it (and hear it!) to believe it.

Get your copy of the double release here…

86-Year-Old With Parkinson’s Disease Doesn’t Have Symptoms When He Plays Piano

Fox4News.com | Dallas-Fort Worth News, Weather, Sports

A man with Parkinson’s disease is giving hope to dozens of other patients at an American hospital, all through the power of music.

Lucien Leinfelder, 86, was a soloist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra when he was younger.

He now fills the halls of Texas Health Dallas with beautiful, complex piano music, despite suffering from an illness which can impair finger movements.

“His fingers almost take on a life of their own, where they remember the notes he’s played so well throughout his life. It’s almost like they come out and take off by themselves,” neurologist Anna Tseng said, according to Fox News.

According to the NHS, the three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are a tremor (involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body), slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles.

Leinfelder experiences such symptoms in his day to day life and has had numerous falls, breaking his hip three times.

He sometimes finds it difficult to stand still, but remarkably, his symptoms seem to disappear when he is playing the piano.

As well as providing patients with entertainment, Leinfelder is inspiring others to keep up their hobbies and nurture their talent.

Read more here…