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preallowablyThe gold standard for pianos in the 21st century surely belongs to Steinway, just as it did throughout the 20th century as musicians everywhere decided that the best way to show off their craft was to do it on a Grand Piano. The company’s pianos, though, need to adapt and move firmly into the 21st century in a new way. Steinway seems to understand this quite well and, for the past two years, has been making big moves in the iOS and Android app stores to cater to a new generation of piano professionals and enthusiasts.

Starting Out Basic: The Steinway Metronome

The first application ever offered by Steinway was released to the Apple App Store for the iPhone. Known as the Steinway metronome, its function was pretty simple and straightforward. Even so, Steinway designed the application to have the same visual appeal and interesting effect as its instruments in the offline world. The application quickly became one of the most popular music apps for iOS.

A year later, Steinway released its metronome to the Android Market, now known as the Google Play Store. There, the application has also become one of the most popular music-related downloads.

Purchasing Etude: Steinway Starts a Digital Music Business

The metronome application released for iOS and Android was likely a “feeler” to see whether or not people would respond favorably to the premium Grand Piano company’s digital efforts. They did, of course, and Steinway soon took it to the next level by purchasing the Etude application. Previously developed by a private individual, Etude became Steinway’s entry into the digital music learning and creation business.

Etude today is one of the most highly rated applications in the Apple App Store. While the application was originally created solely for Apple devices, Steinway has been working on a version for Android since it purchased Etude in late 2011. A year later, that application is close to a public release. When it hits the Google Play Store, it may change everything about piano apps for good.

A Promising Start for Steinway

Steinway has been making big moves in recent years to ensure that their pianos successfully make the transition into 21st century life. After all, it’s not hard to find examples of music companies that have stubbornly ignored modern trends and preferences, only to face financial turmoil and extinction.

With Etude, Steinway has created the beginnings of its digital empire. Over the course of 2013, as the company adds new features and expands availability, the piano industry may shift firmly into the digital column for the first time ever. That’s a big deal.

Murray Perahia interview

One in a series of radio programs titled “For the Love of Music,” hosted by David Dubal on WNCN-FM, New York. Guest is pianist Murray Perahia. This program was originally broadcast on April 3, 1981.

David Dubal hosts “The Piano Matters,” a program devoted to piano music, which can be heard at wwfm.org on Wednesdays at 10 PM and Sundays at noon. Archived programs of “The Piano Matters” are accessible as webcasts at the below link:
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Learning to play piano music can be one of the most rewarding experiences there is. The old saying goes, “No pain, no gain,” but in this instance pain when playing should not be part of the experience. As anyone who plays piano will tell you, there will come a point where you experience hand and/or arm pain while playing. Over practice and improper form or technique can create stress and tension in the arms and hands which cause pain. By sticking to a regular practice schedule, and taking the time to physically relax your shoulders and wrists, it is possible to avoid unnecessary pain while playing.
sixtySome of the common complaints given by piano players are tendonitis, hand strain, and pain in the arms. Most people assume that piano playing isn’t a very physical pursuit, like running or playing sports, so they overlook possible injuries. Although playing isn’t as physical as other activities, injuries can still occur. Without noticing, piano players often began to adopt unnatural postures when practicing. These include straining forward to read piano music, placing their fingers at odd angles, and twisting their bodies in unusual ways all in the attempt to play difficult pieces or simply out of poorly developed habits. This is especially true of younger piano players because their bodies are still growing and developing. Instructors should pay careful attention to students to make sure that they are forming good playing habits from the beginning, so that it becomes second nature to students later on.
In order to avoid unnecessary injury, piano players should make sure that they are playing in a way that is comfortable and natural to them. Just because they’ve seen the latest piano virtuoso thrashing about passionately on stage while he or she executes difficult moves doesn’t mean that this is a natural way to play. Next, players should make sure that they are not leaning into the piano. Forcing the body forward in this way puts unnecessary strain on both the wrists and forearms, which restricts blood flow to the hands and can only lead to discomfort and injury while playing and even after practice is over. Players that adopt this posture also complain of pain in the shoulders and neck area, which only spreads more tension down through the arms and hands. Sitting upright in a natural, relaxed position, while using good posture can alleviate pain and relieve some of the effort required to execute more difficult finger moves.

