Blog

09/25/2017
by Pats Music

Pats Music Store Blog

If you are looking for the best music advice in town, Pats Music Store has the Blog you simply must read. Learn what our music aficionados have to say about some of the Musical Instruments in store. Experts from our Piano Shop and our Guitar Shop, frequent these pages with invaluable insights into choosing the right instruments.

Advice on Musical Instruments

If you are looking to buy Piano music or perhaps change the tone of your Electric Guitar, follow this forum to get some great ideas, straight from Melbourne's favourite Music Shop.



Yamaha Keyboard Month Event

09/19/2018
by Pats Music

Yamaha Keyboard Month

It's Yamaha Keyboard month at Pat's Music Store. To further celebrate Keyboard Month, Pats Music has teamed up with Yamaha Music Australia for the Yamaha Music Education System concert. The event will be held at Monash University’s Clayton campus on the 22nd and 23rd of September. Of course, we here at Pats are very excited to be involved in this event.

The following is a brief summary of what the Education System has to offer to students of all skill levels.

The Yamaha Music Education System

The Yamaha Music Education System provides music education through courses designed for a broad range of students. Including children, youths and adults, the course covers beginners to those who wish to acquire a high-level of music ability.

The foundations of this idea began with “Music Class for Pre-school Children”, in Tokyo in 1954. This later developed into the Yamaha Music School, establishing itself throughout various countries from 1964. Subsequently the course came to Australia in 1970.

Since launching almost 50 years ago, Yamaha Music Education Australia continues to embody Yamaha’s internationally designed curriculum. The course focuses on bringing out a child’s potential by nurturing their capabilities to express themselves through music.

Today, the Yamaha Music Education System remains part of the world’s largest music company. It has developed into a globally recognised system with more than 650,000 students, with 20,000 instructors across 40 countries. Along with this, more than 6 million students have graduated from our schools, with alumni numbers continuing to grow.

Throughout the year

Throughout their time at Yamaha, all students from beginner to advanced, will have the chance to participate in Yamaha’s Annual Concert. Each year, Yamaha holds these student concerts in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. The school concerts provide an opportunity for Yamaha Music Education students to demonstrate their progress to family and friends.

It’s also a valuable opportunity for all students to develop the confidence of performing in front of a large audience. This experience is then shared with students from all Yamaha Music Schools.

Annual concerts also provide students with a goal to work towards throughout the year. Students will learn to prepare their pieces and focus their practice towards their concert performance.

The Yamaha Keyboard event

This weekend, Yamaha Music Education will host their Melbourne concert at Monash University over two days, with 6 concerts in total. Each concert will have over 70 students performing, as proud parents and other family members look on.

Over 400 students will perform in Melbourne on the 22nd and 23rd September, with around 900 audience members passing through.

Pats Music representatives will be present on both dates, with Kate Finkelstein attending Saturday and Shane McMahon attending on Sunday. Additionally, stock of the brand new Yamaha gear, shall be available to both try and purchase on the day. Furthermore, the team will have everything digital with them. Try a portable Yamaha Keyboard like the P45 or P125, right through to the digital pianos in the Clavinova range.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Piano Keyboards Sale

09/04/2018
by Pats Music

Piano Keyboards at sale prices

Keyboard Month

It’s now September and at Pats Music that can mean only one thing; Keyboard month is back!

Piano Keyboards, Digital Pianos and Acoustic Pianos have contributed a huge part of our business over our 28 year journey. So if you are in the market, there is no better time to visit our lovely showroom than now. In celebration of this sale, we have put together the following blog. The article outlines where to start looking for beginners considering learning to play either keyboard or piano.

With so much available on the market, purchasing your first keyboard or digital piano can be a daunting task. Fortunately, with decades of experience in this area, Pats music is here to help make that task an easy one. Stocking a wide range of both Casio and Yamaha products, we are confident that we will be able to find the right instrument for you.

So, if you or your child are starting to learn, the first question you need to ask yourself is “Do I want to play piano or keys?" Although they are both very similar instruments, subtle differences in their respective functionality and playability set them apart. If you are hoping to learn to play piano, digital pianos are ideal for building the correct posture and playing techniques. If you want to play around with a whole bunch of different sounds, backing tracks, and work on arrangements, then a keyboard with all its bells and whistles is better suited to you. Here is a more in depth breakdown of the differences and advantages of both digital pianos and keyboards.

