As Nigerians, the piano is one of our favourite instruments, perhaps partly because it is so versatile! Pianos work both as a solo instrument and for accompaniment, and you can play jazz, pop, rock, musical, blues, songs, classical and other modern music on the piano. It doesn't matter whether it's a grand piano or digital keyboard, gently tapping the black and white keys offers you several musical notes that will suit your song.

What musical note do you know about?

Pianos are an excellent instrument to start playing because they make the different keys and scales clear. Also, there is no risk of playing fake! However, you may need to practice a lot on fingering in the beginning because you need a particular technique to play fast or play middle or advanced chords and melodies. Modern pianos such as the digital keyboard produce good sounds like their counterparts of the middle ages.

It would be best if you also practised coordinating the right and left hands because they usually do two completely different things. Playing the pianos is thus an excellent brain exercise! In the beginning, you also need to learn to read notes and transfer the information you read to your fingers.

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By starting to practise the piano with more straightforward songs and above all by practising a little every day, you are on the right track and will soon be able to tackle your favourite songs on the piano. You would like to start playing your favourite song soon, right?

When we decide to buy a piano, we have to take our time. The purchase of your first piano is not something that is decided in an instant or compulsively. It requires patience to investigate and ask many questions: Should I buy an upright or grand piano? Should I start with a digital keyboard? Is it a worthwhile investment? And so much more.

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A Short History of The Piano's Development

Let us, therefore, come to the history behind the development of the piano structure. The earliest records of key-operated string instruments date from the 14th century, with the current black and white key arrangement not being introduced until almost a century later.

However, this is not to be confused with the sound generation mechanics. Because the strings of the instruments from the 15th century were either plucked with a metal tongue (harpsichord) or struck with a so-called metal tangent (clavichord). In terms of sound, these instruments were far more colourful, but not nearly as powerful.

That and the fact that, with the exception of the clavichord, the volume of the individual tones could not be influenced by the action of the finger, finally brings us to the method of sound generation. Because it is not a matter of whether you can play the piano or not. The early music makers played the piano as much as it is played today.

This is a merit of the hammer mechanics introduced in the 17th century. The rather complex technique was invented by the Italian  Bartolomeo Cristofori. The primary concern for him was that the key should respond even better to the action of the finger than with a harpsichord that had never been achieved before. Early forms of today's piano were initially equipped with 4 octaves, i.e. 48 keys. 88 keys are common today.

The piano is an acoustic keyboard instrument. The installed strings are not plucked but struck by a mechanism. By playing a key, the mechanics deflect this movement by hurling a hammer against a string, producing a sound. The soundboard takes over and amplifies this vibration, making the sound easier to hear. The piano is also called an acoustic piano.

A sound is created - from the push of a button to the tone

How is the sound created in a keyboard instrument operated with a hammer mechanism? To do this, we have to look at the structure of a piano in detail. A piano basically consists of the following components:

  • A body based on a beam construction
  • Soundpost made of wood
  • Metal peg on which the cast steel strings are wound
  • Keyboard or key set
  • casing
  • 2 - 3 pedals
  • all kinds of springs, tongues, dampers and hammers

Hammers are the namesake for the mechanics. They generate the sound by striking the strings, bouncing right off them and being "dampened" again by the so-called repetition mechanism. With the development of the pianoforte after Bartolomeo Cristofori, the piano pedal expanded the possibilities of expression when playing the piano. The first fortepiano instruments could be played with velocity, but there were just as few pedals on the pianoforte as on the harpsichord. Initially, the focus was on the keyboard and mechanics. The holding pedal on the piano creates a striking effect: the full sound of strings and soundboard swinging up is probably the characteristic element of the piano sound.

The Financial and Personal Investment of Buying a Piano in Nigeria

We should know that buying a piano is a significant investment. When choosing a piano, keep in mind that you need space to place it in your environment, especially the famous grand piano or the upright piano, classic instruments suitable for most professionals. On the other hand, if you are a beginner, it is convenient to opt for a mid-range digital keyboard. That way, you can start and will not incur a significant expense for yourself.

Having a piano at home is a personal investment: you have to give yourself time to progress and learn properly. People who are very determined to learn to tend to spend a few hours each day in front of the piano. If you don't have a lot of time, the ideal thing to do would be to spend half an hour or an hour a day. But we understand that time passes much slower when you feel that passion for music.

