Author Archives: stevemills

How Often Should You Tune Your Piano?

The most common question asked of us is “How often does my piano need to be tuned?”  

A piano goes out of tune when the piano is subjected to heat and humidity changes.  Moving the piano does not hurt the tuning until the piano reacts to different temperature and humidity levels. The change in atmosphere affects the dimensions of the case parts making pianos go sharp in higher humidity and flat in lower humidity.

In residential use a piano should be tuned at the change of seasons.  Four tunings a year is ideal.  If the temperature and humidity are kept constant through external devices such as a humidifier in the winter months and air conditioning in the summer, the need for tuning can be minimized and reduced to twice a year. 

In professional use the piano needs to be tuned more frequently. Usually this occurs because of increased use or an institutional atmosphere such as an auditorium that may have the heat and air conditioning turned on or off frequently.  For high level professional use (like a concert hall) the piano may need to be tuned daily to insure that it is in perfect tune for each instance of concert or recording work.


Tuning a piano is a profession that requires training, practice, and a knowledge base that takes an investment of time and practice to learn and master. It is best to leave tuning to the professionals.


Music lessons are the best thing a parent can do for their children

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You, According to Science

Music & The Brain


“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato

Who doesn’t love music and isn’t somehow emotionally, mentally or even physically affected by it?

That’s also why some people have been known to burst into tears after watching a classical orchestra. We came across an interesting post by Melanie Foster at Online PHD Programs on the 15 Studied Effects of Classical Music on Your Brain. Here’s an excerpt from her piece:

“Classical music, whether you love it or hate it, has been a powerful cultural force for centuries. While it no longer dominates the music scene, the argument for continued appreciation of the genre goes far beyond pure aural aesthetics. Classical music has been lauded for its ability to do everything from improve intelligence to reduce stress, and despite some exaggeration of its benefits, science shows us that it actually does have a marked effect on the brain in a number of positive ways.”

Our favorite effect is how emotional expression in music and speech affect the brain similarly. Music imitates the tonal characteristics of emotions relayed through voice, which taps into our innate communicative abilities. That’s why music can cause a stir in your senses through its different instruments, modes and melodies – and this applies to music of all genres and cultures around the world.

Get a taste of Melanie’s article through the infographic above, and find out what the 15 effects of classical music to the brain are by reading all about it here.

Phipps Plaza Welcomes Steinway Piano Galleries

Phipps Plaza, the Southeast’s premier shopping destination located in the heart of Buckhead and owned by Simon, a leading global retail real estate company, is excited to announce the recent addition of Steinway Piano Galleries to its impressive retail roster.

“Upon visiting Phipps Plaza for the first time, I knew it was the perfect fit for Steinway Piano Galleries,” said Ron Losby, president of Steinway & Sons. “We’re thrilled about our new location and to be able to serve the Atlanta community in such an upscale environment.”

The recently opened 2,626 square foot store is located on the second level in the Court of the South with a unique selection of Steinway-designed pianos. Since 1853, Steinway & Sons has been hand-crafting the finest pianos in the world from its factory in New York, where the company was founded. Steinway is the piano choice for over nine out of 10 performing concert artists each year.

Representing the best in acoustic pianos, Steinway Piano Galleries is celebrating over a century in business and has served over 250,000 customers in its history. Piano lessons are also available in the store’s state of the art teaching facilities along with other services such as piano tuning, repair and restoration.

“Steinway Piano Galleries is excited about the opportunity to present the full line of Steinway and Steinway-designed Boston and Essex pianos at Phipps Plaza,” said Chris Syllaba, president and CEO of Steinway Piano Galleries. “The iconic Steinway brand is a perfect match with Phipps Plaza, the premier, luxury shopping destination in the heart of Buckhead.”

The Atlanta community is invited to join Steinway Piano Galleries for its grand opening celebration on Wednesday, October 22 at 6:30 p.m. RSVP preferred

A Tribute To Clem D’Avella

ClemA Tribute to Clement D’Avella
1931 – 2014

Today we celebrate the life of Clem D’Avella, a man who had a great
impact on so many of us in the music industry.

Clem was born in Italy but spent most of his years in the Washington
DC area. He lived in Washington DC, in Sliver Spring and eventually
settled in Potomac, Maryland.

