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What is a Piano?

The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with felt hammers. The hammers immediately rebound allowing the strings to continue vibrating at their resonant frequency. These vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a soundboard that amplifies them. It is sometimes classified as both a percussion and a stringed instrument. A pianist can produce notes at different dynamic levels by controlling the speed with which the hammers hit the strings.

The invention of the modern piano is credited to Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy in the early 1700s. Like many other inventions, the piano was founded on earlier technological innovations. Cristofori’s great success was in solving, without any prior example, the fundamental mechanical problem of piano design: the hammers must strike the string, but not remain in contact with the string. Also, the hammers must return to their resting position without bouncing violently, and it must be possible to repeat a note rapidly.

In the period lasting from about 1790 to 1860, the Mozart-era piano underwent tremendous changes that led to the modern form of the instrument. This revolution was in response to a consistent preference by composers and pianists for a more powerful, sustained piano sound, and made possible by the ongoing Industrial Revolution with technological resources such as high-quality steel, called piano wire, for strings, and precision casting for the production of iron frames. Over time, the tonal range of the piano was also increased from the five octaves of Mozart’s day to the 7 or more octaves found on modern pianos.

Today, there are several types and sizes of pianos: Spinets (which are a small upright piano) and Upright pianos, both are compact and have a frame and strings that go vertically. The Baby Grand (the small grand piano) and Grand pianos both have the frame and strings placed horizontally, with the strings extending away from the keyboard.  The size of the piano will effect it’s volume with the larger grand piano better suited for larger rooms or concert halls.

Source: “Piano” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.


Teaching Philosophy

With five piano teachers on the faculty of the Fabulous School of Music, we have a tremendous amount of schedule flexibility as well as several types of piano instruction, different books used, techniques, levels, styles and ages each teacher will take. 

Robert Silver has an extensive curriculum using the famous Alfred’s Prep Course Piano method course, teaches all styles and levels, includes music theory and ear training, from beginner to advanced. He prefers students 7 years old and up. Jenifer Tobiasz uses the Edna Mae Burnam technique in piano. She uses a series of three books starting from beginner to intermediate: A Dozen a Day (finger exercise book), Step by Step (reading notes) and Pieces to Play, (songbook). She also focuses on music theory, including scales and chords.  She accepts students 4 years old and up.  Tiffany Baxter also uses the Alfred’s Prep Course Piano method for her beginner students. It is a thorough method and helps students build a solid base of fundamental skills.  She also supplements her lessons with scales and other books according to the students’ ability and level of interest.

Along with the conventional exercises and method books that our teachers use, students are also encouraged by our piano teachers to choose the music, styles and actual pieces they would like to learn and those pieces will be added to the curriculum and worked on during their piano lessons.  Our piano teachers’ overall philosophy is that learning the piano should be fun and provide a creative outlet throughout the student’s life.

Piano Teachers

Below is a list of teachers that teach the Piano at the Fabulous School of Music. Click on a profile to learn more.

Mary Barba

Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano, Voice, Ukulele

Stephanie Lento

Instruments: Voice, Piano and Keyboards

Daniel Nichols

Instruments: Brass, Woodwinds, Strings, Piano and Rock Ensemble

Robert Silver

Instruments: Piano

Jenifer Tobiasz

Instruments: Voice, Piano