Digital Pianos

As previously mentioned, Digital Pianos are the right choice of instrument if you want to build your skills as a pianist. Digital pianos are simply made to replicate the feel and sound of an acoustic piano. They boast the same 88 note scale as an acoustic piano with weighted keys. Additionally, they deliver a realistic touch, similar to the mechanical action of an acoustic piano. The weighted keys are the real selling point, helping you to build the strength in your fingers required for playing piano pieces of music. In contrast to a piano, digital pianos do not require any maintenance such as tuning.

They come with a range of different sounds from organs through to strings. In addition to built in speakers, you can also play silently through headphones. You can adjust their volume and, most importantly, they are much more affordable. Starting from just $539 for a Yamaha P45 or $599 for a Casio CDP135, Pats Music will be able to get you started on your journey as a pianist!

We stock a little bit of everything from both the Yamaha and Casio Digital Piano range. This includes the Yamaha YDP Arius and CLP Clavinova, along with the Casio PX Privia and AP Celviano.

Non Piano Keyboards

The design of Electronic Keyboards is of course, very different to that of Digital Pianos. Most often built to a smaller scale, Synthesizers and Home Keyboards are usually fitted with 61 keys. Unlike a Digital Pianos weighted keys, Keyboards have a much lighter feel. They contain hundreds of different sounds suitable for all different genres of music. These include drum and percussion sounds to build backing tracks and beats.

Functionality varies across different models, but recording and accompaniment are just two of the many functions attractive to keyboard players. Despite having a different feel to an acoustic piano, keyboards are an affordable alternative. Consequently they provide easy way to build your knowledge of music theory. Also yo can create song arrangements and play with a variety of different sounds. If you are considering entering into the world of music, keyboards are a popular and easy choice. Starting at just $239 for a Yamaha YPT360 or $279 for a Yamaha PSRE363, they are very affordable.

Regardless of your reasons for entering the realm of Keyboards and Digital Pianos. You can be sure that here at Pats Music Store we will find the right instrument to start your journey.

A Digital Piano Keyboard for Singer Songwriters

07/24/2018
by Pats Music

The perfect Digital Piano Keyboard for developing Singers and Singer-Songwriters.

There is one Yamaha digital piano keyboard that stands out amongst the rest. It is a multifaceted musical instrument designed to assist in the development of the next era of Musicians. These include pianists, singers, performers, songwriters, composers and music producers. Furthermore, it is also a super handy tool for Vocal teachers.

Yamaha DGX660 Digital Piano Keyboard

The Yamaha DGX660 is an ALL IN ONE digital piano keyboard, stage piano and recording studio.

Pianists:

For the piano player it has 88 notes with a graded hammer action allowing for the development of piano technique. It comes with a wooden stand and a three pedal unit. This allows players to familiarise themselves with the position of an acoustic piano. It also has a guided lesson function on board for the beginner keyboard player. Additionally there is a headphone socket for silent practice. Both size and feel make this an ideal Piano Keyboard for expressive recordings.

Singers:

For the singer, the DGX660 has a microphone input. Vocal effects allow the developing vocalist to learn how to sing into a microphone. Additionally effects such as reverbs and choruses are accessible from the comfort of your own home, without the need of a studio. Developing microphone technique is an important skill for an aspiring singer.

The digital audio recorder allows a singer to record their performances and listen back to them. This can be an unnerving experience for a singer, as singers are often their own worst critic. But recording and listening back to their voice is essential for any singer aspiring to be a recording artist. Recording and listening back to their voice allows a vocalist to improve intonation (singing in tune) and learn to hear their voice from outside, rather than inside their head

Yamaha DGX660 Music Arranger Keyboard

Accompaniment Keyboard

With over 200 rhythms and auto accompaniment, the DGX660 allows singers or singing teachers to create backing tracks for their favourite songs in their preferred key. With over 500 general midi sounds, a singer is also able to down load pre recorded midi backing tracks and transpose them.

For the audio recorder, backing tracks can convert to MP3 and saved to a thumb drive. This means they become transferable to a computer, emailed or uploaded to the ‘cloud’, saved to smart devices and used for live performances, auditions or competitions.

The DGX660 Yamaha Piano Keyboard also has an audio line in that can be connected to computer, tablet or phone. The audio input can amplify audio tracks such as pre recorded backing tracks, MP3 karaoke tracks, or even YouTube Karaoke tracks to sing along to.

Performers:

Yamaha DGX660 Vocal Recording

When an artist wishes to use their Yamaha DGX660 to perform, the wooden stand is removable. The Piano Keyboard

is then put on an adjustable stand. This electronic keyboard comes with a free cabled sustain pedal for this purpose, and with a balanced line-out the DGX660 can be amplified through PA systems or amplifiers.

