Benefits of a Music Education for Children

Perform a Google search on  “benefits of music education,” and you will find countless explanations of the societal and personal advantages to those students fortunate enough to learn about music in their youth.  However, I want to explain to you the top six reasons why I think a music education–specifically learning how to play the piano–should be part of every child’s education beginning at the age of six.

1)         Developing Coordination – The child who learns to play the piano is also developing fine motor skills, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination in the process.  This has been shown to enhance performance in other areas such as athletics.

2)         Increasing Concentration – Participating in a half-hour weekly lesson and practicing every day, a child is intensely focused on the complexities of rhythm, melody, harmony, technique, and theory.  This requires spatial reasoning, critical thinking, and creativity, which provide a rigorous mental workout!  The increased concentration often results in helping a student to study more effectively, resulting in better grades in school.

3)         Building Self-Esteem – There is such a quality as “talent” for playing the piano, but not every child is endowed with this precious gift.  However, making the effort to overcome the mental and physical challenges of each new lesson creates feelings of accomplishment and ongoing success, which long-term is building self-esteem.  The child who enters middle school years with a strong sense of self-worth fares far better in what can often be a hostile social environment.

4)        Acquiring a Well-Rounded Education – More and more, colleges must choose from an applicant pool of academic over-achievers with impressive SAT scores and GPAs over 4.0!  What makes one candidate more appealing than another of equal academic success is his/her well-roundedness.  Are they involved in their community?  Do they play sports?  Do they play at least one musical instrument?  In addition to the food pyramid steering us to optimal nutrition for our bodies, we must also remember to nourish our souls by feeding our children a healthy dose of the arts every day.

5)         Experiencing Future Math/Science Success – This one is a little tough to explain without getting a bit technical–and I am no neuroscientist–but the way I understand it, the grey matter in the brain of a six-year-old child is far more malleable than that of a child who is 16.  When spatial reasoning is developed at age six, as happens with the study of music, complex synapses (information transmitters) fire in the brain and forge pathways through the grey matter resulting in “hallways” or “channels” that can be used again later when that child is studying such complex subjects as advanced math and science.  If the 16-year-old has no prior pathways forged, the synapses have a more difficult job firing through the grey matter of the brain.  The bottom line as shown by research is that children who learn to play the piano at a young age perform better at high-level math and science later in life.

6)         My favorite reason:  Producing ENJOYMENT! – It is very important for children to have fun too!  It is joyful to make music.  The ability to play music fosters a deeper appreciation for listening to music of all kinds.  In this age of instant gratification, electronic gadgets, and countless media distractions, it is refreshing to find an activity in which great patience and persistence are required.  Playing a keyboard instrument carries forth a Western tradition dating back over 400 years!

Your child’s music education can begin with initiating  contact today along with the purchase or rental of a fine piano…  Allow us to utilize our experience and expertise in pianos sales to also guide you through that process.   We hope you’ll provide the gift of music for your child — it’s the gift that lasts a lifetime!

Review: Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano

Yamaha CFX Piano

It’s not every day that a brand new concert grand is introduced to the market, and without doubt it’s rarer still for an instrument of the quality of the Yamaha CFX to make such an impressive and powerful entrance to the musical world.

Yamaha is certainly not new to building fine concert instruments. Since the 1960s Yamaha Concert Grands have been regularly featured in venues, and the CFIIIS has been a stalwart of stages throughout the world since its introduction in 1991.

It is the nature of Japanese enterprises continually to develop and improve. Yamaha is certainly no exception to this, and it has always been the goal of the Yamaha piano company to produce nothing less than the finest concert grand in the world. Indeed, this was the aim of developing and building the CFX.

CFX Concert Grand PianoThe development of the CFX took many years and was undertaken with extraordinary attention to detail. Yamaha technicians studied the characteristics of the world’s finest handmade pianos, determining what it was that gave each of them their particular quality. They talked to hundreds of  the world’s most accomplished pianists, including those that did not play Yamaha pianos, and they asked them all what it was they most wanted to see in a concert instrument, and also what they hoped not to see. They took all this research and distilled it into the design and production of an entirely new instrument.

A new factory was built, designed solely for the production of handmade instruments. Little by little, over the past three years, the CFX has started to make its appearance on concert stages and recordings. Everywhere it has gone it has received the highest accolades.