In 1956, Clem began his life-long career in the music industry at the
original Arthur Jordan Piano Company store on 13th and G Streets in NW
Washington DC. He was assigned to the piano department and quickly
became a store manager, moving to the Silver Spring, MD store. Moving
steadily up the ranks he eventually became Executive Vice President
and ultimately, in 1988, President of Jordan Kitt’s Music.

Clem remained in that position until his “retirement” in 1991. Even
after retirement, however, Clem’s dedication to the company and it’s
employees remained as he was called back in 1993 to again lead the
sales organization. Even after his second retirement Clem was senior
advisor to Jordan Kitt’s until owner Bill McCormick’s passing in 2007.

Clem was instrumental in so many ways to the company, including the
period of expansion into the Baltimore and Richmond markets. He was a
key figure in the acquisitions of Wells Music (Denver market) in 1981,
Wilmington Piano Company (Philadelphia market) in 1988, and Temple of
Music (Virginia Beach market) also in 1988.

Clem quickly became Mr. McCormick’s right hand man, both in motivating
the Jordan Kitt’s sales force and during his vendor trips to Italy
with Mr. McCormick’s company, Georgetown Leather Design.

Giving back to the community and the industry was also a big part of
Clem’s life through his years of service on the NAMM board. But his
true contribution was his huge impact on so many lives within and
outside of the industry. He worked very hard to ensure that his mother
and father were well taken care of, participating in their care
together with his sister. He was devoted to his family, including his
wife Mary, both admiring what she accomplished in her career and
cherishing their many years together, and his children, Mike and Frank.

According to friend and former Jordan Kitt’s executive Dennis
Houlihan, Clem was “a man with a huge heart – filled with love and

Clem. You were a truly great man. I will never forget the influence
you had on my life and your unwavering guidance in my career. Thank
you for the person you were and your invaluable contribution to this

Chris Syllaba
President & CEO

Piano Lessons Stimulate The Brain And Unlock Your Creativity

Are you in a rut and want to try something new? Or maybe you want to get your kids involved in a new activity- one that doesn’t involve game controllers or remotes.

You want something challenging and creative, but what? Have you ever thought about taking piano lessons? Not only do you or your kids learn a skill, but it also stimulates the brain and encourages creativity.

For one thing, piano lessons improve concentration. Think about it- you are employing your fingers, your eyes, your ears and even your feet when you play. That requires great coordination as well as focus. Your brain is controlling a variety of areas at once and, as a result, your mental acuity is sharpened. This enhanced focus follows you in other aspects of your life. Your kids will get more out of school and their grades may even improve.

Your mind doesn’t feel sluggish and your attention to detail is improved. Creativity is also unlocked through piano lessons. If you or your children have an aptitude for music, it could lead to composing and improvisation. It may lead to creativity in other areas as well.

Writing, painting or drawing may be drawn out through the music. Play fun stuff, colorful pieces that excite you and make you want to learn more. Piano lessons don’t have to be boring and stuffy.

It is best to start kids out early in life to get the most benefits. Their brains are still developing and by stimulating it through learning how to play an instrument, it improves their ability to learn and absorb information.

It is also a great way for mentally impaired children to communicate and express themselves, especially if they can’t do it verbally. For older adults, piano lessons are a great way to wake up parts of the brain that may have been stagnant.

Ultimately, it can help with memory and concentration making them more self-sufficient. And of course, it’s never too late for grown-ups to learn something new. This skill will open up a new world of fun and creativity.

To get the most out of your piano lessons, choose the right teacher. If it’s for your kids, find one that can address their specific learning style and one that can keep their attention.

If you are interested in learning, find someone who has experience teaching adults. There are several methods and techniques used to teach this skill and it is important to find the one that works for you, otherwise you or your kids will lose interest.

Above all else, learning to play is fun and satisfying and if you’re having fun, you are more receptive to learning. It’s also fun to experiment. Even if you aren’t very good, sit down at the keys and just play something. Let your creativity fly and see what your hands and your brain come up with. It may sound like noise, but then again, you may unlock the Billy Joel in you. Learn a new skill, have fun and exercise your brain- take some piano lessons.