The 2 x 6 watt speakers act as fabulous on stage fold back. Conveniently, the on board, mic input and effects allow the performer to adjust the vocal levels directly from the piano. In addition the line-in allowing for connection to phone or tablet, amplifies audio playback such as backing tracks or pre recorded music to add to a performance.

Songwriters/Composers/Producers:

The DGX660 Digital Keyboard has over 500 realistic sounds, including; Drum kits, Brass, Strings, Organs, Electric Pianos, Guitars and Bass Guitars, Synthesisers. It also has an array of traditional world musical instruments. With so many sounds at their fingertips, composers have access to a multitude of voices when creating a new composition. And the 6 track multi track recorder allows the budding artist to create compositions directly on the piano.

Recording with the Yamaha DGX660

The microphone input also doubles as an input for guitar or any other amplified instrument.

In addition to the multi track recorder the on-board audio recorder records performance to MP3 allowing storage on thumb drive and shared online.

If the developing songwriter-composer-producer evolves beyond the recording capabilities of the DGX660, why not use it as a midi controller keyboard. Via MIDI the Piano Keyboard works any computer laptop or tablet along with the producers choice of recording software.

The large speakers and audio line in also double up as monitor speakers when used with a computer or tablet.

The DGX660 ALL-IN-ONE digital piano comes in either black or white and retails at $1599.

A great addition to the DGX660 is the MPKAMSI microphone pack that comes with boom stand, mic clip, mic bag and the correct cable for the DGX660. The MPKAMSI retails at $99.95


Check out our online store for special offers on the DGX660 and the MPKAMSI


Learning the Piano gives you Brains

07/18/2018
by Pats Music

Learning the Piano gives you Brains

It’s well known that learning the piano can enhance brain development.

But how does this happen?

Learn Piano Keyboard and get smartWhen we play the Piano we use multiple parts of our brain at one time.

We use our eyes to read which requires the visual cortex and the occipital lobe.

We use our ears to hear and adjust the notes which require our auditory cortex and temporal lobe.

We use both our hands and our 10 fingers to play different rhythmic patterns, requiring our primary motor cortex, our prefrontal cortex and our cerebellum.


To be able to play ‘in time’ our brain needs to synthesise a ‘beat’ then synchronise all sensory input and motor activities to this ‘beat’. This requires the use of our prefrontal cortex and cerebellum.


Learning the Piano

We also need to develop spatial awareness in order to play without looking at our hands. This utilises our parietal lobe, cerebellum and the right hemisphere or our brain.

Learning to read sheet music is like learning another language. The language of musical instruments is predominately mathematic but also requires visual spatial awareness; it is somewhat like map reading.

As well as developing brain function, playing or learning the piano can be a great way to express feeling and release stress. It is known to encourage the release of endorphins which is a feel good hormone.

Most notably, learning to play the piano strengthens the link between the right and left brain which has been associated with the creative problem solving skills known as ‘divergent thinking.




For help finding the best learner piano or recommendations of Piano teachers call Pats music on 0396538711.

To read more about how learning either an Acoustic Piano or Digital Piano Keyboard, follow this link to an extremely interesting article.

Audio Recording Technology

07/11/2018
by Pats Music

Audio Recording Technology

Audio Recording Technology or Music Production is an industry once reserved for life-long professionals and money-fuelled record companies. Today however, Audio Recording has been made easily accessible to bedroom musicians and amateur bands everywhere. The introduction of Digital Audio Interfaces, Recording Software and Digital Audio Workstations, means recording is more affordable than ever before. Additionally, new Audio Recording technology has made music production a whole lot easier. Not just for professional audio engineers and producers, but for beginner recording artists as well. This blog will give you a rundown of exactly what you need to get your home studio up and running.

Steinberg Audio Recording Interface

Building a Home Studio

The first step in building your home studio is selecting an Audio Interface. Thankfully most brands are compatible with both PC and Apple Mac computers. This means you will have a variety of options regardless of your operating system and budget. Here at Pats Music, we stock Focusrite Scarlett, Steinberg UR, and Presonus Audiobox interfaces. Each of these interfaces conveniently comes with a free version of the brands respective recording programs. In some instances, this may help you in deciding which interface to go with.

Focusrite Scarletts

The Focusrite Scarletts come with Ableton Live Lite, the top DAW choice for electronic artists and producers. With an extremely user friendly setup, Ableton Live Lite lays down all the tools, including selected instruments and effects, that you need to record and produce your own music.

