Casio Brand Spotlight

Casio is simply iconic. If you grew up in the 90’s, you probably studied using a Casio calculator, was introduced to playing keyboard on a Casio instrument, and if you were really lucky, wore a trendy Baby-G watch.

Let’s take a look at how Casio began.

The Four Kashio Brothers:
Casio was founded in 1946 by four brothers: Tadao (1917-1993), Toshio (1925-2012), Kazuo (1929 – 2018), and Yukio (1930-). Yukio Kashio was the companies Executive Vice President until 2014.

Another world first for Casio was the first card sized digital camera, the Exilim in 2002. Their technological efforts combined with their abilities in miniaturisation were becoming hallmarks to their success. This again was on show when they built the G-Shock brand.

After Casio lead designer Kikuo Ibe broke a pocket watch that his father had given to him in 1981, he decided to create a watch that could withstand major impact and shocks. He and his three member team created over 200 prototypes before creating what is now the worlds most durable watch, seriously, the Guinness World Records had a 24.97 tonne truck drove over one G’Shock model, the first watch by any company to be able to withstand the challenge!

Casio’s corporate creed is “creativity and contribution.” It expresses the company’s commitment to contributing to society by offering the kind of original, useful products that only Casio can. Products with innovative functions assist people in their daily lives and keep society moving forward. They also bring joy to people and help to create new culture.” (1)

Casio electronic musical instruments live up to that creed along their masterful knowledge in building technology that competes with the best of today and tomorrow.

Introduction of electronic musical instruments:

Casio kicked off the 80’s with the CT-201, released in January of 1980. The Casiotone 201 was designed to be so easy and fun to play that anyone could learn it without any special training or rigorous practice. It was instantly accepted by the market as a fun new way to enjoy music. (https://world.casio.com/corporate/history/chapter02/)

The first hammer action piano by Casio came in 1988 with the introduction of the CDP3000.

Casio introduced their first hammer action piano in 1988, the CDP3000. This model laid the foundation for future models, and in 1991, the first Celviano mod el was released. It wasn’t until 2003 that the first Privia model, the PX-100 was introduced.

Both the Celviano and Privia range have been updated a number of times throughout the years, and continue to be incredibly popular globally.

Today’s must have items:

PX-S1000 – This model won a design award at the NAMM show in 2019. It’s available in Black, White, and Red. Perfect for both music creation, as well as practicing and developing your skills as a piano player.

The PX-S3000 – also took home the “Gotta Stock It” award, as judged by an independent panel of retail leaders. It’s similar to the PX-S1000, but with a HUGE amount of built in tones and rhythms.

Casio’s newest member of the keyboard family is the CT-S1BK. It’s available in Black, White, and Red. Perfect for new music learners, it has 61 keys, a built in carry handle, 61 tones, and 77 rhythms.

The AP470 boasts two superb grand piano sounds, cased in a classy piano style cabinet. Available in Black, Brown, and White. Suitable for those learning the piano, as well as more experienced piano students and professionals.

Music Learning App:

For anyone learning at home, be sure to take a look at Casio’s free app – More Details.

Chordana Play for Piano: More Details
Chordana Play: More Details

Further reading:
https://world.casio.com/corporate/brothers/
https://world.casio.com/corporate/president/
https://www.casio-intl.com/asia/en/emi/history/
https://web.casio.com/emi/40th/history/ct-201.html
https://web.casio.com/emi/40th/philosophy/
https://www.casio-music.com/euro/casio-music-life/inside-casio-music/


Roland Brand Spotlight

Roland is a world leader in digital piano technology. Unlike Yamaha and Kawai that also make acoustic pianos, Roland focuses solely on the development and creation of digital instruments. The brand is famous for creating innovative musical products, and being a pioneer in global music technology.

Roland started with Japanese engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur Ikutaro Kakehashi.

Kakehashi was born in Osaka in 1930. During the war, with no access to music lessons, he became interested in radio as a way of listening to music. In 1947 at just age 16 he founded the Kakehashi Clock Store, a watch repair store. He also started repairing radios, and went on to open the Kakehashi Radio electrical appliance store in 1954. It was during this time that he started to repair electric organs and begin to create organ prototypes.

At 28, Kakehashi decided to devote himself solely to music, and so founded Ace Tone in 1960 – a company which produced electronic organs and drum machines. Ace Tone is considered to be the precursor to Roland.

He founded Roland 1972 and lead it for four decades. Ikutaro Kakehashi (and engineer Dave Smith) both received a technical grammy in 2013 for their contributions for the development of MIDI.

