Piano Fun

Health Benefits of Music

At Chicago Piano Tuners, you might think we just love piano music but to tell the truth, we love all music! According to the National Piano Foundation, “Playing the piano has always added joy to people’s lives, but we’re just beginning to understand the full range of its benefits. When I play the piano, I am able to get away from the daily challenges. It’s like taking a mini-vacation. By the time I walk away from the piano, I am truly relaxed.” We agree and share the health benefits of music in this article.

De-stress with Music. 

Whether you’re playing or listening, music is a great tool for de-stressing. Playing the piano has a therapeutic effect on those who are committed to it. As you develop your skills on the piano, it becomes a way to escape from all the other demands and stressors in life. Listening to music is also proven to lower blood pressure and eliminate stress. When we think of all the diseases today that are linked to stress, it’s not a stretch to say that playing the piano could save your life.

Focus your Attention.

Playing the piano increases your ability to focus as it personally demands your undivided attention. Until you have played a song perhaps a thousand times, you have to pay attention to the keys and the notes. It quiets your mind to the world around you. Quieting your mind is a wonderful health benefit of music.

Listening to music while working or studying is an essential part of the process for many people, but just any music is fit for this situation. Studies have been done to determine what kind of music improves the performance of specific tasks.  On YouTube, playlists for studying are often composed of instrumental pieces, and there is a reason for that. One study resulted in the discovery of what is often referred to as The Mozart Effect, that supports that listening to classical music improves spatial reasoning.

Speaks to you.

Instrumental music speaks a language that cannot be put into words. Many people gravitate towards music because they have something internally that they need to release, be it sadness or anger or fear. Playing, or even composing a song on the piano, could help someone relay their message without having to speak. They feel a sense of release when they play the right notes or listen to the right song.

While music is beneficial, most people listen or play for enjoyment; the health benefits of music are an aside. It’s as if we know before we even fall in love with music, that this will be good for us. We know that we need the music, and we don’t question why.

Caleb CrockettHealth Benefits of Music
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Brief History of Wartime Piano Melodies

As summer begins with Memorial Day and winds its way to the 4th of July, we at Chicago Piano Tuners want to take time to acknowledge the brave souls who have fought for our freedom. If not for them, we may not be here sharing our passion for music, including wartime piano melodies. Historically, music has been a cherished companion in times of war, and for good reason.

Music is more than a lovely sound to our ears.

Music speaks to our hearts and encourages and lifts our spirits in dark and difficult times. Wartime has traditionally been a time to generate songs of patriotism and support. People see loved ones off to war, can find solace in music. Here are a few of our favorite wartime piano melodies.

Battle Hymn of the Republic (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory)

Battle Hymn of the Republic, also known as Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, was written by Julia Ward Howe in February of 1862, during the Civil War. The song was first viewed by the public when the lyrics were published in the Atlantic Monthly. The Civil War was a trying time for all those touched by the war, and this melody kept many men and women “marching on” with its empowering lyrics and upbeat rhythm.

Keep the Home Fires Burning (Till the Boys Come Home)

Keep the Home Fires Burning is a lesser known song, but worthy of mention. Composed by Ivor Novello with lyrics written by Lena Guilbert Ford, this was a British patriotic song written in 1914, during the First World War. The song was first published as Till the Boys Come Home on October 8, 1914. The encouraging lyrics of this wartime melody are a perfect example of what these tunes set out to do in these trying times.

Let no tears add to their hardships

As the soldiers pass along,

And although your heart is breaking,

Make it sing this cheery song

God Bless America

Last, but certainly not least, is the famous and beloved American patriotic melody, God Bless America. Although it was written by Irving Berlin in 1918, for a World War I review, it was withheld. In 1938, it was revised and released for World War II. God Bless America lyrically takes the form of a prayer for God’s blessing and peace for the nation. 

God bless America

Land that I love

Stand beside her

And guide her

Through the night with the light from above

Are you singing along? We are! We love these and so many other wartime songs. As piano tuners and music lovers, we’re proud to say we contribute to musicians’ ability to compose music for the next generation.

Caleb CrockettBrief History of Wartime Piano Melodies
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Tips for Finding a Piano Teacher

When it comes to finding a piano teacher, it’s important to understand the goals of the prospective student. Once you define what they want to learn, whether it’s classical, liturgical, jazz, or another musical genre, you can ask for referrals, interview teachers to find the one that connects with the student to help them meet their musical goals.

Where do you begin finding a piano teacher? 

I’m a member of neighborhood groups on social media, primarily Facebook, and I see people asking for all sorts of recommendations. Where can I get my dog groomed? Do you know of a good babysitter for school age kids? Where can my husband and I have a romantic kid-free date night? And on and on. I’d say the typical question gets dozens of responses with people not only offering their suggestions but others commenting on those suggestions.

If you’re looking for a piano teacher, I’d start on social media, both in groups and asking on your own profile. Your friend who is a math teacher may well be able to provide a recommendation for you without too much effort.

It helps to know specifics about the piano lessons.

