A Visit to the Steinway & Sons Piano Factory

I sometimes take it for granted that as musicians we have an intrinsic ability to appreciate a truly fine instrument. It is more than just recognizing the mechanical precision or the aesthetic beauty of something that is so well designed. There is this appreciation that runs much deeper than simply knowing that you are playing on something that sonically projects your every feeling and emotion to an accuracy that makes it sound almost effortless to those listening. Rather, it is an appreciation for the craftsmen and women who posses the raw talent and passion for creating something that so brilliantly designed; an excellence in function capable of breaking down physical barriers and allowing a musician to express themselves to the very peak of their ability and oftentimes even beyond. We are profoundly interwoven in almost a co-dependent sense, for we as musicians are unable to reach our horizons without the artisan and the artisan in turn relies on the musician who expresses their genius on the instrument and therefore pushes them to the highest level of craftsmanship, innovation and sound quality.

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Making music makes children nicer: study

Making music can make a young child nicer, more willing to help, and better at problem solving, a new study finds.

Researchers from the University of West London said that they built on existing 2010 research from German researchers Sebastian Kirschner and Michael Tomasello, who found that making music can significantly improve positive social behavior in young children – meaning, they’re more cooperative, agreeable, and willing to help others.

But in this study, the team wanted to find out if music-making also had an effect on problem-solving skills. And if so, is there a difference between boys and girls.

Findings were presented this week at the British Psychological Society’s Cognitive Developmental Psychology Annual Conference.

The team recruited nearly 50 four-year-old girls and boys. Kids were randomly assigned to either a “music” group, where children sang and played music along with an instructor, or a “no music” group, where children listened to a story.

Findings showed that after the music-making session, children were more than 30 times more likely be helpful than those who didn’t play music. Plus the music group was six times more likely to co-operate than those who listened to the story, with the girls being even more likely to co-operate than the boys.

While both boys and girls showed enhanced problem-solving skills after the music session, the effect was stronger for the boys: music-making boys were four times more likely to problem solve than the boys in the no-music group.

The research highlights “the need for schools and parents to understand the important role music-making has in children’s lives in terms of social bonding and helping behaviors,” said researcher Rie Davies.

“Music-making in class, particularly singing, may encourage pupils with learning differences and emotional difficulties to feel less alienated in the school environment.”

Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Benefits

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By PERRI KLASS, M.D.

When children learn to play a musical instrument, they strengthen a range of auditory skills. Recent studies suggest that these benefits extend all through life, at least for those who continue to be engaged with music.

But a study published last month is the first to show that music lessons in childhood may lead to changes in the brain that persist years after the lessons stop.

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A New View of a Note

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Taking the invisible and turning it into something that you can see. Sound wave energy has always been something that we appreciated acoustically with the ear but now you can visualize it with the eye as well! Cymascope was commissioned to image 12 piano notes as inspiration for a series of 12 musical canvases. Using HD video they were able to capture the dynamics of the piano’s first strike making 12 piano notes visible.

Piano notes made visible on the CymaScope

For the first time in history individual piano notes have been made visible using the CymaScope instrument. Try it out and see!