Traditional Piano Practice

Roland debuted the EP-30, the worlds first touch sensitive electronic keyboard in 1974. The technology used back then is standard today, but it was ground breaking at the time. Roland continue to be renowned for their advanced digital technology, popular amongst professional musicians, producers, and students.

F701

The F701 was released recently in early 2021 and has already won a Red Dot Design Award – one of the worlds largest design competition judged by 50 international experts.

Rolands SuperNATURAL sound, PHA-4 keyboard with ivory feel white keys, hammer action, and escapement make for a realistic piano playing experience. The F701’s sleek, slimline design make it ideal for anyone wanting a sophisticated piece of furniture that doesn’t take up too much space.

HP and LX range:

Roland’s premium range of digital upright pianos deliver an authentic piano playing experience.

LX stands for ‘luxury’ while HP stands for ‘Home Piano’.

The three models in the LX range feature Rolands top of the line Pure Acoustic Modeling technology.

The two models at the top of the line, (LX708 and LX706) feature Roland’s PHA pure hybrid keyboard with wooden keys and the LX705 and HP704 use the PHA-50 keyboard (also a keyboard with wooden keys).  (PLEASE LINK THESE MODELS TO THE PRODUCT PAGES)

All models in these two ranges come with a 10 year warranty and a height adjustable bench with storage. Available in a variety of matte and gloss finishes.

Kiyola

For a piano playing experience with aesthetic, the Kiyola ticks all the boxes.

Roland collaborated with Japanese premium furniture maker Karimoku (link to website https://www.karimoku.com/en/main.php) to create this amazing product. Handcrafted with Hokkaido wood, it’s available in 4 colours – black, white, oak, and brown.

With 4 piano tones modelled off four steinway pianos – two in Berlin and two in New York, and Roland’s top of the line piano action, the PHA40 with wooden keys, this model is truly magnificent.

Roland GO-KEYS

Want to make music on the go? This instrument is great for music creation and creativity. It has an excellent choice of tones, loops, and styles, and great sounding speakers – all cased in a lightweight design that can run on batteries!

You can also connect your phone to via bluetooth to stream music through the keyboards speakers, so you can play along to your favourite tunes.

Famous sounds:

A blog about Roland wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the iconic TR-808 drum machine. The 808 has been used in countless songs, including Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’, Whitney Houstons ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, and many of todays current hits.

808 drums are found in the Roland JUNODS88, FA08, and VR09. This means you can create and record your own patterns with this iconic sound!

Two of Rolands corporate slogans are ‘Inspire the Enjoyment of Creativity’, and ‘Be the BEST rather than the BIGGEST’. We hope the story of Roland has inspired you in your music journey, whether you are a seasoned professional or just getting started.

Visit us in store to try our large range of Roland digital pianos, keyboards, and synthesisers. We are offering one-on-one virtual shopping appointments for our customers in NSW and VIC:  https://www.australianpianowarehouse.com.au/virtual-shopping/

Further Reading:

https://www.roland.com/au/company/history/

We are now selling print music Online!

Are you planning to learn piano at home? Looking to learn a few extra songs, or broaden your piano playing style?

This month we are focusing on Pop Music. Read on to see our top picks!

I’ll let you in on a secret: many of Taylor Swift songs are made up of just 4 chords. In fact, a lot of pop songs are comprised of just a few chords. This is great news as a piano student, because it means you can get into playing along to your favourite songs.

Chord knowledge is vital to playing pop music with ease. This method book will give you a good theoretic foundation, and includes a ‘jam session’ with 20 original songs using common chord progressions, so you can put the theory you’ve learned into practical application right away.

For those wanting to expand their knowledge, this book has over 1400 chords and voicings, so it’s a great reference point.

If you’ve wanted to learn piano just so you can play ‘Piano Man’ at parties, this one is for you:

From complete editions of Billy Joels discography, popular selections, piano solo, easy piano collections, and solo piano, there is something for every Billy Joel fan, no matter how far along your piano playing journey!

150 of the best ballads ever! Tap into your emotional side by playing songs like ‘You Are So Beautiful’, ‘How Deep Is Your Love’, and ‘Tears In Heaven’. This Piano/Vocal/Guitar edition is perfect for anyone who reads music or chords (or is learning to do both!).

If ballads aren’t your thing, we have a HUGE amount of compilation books available here.

Are you a complete beginner? Take a look at John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course – Easiest Pop Songs. This book works best being used alongside John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course book, and reinforces basic technique featuring songs by Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Adele, and more.