Steinberg UR

The Steinberg UR interfaces ship with a download code for Cubase AI. Cubase AI provides all the basic tools for recording, editing and mixing everything from the initial idea to the final masterpiece.

Presonus Audiobox

Finally, the Presonus Audiobox interfaces come with Studio One Artist which is an easy to use Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). In fact, Presonus Audiobox has enabled many artists from around the world, to get more out of their productions.

How many Audio Ins do I need?

Once you have decided on brand, the next thing to consider is how many audio inputs you will require. Each of the audio inputs on board your interface, allow you to record just one signal. So, for example, if you would like to record an acoustic guitar and your voice simultaneously, you will need to purchase and interface with a minimum of two audio inputs. One input assigned to your guitar and the other input for your voice.

But what if you are wanting to record something a little more complex such as live acoustic drums? In this instance, you may need to consider an interface with 8 or more audio inputs. Focusrite, Steinberg and Presonus all offer interfaces in multiple sizes, all of which we stock at Pats Music. Regardless of how many audio inputs you require, we have the Audio Interface to suit your needs!

Recording Microphones

Once you’ve chosen your audio interface, you will need to purchase yourself some recording microphones. There are three different types of microphones available;

Shure SM58 Microphone

Dynamic, Ribbon and Condenser Microphones.

Each of these has different strengths and are used to record different instruments and sound sources.

Dynamic Microphones

In short, Dynamic Microphones are great for picking up loud sound sources which are strong in the mid frequency range such as snare drums, tom toms and percussion.

SE Electronics X1R ribbon

Ribbon Microphones

Ribbon Microphones are more sensitive than dynamic mics, picking up a broader frequency range. This makes them

more suited to record Guitar and Bass Amplifiers, Kick Drums, Brass and Woodwind instruments.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser Microphones are the most sensitive, capturing everything from sub bass through to sparkly highs. Of course, this makes them the most versatile Microphone and is used for most recording situations. Indeed, such a wide audio range affords the Condenser Mic the luxury of recording various sounds like vocals and acoustic guitars. What’s more Condenser Microphones can be placed in front of Guitar Amplifiers, Organs and Wind Instruments. Not to mention all kinds of acoustic Drum recording as Drum overheads.

SE Electronic SE2200 Condenser Microphone

Microphone for Sale

Therefore, at Pats Music, we recommend starting with a condenser Microphone due to their versatility and overall professional sound. For example, the SE Electronics X1A condenser microphone is popular choice at our store. At Pat’s, you’ll find the X1A Microphone for sale at the very friendly price of $129.

The SE 2200 is another popular condenser microphone at $349 and is perfect for crystal clear vocal and acoustic guitar recording. If you are looking for something more specialist, Pats also offers a range of Ribbon and Dynamic microphones. These include the SE X1R ribbon mic, the SE V3 and V7 dynamics, and of course the famous Shure SM57 and Sm58 microphones.


Audio Recording Accessories

The final piece in your home studio puzzle is the necessary accessories. Firstly you will need microphone cables, which we stock from only $10 each. Brands available are D’addario, Carson, SM Pro and Planet Waves.

Equally important, you will also need recording headphones or studio monitors, in order to be able to get a true reflection of your mixes. We offer Smart Acoustic Headphones and both the Yamaha HS and Presonus E series Studio Monitors.

Reflection filters and pop filters are advisable, but not necessarily required, for recording vocals at home. These give you greater control over your recordings and start from $142 and $19.95 respectively.

On a final note, setting up a home studio can seem to be a daunting and expensive task, but help is at hand. With a little bit of research and friendly help from the highly knowledgeable staff at Pats Music, you will be up and running in no time.

Oh and it doesn’t have to break the bank either!

Piano care and caring for your piano

07/02/2018
by Pats Music

Piano Care

Caring for your piano.

In the following article we discuss Piano Care and ways you can increase the enjoyment of your musical instrument.

The delivery day of our Piano is a special day in the life of any piano player.

It takes pride of place in the specially selected room, standing proudly and silently with the promise of musical adventures for decades to come.

What a marvellous sight.

It’s only natural that we want take the very best care of our piano.

How do we do this?...

Inside a Piano:

Pianos are made with the need to stay tuned. Strings are made to resonate at their best when they are tightened to their ideal tension. As a string is struck, the sound waves from string transfer through the bridge, and onto the soundboard. It then travels along the grain of the wood spreading all over the soundboard and amplifying. As these sound waves travel they end up gently shaping the wood on a molecular level to better amplify sound. That’s why the soundboard of an older, regularly tuned, piano can resonate so magnificently. If a piano is regularly played out of tune, it will not mature as sweetly.