A beginner who only views the piano as a hobby will spend less time on it than one who spends every spare minute learning new songs. It's no secret: excellent pianists practice the most and are personally involved in the process to improve. Playing the piano, taking private lessons and having an instrument at home is not cheap, nor can it be achieved overnight. It is an excellent investment that will accompany you for many years.

Mastering the piano
Mastering the piano requires several hours of daily practice || Image Source: Unsplash

Scientific Reasons For Playing Pianos

The arts and sciences are not as far apart as one sometimes thinks. Many researchers are interested in the question of the effects of making music on the body. It has been scientifically proven that playing the piano can have a positive impact on health. Yes, that's right!

The memory is stimulated by memorising the chords and pieces. Learning these chords and pieces also improves coordination and fine motor skills. The scientific findings go even further. Some researchers have also been interested in the positive effects of music on sleep in general.

Do you like a little lullaby before going to bed?

Scientists assert that soft music helps the brain to achieve much-needed calm. The brain concentrates on the music and thus forgets all the worries of everyday life. Sleepless nights, goodbye!

The therapeutic use of music is becoming more and more widespread in art therapy. In many hospitals, the sick are being showered with soothing sounds more and more often. Due to the pain-relieving effect of music, it can be used for physical pain. This process has not yet been definitively proven, but doctors already have an explanation.

"Music generates strong emotions that lead to the release of dopamine and endorphins, " explains Eckart Altenmüller, director of the Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine (IMMM), Hanover.

Work With the Head to Memorize and Play a Score

To play a piece, we have to start our whole body. Applying concentration, we can interpret the score and hit the keys. With a lot of practice, you will see that each note reaches the brain, which triggers the movement of the fingers. With the successful practice of technical exercises, we can teach our brain to assimilate an enormous amount of information simultaneously when playing the pianos.

The piano
You will find pianos in most churches and musical schools in Nigeria || Image Source: Unsplash

Hand and Foot Coordination on The Piano is Essential

Piano beginners are advised to use their feet to improve their practice. Playing the piano also requires good posture and good body positioning. The back must be straight so as not to affect posture and also promote good breathing. This way, the sound will come out better.

Improve Your Memory Capacity

Music also has a particular effect on our memory. People affected by dementia or Alzheimer's disease and often no longer recognise their loved ones are often still able to play complex music pieces from their younger days without errors. When we play the piano, our memory works at full capacity. When we learn to play, we get used to activating our memory and our concentration.

Over time the pianist learns to overcome comprehension difficulties in a score. The repetition of the scores phrase by phrase will eventually make the learner know the songs by heart. That is why playing the piano helps improve the level and, in the process, acquire a feeling of great satisfaction for advancing and growing confidence in ourselves.

Another aspect that we improve is our ability to listen by developing an excellent musical ear. The piano favours psychomotor development and allows the acquisition of superb motor skills.

The Piano is a Complete Instrument

The piano is one of the great instruments that many people choose to learn. Knowing how to play can bring many benefits to your mind and spirit since it makes many parts of your bodywork simultaneously. Learning to play the piano forces us to coordinate all the parts of our body. It is also an activity that encourages a healthy, happy and creative life.

Taking Piano Lessons With a Private Teacher

A modern piano teacher supervises you, teaches you everything possible, and prevents you from getting discouraged. He teaches you how to overcome sticking points, which is also beneficial for other everyday life situations. As a professional with a love of music, the piano teacher transmits a taste for the piano to you. The piano lessons function as an exchange of positive energy that fuels the motivation of the beginner.

Different options are available to you: private lessons (such as Superprof, for example), music school, conservatory. And since you will be spending time personally with your piano teacher, at a frequency of at least an hour per week, you must get along well.

A child playing the piano
Did you know you can find a piano teacher for your kids on Superprof? || Image Source: Unsplash

Playing the piano is a bit like revealing yourself, it is about showing a part of yourself: a relationship of trust and well-being must therefore be established between the teacher and his student. To do this, choose a teacher who stands as a middle line between your personality and your ambitions. In all cases, whatever learning formula is chosen, your piano practice must be regular. Sporadic work sessions are inefficient, and it is better to do twenty or thirty minutes a day rather than once three hours.

Playing the piano also requires patience and having all the necessary elements. For example, to keep the tempo, you will need a metronome, a comfortable stool, a  protective cover to protect your piano, among other things. With all the appropriate information, you are ready to go!

Whether you are learning with a grand piano, an upright piano or a digital keyboard, always remember to enjoy the process. Playing the piano is an activity that requires absolute patience. The gratification of learning is something that will fill you with happiness. You will surely advance quickly with the best training from Superprof piano teachers.

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