PLEASE NOTE: Australian Piano Warehouse offers print music as an online order only item. We do not stock Print Music on display in our stores. We dispatch daily, with a focus on getting your order to you as quickly as possible. 

Getting through lockdown with piano

Here’s how you can get started with piano at home.

You’ve decided to invest in your hobby (or passion!), and buy a keyboard or piano to get started on your musical journey.

Due to lockdown restrictions, many people are opting to learn at home, and with so many resources available, it is certainly a viable option, so what is the best way to get started?

Method books and YouTube. The combination of both is important, and here’s why:

Method books allow you to work through new techniques in the correct order, so instead of sifting through bits and pieces of information on YouTube, you are gaining a solid foundation to develop as a piano player in your chosen style.

In the era of information overload, the simplicity of working step by step through a book that  teaches both theoretic and practical knowledge is immensely valuable.

YouTube will bring your method book to life:

Half the battle of learning something new can be knowing WHAT to search for, and this again is where having a book explaining new concepts is very useful. For example, when using a method book, you’ll likely come across something called ‘Chord Inversions’.

Without any formal study in music, it’s unlikely that anyone would think to type ‘Piano Chord Inversions’ into YouTube, but when you do, you’ll see numerous videos with some great exercises, even one on ‘How Elton John Uses Inversions’.

Here are some great titles to get you started:

Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner:

A good choice for anyone wanting to take a more traditional approach to music learning, you’ll learn how to read music, and a variety of tunes such as Amazing Grace, Forest Drums, and Row Row Your Boat.

You’ll learn to play chords in your left hand and melodies in your right hand – a great foundation for playing jazz, and popular music styles.

It’s also worth noting, this title defines older as ‘over 11 years old!’

Adult Piano Method:

This book will also teach you to read music notation with a combination of music styles and theoretical concepts. It also provides opportunity for improvisation.

Seeking a less traditional approach? Check out 150 Keyboard Tips & Lessons:

Aside from music, learn about using DAW programs such as Garage Band and ProTools, navigating equipment, and finding a teacher. It covers music styles such as electronic, gospel, and country, as well as important jazz theory, and piano technical concepts that are useful in a variety of performance situations.

Additional tips:

  • Keep a practice diary – note down what you learned, what you struggled with, how long you practiced for, and any break throughs.
  • Celebrate your achievements – learned a new piece? A new technique? That’s great! Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for your great work!
  • Consider seeing a teacher on zoom, especially if you are feeling stuck or unmotivated. A teacher will also correct anything that a book or a video can’t pick up such as posture, hand position, and correct fingering.

Do you have any additional tips for learning piano at home? Let us know in the comments!

Are you looking for an instrument to learn piano on at home? Feel free to set up a virtual shopping appointment here: https://www.australianpianowarehouse.com.au/virtual-shopping/

Am I Too Old To Start Learning The Piano?

Spoiler: absolutely not.

Have you ever heard an amazing piano player whilst visiting a piano store or shopping centre? You think to yourself ‘that’s beautiful, I’d love to play piano like that’. You move closer to the sound, and as you’re in eyeshot of the piano, you discover the person playing is about ten years old.

Suddenly you feel deflated, ’I could never play like that, I’d be starting too late!’.

I have good news for you: you are NEVER too old to begin learning the piano. Having the drive and passion to learn something new as an adult is not to be underestimated, and it isn’t uncommon for adults to progress well through piano lessons for that reason.

Pianote offers some really useful information for learning the piano, and is a must watch for anyone considering getting started.

This teacher jumps right in with a musical, melodic phrase that you – the student – will be able to play by the end of the lesson. If you have a keyboard at home already, why not give it a go!

She also shares some great tips for learning the piano as an adult, the first being: ’know what you want to play, and be really clear on that’. This is excellent advice. There are a lot of teachers out there that teach a lot of different styles – be sure to be learning from the one who suits you and your goals.

Let’s take a look at this video where teacher Cory Hall is teaching his 66 year old beginner student Christine.  This video is jam-packed with information, so I’m going summarise the most important points.  

You’ll see early on that Cory is correcting the way the Christine is positioning her fingers. Starting with the correct technique in this way is exactly why it’s best to get a teacher from the get go. It’s always harder to correct bad habits and incorrect technique than it is to learn the correct from the beginning!

The student is learning basic scale patterns and note reading right away – this is the best way to learn the keyboard because you are gaining a solid foundation on which to grow your skills and understanding of music. Through these piano exercises, she is also developing her finger muscles and dexterity.