As a rule of thumb the tuning of our piano should occur at least once a year. Exposure to heat can cause a piano togo flat, because the wood in the pin block relaxes and the pins loosen. In the same way it can sharpen when the piano gets colder and the wood tightens. Strings do stretch slightly over time too so regular tightening is usually required. It is cheaper to tune our piano regularly rather than let it go out of tune. When piano strings are left at a looser tension (flat) they are slowly stretched so as not to break. This takes much longer and may need to happen over repeat visits.

Piano Cleaning

Cleaning the inside of a piano is a little more difficult. With an upright piano, the front panels and the fall, or lid, are taken off to access the inside. If you have a Grand Piano it is easier to access the inside but it is harder to clean, manoeuvring a cloth or duster under the strings is very tricky and not recommended.

A light dust and vacuum is all that is recommended.

If your vacuum cleaner can blow in reverse, even better. Blowing the dust out from under the strings is better than trying to reach behind them.

Try not to touch the strings at all. Finger prints on strings can make them go rusty and any pressure on the strings from a cloth or duster can affect the tuning.

If there is the requirement for more detailed cleaning, we recommend using a piano tuner or technician. They can pull apart the piano and clean inside and put it back together properly for you. Such technicians are experts in Piano care.

A piano technician is our best friend when it comes to looking after the inside of a piano. For a recommendation of a piano technician in your area feel free to call Pats music on 03)95638711.

Important note:

Keep the piano dry. Pianos and water don’t mix! Keep other liquids away from them too, such as red wine or champagne. It can be very expensive if not impossible to fix the damage if water, or any other liquid, gets into a piano.

Outside of a Piano:

Many people ask us how to clean the outside of a piano.

Microfibre Piano Polish Cloth

Pianos with French polished finish, the high gloss mirror effect, like regular dusting, weekly cleaning and monthly

polishing.

We recommend using a soft duster, and a soft microfiber or cotton cloth. To remove finger prints, fill a spray bottle with 50% water and 50% methylated spirits.

Music Nomad Piano Polish

Spray a light mist of this liquid onto the cloth and clean gently. The water helps lift the finger prints and the methylated spirits helps to dry the water and reduce streaking.

Polishing is another important aspect of Piano care. When polishing a piano we recommend using a piano polish (such as the ones pictured) and 2 microfiber or cotton cloths, one cloth for applying the polish and another for removing it.

Then... pretend to be the Karate Kid and use a ‘polish on polish off ‘ type movement.

Older Piano Care

If your piano is an older piano with an antique-style, matt-wood finish, then a regular wood furniture polish works well. If the wood is thirsty it may take a lot of polish to restore its former lustre.

The keys of a piano will also need attention. You should try to keep keys free of dust to avoid dust building up between them. There may also be the need for cleaning if little sticky fingers have been at them.

If the keys are acrylic (not ivory) then use a soft cloth in soapy water and wring it out thoroughly before cleaning. Clean the keys in a back to front motion rather than a side to side motion to avoid getting dirt between the keys.

If your keys are ivory then you should require less water. A light spray onto the cloth and the same back to front motion. Clean one key at a time for the best result.

Acoustic Vs Electronic Drums: What is right for me?

06/22/2018
by Pats Music

Acoustic Vs Electronic Drums: What is right for me?

Whether you are looking at buying your child their first kit, starting drums yourself or picking the sticks up again. The first question you will need to answer is a difficult one; Should I go with an acoustic or electronic drum kit?

Both of these options come with their own unique advantages and challenges. The answer can be complex and difficult to arrive upon. That said, through careful consideration, you will find yourself leaning in the direction that is right for you. Ultimately it is a balance between your needs and your budget.

Acoustic Drums

The greatest advantage of an acoustic drum kit is the unmistakable feel of its skins and cymbals. Consequently, this

feel is what delivers a large array of achievable tones. Just like any other musical instrument, mastery of the drum kit Yamaha Acoustic Drum Kitsis found through great control of dynamics and tone. A set of acoustic drums will allow its player to perfect their stick handling technique. Furthermore, Drum practice will also teach them how to control volume and intensity. In terms of building good drumming habits, you cannot go past an acoustic kit.

How much is an acoustic drum kit?

