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How Does A Grand Piano Work?

If you’ve ever seen a world-class pianist playing a great piece of music, you might agree that they are possibly the world’s best musician.  It takes amazing physical, intellectual, and emotional brilliance to play such a complex instrument in such a captivating way, and only a small percentage of the world’s pianists are up to the job.  One of my personal favorites is Yuja Wang.

 

But it’s not just the musician who makes the music sound so fantastic: the instrument plays a huge part too.

Let’s take a closer look inside a piano and find out how it works!  How does a piano make sound?
A piano sounds quite unlike any other instrument and, if you heard it on the radio, you’d probably never guess how it was making a noise. The confusing thing about a piano is that it’s two different kinds of instrument in one: it’s a string instrument, because the sounds are made with strings, but it’s also a percussion instrument (like a drum) because the strings make sound when something hits them. Listen to the music of a composer like Bartok and you’ll often hear the piano being played percussive manner, almost beating like a drum.

So what happens when you press the key of a piano? The key is actually a wooden lever, a bit like a seesaw but much longer at one end than at the other. When you press down on a key, the opposite end of the lever (hidden inside the case) jumps up in the air, forcing a small felt-covered hammer to press against the piano strings, making a musical note. At the same time, at the extreme end of the lever behind the hammer, another mechanical part called a damper is also forced up into the air. When you release the key, the hammer and the damper fall back down again. The damper sits on top of the string, stops it vibrating, and brings the note rapidly to an end.

When the hammer strikes the strings, it vibrates, sets air molecules in motion and sends the sounds of the strings out toward your ears. To make the sounds louder, there is a large piece of wood mounted underneath them, called the soundboardWhen the strings vibrate, the soundboard also vibrates in sympathy  resonance. The soundboard effectively amplifies the strings so they are loud enough to hear.

If you’ve ever wondered why pianos are such a funny shape, that’s easy to answer.  Remember that they’re string instruments.  Lower notes need longer strings than higher notes, so the bass strings for the low notes on the left-hand side of the keyboard need to be much longer than the treble strings for the high notes on the right-hand side. That’s why the case is longer on the left than on the right and why it has that funny curved rim.  In fact, the strings on the left are so long that they cross over, on top of the middle and treble strings to save space.

Since each note can have up to three strings, it turns out that there are well over 230 strings inside a piano, each one stretched really tight. To stop the strings from collapsing the entire piano inwards, the rim and case are reinforced by a huge, heavy cast iron plate. The plate sits just above the sound board and large metal holes around its edge allow the sound to come up through it.

Take  a quick tour of how a grand piano works.  Check out the following video from the science channel.

Yamaha U1 Studio Upright Piano

The Yamaha U1  now available at The Willis Music Co. @ Florence

These units are previously owned and refurbished university grade Studio Upright Pianos, straight from Japan. We buy them and present them for sale at our stores at half the price of a new one. Huge savings and amazing value accompany great sound and workmanship. Stop by one of our stores and check one out to see why they are the #1 choice of Asian schools, teachers and students alike. For an appointment, contact Frank Raymore at Willis Music Florence Store #859-525-6050

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It’s All About That Band!

It is that time of year. School is in full swing, and school band is something that your child is going to stick with. We have always found that private lessons are the best way for your child to succeed in band class- some band directors even require that all students take private lessons outside of school. Here at Willis Music, we are always on the look out for the best musician to help your child grow. We are always expanding, especially when it comes to band. Here are just a few of our many new band teachers. To find out more about lessons for you or your child, click on the location nearest you, or on one of these great teachers below!

Willis Music Lexington

Willis Music Florence

Willis Music Eastgate

Willis Music Kenwood

Moeller/Willis Music West Chester 


 

Armond Luckey- West Chester Location

I started playing trumpet when I was 12 so I’ve been playing for about 16 years. I attended Miami University on a full ride scholarship. While there I had the opportunity to connect and play with several musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Wayne Bergeron and Jon Faddis. While at Miami I was the lead player for the Miami Jazz Ensemble as well as the jazz trumpet ensemble called the Lickitysplits. I was also a part of the Miami Wind Ensemble, Miami Marching Band, and Miami Orchestra. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Click here to register with Armond


 