Cory likens learning the piano notes to learning a new language, where in both cases, the goal is to naturally do so without thinking about it.

As you can see from both videos, the approach is not overwhelming.  

Learning the piano is a lifelong journey – even as a professional musician, there is always more to learn, and different styles to explore, but as a beginner you will be surprised at how quickly you will be able to play a few tunes.

There is no better feeling than learning a beautiful piece of music that you are able to play forever, so we hope you enjoy your lessons, and we look forward to finding you the perfect instrument to practice on at home – and maybe even perform on!

For piano recommendations to suit your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our friendly live chat specialists, call us on 1300 888 279, or visit your nearest store.

Please note: this post is not sponsored.

Five Australian Pianists You Need In Your Life.

Looking for some inspiration to kick off your evening practice sessions? Look no further. We’ve picked five incredible Australian pianists who have done, and are continuing to do, amazing things in their music careers.

1. Van-Anh Nguyen

Van-Anh Nguyen is an Australian-Vietnamese pianist, producer, and composer currently signed to Universal Music/Decca Records.

With 7 album releases under her belt, she has hit #1 on the Australian iTunes classical charts three years in a row.

She was awarded her AmusA at age 9, and her LmusA at age 12, has won several awards throughout her piano studies such as the Kawai Piano Award (Australia), and the Audience Prize in the 13th Sommerklavierfest, Bad-Bertrich (Germany), and performed internationally at major concert halls.

Incorporating music, fashion and DJ’s to her concerts, Van-anh is also active on Instagram where she posts her new music, practice, and behind the scenes, with a bit of food and wine. Follow her here: https://www.instagram.com/vananhofficial/

2. Hoang Pham

Hoang Pham is a concert pianist who was born in Vietnam and came to Australia as a baby with his parents. He describes playing the piano, not only as his job, but his greatest hobby. He often performs as a soloist, sometimes with other musicians, and on special occasions with orchestras.

As much of the world is in lockdown, his production company ‘Hoang Pham Productions’, is presenting high quality performances, viewable for free on youtube, or facebook. Take a look! https://www.facebook.com/hoangphampiano/

Hoang Pham also teaches the piano to all ages and levels of experience. More information can be found here on his website: https://hoangpham.com.au/teaching/

3. Mekhla Kumar

Mekhla Kumar is an prize winning Australian concert pianist from Adelaide. After studying at Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium of Music, she completed her post graduate studies at the Freiburg University of Music in Germany where she was awarded 100% for her final examinations – a rare and impressive feat.

Mekhla Kumar has also been the recipient of multiple scholarships, has performed as a soloist with the Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, and has collaborated with Grammy nominated bassoon virtuoso, Martin Kuuskman.

4. Julian Cochran

Julian Cochran is an English born, Australian composer and pianist. Interestingly, he was also trained as a mathematician.

At fourteen years old, he received a scholarship to the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide for advanced piano studies. He also began teaching himself to play other instruments – some virtuosically. 

Jeffrey Williams of the New York Concert Review pointed out that when one hears ‘mathematician’ and ‘composer’ in the same sentence, it’s not unreasonable to anticipate a music style with a mathematical base, however it is not the case with Julian Cochran, who stylistically, can be compared to romantic composers such as Chopin, and Debussy. 

His music continues to be performed globally at some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. The Cochran Piano Competition began in 2014 and is usually held annual in Warsaw, Poland, however, as all piano competitions are cancelled due to covid, the fifth edition will be held online, with participants able to send in their audition videos.

For more information, visit:

https://www.cochranpianocompetition.com/about

5. Simon Tedeschi

Simon is one of Australia’s most renowned pianists, performing as a soloist with the counties leading orchestras, and internationally with various jazz and classical collaborators. In 2009 he performed at Carnegie Hall and was the recipient of the ‘New York Young Jewish Pianist Award’. By then, he was no stranger to the stage, he first performed at the Sydney Opera House at the age of 8!

He is currently performing across Australia as part of various collaborations, including Echo’s Of The Jazz Age, The Genius Of Gershwin, and Rhapsody in Blue with the Clarence Valley Orchestra.

Alongside a symphony orchestra, Simon also has a concert series especially for kids and their families. The self-described pianist and prankster takes his audience on a journey, sharing his experiences as a classical pianist.

He also performs a concert designed for little ones aged 2-5 titled ‘Meeting Mozart’. Take a look here!