At Pats Music, acoustic drums start at very reasonable prices. For example, a 5 piece Yamaha Rydeen kit including a stool, kick pedal, Paiste PST3 cymbal set and various bits of hardware. These kits come in 6 stunning colours and are perfect for the beginner level player. For the aspiring drummer looking to build their craft from the ground up, this is ideal. The Yamaha Rydeen drum set presents the perfect balance between quality and affordability. Additionally, the PST3 offers that world renowned Yamaha tone, without breaking the bank.

Professional Drum Kits

Pats Music also caters to the player who is looking to invest in their forever drum kit. One obvious example, is the famous and much loved Yamaha Stage Custom. This stunning kit once again comes complete with everything you need and more. This includes a second floor tom and upgraded Paiste PST5 cymbal set (currently including a free splash cymbal). Whether you are rehearsing at home, gigging relentlessly, or making records, the Yamaha Stage Custom with its solid birch shells will meet all of your expectations with ease.

Silence please

The main challenges you will find in owning an acoustic drum kit are space and noise. Drums are very big and loud instruments. For players in smaller living arrangements, this can be an issue. There is nothing worse than having your rehearsal session interrupted by a visit from the local police. However, if you can manage the space required to set up a drum set, there are options available which enable quiet practice. The Remo Silent Stroke skins are a semi-permanent solution, offering the same feel as regular drum skins with a sound that reduces to below talking volume. Vic Firth drum mutes are another option which are added or removed from a kit in a matter of minutes, allowing for both quiet practice and full blown rehearsals.

Electronic Drums

An electronic drum kit is absolutely perfect for any person looking to build their sense of rhythm and timing. Electronic kits are smaller than their acoustic cousins and enable close-to-silent practice. An electronic kit’s greatest asset is its

digital capabilities. Selection and alteration of a wide variety of sounds is achieved with the touch of a button. Most noteworthy however, is that you can rehearse songs through headphones or amplified through an external speaker. This also means that recording is a breeze.

Yamaha Electronic Drums

On top of all this, electronic drums come in a variety of different setups to suit a player’s budget and drumming requirements. The Yamaha DTX series has been a Pats Music favourite for a long time. Offering superior sounds, playability, and user-friendly interfaces, the Yamaha DTX range has something to offer for everyone. Even if you are the person picking up a pair of sticks for the first time, or the advanced player who lives and breathes rhythm.

Due to their affordability and silent capabilities, electronic drum kits may seem to be the perfect solution. They do, however, have their own challenges. Electronic drums do not allow for the same level of control a player might have over an acoustic kit. This is largely due to the difference in feel between electronic drum pads regular acoustic skins. To combat this issue, Yamaha begins introducing silicone pads in the middle of the range, starting with the DTX522K.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be difficult choosing between acoustic and electronic drums. In some circumstances, the choice may be made for you due to space and noise restrictions. Our recommendation would be to closely consider what is important to you as an individual. More importantly, to choose an instrument that you are going to love to play. If you need help in finding what is right for you, come and visit us at Pats music and we can take you through the all of the different options.

Beginners Piano on a budget

06/01/2018
by Pats Music

How can a student get a Beginners Piano?

For the budding pianist, having access to a beginners piano with which to practice is paramount. That said, even a beginners piano could be too expensive for the average student. So what options are there for beginners who need a Piano Keyboard to practice on?

Four options for beginner piano students on a budget.

1. Beginner Piano Keyboard

The most affordable solution is a keyboard like the Yamaha PSRE363 , which retails at $349. This keyboard has touch-sensitive keys, meaning it can play loud and soft notes. This depends upon the pianist use of expression in controlling the way the keys are struck. It also has rhythms and auto accompaniment, which can teach the player how to play in time. It will also help with learning chords. On top of this the Yamaha PSRE363 has a built in lesson function. The built in lessons show the player what notes to play in order to play a song.

Yamaha Piano Keyboards

Unweighted keys

Though the piano keyboard has touch sensitive keys, they are not ‘weighted’. This means the keys are light to press down unlike a piano keys, which are heavier to press down. Therefore although a student will learn the coordination required to play the piano, they will not learn to control the dynamics (louds and softs) of a real piano with this. Furthermore, the Yamaha PSRE363 is also not a full length keyboard, meaning it only has 61 of the 88 keys that a piano has.