The fingers are another source of pain for some piano players. Many pianist don’t notice that they are not holding their hands and fingers in a natural position while they play. To avoid injury, it is best to keep the hands in a position known as “the position of function.” This is the position that the hands are most efficient and comfortable in during piano playing. To achieve this position, players should drop their arms and hands down vertically towards the floor, then lift their elbows to a horizontal position while keeping their hands relaxed. This is the position that should be strived for while playing in order to keep hand injuries to a minimum. Overall, most injuries can be avoided by staying relaxed, taking regular breaks, and using good posture. Playing the piano should be an enjoyable experience for all pianists, not a painful one.

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Frederic Chopin is one of the world’s greatest composers, and Chopin’s piano music is some of the most beloved music is the world. While many composers are famous for writing grand, operatic music for orchestras, Chopin is most famous for his wonderful works for the piano. In fact, Chopin himself loved the piano most out of all musical instruments and dedicated his life to composing primarily for this piece.

Chopin is arguably the most famous Polish composer, with many of his works instantly recognizable when heard, even if the listeners don’t know the formal titles for some of his pieces. The Minute Waltz, for instance, was composted by Chopin and is actually called Valse in D flat major, Opus 64, No. 1. For millions of music lovers, however, it will always be the Minute Waltz.

Other famous Chopin piano music includes the Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, which is today often referred to as the Funeral March and the Polonaise in A-Flat Major, Opus 53, which is often called the Drum Polonaise. The use of more familiar, contemporary titles for Chopin’s piano music is a reflection of the popularity of his work.

The composer himself felt that popular names should never be given to formal compositions, as the titles could taint the mood of the music by suggesting a feeling rather than allowing each listener to interpret the music for himself or herself without any preconceived notions.
Chopin piano pieces are today regarded as some of the finest examples of Romantic music ever composed. Each piece is recognized for its rich nuance, expression and complexity. In fact, they are some of the most challenging pieces of piano music still played today and require a virtuoso talent and a deft hand on the keys to play successfully.

Chopin’s piano pieces are at least partly responsible for the continuing popularity of the Waltz. In fact, his compositions greatly raised appreciation for, and popularity of, this dance as an art form in the 1800′s. He composed twenty waltzes in his lifetime, many of which are still performed at piano recitals, concerts and formal dances today.

Another dance which was honored by Chopin was the Mazurka. This national dance of Poland was particularly beloved by the composer, and he composed fifty-eight of them, bringing this lively dance to international attention through his music. His love of the Mazurka was a reflection of Chopin’s nationalism, and was to influence nationalistic feeling and expression in the arts for decades.
The nocturne was a relatively new musical form that Chopin felt particularly drawn to. He wrote over twenty nocturnes, and in the process raised their level of sophistication. His nocturnes were much more complex than they had previously been, with astounding depth and subtlety, raising the nocturne to new heights and making them very popular on the European musical stage.

However, Chopin didn’t compose exclusively for the piano. He also composed several concertos and a considerable body of chamber music, although the chamber music was generally for cello and piano. His first and greatest love was still the piano, which he learned at a very young age from his older sister before beginning formal lessons.

Today, although he is recognized for all of his contributions to music, Chopin is best loved and most recognized for his incredible piano music. Travel anywhere in the world and play a selection of Chopin piano music, and you’ll find music lovers who instantly recognize the style, beauty and expressiveness of Chopin’s work.