Chase Clark- Lexington Location

As an educator, Chase has taught at various schools and music camps throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Teaching with his first instrument, the trombone, Chase has appeared as a guest instructor at prestigious music programs such as Lafayette High School, Beaumont Middle School, Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, and John Hardin High School. Chase also has taught at the Annie Moses Band’s Fine Arts Summer Academy in Nashville, TN since 2010. This fine arts camp trains 200-250 students in which Chase is the primary trombone and low brass instructor, jazz big band section instructor, and a member of the faculty performing groups. As well as teaching across Kentucky and Tennessee, Chase maintains a successful trombone studio of emerging talent in the Lexington, Kentucky area. As a performer, Chase has appeared with an extensive variety of musical groups such as the University of Kentucky’s Opera Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, the Annie Moses Band, Wycliffe Gordon, and Grammy-award winning artist Bob Mintzer. Chase also recorded with Bob Mintzer on the album “Go” which released in 2011. Chase also joined with the Annie Moses Band to perform in Carnegie Hall in 2012 and the Grand Ole Opry House in 2013. He currently can be heard as lead trombone/soloist with local artists in the Lexington area such as the jazz big band the MetroGnomes, the oldies rock group Big City Groove, and the Lexington Community Orchestra.

Click here to register with Chase


 

Stacey Krimmer- Eastgate Mall location

STACEY KRIMMER received both her Bachelor of Music degree in education and her Master of Music degree in flute performance from the University of Wyoming. In addition to running a private flute studio since 1986, Stacey was the instructor for the flute program at Colorado Academy in Denver. She also taught Suzuki flute, penny whistle, and recorder at Colorado Academy, and was an instructor of flute ensembles at the Suzuki Association of Colorado’s Winter Workshop. She also served as board president of the Colorado Flute Association. Stacey’s performance work includes Wind Images Woodwind Quintet, the ballet orchestra to premiere “Winter Moons,” the Denver Opera Company Orchestra, the Colorado Wind Ensemble, the Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Blue Ash Symphony. She also worked and performed with School House Symphony, a small ensemble dedicated to providing in-school performances by combining teaching with performing.

Click here to register with Stacey


 

 

Ashley Martin- West Chester Location

A native of Mason, OH, Ashley Martin holds degrees in music education and oboe performance from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. At Ohio State, she studied oboe with Professors Robert and Bailey Sorton, and had the opportunity to work with Joe Robsinson, the retired principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic. Ashley has performed on both oboe and English horn in numerous ensembles, including the Ohio Capital Winds, Columbus Childrens’ Theatre, and the Lebanon Symphony Orchestra. She currently performs with the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band, and can be heard in a Naxos Label recording performing with the Ohio State University Wind Symphony. As an educator, Ms. Martin specializes in concert band instruction in addition to oboe. She spent two years teaching 5th through 12th grade band for Crestwood Local Schools in northeast Ohio, and currently teaches beginning band at VanGorden Elementary School in the Lakota school district. Ms. Martin has been teaching oboe privately in the Cincinnati, Akron, and Columbus metro areas for over seven years. She is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Ohio Music Educators Association, Women Band Directors International, and Sigma Alpha Iota.

Click here to register with Ashley


 

Feature – ” Kid’s Got Talent “

Tired of Watching People You Don’t Know on TV

Here’s the solution – Willis Music Presents ” Kids Got Talent ”

Featuring young talent right from your own neighborhood and the teaching studios of  Willis Music – here is “Cool Hand” Luke playing “Indians”

Remember to “Like” Luke on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/WillisMusicCompany

Summer Music Camps at Willis!!!

Willis Music in Lexington is excited to offer 3 Summer Music Camp experiences this summer for children ages 6-10!  Piano and Violins players of any ability are welcome and encouraged.

piano camp picFive-Day Piano Camp
For children ages 6-10 years old

June 23-27
(Monday-Friday)
9:30am-Noon

$150 registration

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Twice Weekly Piano Class
For children ages 6-10 years old

July 8-31
(Tuesdays & Thursdays)
10:30am-11:30am

$100 registration for 8 classes

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Twice Weekly Violin Class
For children ages 6-10 years old

July 8-31
(Tuesdays & Thursdays)
12:30pm-1:30pm

$100 registration for 8 classes

 