Hall Piano Company, Metairie, is Louisiana’s premier establishment for piano sales and service. They offer piano lessons designed with all levels of students in mind, from the absolute beginner to advanced player. Visit them at to download a free piano buying guide.

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There is Room for Music and Sports

Children can benefit from beginner piano lessons. So before you dismiss this as an alternative activity to sports, read this article.
The fact that simply listening to Mozart at a young age can dramatically enhance a young child’s intellectual capabilities is still in debate. But there is no question that learning to play Mozart on the piano can be exceptionally beneficial to young children. Many parents today look to sports as positive influences on their children’s motor and concentration skills, as well as their value of teamwork. But some children are not sports oriented, and good piano lessons provide many of those same benefits, if not more.
Learning to play piano will improve upon a young child’s coordination skills. Unlike many other instruments, the piano requires both hands to independently maneuver the keys. While the right hand may be playing a lilting melody, the left hand may be required to keep a slow steady beat. Not only do the hands work independent of each other, but so to do the fingers. The fingers on each hand must grab for the lower white keys, or the upper black keys to produce the proper harmony. At times, certain fingers will not press any keys at all. Good lessons will include many exercise books for the beginning student. Major and minor scales will teach the student to move each and every finger up and down the keyboard with precision.

Much like karate or tennis, playing the piano also requires concentration. If the child has never played a musical instrument, learning to properly read sheet music will be incorporated into the lesson. The black dots and lines representing notes and bars are like a foreign language. The child must learn to interpret the sheet music, then vocalize that translation through the keyboard. Piano teachers that are excellent with young children might approach the new music as a code the child must de-crypt using the piano keys. Most teachers will also set up a practice schedule with the student of perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes a day. With a new mission to de-code the piano music, many students might have no problem keeping to their fifteen minute a day regimen. Others might need reinforcement from their parents, but the benefits of requiring a child to stick to a piano study schedule are no different than requiring that a child attend basketball practice as promised

Music Makes You Smarter For Life

Do music lessons make kids smarter? Maybe. Studies report that musical kids perform better on tests of math skills, verbal ability, and even IQ. They may also have more grey matter in the brain. And a now a new study suggests that childhood music training helps people stay sharp as they get older.

So is it too late if you haven’t been sending your toddler to piano lessons? I don’t think so. The latest study hints at long-term benefits for kids who begin training around the age of ten.

Here’s a quick guide to the latest discoveries.

Musicians are smarter than mere listeners

The Mozart effect has been effectively debunked. Merely listening to music might make you feel a bit more creative, but it doesn’t seem to make you any smarter.

By contrast, there is mounting evidence that learning to play a musical instrument may shape the brain and boost your intelligence.

Studies of young children suggest that 4-6 year olds who play instruments perform better on tests of working memory. And older kids who play instruments have performed better on tests of general intelligence.

Are these correlations deceptive? Could it be that kids who are more intelligent are also more likely to get enrolled in music lessons? Maybe, but as I note in my Parenting Science review of the effects of music training, we have reason to think that music training makes kids smarter.

For example, one study administered IQ tests to 6-year-olds and then randomly assigned each child to receive one of four treatments:

• Keyboard lessons
• Singing lessons
• Drama lessons
• No lessons

At the end of the school year, the kids were tested again. Only the children who had received music lessons showed improvements.

As I note in the Parenting Science article, other research indicates that musicians have more grey matter in the brain.

And now a new study suggests that music training may help your kids stay sharp and cognitively flexible as they age.

When Brenda Hanna-Pladdy and Alicia McKay tested 70 older adults (aged 60-85), the researchers discovered a link between cognitive function and childhood music lessons.

The adults who’d had the most musical training—ten years or more—performed better than non-musicians on some cognitive tests. They had an easier time naming objects. In addition, they showed evidence of superior visual (nonverbal) memory and cognitive flexibility, or the ability to switch from one set of rules to another when the situation demands it.

There were also differences between non-musicians and people who’d studied music for less than 10 years. These differences weren’t as marked, and might be attributable to chance. But overall, there was a positive relationship between activity and cognitive performance:

The more years a person had spent playing an instrument, the better she did on the cognitive tests. And the musicians maintained their cognitive advantage even if they no longer played a musical instrument. This was true even though the musicians and non-musicians had achieved similar levels of education.

