Pianos are one of the most loved and popular instruments in the world. Their wooden cases and keys romantised in films and popular culture, their unique sound can be heard in concert halls, schools and on the radio. Besides being instantly recognised, pianos are also quite cumbersome. They take up room, are very heavy and solid instruments, and when they are not taken care of, they tend to fall out of tune. You would think that with modern living in smaller and smaller apartments that expensive pianos worldwide would be gathering dust in corners and forgotten about.
But with technological advances the piano has been making a comeback in the form of the digital piano. Just imagine! An electronic keyboard that has been developed to both sound and feel like a real acoustic piano. A keyboard that you can travel with, a keyboard that could be stored in a corner of a room, taking up far less room than it’s older cousin, the acoustic upright piano.
Indeed with innovations such as weighted keys, DSP and “sampling”, digital pianos are able to mimic acoustic pianos so well that they are now sought after by professional pianists. You can even practice with headphones and plug your piano into a speaker or computer to record your musical progress or share your playing on your social media accounts. The digital piano has taken pianos into the 21st century, and with piano proven to be the leading instrument to build cognitive and emotional skills, piano playing is here to stay!
At Shine we offer fantastic courses for the budding pianist, and our skilled professional teachers are ready to encourage your musical journey as well as guide you through different techniques and skills. No matter what level you are, we can offer you new and challenging ways in which to enjoy your piano and music! At Shine we sell and rent both Digital and Acoustic Pianos in Barcelona. Feel free to get in touch with us!
Ever dreamed of being a little bit like Bob Dylan, Beethoven or Janis Joplin? I believe most of us have, but find it difficult to know which instrument will suit us best. Yes, that’s the tough part for all amateur musicians. Sometimes you start out with an ukelele, then move on to a guitar, but end up singing or playing the piano. That’s what makes music magical, fresh and immensely creative. So many options, so many instruments, so many sounds. This is also why renting an instrument is usually the best way to find out if you finally found that “treasure” you where looking for. We always have time to experiment, try new things and change if we feel deep inside there might be another instrument that will fill our heart with joy.
If you find yourself at this point, wondering which instrument might bring a little sunshine into your life, you are more than welcome to come around The Music Room and try different instruments until you say “hey, I’ve found it!”.
Luckily, The Music Room has managed to keep reasonable prices, and you can also have a cup of hot sweet coffee or tea while you decide which one you want to take home. The price is the same for 3 days or 30 days, so why not take one home and give it a try!
We are now located at Pere Serafi 23 in the heart of Gracia, with a full range of instruments starting from guitars, acoustic guitars, guitaleles, ukeleles, pianos and more.
As Plato once said : “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”
We sat down one afternoon with one of our Barcelona music teachers, Leandro Avalle, to get acquainted with his instrument of choice- the piano. Both performing and giving private piano lessons in Barcelona for a number of years, the accomplished Avalle was the perfect choice to introduce us to one of the most popular musical instruments for study today.
Relaxing in Estudio Shine amid a mish- mash of guitars, keyboards, the odd accordion and stacks of music notes Leandro told us how he began his piano career. Cutting his teeth on piano keys from an early age, Leandro watched his sisters learn the instrument. He insisted that he receive piano lessons too and was playing at age seven and performing in competitions by age 9. He dabbled in other instruments as well, like the guitar and chello but, “They were not the piano, so…” he ultimately returned to his first love and hasn’t looked back since.
Leandro believes that students should begin to study piano at a young age. Indeed one of his students at the Shine school of Music in Barcelona is only 3 years old. “I think it’s very important for the intelligence, even if most of them will not end up as pianists… It gives you tools to develop your brain, like math or language. I think it’s very important for kids to learn piano.” He explains that children’s motor skills are developed through the use of both hands on the instrument. Leandro has noted a marked difference in his students ability to concentrate as they learn to play and read music notes. “It’s amazing!”
Students at Estudio Shine are encouraged by their teachers to enjoy their instruments while learning and Leandro points out that this nurturing develops their talents even further. “Never get frustrated!” Learning will always be a part of enjoying music and studying an instrument, he continues. “You have to have this mind, where you will always learn.”
This mindful awareness allows for discovering new music and Leandro applies this to his own art. Taking a note from one of his teachers in Argentina, “she’s 85 years old and she keeps learning everyday. She goes to concerts and courses, her brain is amazing and I think that most musicians get to this moment in their life, and yet they still grow. So that’s what’s unique about music I think.”
Avalle advocates a curious mind. Although trained as a classical pianist in Argentina, when he arrived in Barcelona, he found that music continued to give him new experiences, and allowed him to connect with people in ways he did not expect. “I’m Argentinian and although I never played Tango, suddenly I was playing Tango!” In Barcelona, he now performs as part of a tango group. “You can learn like a kid! You will never finish learning!” He smiles.