  • Will the lessons be in your home or elsewhere?
  • Do you have access to a well-tuned piano at a school or music studio?
  • How old is the prospective student and do they have experience receiving music lessons?
  • How often will the student be able to practice?
  • What is your budget for lessons?
  • What’s the frequency for lessons? This one may be a question to ask the prospective teacher as the higher frequency, the faster the student learns but it may not be economically feasible or you may not want to make a big investment until you know the student is committed to the craft.

What do you want from a piano lesson experience? 

This is really a question of how serious the prospective student is about the piano lessons. Weekly lessons to get them familiar with an instrument and expand their creativity is different than a student who wants multiple lessons per week with a big goal to become a concert pianist by the age of 21 years old.

When you’re finding a piano teacher, ask them about their own experience. 

You may be surprised at what you learn. The teacher from the local school may moonlight as a pianist for the musical theatre or has performed on even bigger stages. They may be focused on only teaching students classical or jazz and if your student wants to learn rock, that teacher may not be the right fit. So don’t be afraid to ask questions before hiring them!

When it comes to finding a piano teacher, have an idea of your student’s goals, ask for referrals from friends and social media groups, and interview the prospective teacher so you find the right fit. And remember, if your piano needs tuning, call Chicago Piano Tuners!

Caleb CrockettTips for Finding a Piano Teacher
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Chicago Piano Tuners Asks, “What type of music do you listen to while you work?”

In an unofficial and, let’s be honest, unscientific survey on social media, I asked friends and business colleagues, “What type of music do you listen to while you work?” Of course, the Chicago Piano Tuners team was hoping everyone would respond, “Piano music!”

Why is music important while we work?

If you work in a busy office, especially open space, music can drown distracting noises. The co-worker clipping their nails (ew!), the slurping of a soda, and crunching on a snack are just a few of the workplace sounds that can distract us from the task at hand. Music or white noise helps drown these sounds so you can get your work done. In addition to distracting the brain, music can be a motivator. [Source]

  • Fast music for working out.
  • Music without words for working or studying.
  • Good beats that make you dance.

If you’re working on repetitive tasks, music helps you perform faster with fewer errors. That’s because it triggers the release of feel good hormones known as neurotransmitters. These hormones make you feel more relaxed and better able to focus. [Source]

Survey Results

Results ran across the spectrum. While some respondents said they blast 1980’s long hair, others said they work in silence in the wee hours of the night, and everything in between.

  • Classical piano (yay!) when writing. Some even named specific composers or types of music (piano, violins, etc.).
  • Current music when answering emails and handling other relatively mundane tasks that can be done a quick pace. Music seems to stimulate the pace of work.
  • Dance music or oldies when cleaning the office. (and who doesn’t need a good dance party every once in a while!)

And an LOL to my friends who responded that they listen to hold music most often!

Whatever the type of music you listen to while you work, Chicago Piano Tuners loves that you’re listening and benefiting from the experience.

Ready to start playing that piano that’s been sitting gathering dust? We’re here to tune it for you! Scheduled a piano tuning today.

Caleb CrockettChicago Piano Tuners Asks, “What type of music do you listen to while you work?”
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Interesting Facts About Pianos

It’s a new year which means many people are exercising their bodies and brains, including learning to play the piano. A relatively new instrument compared to the flute, for example, tickling the ivories remains a popular choice for professional and amateur musicians alike. If you’re not sure that this instrument is right for you, we’ve got interesting facts about the piano that could help you decide.

Pianos are a new instrument.

A sort-of cousin of the harpsichord, the first piano was constructed in 1698 by harpsichord maker and inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy. Cristofori was appointed by the Florentine court of Grand Prince Ferdinand de’Medici in 1688 to care for the harpsichords and eventually the entire collection of instruments. During that time he developed a new instrument which we know today as the piano.

The full name is pianoforte, the Italian words for playing notes quietly (piano) and loudly (forte).

Three of Cristofori’s pianos are still in existence with one from 1720 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one from 1726 at the Musical Instrument Museum of Leipzig University, and one from 1722 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Rome. The oldest piano is in a wing-shaped case and resembles a harpsichord. With only 54 keys compared to the 88 keys of the modern piano, the sound was different than what we would hear today.

The world’s most expensive piano was manufactured in Canada.

Canadian manufacturer Heintzman Pianos made the Crystal Piano that was played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by Chinese pianist Lang Lang. A transparent design gives the illusion that the pianist and instrument are floating. After the Olympics, the Crystal Piano sold at auction for $3.2 million making it the most expensive piano ever sold.

Interesting piano facts include that a piano has the range of a full orchestra.

Pianos are referred to as the King of Instruments because their range us that of a full orchestra.

230 strings and over 30 tons of pressure make its full range of sound. This includes notes from the lowest note played on a double-bassoon to the highest note played on a piccolo, a full orchestra of sound.

If you’re thinking of taking up the piano this year, you’re in good company.

There are more than 18 million non-professional piano players in the United States alone and over 10 million pianos!

Dust off your piano and call Chicago Piano Tuners to get your piano sounding like the day it was made!

Caleb CrockettInteresting Facts About Pianos
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