Early Childhood Development

The Rewards of Music Education

New Research Proves the Value of Childhood Music Education Piano Training In Early Childhood Has Lasting Rewards
There is an undeniably strong correlation between music education and the development of skills that children need to become successful in life. Self-discipline, patience, sensitivity, coordination, and the ability to memorize and concentrate are all enhanced in the study of music. These skills will follow your child on whatever path he or she chooses in life. You have the chance now to introduce a formative influence that may be second only to the love you give your child. If you’re looking for a way to provide your child with a source of life-long joy, satisfaction, and accomplishment, childhood music education is an excellent first step.

And the piano is an excellent first instrument. No other single instrument matches the piano for its broad application of musical concepts. Even if later your child chooses to play another instrument, the melody, rhythm and sense of harmony acquired with piano education will pay off handsomely.

Better Sooner Than Later
New evidence exists that there are actual physiological benefits to early childhood music education. A study released in February, 1997 presents findings that music education — specifically, piano instruction in pre schoolers produces changes in the brain which enhance children’s abstract reasoning skills. These skills are necessary for learning math and science, to play chess, and to master many concepts of engineering.

Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California had previously linked piano/keyboard and singing lessons to enhanced spacial-temporal ability in pre schoolers. The new study documents that early piano training also has a direct effect on the development of the brain’s neural circuitry, actually improving intellectual development. In other words, this research points out that early piano training helps to create and maintain certain “connections” in children’s brains that may not otherwise form.

It has long been known that musically educated children develop skills they carry into adulthood Now it appears that piano training can actually make children more intelligent. Can you think of any more precious gift to give the children in your life?

Here’s How The Study Was Conducted
Thirty four children received private piano keyboard instruction, 20 children were given private computer lessons, and 24 children provided other controls. Four standard, age-calibrated spatial reasoning tests were given before and after training. One tested spatial temporal reasoning; three tested spatial recognition. Significant improvement on the spatial temporal test was found for the keyboard group only. None of the groups improved significantly on the spatial recognition tests. This led the researchers to conclude that music training produces long-term modifications in underlying neural circuitry in regions of the brain not primarily concerned with music. The magnitude of the improvement suggests that learning of standard curricula is also enhanced.

Other important developmental benefits to childhood music education
Researchers at the University of Konstanz in Germany found that exposure to music rewires neural circuits. For instance, they used magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brains of nine string players. They found that the amount of somato-sensory cortex dedicated to the fingering hand was far larger than in non-players. Additionally, the earlier the player took up the instrument, the more cortex was devoted to playing it. Most concert-level performers begin playing earlier than ten years of age.

Scientists at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston found that the brains of 30 musicians with perfect pitch — the ability to identify isolated musical notes they hear — had greatly enlarged structures on the left side of their brains. All the musicians with perfect pitch said they were exposed to music prior to age seven. The likelihood of developing perfect pitch is extremely low if exposure comes after age ten.

Another German study, at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, reported that exposure to music activates and enhances cognitive processes involved in language and reasoning.

Other studies show that all children are born with musical ability. For example, two month old infants can match the pitch, intensity, and melodies for songs their mothers sing, and at four months infants can match rhythm as well. But the older children get without exercising their musical aptitude, the more will be lost and never regained. The reason is neurological — by approximately age 11, the neuron circuits that permit all kinds of perceptual and sensory discrimination, such as identifying pitch and rhythm, become closed off.

Finally, students with coursework and experience in musical performance scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 39 points higher on the SAT math portion than students with no coursework or experience with music — from data compiled by the Music Educators National Conference from The College Board.

One gift that really does keep giving
As your child’s musical education continues and extends to playing in groups, in recitals, or in competitions, one reward is the special camaraderie that often blooms between young musicians. This can often lead to friendships that last for years to come. The piano can also be a source of stability in the turbulent teenage years. And as an adult, the poise and self-assurance developed by playing and performing at the piano has very tangible value in social and business worlds. There is also the chance that your child has an exceptional musical talent, in which case a whole world of possibilities — both personal and professional — can be recognized and nurtured.

With such clear evidence of the benefits of childhood piano education, the choice as to which piano to purchase still remains. It is highly advisable to buy the best piano you can afford. It stands to reason that the higher the quality of the piano, the better it will sound. And that’s certainly encouragement to get your budding young pianist to play, play more often, and play longer!

Playing a musical instrument makes you “BRAINIER”!

New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.
It can even increase IQ by seven points in both children and adults, according to researchers.
Experts said there is growing evidence that musicians have structurally and functionally different brains compared with non-musicians – in particular, the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music.
These parts of the brain that control motor skills, hearing, storing audio information and memory become larger and more active when a person learns how to play an instrument and can apparently improve day to day actions such as being alert, planning and emotional perception.
Lutz Jäncke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich, said: “Learning to play a musical instrument has definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points, in both children and adults.
“We found that even in people over the age of 65 after four or five months of playing a instrument for an hour a week there were strong changes in the brain.
“The parts of the brain that control hearing, memory, and the part that controls the hands among others, all become more active. Essentially the architecture of the brain changes.
“For children especially we found that learning to play the piano for instance teaches them to be more self-disciplined, more attentive and better at planning. All of these things are very important for academic performance, so can therefore make a child brighter.
“Of course music isn’t the only answer, but I do believe that it should be used in addition to other things.”
Mr Jäncke also said that music can also make it easier to learn foreign languages and become more perceptive in interpreting the emotions of others.
He added: “When you play a musical instrument you have to learn about tone and about scores and your ability to store audio information becomes better.
“So not only does this make it easier to pick up other languages and have a better verbal memory in your own language, we have also seen that musicians are able to pick out exactly what others are feeling just on the tone of their voices. Empathy, disappointment, that kind of thing.
“If music has such a strong influence on brain plasticity this raises the question of whether this effect can be used to enhance cognitive performance.
“Several studies indeed show that musical practice increases memory and language skills, and I suggest expanding this field.
“Hopefully, the current trend in the use of musicians as a model for brain plasticity will continue … and extend to the field of neuropsychological rehabilitation.”
The research is published in the online publication Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports.

