What is Breath in Music? Part 2 – Piano Demonstration

 

A number of years ago we had a video that discussed Breath In Music and if you want to get a general overview of the subject you may enjoy watching that video. Recently, someone requested that I produce a video that gives a demonstration of this concept. There are benefits from the visual aspect. So, I suggest you watch the accompanying video.

 

When it comes to singing, the breath in music is obvious; after all, you have to breathe in order to sing! Wind instruments are a natural extension of singing and utilize the breath in much the same way. The bow of the violin or cello also mimics the continuity of breath in music. When it comes to the piano, while breathing isn’t a part of the technique for tone production, it is intrinsic to the music as much as it is with singing.

 

In the video you can see how adding a sense of breath can enhance the music and bring it life. Without the sense of the breath, you lose the human element that makes listening to and playing the piano enriching, not just a mechanical endeavor.

 

All instruments are basically a representation of the human voice and adding this to your music is something that is essential in making it lively and exciting. I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions about this topic or any other, please email me Robert@LivingPianos.com for more information.

  A number of years ago we had a video that discussed Breath In Music and if you want to get a general overview of the subject you may enjoy watching that video. Recently, someone requested that I produce a video that gives a demonstration of this concept. There are benefits from the visual aspect. So, I suggest you watch … Continue reading What is Breath in Music? Part 2 – Piano Demonstration

Read More

How Much Does it Cost to Restore a Piano?

 

This is a very common question which has a somewhat complex answer. If I had to give a one-line answer to the question I would say the average is around $15,000 to restore a piano. In reality, restoring and rebuilding a piano can be a substantial project that varies tremendously based on each individual instrument. As we’ve discussed previously, there are literally thousands of parts on a piano and finding out what is needed on a particular piano to bring it back to a high level requires time and expertise.

 

There are essentially three components to a piano:

 

The Belly – is comprised of the soundboard, bridges, pinblock, strings, plate and other components.

 

The Furniture – This is the case and finish of the piano.

 

The Action – can be removed as a unit to work on separately. It is comprised of the keys, hammers, and thousands of other parts which must be adjusted to very stringent tolerances.

 

Any one, two or all of these components could require substantial work when restoring or rebuilding a piano. Just refinishing the case will cost thousands of dollars and require specialized work.

 

When it comes to rebuilding pianos, generally it concerns high end instruments. There is not much purpose in restoring cheap Asian production pianos because the cost of the restoration could exceed the value of the piano (unless it only needed minor work). A good candidate for restoring a piano is a classic American or European piano such as a: Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Bechstein or other pianos which cost a substantial amount to replace. These pianos new can cost upwards of $80,000. So, it can be worth the cost to bring them back to life if the essential structure has not been compromised.

 

Obviously, restoring different parts of the piano will cost different amounts of money. Replacing the hammers or key tops will cost a lot less than replacing the soundboard on a piano. It really is a matter of what is required to get the piano to a desired level. Many times the soundboard on a piano can be restored to a high level with expert repair. However, if you need to replace a soundboard, you could be looking at a project in the tens of thousands of dollars with everything else that is entailed.

 

If you’re thinking about restoring a piano, you should contact someone reputable in your area to get an idea what the cost would be. The quality of the work is very important and varies widely. So, contacting someone with a good reputation is incredibly important.

 

Piano restoration is a very complicated process and it’s something that you shouldn’t embark upon alone. If you want advice on restoring a piano, please feel free to contact us at: Info@LivingPianos.com or call (949) 244-3729.

  This is a very common question which has a somewhat complex answer. If I had to give a one-line answer to the question I would say the average is around $15,000 to restore a piano. In reality, restoring and rebuilding a piano can be a substantial project that varies tremendously based on each individual instrument. As we’ve discussed previously, … Continue reading How Much Does it Cost to Restore a Piano?

Read More

How Long Does it Take to Move a Piano Across the USA?

 

Moving a piano is a very complex process. It’s not as simple as boxing it up and sending it through the mail! A piano must be moved with the utmost care and consideration for the instrument. As a company that sells pianos all over the world, Living Pianos is very well versed in what it takes to get a piano moved across the country and around the world.

 

The biggest issue with moving a piano is hiring the right people. When it comes to moving a grand piano, you never want to hire a general purpose mover; you need to hire a professional piano mover. You might be able to have a general purpose mover take care of an upright piano, but even then, you are much better off hiring professionals who specialize in moving only pianos. When it comes to moving a grand piano, you need special equipment such as a grand board, straps, pads and the ability to attach the instrument to the side of the truck. You will also need to remove the legs and pedals. It’s much easier and safer to have a professional who knows how to take care of these things deal with it; hiring an amateur or trying to move the piano yourself could damage your piano.

 

The problem you will run into next is that there are a very limited amount of companies that move pianos across the USA. These companies have trucks crisscrossing the country all the time and you have to time their arrival in your area correctly in order to get the piano moved quickly. If one of their trucks is in NY and you live in CA it could take a long a time before they are back in your area. You can contact several piano movers to see who can move the piano quickest and for a reasonable price. This is why it’s extremely difficult to get a piano moved across the country on short notice – make sure you plan well ahead for a complicated move across multiple states.

 

In reality it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to move a piano across the country. It’s a tough task and something certainly left to professionals to handle. Plan ahead of time and never wait until the last minute to plan a piano move. If you need information or help with a piano move, you are welcome to call us here at Living Pianos.

 

I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions about this topic or any other please email us Info@LivingPianos.com for more information.