For more information including current concert dates, visit his website: https://simontedeschi.com

8 Reasons to learn to play the piano.

  1. It will reduce your stress

There is nothing better after a long day, than unwinding with your piano and a piece of music that you love. A study conducted by K. Toyoshima, H. Fukui, and K. Kuda at the Nara University of Education compared playing the piano, calligraphy, and clay moulding. Their finding was that cortisol levels were reduced after all three activities, but piano playing had the greatest effect.

  1. Improve Your Confidence

Whether you are preparing for exams, performances, or just playing for leisure, there are so many ways that learning the piano grows confidence. You will be developing a new skill and discovering new capabilities within yourself even by simply practicing at home.

  1. Learning how to read music opens you up to a whole new language

Reading music notation for the first time is easier than you think. Once you delve deeper into sheet music, you will be learning more about how composers wrote music, and how they wish the piece to be performed. If you’re studying classical music, you’ll even be learning a bit of German, Italian, and French.

  1. Improves Coordination

Playing different notes, chords, and rhythms at the same time with both hands naturally improves coordination. Don’t be daunted by this prospect! By starting with the basics you will develop a strong foundation where combining two hands feels effortless.

  1. It teaches discipline, concentration, and determination

There is a technical side to playing the piano that is equal parts challenging and equal parts satisfying. For example, you may spend ‘X’ amount of time working on a scale or exercise, and then find you are able to tackle a difficult musical passage with greater ease. It’s a great feeling!

  1. It is easy to play songs right away

Unlike wind and string instruments where it takes time to produce a pleasing sound, you will be able to play basic music in your first moments of learning the piano.

  1. It can develop into a lifelong passion

Learning the piano should be enjoyable, relaxing, challenging and fun. As a hobbyist, whether you practice every day or go a stretch of time without learning, music is something that will always stay with you. Whether you are travelling and find an old piano, or you’re at a party where there is a piano, you’ll always be able to jump on and play some tunes!

  1. It’s fun

It is enjoyable to learn the music that you love and to be able to express yourself freely through music. Feel free to chat with one of our friendly piano specialists about how you can get started on your journey with piano.

The Australian Piano Warehouse difference

Every new Yamaha piano is carefully and professionally prepared for each customer by a Yamaha approved qualified technician. These specialist piano tuners have passed all the necessary training and have many years’ experience in the correct preparation of a new Yamaha piano. Often, they have travelled to the factory in Japan for their final training and tests.

before the new piano can receive its final tuning the technician meticulously will tap down all the strings onto the bridge to settle and bed them.  The result is a more stable first tuning and increased permanence for each tuning thereafter. You can see in the photo our tuner using the custom tool made of brass so the string can’t be damaged in the process.

Amazingly, there are 24 check points in the preparation of a new Yamaha before it can be delivered to its new home, this can take many hours to complete.  With guaranteed confidence your new Yamaha piano will arrive to the home ready for players to start enjoying it straight away. After a period of approximately 6-8 weeks the professional technician will visit your home and give the instrument a second tuning, meet the new owners and establish an on-going relationship for annual tunings. This is the final stage of the installation process ensuring a beautiful sounding and performing instrument for years to come.

We invite you to our Milton showroom to see and hear the difference in a professionally prepared Yamaha acoustic piano.

Beware of second rate imitators!

Some of our customers have recently told us they’ve been a bit confused and even felt misled by another retailer using a similar name and brand to ours in NSW.

At Australian Piano Warehouse we always welcome healthy competition. We pride ourselves on offering the best value in Australia with warehouse direct prices, and if retailers competing against each other results in an even better deal for you the customer, we’re happy to compete with the best of them. In fact, we’ve based our entire business on doing just that, offering a bigger range, better advice, and lower prices than anyone in Australia with our innovative ‘direct to you’ warehouse business.

It’s how we’ve become Australia’s biggest and best piano retailer with so many happy customers. But it’s also worth noting, we’ve been in the musical instrument industry since 1962, and remain a family owned business doing our very best for each and every customer. Including being honest.

Opening a store with an almost identical name in an almost identical location has the potential to mislead customers, and goes against everything we aim to do at Australian Piano Warehouse. It’s not something we’d do ourselves, and it’s not something we want happening to our customers.

For the record, we remain the only authorised Yamaha Piano Retailer in Willoughby, have more than fifty years of experience in the musical instrument business, and carry the full range of Yamaha pianos, including everything from beginner uprights right through to premium hand made grand pianos.

By all means shop around, but if you want the range, service and value that’s made us Australia’s Number One Piano Retailer and don’t want to be misled, make sure you choose the name you can trust: the Australian Piano Warehouse.