Why do you require students to practice on an acoustic piano? What about a touch sensitive electric piano?
It is very important that my students begin their study with proper technique. I believe strong, quick, controlled fingers can only be achieved on an acoustic piano. Even high-end digital pianos with touch-sensitive keys cannot match the response and sound of an acoustic and they are less responsive to differences in touch. As I audition students it is easy to pick out those who have been practicing on digital pianos because overall their fingers are weaker than students who have been playing on acoustic pianos. It is important to mention, a poor quality acoustic piano is not good either. Pianos should be repaired and maintained by a qualified technician and need to be tuned every 6-12 months.
What type of piano do you recommend?
I recommend students practice on a grand or upright piano (no spinets), newer is typically better. My students and colleagues have reported many problems with pianos made in China so I would stay away from those. Pianos manufactured in Japan, the United States, and Germany are usually of a better quality. Hand-built grands (Steinways, Bosendorfers, Petroffs, etc.) will most often produce a better sound but can also be more difficult and expensive to maintain. For many, the fabulous sound of hand-built pianos is worth the upkeep.
Where do I go to buy or rent a piano?
Each music store carries select brands of new pianos as well as a large selection of used pianos. Here is a list of a few Southern California piano stores and the brands of new pianos they sell.
- Greene Music (Yamaha, Bosendorfer, Schimmel)
- Steinway Piano Gallery (Steinway & Sons, Boston, Essex)
- Artistic Pianos (Mason & Hamlin, Schimmel, Baldwin, Brodmann, plus used pianos)
- Convoy Piano (Seiler, Knabe, Hailun, Samick, plus used pianos)
- Rawlins Piano Company
- Piano Empire Megastore
- Acme Piano Company
- Field's Piano (Steinway & Sons, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell)
- Pierre's Fine Pianos (Fazioli, Kawai, Gary Pons, Estonia, Schoenhut)
Where can I purchase or download sheet music?
- Locally, Bertrand's has a limited selection.
- Online, I would recommend Prima Music, Piano at Pepper, Sheet Music Plus
- To purchase and download popular music: musicnotes.com.
- To download music in the public domain: Petrucci Music Library
- To purchase and download original music and/or arrangements: Anne Britt Music,
What online music resources and activities would you recommend?
- Musical Dictionary
- Music Graphics Galore
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids
- San Francisco Symphony Kids
I've heard music improves brain function. Is there any truth to this?
- Musicians and Non-Musicians: Anatomical Differences in the Human Brain
- Music and the Brain
- Music Improves Brain Function
- The Neurosciences Institute: Music and the Brain
- National Geographic: Making Music Boosts Brain's Language Skills
- Harvard University: Music on the Brain
- Science Daily: Music Thought to Enhance Intelligence, Mental Health, and Immune System
- Music Lessons Enhance IQ
- The Musical Brain
Are there any books on music you would recommend?
- The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown., Daniel Coyle
- This Is Your Brain on Music, Daniel J. Levitin
- The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell
- The Mozart Effect for Children, Don Campbell
- Music and the Mind, Anthony Storr
- Music With the Brain in Mind, Eric P. Jensen
- Music, Language, and the Brain, Aniruddh D. Patel
- Psychological Foundations of Music Behavior, Rudolf E. Radocy
If my child is interested in composing, which software do you recommend?
- Finale Notation Software is the program we use in the studio, and there are several software options that vary in price.
- In addition, Blank Sheet Music and More Blank Sheet Music are sites where you can print prepared staff paper to write music by hand the old-fashioned way.
Where can I find names of other music teachers in the Rancho Bernardo area?