  Moving a piano is a very complex process. It’s not as simple as boxing it up and sending it through the mail! A piano must be moved with the utmost care and consideration for the instrument. As a company that sells pianos all over the world, Living Pianos is very well versed in what it takes to get a … Continue reading How Long Does it Take to Move a Piano Across the USA?

Read More

Piano Lesson – The Burgmuller Ballade – Part 4

 

Welcome to the 4th part in our ongoing series on the Burgmuller Studies for piano. If you want to catch up on the past lessons here they are: Part 1 (La Candeur), Part 2 (L’Arabesque), and Part 3 (La Pastorale). Today we are going to be covering “Ballade” which is a wonderful piece for intermediate students that provides impressive music to perform.

 

The biggest challenge with this piece is going past just playing the right notes rhythm and fingering and putting some life into this music! The secret to making this piece come alive is in how you approach the phrasing and expression – particularly the dynamics. It’s not just about which notes are played, but how they are played.

 

This piece is in an A B A form, meaning there is a section in the beginning that repeats at the end with a middle contrasting section.

 

It’s important to articulate the staccatos in the right hand while maintaining a smooth legato in the left hand. These are essential principles that we’ve have talked about before: How to Play Staccato on the Piano, How to Play Piano: It’s all in the Wrist and How to Play Piano: Arm’s Equal Power and depth.

 

You need to learn when to play from the arm, when to utilize the fingers, and when to play from the wrist; these are fundamental skills for developing a first class technique on the piano. It’s important to keep your fingers close to the keys when playing fast, and utilizing the wrist for short staccato notes.

 

As always, I recommend that you practice your music slowly and build up notch by notch on the metronome developing security in your playing. This will help keep your rhythm precise. As you progress faster, you will find it necessary to play with a lighter touch in order to accommodate more speed. When playing faster, keep your fingers closer to the keys and utilize the wrist for staccato notes.

 

The middle section of this piece has a slow lyrical line in the right hand with staccato 8th note chords in the left hand that are played lightly from the wrist.

 

In the left hand you make sure to keep your fingers close to the keys (less than an inch above) and play from the wrist – otherwise it will be too heavy and will overtake the delicate right hand melody.

 

In the right hand, you will utilize the weight of your arms to create a fluid line. You will need to play with substantial arm weight even though these notes are played piano. Ask any wind player and they will tell you that playing a quiet line takes as much energy, sometimes even more, to play quietly; the same applies to the piano. Let your arms sink into the bottom of the keys and you will notice the lovely singing legato this produces as you transfer the weight smoothly from note to note.

 

The most challenging part of this piece is the ending. There is no shortcut to mastering this section. You must practice slowly at first and work your way up with the metronome. This section takes a commitment of time to master.

 

When you’re practicing with the metronome at slower speeds you will want to raise your fingers to delineate the notes. Play at a comfortably slow metronome speed until you feel secure and can play numerous times without problems. Move the metronome up one notch and start again. Keep doing this until you reach the desired speed. It is a great way to perfect your performance.

 

If you are having trouble, try practicing hands individually (WATCH: The Right Way to Practice Your Music). This will enable you to hear each hand separately listening for the evenness of the notes. Another great technique is playing the hands 2 octaves apart so you can hear things more clearly.

 

This is a really great piece for students and the music is rewarding. I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions about this piece or any other please email me Robert@LivingPianos.com for more information.

  Welcome to the 4th part in our ongoing series on the Burgmuller Studies for piano. If you want to catch up on the past lessons here they are: Part 1 (La Candeur), Part 2 (L’Arabesque), and Part 3 (La Pastorale). Today we are going to be covering “Ballade” which is a wonderful piece for intermediate students that provides impressive … Continue reading Piano Lesson – The Burgmuller Ballade – Part 4

Read More

What is Middle C? Music Lesssons

 

Middle C is something that every musician is familiar with. Today we are going to go a little more in-depth on this common phrase and explore some things you might not be aware of.

 

The piano keyboard has a number of C’s on it, so you might assume that middle C is right in the middle of the piano. While it is near the middle of the piano, there is a slight problem:

 

 

The note in the absolute middle of the keyboard is not C. The exact middle is right between, E and F above middle C. So why is middle C called middle C?

 

There are actually 2 C’s near the middle of the piano:

 

 

So which one of these is middle C? It is the lower one.

 

This is middle C:

 

 

It is technically closer to the middle of the piano but this is not the only reason it’s called middle C. The reason it has this term is because of where this note is located on the grand staff. While the treble clef and the bass clef form the 10 lines in the grand staff, there is a space you can think of as an 11th line that runs between the two. This is where middle C is located:

 

 

This makes perfect sense! Middle C has less to do with its location on the piano keyboard and more to do with where it is located on the grand staff. This is a very important note because it helps you in reading both notes in the treble and bass clefs. Naturally, when middle C is written in the bass clef, the ledger line is closer to the bass clef and when it is written on the treble clef the ledger line is closer to the treble clef – but it is the same note!

 

Thanks again for joining us here at Living Pianos. If you have any questions about this topic or any others, please contact us at: Info@LivingPianos.com (949) 244-3729

  Middle C is something that every musician is familiar with. Today we are going to go a little more in-depth on this common phrase and explore some things you might not be aware of.   The piano keyboard has a number of C’s on it, so you might assume that middle C is right in the middle of the … Continue reading What is Middle C? Music Lesssons

Read More

How Many Parts are There in a Piano?

  It’s fascinating to think about how many parts there are in the average piano. Think about how many string there are, how many keys there are, and then how many moving parts are involved with each press of a key; it’s daunting to think of just how many parts there are in a piano!   A typical scale design … Continue reading How Many Parts are There in a Piano?

Read More