2. Beginner digital piano

Amongst the digital pianos a model like the Yamaha P45B is a very popular affordable solution. Firstly, the Yamaha P45B has all 88 notes of a piano and the keys are both touch sensitive and weighted. Also called 'Graded Hammer Action', this means that the weights on each key are made to feel like the hammers an acoustic piano. They are heavy at the lower notes gradually get lighter at the higher notes. Yamaha Digital Piano

Additionally, the P45B has headphone socket, USB port and metronome and comes with a music rest and sustain pedal. Students can use the P45B with a computer, however the keyboard is not ideal in a professional live situation. It is also possible for the P45B to attach to a H frame wooden stand or sit on an adjustable stand.

3. Renting

Another option for first time piano students who want to try piano is to rent. At Pats music we have a partnership with rental company 'Studio 19'. Through Studio 19 a musician can choose a new digital or acoustic piano and try it out for a minimum of 6 months. After this time if they choose to stop learning or want to upgrade their piano they can return the instrument at no extra cost, with the exception of the cost of freight if required. However if the student wishes to continue with the instrument they can buy it out or keep renting it and pay it off over time.

4. 2nd hand Pianos (Gumtree or eBay)

When the budget is tight it can in some cases be worth checking out Gumtree, eBay or Facebook market place. The obvious risk purchasing 2nd hand items privately getting stuck with a faulty item. With brands like Yamaha, Roland or Kawai their manufacture warranties are not transferable so if something does go wrong the instrument the warranty may not be applicable, even if it is within the warranty period. When purchasing privately we recommend asking your teacher or a piano technician to help assess a second hand instrument before you buy it.

Print Music at Pat's Music Store

05/03/2018
by Pats Music

Print Music Department

Print Music at Pat’s Music Store

Pat's Music Shop has two rooms devoted to print music with over 7000 items in stock. For music tutors in search of teaching methods or teaching repertoire for your students, we stock the appropriate literature.

Likewise, for students looking to broaden their repertoire and knowledge, our variety of sheet music can help.

Moreover, if we don't have what you're looking for, we will do our best to source it for you.

Piano Sheet Music

Since many of our piano customers are teachers, we support them by stocking 35 different piano methods. Our range of Piano Tutorials serve both children and adult students. These include the best selling John Thompson course, which has been a popular method for over 80 years. Further tutorials continue and include the Bastien New Traditions course of 2016.

In between is the Hal Leonard Piano Course, Alfred's Basics, Premier & Prep courses. Additionally we stock the Nancy & Randall Faber's Piano Adventures, Bastien Piano Basics, Edna Mae Burnam's Step by Step & A Dozen a Day and much, much more.

Correspondingly, many of these courses have supplementary books to which we mostly keep on the shelf.

AMEB Music Stockist

On the whole, music books for the AMEB exams are a large part of our business. As a matter of fact, our sheet music department proudly sells more AMEB literature than any other music shop in Australia.

For example, we stock books for piano, guitar, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, voice and all instruments students choose to learn.

Popular Sheet Music Titles

Presently, our wide range also includes musical theatre, as wells the most recent Piano For Leisure, Series 4.

Pat's Music Store has an extensive selection of piano, vocal and guitar (PVG) folios for a range of popular

Additionally, our PVG collection covers a multitude of genres. Within our Print Music store, you are certain to find something to play and sing along to.artists. Of course, both old and new artists are covered in our range of PVG folios.

Print and Sheet Music Shop

Whether it is an anthology from your favourite artist, or a collection of chart topping radio hits, there is something for everyone.

Notably, Vocal selections and PVG's for stage and screen are all readily available in store.

You can find the soundtrack to your favourite movie or the music score for a popular Broadway musical. Likewise children's classics, contemporary theatre songs, vocal collections from around the world, can all be found on our shelves.

By the same token, if you are looking for something that we may not have in stock, our print department staff are more than happy to try and source it for you. In light of the fact that not everyone plays the piano or guitar, we have albums for a variety of solo instruments. Similarly, these include movie soundtracks, theme music and collections, radio hits, decade chart toppers, anthologies and theatre selections. Some even come with CDs or online audio access.

Sheet Music for Bands

For those looking for methods suitable for a group, you are more than likely to find something from our large range of school band and string orchestra / ensemble selections.

Our collection includes a variety of methods including Essential Elements, Encore on Strings, String Time Joggers, Standard of Excellence, Accent on Achievement, Band Class and many more.

Music Accessories

As well as print music & music books, you can also find music stands, accessories and giftware. There is a selection of stands ranging from the Xtreme stands, perfect for younger students and beginners. Additionally, the Wenger and Manhasset stands, are designed to serve all musicians at a variety of levels.

In order for students to get used to playing in time, Pat's Music also stocks a range of metronomes, both digital and mechanical. In particular, Intelli, Korg and Rebel digital metronomes are all available in the print department. As well as Wittner and Nikko mechanical metronomes, which come in a range of colours and finishes.

