JoyTunes, Now Free For Music Teachers And Students, On Its Big Strategy Shift | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Piano Mania

 

Yuval Kaminka was faced with a difficult choice. The Israeli entrepreneur had built a successful music learning app called JoyTunes, and he found that it was particularly beloved by professional music teachers. In the span of months, “we saw a vibrant community of teachers revolving around the apps,” he says. All the metrics were growing: retention, engagement, number of student profiles per teacher, and so on. “All these figures really blew up. We saw it was really making a difference.”

The accounts teachers were setting up for students–who use the app to gamify music learning–comprised a very significant part of JoyTunes’s revenue. Every time a teacher set up an account, either for themselves or their students, they paid either $10 a month or $60 per year. Power users wound up paying as much as $1,000 a month. Kaminka says that about 40% of his profits came from music teachers.

Read more at JoyTunes, Now Free For Music Teachers And Students, On Its Big Strategy Shift | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

Science Tries to Understand What Gives a Piano its Voice

Picture a seven-foot grand piano in a studio. The lid’s missing, so you can see all the strings. Researchers suspend a rod embedded with 32 microphones over the piano’s body.

“We played this middle C at a very soft level, a medium level, and a very loud level,” says Agnieszka Roginska, a professor in NYU’s music technology program. She says using a pianist to play middle C over and over wouldn’t be scientific. So they’re using a disklavier, a fancy player piano triggered by electronics. “So we could hit the same note, with the same velocity, thousands of times,” she says.

They’d record the piano in one spot. Then move the microphones eight inches. Record the note. Move the mics again. Record the note. Over and over and over, until they reach the back of the piano. At the end, they get “what is basically a very dense acoustical scan of the radiation pattern of the grand piano,” Roginska says.

Read the entire article here: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-08-10/science-tries-understand-what-gives-piano-its-voice

Pianos are Popping Up all over Corvallis

Lee Eckroth couldn’t hold back a smile as piano music filled the air Wednesday afternoon on the streets of downtown Corvallis.

The moment marked the culmination of months of work from by Eckroth, Corvallis Imagination Music & Art founder David Lundahl and dozens of volunteers who’d banded together to create the first Play Corvallis, Play.

The art installation features eight theme-decorated pianos, placed at outdoor locations around Corvallis. It is open to the public from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Aug. 16 as a prelude event to the Imagination Music and Art festival at Bruce Starker Arts Park on Aug. 15 and 16.

Play Corvallis, Play is intended to inspire appreciation of the arts, and it is just what it sounds like: an invitation to residents to stop and play the piano to showcase local musical creativity and art as a way of drawing attention to the fundraising at Corvallis public schools.

Read the whole article at Pianos are popping up all over Corvallis.

The Evolution of Music Clefs

When my students are first working with the Grand Staff, they are often confused about the placement of the various clefs.

In piano music, we generally use only the G-clef (Treble clef – not “trouble clef” as some think!) and the F-clef (Bass clef)  I try to show students how the curvy part of the G-clef wraps around the G above middle C and the F-clef looks sort of like an F marking the F below middle C.  I draw out G and F on the staff to show how these could have looked.

Originally, instead of a special clef symbol, the reference line of the staff was simply labeled with the name of the note it was intended to bear: F and C and, more rarely, G. These were the most often-used ‘clefs’ in Gregorian chant notation.  Gregorian chant developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions.

Over time the shapes of these letters became stylized, leading to their current versions.

 

Finding The Right Teacher For Your Music-Loving Kid: Deceptive Cadence

NOT Mrs. O'Connor!

NOT Mrs. O’Connor!

See if a prospective teacher allows a trial lesson to test how the personalities mesh. And be sure to ask lots of questions. What’s the teacher’s background as a musician and as an instructor? What kinds of teaching materials and music does she use? How much practice time is expected for students, and does that vary by the student’s age? Does the teacher have access to student ensembles? What kinds of performance opportunities will he provide? Will the teacher allow the student to record the lesson? This can be a terrific practice aid, especially when it comes to remembering how something is supposed to sound. Does she teach any music theory or composition? What are the expectations for students and for their parents?

A good teacher can be a friendly, encouraging and inspiring presence — even when a student hits rough patches. He will point out the student’s weaknesses without being harsh or dismissive, suggest innovative ways to overcome challenges, and create engaging ways to tackle even rote activities like playing scales or honing fine motor skills. The instructor’s age and experience might or might not be a deciding factor; for example, I’m consistently impressed by the range of tricks my own child’s very youthful private teacher has up her sleeve to turn what could easily be drudgery into fun. Not to mention the huge helpings of good humor and patience she brings to her tiny charges!

Read more at Finding The Right Teacher For Your Music-Loving Kid : Deceptive Cadence : NPR.

Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 in c-sharp minor”

liszt

 

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, S.244/2, is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set. Few other piano solos have achieved such widespread popularity, offering the pianist the opportunity to reveal exceptional skill as a virtuoso, while providing the listener with an immediate and irresistible musical appeal.

In both the original piano solo form and in the orchestrated version this composition has enjoyed widespread use in animated cartoons. Its themes have also served as the basis of several popular songs.

It is probable that you have heard this piece of music somewhere at one time or another because it is perhaps the most prominent piece of classical (romantic, actually) music featured in animated cartoons across the years.

Now, let the anvils fall and dynamite explode!

 

And, in real life, Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2