We have presented this instrument at several venues in our market, most recently when the piano was featured at a concert presented at the Schlesinger Center in Alexandra when Yuliya Gorenman performed Brahms’ First Piano Concerto with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (picture attached). The reaction of both performer and audience was extremely positive.

This is not surprising: the CFX is unlike any other piano. The action is exquisitely balanced, and it is incredibly easy to play. The dynamic range is astounding and it is possible to navigate from thundering bass notes to the most delicate highs with ease. The power of the instrument is impressive, and the depth of the sound, even at low dynamics, is amazing.

If you get a chance to hear or play the CFX, I urge you to take it. You will not be disappointed!

Yamaha Young Musicians Course

This fall semester is my first time to teach the new Young Musicians Course of the Yamaha Music School since it has been redesigned and available a year ago.  The Young Musicians Course (YMC) is a three-year program for beginners ages 6 to 8.  Through different class activities, students learn the basic musical skills, independence, creativity, and self-expression

The semester started in the second week of September.  It is rewarding to see the repaid growth of students in music in just 8 weeks of classes.  Both students and parents have been enjoying the Yamaha materials and approaches.  The regular class activities includes solfege singing, ear training, piano repertoire, and music theory.  Also in the curriculum, students would be exposed to music arranging, ensemble playing, and improvisation.

The Yamaha Young Musicians Course nurtures children’s love in music and develop their musicianship through a well-designed curriculum.  This eighteen-week program meets fifty minutes.  The spring 2013 registration is available online in November at www.keyboardcenter.com and the class starts in February of 2013.

JKM Music School Welcomes Andrew McKain

Jordan Kitt’s Music School in Beltsville, MD welcomes new Teaching Specialist ANDREW McKAIN. Andrew has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Business Administration from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. Andrew has been teaching piano for about 8 years. His speciality is Gospel Music. He has led the music programs at the Apostolic Revival Center in Beltsville, MD, the Truth Tabernacle Church in Baltimore, MD, and the NuVision Kingdom Life Center in District Heights, MD. Andrew has written about 30 gospel songs and has recorded them on 3 albums with his siblings. His latest CD, “My Life….No Strings Attached”, was released in 2011. He enjoys teaching piano, writing music,and working with children of all ages.

Our Labor Day Warehouse Sale 2012!

Come by Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for an amazing array of discounts and deals at either of our locations. Some of our specials:

  • New Upright Pianos starting at $2,488.
  • Save up to 45% on Player Grands
  • Save up to 50% on Used Uprights
  • Yamaha Digitals starting at $1,488.
  • New Grand Pianos starting at $5,988.
  • Save up to 25% on Hybrid Grand Pianos
  • Save between $600 – $4,800 on our stunning array of Yamaha’s for the home
  • Save thousands on D.C.’s best selection of used Steinway Pianos

But these deals only last until Monday, September 3rd. So come on by!

Yamaha Disklavier E3 Piano Review

To call the Yamaha Disklavier E3 just a piano is like calling the “Mona Lisa” by Leonard da Vinci just another painting. This magnificent and sophisticated instrument is more than a high quality acoustic grand piano; it’s an elegant, refined and technologically advanced entertainment system. Unlike previous “player piano” incarnations, this is a true acoustic piano (rather than reproduced “live” acoustic piano sounds) with digital-age capabilities that offer ease of enjoyment with its’ listen-play-record system. What this means is that you have a concert worthy piano that you can play on or record with.

Can you imagine having Nat King Cole singing in your home? With Yamaha’s library of thousands of PianoSoft™ software titles, the Disklavier E3 brings the magnificent performances of legendary artists to you. All you do is insert the CD and to corresponding Yamaha disk and instantly the onboard sound system plays the vocals and fully orchestrated accompaniment while the piano performs its part in perfect time and tone. All of this is possible with Yamaha’s newest technology break-through PianoSmart™ that provides a seamless audio synchronization with any standard CD that has a corresponding PianoSoft™ title. You can also use this ability to do the same with videotaped performances by using the Disklavier E3 and any standard TV monitor.