MEET THE TEACHER

musicology-rumbley
Dr. Erica Rumbley is a pianist who is passionate about music and life in general. She began studying the piano at the age of six. At 12 she took up the violin and had lessons during junior and senior high school, played in the Evansville (Indiana) Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and later with the Olivet Nazarene University Symphony. She graduated with a degree in piano performance from Olivet, and then received a Master’s in Musicology and a Masters in Piano from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Rumbley just completed a Ph.D. in Musicology at UK. She frequently gives recitals, serves as a faculty pianist at Transylvania University, and instructs undergraduate music classes, as well as teaching piano and violin lessons. In 2012, she performed in Kiefersfelden, Germany, as part of the International Performing Artists Institute. Erica enjoys getting to know new students and strives to make the lesson experience fun as well as productive.

 

If you have a question about our Summer Music Camps please email us at lexington@willismusic.com.

TO REGISTER CALL US AT 859-273-4063, OR STOP BY THE STORE DURING OUR BUSINESS HOURS.

New Piano Teacher in Louisville!

We have another new teacher to introduce. David Patrick is currently teaching in our Louisville location. David has lessons available on Wednesdays and Thursdays. See his schedule here. 

David Patrick was raised on a 120-acre farm where he grew up feeding chickens and performing tunes on the piano. After graduating from Bethlehem High School in 2008, he pursued music and writing at the University of Louisville where he finished his B.A. in English only three years later. With sixteen years of training and experience in music, he now lives with his beautiful wife Sarah Rose in Kentucky where they both compose music and sing together . Here are a few facts about David.

  1. Won SECOND PLACE at the school talent show in May 2001
  2. Won FIRST PLACE at the Kentucky State Performing Arts in May 2007
  3. Accepted into the most advanced Music Theory class at the University of Louisville School of Music in May 2008
  4. Offered position as store pianist at Von Maur in October 2012 (which is how I met my wife!)

Sign up for Lessons with David Today!

Product Spotlight: Yamaha ARIUS Digital Piano

Whether you are looking for a piano to practice on or to use in performances, make the Yamaha ARIUS Digital Piano the instrument of choice for you!

Perfect for beginning and experienced players alike!
An authentic sound. A natural touch. And an absolute joy to play!

What more could you possibly want with a digital piano?

ARIUS Yamaha Digital Piano YDP-181

ARIUS Yamaha Digital Piano YDP-181

Features
The Tone of a Yamaha concert grand piano.
The Graded Hammer Standard Action just like an acoustic piano.
The ability to interface with a variety of computers or mobile devices.
Premium key stability, response, and repetition.
Synthetic Ivory Keytops make the white keys easy to “grip.”

The entire Yamaha ARIUS series of digital pianos is superb, but today we are highlighting the YDP-181 model (pictured above in our showroom.)  This model is the best of the best! Here’s why:

  • It has 14 Voices! Experience the sounds of Strings, Electric Piano, Acoustic Guitar, and more.
  • It has a Full Control Panel!  You will have access to the features you need most within an arms reach as you play!
  • It has a LED Display!  Bad vision? No problem! This is clear & crisp, and shows you everything from tempo to transposition tools, and more!
  • It has 16cm speakers! Centemeters have never looked, or more important SOUNDED so good! These speakers deliver more bass for a full, powerful sound.

At Willis Music our team of associates are excited to share with you the benefits of owning such a fantastic instrument! Come visit the Willis Music store closest to you and experience the ARIUS digital pianos made by Yamaha. You will be glad you did!

 

Is your son or male piano student needing something to play? (click for pic)

espec. boys

Try our Dennis Alexander’s ‘Especially for Boys’ series piano books!!!

Oh, and did we mention Dennis will be HERE at Willis Music in Tri County?! July 22nd!  Piano Teachers: Call to reserve your seat today!  Special music discounts on printed materials!!!
513.671.3288- Operators standing by!

Attn: Piano Teachers! Dennis Alexander IN THE HOUSE!!!

July 22nd- Dennis Alexander from Alfred Publishing will be in Willis Music Tri County for a teaching workshop!  If you have never been to a workshop with Dennis, you will leave filled with LOTS of extra fire to push your students in several new ways!  If you have seen Dennis in a workshop before, you KNOW how much fun it is, and how much you truly get out of attending!

Reserve your seat TODAY!!  Call: 513.671.3288 to get a seat!  Have questions?  Give a call and we will fill you in!