Finally, if you're looking for a present for your teacher, or maybe your students, our accessories and giftware are perfect. Music gift items include carry bags, music folders, pens, pencils, lapel pins, key-chains, glassware and the popular Rondofile folders.

Visit our Sheet Music Pages by clicking here


Digital Piano Keyboard VS The Acoustic Piano

04/27/2018
by Pats Music


Digital Piano Keyboards vs Acoustic Pianos

Digital Piano Keyboard VS Acoustic Pianos

Which is a better for a beginner piano player, an acoustic piano or is a digital piano keyboard a better option? This is a question asked allot at Pats Music Store.

In brief, the answer depends on the musician’s goal and budget. For unlike other instrumentalists, many piano players will never own their ideal musical instrument. And for good reason. In reality the ideal piano to learn and develop the finite skill needed to be a concert pianist, is a 9ft Concert Grand Piano. (Priced at over $200k).

Obviously it is not realistic or practical for most people to own a 9ft Concert Grand Piano. Comparatively, anything less than that is inevitably a compromise and so too are digital pianos.

Even so, many of the top brand digital pianos come freakishly close in sound and feel to an acoustic piano. Due to great advancements in technology over the last decade, many Piano Keyboards make a convincing substitute.

Digital Piano Shop Presentation Image

Piano Keyboard Facts

With this in mind, here are some terms you may come across when researching digital pianos and what they mean;

Touch sensitive or touch responsive keys:

Yamaha Piano Keyboard Responsive Image


With sensors under the keys or inside the key mechanism, a digital piano responds to how hard of soft the keys are struck. As a result, a harder key strike triggers the relevant louder sample, taken from a real piano. In contrast, a softer strike of the key, triggers a sample taken from a softer piano keyboard strike.






Weighted keys or Graded Hammer Action (GHA):Yamaha Digital Piano Keyboard Action

The keys on an acoustic piano are heavy to press because they are attached to the hammers that strike the strings. The hammers that strike the bass strings are bigger and the ones that hit the treble, or higher strings are smaller. In a digital Piano the ‘action’ mechanism is created to feel like it’s moving hammers by using little weights. We know this as weighted keys. Most digital pianos have heavier weights in the base and lighter in the treble and they call this Graded Hammer Action.



Polyphony:

Essentially this is the processing power, i.e how many samples are able to play at one time, before the memory runs out and the sounds become compromised. Using the piano sound for example, the player can play up to 10 notes at a time (10 fingers). They may even have 2 instruments on at one time, such as Piano and Strings. This means 20 sounds play at one time. If the player holds down the sustain pedal the notes will then play on top of each other. Most good digital pianos have over 129 note polyphony. The player would have to play 11 X 10 note chords with using 2 sounds at once plus the sustain before the sound start to cut out. It’s very unlikely a player would do this.

Sound modelling technology:

Some digital piano manufactures now use ‘sound modelling technology’ either to create the entire sound or add to the digitally sampled sound. SMT gives the piano sound more detail and dimension. Put simply SMT observes and maps out the behaviour of sound waves and designs detailed algorithms to recreate the sound waves. SMT can gives us ‘after sound’ sounds such as sympathetic resonance; Where, on an acoustic piano, the strings resonate in sympathy to other strings being struck. SMT can calculate harmonics, naturally occurring overtones in instruments. SMT can recreate cabinet resonance; the woody sound of the piano body vibrating. And after touch; the sound of the damper dropping back on the sting. Sound Modelling Technology makes digital pianos more realistic than they have ever been.

Digital Piano Brands:

The three most well known brands for Digital Piano Keyboards are Yamaha, Kawai and Roland. The Casio Celviano pianos are also becoming more popular. Each digital piano replicates different acoustic pianos. The Yamaha for example replicates the Yamaha CFIII and Bosendorfer Concert grand pianos. The Roland Replicates the most elite European Piano. However, neither Roland or our Piano Shop Blog but can name it for legal reasons.

Benefits of going digital:

There are many benefits of a digital piano. The first is the ability to play silently with headphones. Also a Digital Piano does not need tuning. Furthermore, a simple connection to a computer, allows use with record software or many of the apps now available. Some digital pianos also have Bluetooth, for use with iPods. Models such as the Yamaha CSP range take piano playing to another level by incorporating auto-accompaniment, lessons, Karaoke, multi-track recording and microphone input. They’re like a musical home-entertainment-system as well as a piano.

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