The major element to the success of the Yalaha Disklavier E3 is the piano itself. It is from the highly developed Mark IV Series which incorporates a high-capacity onboard hard drive and pocket sized remote control with a world-class Yamaha grand piano creating the ultimate in home entertainment or for business establishments and educational environments. You can even download the “Disklavier Controller” application to your iPhone, iPad or iPod thus allowing even more control of your home entertainment system.

Looking for a singer or song you don’t have on CD? With the Yamaha Disklavier E3 Internet Direct Connection (IDC) you can connect your piano directly to a variety of web services including Disklavier Radio. You can stream musical broadcast direct from the web service to your piano and it will play along with your musical selections and there are about 11 different stations to choose from and with the built-in amplified speaker system, you know your Yamaha Disklavier E3 will deliver the highest quality home entertainment with the best in sound and technology.

The Yamaha Disklavier E3 comes in 11 models – 2 that are upright and 9 that are grand pianos.

Beltsville Music School Welcomes Dawn Kwon

Jordan Kitts Music School Beltsville welcomes Dawn Kwon to its teaching staff. Dawn holds a MA degree in Music from Queens College, The City University of New York and a Professional Studies Diploma in Music Composition from the Mannes College of Music, as well as a MM and BM degrees in Music from Kyunghee University in SeoulKorea. Dawn teaches Piano, Music Theory, and Composition. The studio is located on Route 1 in Beltsville just north of the Beltway in the Twin Chimneys Office Park. Visit our website at www.jordankitts.com for more information about our teaching programs.

Introducing Beth Corry, teaching specialist at Sterling and Fairfax

Beth Corry is well known locally as an organist, and choral accompanist. She has also directed musical theater, taught general music and maintained a very successful teaching studio in South Carolina. In the spring of 2012 she joined the Jordan Kitts teaching team, offering private lessons at Sterling and Fairfax.

Beth still has openings in her studio, but don’t expect that to last long! “Beth is the best!” says one of her students.

We are offering a summer lesson special for June and July: 4 lessons for $99. If you can snag a lesson time with Beth while she still has openings it’s a real steal!
Contact us at http://www.jordankitts.com/lesson to reserve a lesson time.

Jordan Kitts provides piano for 2012 Gershwin Prize

For the second time in less than two months, Jordan Kitt’s answered the call to send a piano to the White House.

On Wednesday, May 9, Burt Bacharach and Hal David were honored with the presentation of the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The presentation was made to Mr. Bacharach and Mr. David’s wife, Eunice, by President Obama.

A star-studded line-up of international artists performed as part of the event. The roster included Sheryl Crow, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Mike Myers, Rumer, Arturo Sandoval, Sheléa and Stevie Wonder.

Jordan Kitt’s Music was honored and privileged to be asked to provide a Yamaha S6 Mark IV Disklavier Pro for this very special occasion in the musical life of our nation. The picture shows Stevie Wonder playing this piano.

The concert and presentation were filmed by WETA and  will be broadcast on Monday, May 21 on most PBS stations (including WETA) at 9:00pm ET.

Testing the Waters with Group Music Lessons

Have you wondered whether group lessons are right for your child? Will he or she like the class or be able to pay attention in a group?

I always try to reassure parents that young beginners, those aged 3 to 7 years old, actually thrive on a group learning environment. If you consider their world at this age, it is typically very social: learning through play and social interaction in preschool and kindergarten, play dates with friends or perhaps beginning to try out team sports. Why should music lessons be any different?

Piano LessonsHowever, if you still need convincing, summer provides the ideal opportunity to try group lessons with our certified Yamaha instructors for a short time at very low cost: the perfect opportunity to “test the waters” with your child!

Rhythm and Rhyme (4 and 5 year olds) provides a four week introduction to singing, rhythm, the solfege and keyboard skills. Parents and students will also get a “sneak peak” into some activities offered in Yamaha Junior Music Course in September.

45 minute class
4-6 students per class
Parent participation required

Young Musician Primer (6-8 years): A four week introduction to the keyboard and rudiments of music in fun group atmosphere. Students may continue in Yamaha Young Musicians Course in the fall.

45 minute class
4-6 students per class
Parent participation optional

All classes are bargain priced at $99 for 4 weeks. Offered in Fairfax, Rockville and Sterling. Register online at http://www.keyboardcenter.com or call 1-800-968-4807

Pat Keithly,
Teaching Specialist
Yamaha Instructor
Studio Manager