Piano is a major key to better brain health while aging

If you’re going to enjoy a lifelong hobby, you can’t beat the benefits of playing a musical instrument. In addition to bringing joy to yourself and any listeners you might have, you’re doing great things for your brain.

Marie Hampton, who has been playing the piano for more than 80 years, believes the science. “I don’t think I would continue to function if I didn’t play the piano!” she says. “I think it really helps you hang onto your brain. It’s mental exercise.”

Marie lives at Splendido, an all-inclusive community in Tucson for those 55 and better. She and her husband Joe moved there in 2012, and they had an interior wall in their new apartment home removed and another one moved to accommodate her 7-foot grand piano.

Marie plays popular music for residents at dinner time, using the piano situated in a hallway outside the restaurant entrances at Splendido. She is also the accompanist for the Splendido Singers, and shares piano-playing responsibility for Vespers in the community.

Building Benefits over a Lifetime

Marie has studied piano her whole life, from when she was four years old to when she moved to Splendido. She recalls, “When I was a very small child, my brother was taking piano lessons from a German piano teacher in North Platte, Nebraska—a 32-mile drive from our small town of Paxton. My mother would drive us in and I’d sit and listen to his lesson.”

She begged her mother to let her take lessons but was told she was too young. “I was about four at that time,” admits Marie. She found a way around her mother by paying the pastor’s daughter her 10¢ allowance in exchange for piano lessons. “When my parents saw that I was serious, they started paying for lessons for me,” says Marie. “Later, my Grandfather Cornick saw to it that all the children in our family learned to play the piano.”

Marie’s family moved around quite a bit during her childhood. “Everywhere I lived as a child, be it Nebraska, Wyoming, Oregon, or California, I found a piano teacher,” she says. “I always got to study with somebody.” As she grew older and more skilled, she started teaching piano herself—both private lessons and in a private school. “I’d use the money I earned for my own private lessons, every chance I got!” she says. Over the years, Marie has participated in master classes and had private lessons with Lili Kraus, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, Wilhelm Schwarzott, Peter Vincent Marlotti, and Rosina Lhévinne.

Noteworthy Brain Benefits

Playing an instrument on a regular basis offers multiple benefits for your brain. That’s because it simultaneously works different sensory systems in the brain along with your motor skills. This coordination of efforts provides a workout for your brain—the kind of workout that strengthens connections within the brain and keeps you mentally sharp. In turn, this can improve your memory and cognition; one study showed that musicians perform better on cognitive tests than those who don’t play an instrument.

Musical training has been proven to increase gray matter volume in specific brain regions and strengthen the connections between them. Other research has shown that such training can improve long-term memory, verbal memory, and spatial reasoning. And multiple studies have shown that playing music helps improve concentration—not just when playing, but in all areas of daily life.

It should come as no surprise that playing music can reduce stress, but it can also lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and reduce anxiety and depression.

Read more here

Pizza Delivery Guy does Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

The Varchetti family ordered a pepperoni pizza from Hungry Howie’s for dinner.

When the delivery guy came to their suburban Detroit home, he gave them the pizza, then peeked inside to their foyer and said: “That’s a beautiful piano. Can I take look at it?”

The Varchettis invited him in to see the baby grand, which they said generally goes unused. They asked if he played.

Bryce Dudal, 18, who had just graduated from high school, said he did play, and he’d love to give this one a spin.

So the pizza delivery guy sat down on the piano bench, and for the next minute and a half his fingers flew and jumped across the keys as he played the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata.

The Varchettis were blown away.

“He was just beyond good,” Julie Varchetti said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Read the full store here

The latest Piano Guys “live” at Jordan Kitt’s Music in Fairfax, 7pm on 8/6!

Having amassed billions of views and millions of followers, The Piano Guys have become one of the most successful instrument music groups ever to grace the Internet, while capturing the hearts of music fans as they tour worldwide. See them in a virtual performance along with Yamaha’s Craig Knudsen at Jordan Kitt’s Music on August 6th at 7pm.

The meteoric success of the “Guys”-pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, video producer Paul Anderson and music producer Al van der Beek-came about from more than 60 breathtaking videos. The talented group performs their unique brand of classical, contemporary and rock and roll music in locales where a piano has never gone before-from atop the Great Wall of China and a speeding train, to the edge of a 1,000-foot cliff in the Utah desert.

At Jordan Kitt’s Fairfax showroom and Music Education Center at 7pm on August 6th, six of The Piano Guys’ most popular viral videos move out from the screen, to be experienced for the first time as simultaneous television and “live” piano performances in the homes of Disklavier owners around the globe.