How to Take Care of Your Piano

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If you are the proud owner of a new piano in Atlanta, you may be searching for ways that will help you keep it functional, beautiful and elegant at all times. However, you must remember that taking proper care of your piano is a task which will require some of your attention and time. So, if you’re ready to really invest time in your piano and its maintenance, give the following aspects your attention.

Temperature Care

temperatureOne of the most important factors that you have to take care of in Steinway Pianos is the amount of heat and humidity you let in the room. The wood is extremely sensitive, so you can’t expose it to sudden changes in temperature. In a perfect world, you would have a good quality humidifier to maintain the humidity levels at 45 – 70%, and keep the temperature constant at about 20˚C.

Keyboard Care

cleaning piano keysIf you’ve had your piano for a long time, it is mandatory that you keep it clean and absolutely dust-free. For this, you only need to moisten a leather cloth slightly and clean the keyboard with it. Remember to apply minimum pressure as a lot will damage the internal strings. Also, to ensure the long life of the piano, make certain that you shut the lid every time you finish playing.

Location Care

Most good quality pianos, and especially high end pianos, such as the Steinway or even Yamaha Pianos, need a lot of care and looking after. Therefore, you also have to consider where you are placing the instrument. Experts suggest that the piano be kept somewhere against the wall of a room and as far away from the window as possible. Bear in mind that no matter what, keeping it away from the window is a must or else the wood of your piano will be damaged in a few years. Ultraviolet rays will over time damage the finish on the piano.

Maintenance and Repair Care

With any piano, you should carry out maintenance at a regular intervals as this is something which will keep the instrument running longer. A well maintained piano is one which will rarely require the need of repair. Even so, it is smart to have the number of a good piano servicer in your contacts list just in case. Having your piano serviced from time to time will ensure your ability to use it for years to come.

Transport Care

First of all, you have to know that transporting a piano is dangerous because it is a highly sensitive musical instrument and it may not arrive in the exact same playing condition than it left in. However, if you are moving it to another location, it is best if you bring in specialized personnel to take care of the job. Also, you may want to make certain that your piano is insured in case accidents take place.

How To Buy A Used Piano

A piano plays a vital role in music. Very often, no melody is complete without a piano to carry its tune. With so many pianos out there to choose from, you must first decide the purpose for which you will be purchasing one. For example, will you be training children or for casual playing at home. Buying a new Steinway Piano in Atlanta can be costly and depending upon your situation it may be better to look into a used Steinway piano.

However, not all used pianos are created equal. Here are a few questions you should ask before buying a used piano. Especially if you’re looking for a top Steinway piano.

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What is the Reason for Sale?

The first thing you should know is the reason a person is selling a used piano. Their answer is usually helpful in determining if the buyer is being truthful or not as many buyers aren’t expecting the question. In a dealership or piano store this is also a good question to ask. Many times at a piano store or dealer it’s possible that new arrivals have replaced the older versions. These older pianos are sometimes offered as “used” even when they are not. These are often very good finds as they offer great value for a piano that is essentially “new”. Finding out if there are any of these is a smart question to ask as well.

How Often Has the Piano Been Tuned?

piano_tuningMany of the higher end pianos – especially those by Steinway, Essex, Yamaha, and the like –  require to be tuned at least twice a year for maximum sound performance. If care is not taken, you’ll end up paying extra money for its maintenance after the purchase. If not tuned, then make sure you have a certified piano tuner take a look at the piano before purchase to make to know the cost of getting back to it’s top playing condition.

You should also know who did the piano’s last tuning and maintenance. Remember, Steinway Pianos should always be tuned by an authorized Steinway piano technician and not by just any tuner. An accurate and detailed tuning record is a sign of a well cared for piano.

Where It Has Been Stored?

The details of where the piano has been stored must also be taken into account. Make sure that it hasn’t been cramped up in a place experiencing seepage, water outflow or extreme temperature variation. If a piano has been stored in a garage, stay away. These factors can seriously affect a piano’s performance and appearance.

How Much Movement Has It Experienced?

piano_movingIs this the first owner? Or has the piano changed hands a few times? These are good things to be aware of in determining how well the piano was cared for. Find out how often the piano has been shifted from one place to another. Inspect it for dents, scratches or defects which might affect its performance.

How Often Has The Piano Been Used?

You should be well aware of how often the instrument was been used. This is also often a key indicator of how well the piano was cared for. Don’t be alarmed if the person used the piano every day. A person that uses a piano often is much more likely to be one who has taken great care of it.

Keep these in mind while shopping for a used piano and you will definitely get the best value for your money. Or, you can just let the pros do it for you. You can always swing by Steinway Piano in Atlanta to view the used pianos available anytime.

Always remember that either is it a piano or any other musical instrument, proper tuning and care must be taken for best result.

Essex Grand Pianos Superior Quality And Performance

Essex Grand Piano EGP155

Designed by Steinway & Sons in collaboration with renowned furniture designer William Faber, the Essex has been created as a tribute to the idea that beautiful piano styles and finishes can and should be possible in every price range. With elegant traditional styling and museum-quality finishes, Essex will be a stunning addition to your home. And it is available in an array of models, sizes, and veneers to fit every décor and every lifestyle…

Read more here: http://steinway.com/pianos/essex/grand/egp-155/