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It’s a matter of fact that acoustic instruments are superior to digital equivalents, at least when it comes to practicing and performing classical music. But for the purpose of practicing at home there are a few advantages of the digital piano which the acoustic piano falls short on:

1. It’s always in tune.
2. It’s (more) portable.
3. The volume can be turned down or headphones used when practicing.

The two latter is of course only practical issues but the first is directly related to the sounding music.
Most piano teachers would agree on the importance for student’s of all levels to focus on listening carefully to the sound they create in order to deepen the awareness of the music, get more qualitative and colorful sound out of the instrument and make a performance communicate more intensively with the listener. Most piano teachers would also agree that an acoustic instrument is therefore far superior option as a practicing instrument since it’s natural and richer sound is better stimulating focused listening than the digital piano’s artificial sound.

But, what if the acoustic piano is very out of tune?
One could assume that the more out of tune an acoustic piano is, the less appealing and stimulating is it to listen intensively to it and below a certain limit of “in-tune-ness” the acoustic piano falls behind it’s always-in-tune digital friend.

The conclusion is that an acoustic piano is a better practice instrument than the digital piano, but ONLY if it is in tune.

With this important insight in mind, how much did this vital part of the campaigns (see video below) affect the US election results?
Obama chosed to go for a high end digital “grand” while McCain made a more conservative choice and picked an acoustic Steinway B (although quite out of tune towards the end of the campaign).

Did Obama win simply because he always plays perfectly in tune while McCain does not?

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How to Improvise on the Piano – 4 Steps to Playing Like a Pro!

By Jason Johann Chang

1. Learn your chords. One very unique and nice thing about the piano as an instrument is the number of notes you can play at once. No other instrument can handle 10 notes played at the same time (none that come to mind anyway). Use this to your advantage! Of course it’s crucial to know your I, IV, V chords as these are the most basic chords. However if you take the next step and learn your seventh chords in I, IV, V in all different inversions and voicings, it will add much color to your triads! Learn your dominant 7th and major 7th chords to add variety and listen to how other players use them. Go beyond that and learn as many chords as you can. You should also be developing your ear whenever you get a chance i.e. listening to music in the car, at home or wherever. You will never listen to a song the same way before you started learning how to improvise I guarantee it!

2. Have some handy licks ready. When it’s time to show off your skills at the keys, it’s sometimes nice to have some licks that you’ve learned stored and ready to go. I will sometimes take licks from hard classical pieces and use parts of them in my solos to really get a wow from the audience. They of course don’t know this lick came from a classical piece. Sometimes I’ll compose a lick and pull it out when I need to. I’ll often times throw some variations into these licks as to keep the moment live and fresh.

3. Pick up a Hanon book. I know all of us classically trained pianists have tirelessly played Hanon at some point in our musical education. Go back and dig up that tattered old Hanon book and play the hell out of them. This will also give you some cool stuff to draw some technical solos from. Remember to change it up though! You want things to sound fresh, not like you’re doing finger exercises!

4. Learn how to play in all keys. This will take some time but is necessary if you want to sound professional. If you learn your Major scale and blues scales in at least 5 or 6 different keys, you can pull off looking professional. You want to be able to switch up your playing so you’re not always playing in a minor or C Major. This is especially important if you’re playing with a band who writes songs in different keys (which good bands always do.) There are many more tips I have to share with you but these will take a bit of time to learn. Start with these and you will be well on your way to being a pro.

Jason Johann Chang has played keyboards professionally since 2005 and has shared the stage and studio with members of George Clinton and P-funk, Fishbone, Sublime, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and many others. He also runs a music school in Southern California which offers [/www.soundscapemusicstudios.com]Orange County piano lessons. His very easy and intuitive ebook on [/www.soundscapemusicstudios.com/202/]how to improvise on piano is perfect for anyone who comes from a classical background and wants to learn the basics of improvising in a few short hours. Article Source: [/EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Improvise-on-the-Piano---4-Steps-to-Playing-Like-a-Pro!&id=6886923] How to Improvise on the Piano – 4 Steps to Playing Like a Pro!