These DisklavierTV performances, as they are known, put a bright spotlight on both the amazing talent of The Piano Guys and the Yamaha Disklavier, the world’s most technologically advanced piano. The Disklavier is a remarkable high-tech reproducing piano that can transmit highly-nuanced performance data – the actual keystrokes and subtle gradations of pedal movement – between similarly equipped instruments over the Internet. As an artist performs, their precise note-for-note performance data is captured, then streamed to similarly equipped remote instruments anywhere in the world, where it is recreated exactly as the artist originally intended.

The end result is nothing short of spectacular. As fans watch and hear Schmidt and Sharp Nelson trade piano and cello jabs on the big screen television, Schmidt’s actual piano keystrokes are faithfully recreated, note-for-note, on the connected Disklavier at Jordan Kitt’s Music.

Yamaha’s ‘Technology Guy,’ Craig Knudsen, encouraged Yamaha to save the performance data from day one during the very first videos. This data is not a recording of the sound of the piano, but rather it’s a precise digital map of Jon’s performance-what notes he played, how fast and hard the key was pressed, how he used the sustain pedal, etc. Jon’s fingers are essentially reaching out from the video and playing the piano sitting in front of you.”

To make the experience even more authentic, Van Der Beek meticulously removed Schmidt’s acoustic piano part from the original audio recordings, while Knudsen replaced it with Schmidt’s performance data that enables playback on Yamaha Disklavier pianos.

This special performance includes six of The Piano Guys video releases, including “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends,” “All of Me,” “Arwen’s Vigil,” “Codename: Vivaldi,” “Lord of the Rings-The Hobbit” and “Charlie Brown Medley.”
You can get more information or register for the event here:

Music education could help children improve their language skills

via ABC News

While many people often consider music a universal language, a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study done in Beijing shows that it may help with spoken language as well.

Kindergarten students who took piano lessons showed increased capabilities to distinguish pitch and understand spoken words — and it showed up on their brain scans, according to the study’s findings.

Researchers from the International Data Group (IDG)/McGovern Institute at Beijing Normal University wanted to compare the effects of music education on reading versus standard reading training. The reading training included an interactive reading experience, in which the teacher read words aloud from enlarged texts, and the students read along with the teacher.

“If children who received music training did as well or better than children who received additional academic instruction, that could be a justification for why schools might want to continue to fund music,” Robert Desimone, Ph.D., senior author of the research article and director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, explained.

A group of 74 Mandarin-speaking children, ages 4 to 5, were randomly assigned to three smaller groups. One group got piano training, the second group was trained in reading, and a third control group received no extra training at all. Piano training included 45-minute piano sessions three times a week.

After six months of piano lessons, researchers found that the students were better at differentiating between spoken words and vowel sounds. The group with reading training had similar results. However, the difference between these two groups came in “consonant-based word discrimination.” The piano lessons group did better; this correlated to the group’s response to differences in musical pitch, which was observed immediately after the children heard a pair of notes in a sound-proof room and were then asked to differentiate between pitches.

While the study involved a small sample size and the differences in performance between the piano lesson and reading groups weren’t found in all studied areas, the researchers say that the findings were still significant when looking at language study.

“The children didn’t differ in the more broad cognitive measures,” Desimone said, “but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants. The piano group showed the best improvement there.”

Jordan Kitt’s Music goes to DC with NAMM to lobby for music education in our schools!

Jordan Kitt’s Music is proud to be a part of the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Music Education Advocacy D.C. fly-in.  Each spring, Jordan Kitt’s Music is joined in its home town by other NAMM members to serve as advocates for the right of every child to learn and grow with music by visiting with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.

NAMM Fly-In participants receive intensive training with policy experts to learn about the policies and priorities of the current administration. With guidance from veteran delegates and seasoned professionals, NAMM members prepare research-based talking points for visits with their Members of Congress.

Tiffany Waddell, Director of Federal Relations for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (center) with Chris Syllaba, President, Jordan Kitt’s Music (right) and Joe Pritchard of Pritchard Music (left).

These visits are not just a time to make demands of our legislature, however. It is also when we encourage Senators and Representatives to celebrate the school districts and schools that receive national recognition through The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education SupportMusic Merit Awards within their states and congressional districts.

Suzanne Bonamici,
Chris Syllaba of Jordan Kitt’s, baseball legend and musician Bernie Williams, U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, and NAMM Chair Robyn Walenta at the Tuesday evening NAMM dinner.

The event included a Day of Service, where NAMM members commit a day getting involved in local music education, meetings on Capital Hill, and a number of NAMM hosted special events designed to maximize the impact of the event.

