Happy Halloween everyone, have a laugh!

Happy Halloween         HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE! Student to Teacher: “I can’t reach the brakes on this piano!” Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?  Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when dropped over a cliff. Why are pianists’ fingers like lightning?  They rarely strike the same place twice. Why was the piano invented?  So the pianist would have a place to put his coffee. The audience at a piano recital was appalled when a telephone rang just off stage. Without missing a note the soloist glanced toward the wings and called, “If that’s my agent, tell him I’m working!” What’s the difference between a piano and a fish?  You can’t tuna fish. What did a piano player say to a tightrope walker?  You better C sharp or you’ll B flat! Why was the piano player arrested?  Because he got into treble.


piano lessonsThere is  another very important reason for children to take piano lessons:

Recent study showed that after almost a year of weekly piano lessons, students’ IQs rose nearly three points more than their untrained classmates! The study supports the idea that piano lessons exercise parts of the brain useful in mathematics, language, spatial intelligence and other intellectual pursuits. Piano lessons, because there are so many different activities involved–such as memorizing, expressing emotion, learning about musical interval and chords–may be motivating the IQ effect.

Here is more about the study itself:

Researchers grouped together a few 6-year-olds for weekly piano lessons. Then another group was created to take weekly drama lessons. Last group of children was going to receive no classes during the period of the study. All children went through a long intelligence test that assessed them in ten different areas. Following that children went off to first grade at school and to their assigned piano lesson, drama and no lessons at all groups. After the first year of study all children were retested. At the time of retesting, all students displayed increases in IQ of at least 4.3 points, on average, which is a common result from attending a school. Drama class children`s IQs didn`t differ from those who did not take any lessons at all. Testing the piano lessons children researchers found a  slightly larger increases in IQ than the other groups, averaging 7-point gains in their IQ scores–2.7 points higher than children placed in either drama or no-lessons group.

The bottom line:

sing up your children for piano lessons, it will make them smarter and will support all learning!  


PRACTICE TIPS. Guitar can be an interesting instrument to get started on.  The way we use our hands when we play guitar is unlike anything we’ve ever done before.  This can make it challenging when first starting, but rest assured, the hurdle is very jumpable and you will be happy you did when you’ve cleared it. Here are three tips for beginners that I feel are vital to think about when approaching the instrument.

1) Always be sure to warm up before you play.

Doing a simple scale like the chromatic scale or a major scale will not only warm up your hands, but it also: -Makes your fingers stronger, which, in turn, makes it easier to push down the strings, and play chords. -Coordinates your two hands to work together.  Most people don’t think of guitar as a coordination instrument, but it absolutely is!  The timing between the right hand picking the string and the left hand pushing down on the fret has to be spot on.  This takes time to develop, and scales are a great way to speed up that time.

2) Practice slow!

You will undoubtedly gain more from slow steady practice than fast and choppy practice.  Find a tempo where you can be smooth and tension free in your hands, arms, shoulders, and neck, and stay there until you’re ready to speed up.  I usually don’t speed up more than 5 BPM’s at a time.  Remember, if you are tensing up, you are playing too fast.

3) Break your chords up.

If your chords aren’t ringing clearly, then try playing three strings of the chord.  Practice that until you get comfortable with it, then add a fourth string.  Keep adding strings until you’ve got the whole chord under your hand. Stay patient, practice slow, and practice with your whole mind and body and you will see results!  Best of luck, and most importantly…have fun!! Jon Paul, guitar teacher