Clavinova Festival Training

We’re going to have our first ever Yamaha Clavinova Festival next year, and we’re quite excited about it! It’s going to be a lot of fun for both teachers and students alike.  We’ll have more information in the upcoming months, but here’s a date you can mark on your calendar now:

Yamaha Clavinova Festival — Saturday, April 25th, 2015

Today, we had Lori Frazer, Marketing Programs Specialist for Yamaha, at the store to introduce the Clavinova Festival to a number of local music teachers.













It looks like everyone had a great time and learned a lot as well!

Disklavier Goodies

Yamaha-DisklavierIf you have a Yamaha Disklavier (or are considering the purchase of one), here’s something you’ll find quite interesting!

A website has released a number of downloadable MIDI files that are playable on the Disklavier–feel free to take a look around and see if there’s anything you might like!  Be warned–there’s a lot of music to choose from!

Here’s the link you’ll want to go to.

How Important are Music Lessons for Kids?

Teacher with Violin Students

Are music lessons as important for kids as we are led to believe in schools nowadays?

In many districts–including some in Kern County–music education is relegated to an afterthought, something to be considered only when it threatens to be eliminated from a school budget.  This should never be the case, as music lessons are vitally important for students–and for more reasons than you might think!  Here are some points to consider:

  • One study revealed that young children who received a year of musical training showed brain changes and superior memory compared with children who did not receive the instruction. “It is very interesting that the children taking music lessons improved more over the year on general memory skills that are correlated with nonmusical abilities — such as literacy, verbal memory, visiospatial processing, mathematics and IQ — than did the children not taking lessons,” said Laurel J. Trainor, researcher of the study at McMaster University in Canada (Fujioka, Ross, Kakigi, Pantev and Trainor. Brain, a Journal of Neurology. Oxford University Press, September 2006).
  • A study of rural and urban inner-city schools found that arts programs helped schools in economically disadvantaged communities develop students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills; create more opportunities for intellectual and emotional exploration; increase student self-esteem, self-expression, interest in school and engagement with others; promote school-wide communication and collaboration and increase parental involvement and teacher creativity (Stevenson and Deasy. Third Space: When Learning Matters. Arts Education Partnership, 2005).
  • Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell wrote in The Journal for Research in Music Education (2007) that “[t]eens who participate in music education programs see music as their ’social glue,’ as a bridge for building acceptance and tolerance for people of different ages and cultural circumstances, and associate playing music with music literacy, self-discipline, listening skills, motor ability, eye-hand coordination and heightened intellectual capabilities.”
  • In addition to the multitasking requirements playing a musical composition represents, a person must be able to focus consistently for extended periods of time.  This takes an enormous amount of training and willpower, but the positive effects cannot be overexaggerated.

If there’s a time to be outspoken about the importance of music education for students of all ages, that time is now.  One way to do this is to simply let the powers that be in your child’s school district know of your desire to help keep music part of the school curriculum.  Making your message a positive one will make it more likely to be heard in a favorable manner.

The second way to make your voice known is through enrolling your children in music lessons.  Bakersfield is blessed to have a plethora of music instructors in every conceivable discipline.  Make sure you shop around and ask for advice from other parents and colleagues on good instructors for the instrument your child plays.  At California Keyboards Music Center, we have over twenty instructors that teach piano, violin, guitar, trumpet, flute, clarinet, saxophone, and many other instruments.  If you’re interested, you can click here to find out more.

Music has been part of each of our individual life soundtracks.  It’s time to make sure the next generation is able to enjoy theirs.

Welcoming the Yamaha Silent Piano (Quietly)

Yamaha Silent Piano

Yamaha Silent Piano — note the headphones at the bottom LH side of the keyboard

We see lots of pianos at California Keyboards, from uprights to grands. And in most instances, the actual instrument is a pretty low-tech affair. The person playing depresses a key, which sets off a complicated series of movements unlike a Rube Goldberg machine and eventually creates the sound that you hear.  It’s worked great for centuries and still works today.

But one thing has always been an issue. Playing a piano is loud and isn’t always a great thing to practice in the wee hours of the evening due to that.

The solution to this problem in the past has usually involved playing at a decent hour, practicing in a private studio, or acquiring a keyboard that has a headphone capability.

We now have a new option–The Yamaha Silent Piano.  It’s a fully functioning piano, complete with hammers, strings, and all the accoutrements you would expect.  However, there is a module attached to the bottom left side that, when the middle damper pedal is pressed and moved to the left, disengages the hammers and prevents them from making audible sound.  By putting a pair of headphones on, however, you can play as if everyone in the room was listening (but of course, nobody can except you [or another person who’s also plugged in and listening, since there are two jacks for that purpose]).

The sound heard by pressing the piano keys are electronic samples of an actual Yamaha 9′ Concert Grand.  Volume and reverb can be adjusted on the player’s end, while their playing can be recorded and played back with buttons on the module. It also has a USB slot on the bottom so one’s beautiful melodies can be downloaded and shared with others.

The Silent Piano module can be added to both new upright and grand pianos by Yamaha and is also on select new models. It’s something that truly needs to be experienced firsthand to be believed.  Give it a try when you stop by!

See the YouTube video below of a Silent Grand Piano in action.

Ukulele Camp Starts June 24

Ukulele Camp 2013 at California Keyboards

This year’s Ukukele Camp will be held June 24-28th at the store from 9-11 AM.

Sure, Bakersfield’s not quite Hawai’i, but we do have some things in common with the land of waves, leis, and luaus.  The weather is warm, we’ve got sand, and if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of ukuleles playing.

That will definitely be the case starting June 24th as our annual Ukulele Camp begins at California Keyboards.  It’s a five day crash course in the ukulele basics and will have you playing songs by the weekend.  With only four strings, the uke is easier to play, making for more fun!

Instructor Steven Laity will be teaching the class for the second year and looks forward to seeing you there!

The cost for the camp is $149 if you have a ukulele and $189 if you don’t (but the bonus is that you leave camp with a brand-new ukulele of your own).  Classes will meet at the store, located at 100 Oak Street in Bakersfield, from 9-11 AM each day.

You can sign up by visiting the store, calling (661) 327-5397, or simply filling out the online form located here or under the ‘Music Lessons’ header above.