True to his word Leandro is now discovering contemporary piano music and continues to expand his knowledge and love for music. He plays in a classical duo with a violinist from Chile performing all over Europe. Leandro reflects on performing as a soloist and as a group. “With a classical performance, you have to prepare a lot of pieces and you play once. The moment is unique!” As a group it’s very different, it’s fun, he gestures, playing the same numbers each concert. Traveling biannually to Argentina to play piano, Leandro is also kept busy with his Tango group as they tour, playing up to 20 concerts together at a time. All this while still giving piano classes in Barcelona.
We asked him if he thought the piano was still popular as an instrument. Responding with a grin, he affirms, “It’s a complete instrument. It’s easy and gentle to learn initially.” He goes on to explain that piano has a large range and can be played expressively, from soft to passionate, “so people enjoy listening to the piano in concerts.” Interestingly he tells us that in Barcelona people enjoy understanding the music and the story behind the pieces. He has learned to converse with his audience, drawing their attention to certain parts or explaining different melodies and meanings. This gives people a better grasp of the music he explains, and although he was surprised by this style of concert initially he now really enjoys sharing his knowledge and the history of the piano with his audiences, taking his music teaching out of the classroom.
Teaching piano at Shine Music School in Barcelona for a number of years, Avalle points out, “I think it’s the first instrument that you should learn.” From a technical point of view, if students learn to read piano sheet music, both the treble clef and bass clef gives you a bigger understanding of music. He continues to explain that from this point, students can read any music notation written for other instruments. Studying piano gives a fundamental understanding of music.
“Secondly it develops your sense of harmony and melody at the same time. This is quite unique to the piano. It’s a harmonic and melodic instrument and the repertoire of the piano is extensive.” Piano is a visual representation of music. Learning piano, the keys and notes, show how music is structured, making understanding music easy. The greatest composers, Avalle extrapolates, have been writing music for the piano for centuries. The methods these composers used and history is expressed through the music. Studying the piano affords you a wider, more complete musical base upon which to build. “You develop more accurate methods of study, ” Leandro explains. With the skills gained from learning the piano, it’s far easier to move onto another instrument and to be a successful musician.
You can watch Leandro perform as part of his duo and tango group, by keeping up to date with his piano concerts in Barcelona on the Estudio Shine Facebook page. You can also study piano with Leandro at the Shine School of music. The school has a number of piano courses from intensive piano course to piano courses for beginners. Contact Leandro at the Shine Music School and apply his thoughtful comments on learning and playing the piano to your own study and enjoyment of this classical instrument. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to be invited to one of his private piano concerts in Barcelona! The Shine School of Music rents pianos and offers piano summer courses. You can study in Spanish or English and we have a range of styles available from contemporary jazz piano to classical piano. The school also offers piano lessons over Skype. Thank you to Leandro Avalle for his time and to Rachel Huffman for conducting this interview.
For a number of months, the Shine school of Music in Barcelona at Estudio Shine has been offering students the opportunity to play as part of a group. These musical combos have been headed up by our teacher Gian Carlo Scevola, an accomplished musician with many years of experience playing in bands and combos. Gian Carlos’ band The Kennficks performs regularly in Barcelona, and Gian Carlo has been instrumental in offering his guidance and support to students who wish to create their own bands.
Performing together, especially with a variety of instruments, imparts a valuable learning experience to the student. Not only are the group combos fun, but the music created has added dimension, allowing students to work together on different instruments and learn from each other.
Gian Carlo has worked with our other teachers to provide a dynamic platform in which our students can benefit greatly from a shared experience of music.
Most recently the school showcased a number of performances by the various combos at Estudio Shine at the annual school concert. Students sang and played a variety of musical pieces with very successful results. Guitar, piano, saxophone, and clarinet captivated the audience and we hope to continue creating more groups with interested students.
Please contact the school or Gian Carlo, if you are interested in performing in part of one of Estudio Shine’s combo groups.
Check back to our Youtube later, as we keep posting videos from the concert.
Our much anticipated annual Estudio Shine student concert is Tomorrow!
The concert will take place on Saturday 13th of June at Bar Lliure, in Teatre Lliure (c/ Montseny, 47, Barcelona, very close to Estudio Shine – Map ).
We believe that the concert is a great chance to share the work you have been doing during the year with your relatives, teachers, friends and colleagues. Furthermore, this is an opportunity to experience the feeling of accomplishment of playing in front of an audience!
The concert will be split into two, with a pause in between for lunch. From 12noon until 1:30pm we will have the concert for our youngest students and then, at 3pm a concert for our adult students. In any case, you are welcome to attend both of them, even if you or your children are not playing. Students who play should come before the concert starts.