J. Dash Chris Syllaba
Musician, recording artist and entrepreneur J. Dash with Jordan Kitt’s CEO Chris Syllaba

For more information about NAMM or the Fly-in Event, visit www. namm.org

 

Live Mother’s Day Celebration Webcast with Jim Brickman!

Live Webcast with Jim Brickman — Mother’s Day Celebration

Live Webcast with Jim Brickman
Mother’s Day Celebration
Friday, May 11, 2018, at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT

Make Mother’s Day extra special this year with a free, live concert from Jim Brickman. Invite all the moms in your life and join us online for this free webcast featuring songs, stories, giveaways, and video dedications.

When you RSVP, you’ll be entered to win a brand-new Roland RP102 Digital Piano! Plus, you’ll receive a link where you can share a personal video message to your mom which may be selected to air during the webcast.

Click the button below to register, send your video, and let Jim make this a Mother’s Day to remember.

Register Now

Registration closes May 10, 2018.

Jordan Kitt’s Music provides the Yamaha C7X at the Folger Gala

Jordan Kitt’s was proud to provide the Yamaha C7X grand piano for a performance by jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut at this year’s Folger Gala on Monday, April 16th.

Described in Time magazine as “the best jazz pianist of his generation”, Cyrus has more than a dozen albums in his discography, and his leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call for the piano chair in many big bands including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual gala is the organization’s largest and most significant fundraiser of the year, providing support to the Folger and its impact driving discovery, transforming education, and creating experiences.

As one of Washington’s most elegant social evenings this special event is attended by the leaders of the social, business, government, and diplomatic communities.

The British Ambassador and Lady Darroch are the Honorary Gala Co-Chairs, and Folger Board member Vinton Cerf of Google and his wife Sigrid are the 2018 Folger Gala Co-Chairs.

In addition to Cyrus Chestnut, the eveing also featured entertainment by Sir Derek Jacobi and Richard Clifford, as well as singer and actress Erica Dorfler.

Read more about the C7X here…

The Jordan Kitt’s Music 2018 Piano Festival

The 2018 Jordan Kitt’s Music Piano Festiva was a big hit, with tremendous participation by area teachers and students:

Here were the winners:
Div. 2A: Ages 7-9 (and Div. 1: Ages 4-6)
Grace Chen
Zoie Chu
Nealon Hewa
Peilin Li

Div. 2B: Ages 7-9
Sama Dua
Buket Guner
Eric Li
Mia Payson

Div. 3A: Ages 10-12
Allison Lee
Krystal Wu
Annie Zhou

Div. 3B: Ages 10-12
Katherine Lee
Matthew Lin
Nahom Solomon

Div. 4: Ages 13-15 (and Div. 5: Ages 16-18)
Allaine Hontiveros
Akithya Kodituwakku
Krystal Serrant
Timothy Shields

Piano Technician’s Guild holds annual DC Chapter meeting at Jordan Kitt’s Music

On Monday, March 12th the Piano Technician’s Guild held their annual meeting at the Jordan Kitt’s Music Showroom and Music Education Center in Rockville, Maryland.

The event featured Yamaha Concert and Artist Master Technician Ace Ugai and a fine Yamaha CFX Concert Grand. Ace called his class: “A Master’s Approach to Performance Preparation.”

Ace Ugai and action removed from a Yamaha CFX concert grand piano.

In his words, a master of the craft must include consideration of the room acoustics ,tuning and action regulation specifically tailored for those conditions. The class identified the sounds and effects to look for, and demonstrated how to listen, evaluate and manipulate all of those facets.

Robin Olson

Mr. Ugai and PTG DC Chapter President Robin Olson

The Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. is the largest non-profit organization serving piano tuners, technicians, and craftsmen throughout the world. Formed in 1957 by the merger of the American Society of Piano Technicians and the National Association of Piano Tuners, the Guild was organized to promote the highest possible service and technical standards among piano tuners and technicians.

The Washington DC Chapter was the first chapter in the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG). We have approximately 70 members in our chapter and over half of our members are Registered Piano Technicians. A Registered Piano Technician (RPT) is a piano technician who has passed a series of rigorous tests given by the PTG.

Learn more about the PTG here…

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Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Friday Morning Music Club 2017/18 Concert Series
NEW Rockville Showroom

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Thu Oct 19, 2017 at 7:00 PM

"Conversations in the Piano Salon - The Great Piano Masterworks" with pianist Antonio Di Cristofano!
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Pianist Dr. Raffi Kasparian, D.M.A. in Concert!
Fairfax Showroom

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