The results aren’t conclusive. Maybe the musicians socialized more, and the social stimulation is what kept them sharp. Or perhaps musicians are more physically active. As I’ve noted in an earlier post, physical exercise may benefit the brain too.

But this study is the first to examine the possibility of lifelong effects of musical training, and it will doubtless inspire more research.

Meanwhile, we should focus on this encouraging point: You don’t have to start music training very early in life to reap important benefits.

The musicians in this study weren’t professionals, and they weren’t child prodigies either. On average, they didn’t learn to play an instrument until they were about 10 years old.

Perhaps future studies will show that the cognitive benefits of music training are greatest for kids who begin earlier. But for now it appears that training can benefit kids who start in middle childhood. If your child didn’t start playing the violin in preschool, it’s not too late.

And besides, music is about much more than gaining a few points in IQ or preserving your mental agility. Learning to play an instrument is intrinsically rewarding. And new skills are valuable at any age.


Seven Advantages of Adult Piano Lessons
1. Adults learn of their own volition. Children very often have to be persuaded to practice and attend piano lessons. Adults, on the other hand, don’t need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to their piano teachers. (Admittedly, I do know some teachers whose lessons I’d be kicking and screaming to avoid.) Adult piano lessons are thus almost invariably a pleasure for both student and teacher.

2. Adults have highly developed logical and critical thinking skills. It is often thought that playing music is a purely creative, right-brained act, but this is by no means the case. As the most emotional of the arts, music indeed favors the Dionysian right brain compared to the Apollonian left. Yet so much of interpreting music is a matter of basic analysis, of understanding music’s harmonic vocabulary and what the composer is doing with the musical material. Playing music without understanding these essentials would be like learning to pronounce syllables in a foreign language but having little or no idea what the words mean.

3. Adults can learn complex concepts much more easily and understand technical explanations. This makes it possible for adults to learn music theory and analysis far more easily than do children. The importance of being able to analyze and understand a piece of music from the beginning of study cannot be overstated. Nothing is more common than students who attain skill on an instrument but who have only a rudimentary understanding of the music, which severely limits their playing in ways they cannot imagine. I believe much of this state of affairs arises from children who learn notes before they are able to comprehend them, and their knowledge of harmony and theory never catches up to their finger skill. Adults, by contrast, are able to grasp the elements of music and musical structures quite readily, like a scientist who understands how the world works.

4. Adults have developed attention spans. Children’s attention spans, by contrast, are often limited to only a few minutes at a time. It takes careful concentration to learn the piano, and adults have a considerable advantage in this regard. Progress on a musical instrument is a matter of accumulating many hours of concentrated, careful practice. (Practicing without concentration is not only unproductive, it is outright destructive to your playing.)

5. Adults are emotionally developed. Music, after all, is the most directly emotional of the arts, and its wide spectrum of emotions can only be expressed and comprehended by those who have experienced those emotions themselves. Emotion in music has very much to do with musical vocabulary (harmony, or how tones combine) and how they extend in time and create musical forms. The former is music’s vertical dimension (notes in relation to one another at any given moment), the latter its horizontal (how notes relate to one another in the listener’s aural memory).

6. Adults are able to read fluently. By contrast, very young children can’t yet read letters or numbers, which necessitates more basic teaching methods. Note names, musical instructions and fingering numbers are not the only things that require the ability to read letters and numbers: the fascinating areas of music history and theory, so critical to playing music competently, do as well.

7. By definition, adults are fully grown, whereas children have as-yet undeveloped muscles. While the hands themselves can and should gain flexibility and strength from practicing piano (and the hand span can even increase), the fingers and palms of adults are fully grown. This simple advantage should not be overlooked in music education. Children who play string instruments, for instance, are forced to adapt to instruments of different sizes as they grow. The violin, for instance, comes in fully eight different sizes! The piano keyboard, by contrast, is only available in one size. (Steinway, however, once made a special piano for the diminutive Josef Hofmann, one with slightly narrower keys.) While only a very few composers (Alkan among them) consistently required large hands, fully grown hands make more music accessible to players.

Remember, it is never too late to learn music! If you’re an adult wishing to commence or resume piano playing, I encourage you to discover your true musicality. Adult piano lessons may be your path to musical fulfillment