The Story of Piano

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2023

This is the story of the birth and rise of the most popular instrument in our planet's history; the piano.

Back in the late 1600's, people were growing desperate for a new sound that would stir their souls, a tool to help them express the otherwise inexpressible. For centuries only 2 instrument's had been around; a harpsichord, and an organ. Both of these instruments are incredibly limited in terms of artistic expression; each key only played one tone (tone = the quality and strength of a sound), meaning that there was no variety whatsoever. It is from this that we get the word 'monotonous' (mono = one, tonus = tone/sound), and means BORING! Imagine a painting with just one colour, one paint, and one brush stroke. The world lacked expression!

One man, Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731), felt this longing deeply. He was a harpsichord maker in the city of Florence, Italy, and he had been experimenting with ways to improve the instrument for years. He was...

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Are Piano and Keyboard the same thing?

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2023

If you're interested in playing music, you might be wondering whether a piano and a keyboard are the same thing. It's a common question, and the answer is not as straightforward as you might think.

Pianos and keyboards might look alike and sound somewhat similar, but they're not the same instrument. Let me break it down in simple terms for you.

Firstly, let's talk about what a piano is. A piano is an acoustic instrument, meaning that it produces sound through physical vibrations. It works like this: when you press down a key on a piano, a hammer inside the instrument strikes a steel string, causing it to vibrate and produce sound. The sound then resonates through the wooden soundboard and out of the piano.

Now, a keyboard, on the other hand, is an electronic instrument. Instead of physical strings, a keyboard uses digital sound samples to produce sound. A 'sample' is a pre-recorded digital sound of an instrument or sound effect that is stored in the keyboard's...

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How a Piano Works - A Simple Explanation

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2023

The piano is an incredible instrument that produces beautiful music, and understanding how it works can deepen your appreciation of its unique qualities. In this article, I want to give a very simple overview..

The piano works by pressing down on the keys with your fingers. Each key on the piano makes a different sound when you press it, and the sound is produced by small hammers inside the piano striking strings. 

Each note on the piano has multiple strings, which work together to create a full, rich sound. When you press a key, the hammer hits all of the strings for that note at the same time, creating a beautiful and complex sound.

The strings are made of steel and are stretched tightly across the inside of the piano. When a key is pressed, a small hammer moves towards the strings for that note, and hits them, causing it to vibrate and produce a sound.

The piano has pedals that you can use to control the sound of the instrument. The sustain pedal, located on the right,...

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Are Piano Keys Made of Ivory?

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2023

Short answer; it depends how old the piano is!

During the early days of the piano's development in the 18th century, all piano keys were made from Ivory, which was valued for its durability and ability to produce a clear, bright sound. Piano makers would handpick the best ivory from elephant tusks to create keys for their pianos.

As the popularity of the piano grew in the 19th century, the demand for ivory increased dramatically, leading to an alarming decrease in elephant populations. by the  20th century, international efforts were made to protect endangered species, and the use of ivory for piano keys became controversial.

Nowadays, ivory is illegal to trade in many countries, which has prompted a search for alternative materials to create piano keys. Today, modern piano makers create keys using materials like Ivorine, a synthetic substance that mimics the look and feel of ivory, whilst being a more a long-lasting and durable material. It...

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What Is the Ideal Practice Time for Learning Piano?

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2023

Learning piano requires dedication and practice. But what is the ideal amount of time to practice in order to achieve the best results? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. While many pianists and music teachers may recommend long practice sessions, the science suggests that shorter, spaced-out practice sessions may actually be more beneficial for learning and retention of musical skills.

  1. Avoiding Fatigue

One of the key benefits of shorter practice sessions is that they can help prevent mental and physical fatigue. Studies have shown that fatigue can interfere with learning and performance, and long practice sessions can lead to fatigue. By taking regular breaks and practicing in shorter sessions, individuals can give full-focus during practise, maximising the efficiency of practise time, and avoiding the effects of fatigue, allowing for more focused and effective practice.

  1. Better Consolidation of Learning

Now for some cool science. The process of learning...

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What is Ridley Academy? How does it work?

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2023

My name is Stephen Ridley, I am an artist, and the founder and CEO of RidleyAcademy; a company built with the purpose of making music education simpler, faster, and highly enjoyable. We help ordinary people unlock their extraordinary creative potential, and access a deeper part of themselves, far beyond what the student would ever expect. 

In this article I want to tell you who I am, what 'The Complete Piano Masterclass' is and how it works, direct from the source's mouth. 

Who is Stephen Ridley?

I'm Stephen! I come from a small village that had 40 people in South Yorkshire, England. I started playing when I was 2 years old, took local 1-on-1 lessons with Kim Latimer (Harworth) from around 9, formal training from 11 at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, quit lessons at 15 after my father died (found lessons extremely confusing, boring, disciplined and had enough). When dad died we became as poor as you can get in the UK.

I felt some need...

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