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Encore Piano Recital | 8 Tips for Your Piano Performance

The countdown to our Saturday June 8, 2019 Encore Piano Recital begins – just one day away! We are very excited about the new and larger venue, as well as having videographer on-site to capture all the special moments. I know many of you will be rehearsing today and tomorrow in preparation for the big day. Here are some helpful reminders and tips from class to keep in mind, for your piano performance tomorrow! 1. LOOK THE PART of a performing pianist. Walk confidently to the piano. Sit up straight on the bench and place your hands on the keys with the best handform possible – focus on having the poise of a performer. Avoid wearing runners, sportswear or jeans. Dress in your best – wear your newest or favourite dress; add a bowtie to your ensemble to spice up your outfit. 2. ADJUST THE BENCH if needed once you approach the piano – the person that performed before you may be taller or shorter than yourself! If you are using the pedal, check with your foot to see if you are sitting at a comfortable distance to reach the pedals. 3. TAKE A MOMENT OF SILENCE before you play each piece and after the performance. Count “5 mississipi’s” with your hands on your lap. This gives you a chance to prepare for each piece in your mind before performance. What are some of the tips your teacher gave you during your last lesson? Are there any special practice spots or things to look out for and remember? 4. When you place your hands on the piano after the... read more

Encore Piano Studios’ ALL STAR LINE-UP OF AWARD WINNERS | 2019 North York Music Festival

We couldn’t be more excited to announce and congratulate our all star line-up of 2019 North York Music Festival award winners from April and May 2019. EVERY STUDENT THAT PERFORMED IN THIS PIANO COMPETITION WON AN AWARD IN THEIR CATEGORY! This is record breaking: 7 students from Encore Piano Studios participated and brought home an astounding 10 awards!!! Every one of these performers gave it their 100% in preparation and in spirit, when it came to presenting their music. I could see it in all the lessons leading up to the presentation; seeing them give it their all and be immersed in the music was enough! What an AMAZING bonus it was that everyone brought back an award that commemorates their great efforts and this wonderful experience. Thank you to all the parents who were there to support the students in their preparation during class and practice, every step of the way – we couldn’t have done it without you! I’d like to share some comments from the adjudicators on the performances of our award winning students: “Very expressive, focused playing – bravo!” “Fine tempo – beautifully maintained… a balanced/poised performance. Well done!” “A fine robust style, rhythms were crisp and accurate… a lovely range of dynamics and articulation” “Lovely singing tone in right hand, well supported by the left” “Great work with the swing rhythm! I liked your addition of extra dynamics!… a very polished performance” “Very sensitive performance… phrase shaping well crafted, nice!   Encore Piano Studios’ 2019 North York Music Festival Piano Competition Award Winners ALINE SARMAZIAN 1st  Place Award — Piano Solo – Level 5,... read more

Encore Piano Studios | 2019 TORONTO KIWANIS MUSIC FESTIVAL Piano Competition Award Winners

I’m thrilled to share with everyone our Kiwanis Music Festival piano competition winners and participants from February 2019. For those that may not be familiar with the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, it is an annual musical showcase that was founded in 1944 and it’s first ever winner was the legendary musician Glenn Gould! The festival features over 500 areas of competition, including piano, choral, vocal bands, orchestras, ensembles, solo instruments and even speech arts and drama. There are over 3000 music festival entries each year and is one of – if not – the most competitive of all music festivals in the Greater Toronto Area. Kudos to the 5 students who prepared with dedication during piano lessons and practice. They performed at the most intense piano competition of the year. Congratulations to our Encore Piano Studios award recipients! TRAVIS QUIOC 2nd Place Award — Piano Solo – Level 3, Etudes  (“Etude in D Minor” – Carl Czerny and “In the Spirit” – Christopher Norton) 3rd Place Award — Piano Solo – Level 3, List B (“Sonatina in F Major, 4th Movement” – Theodore Lack) OWEN LOH 2nd Place Award — Piano Solo – Level 7, List C (“Peace Country Hoedown” – Christine Donkin) DEREK LOH 3rd  Place Award — Piano Solo – Level 7, List B (“Sonatina in D Major, 1st Movement” – Muzio Clementi) MAYA LOH First Class Honours — Piano Solo – Level 7, List B CARTER TSAU First Class Honours — Piano Solo – Level 2, List C Announcements and updates for the North York Music Festival (Spring 2019) coming very soon. Stay tuned for more exciting... read more

SPECIAL MENTION | Encore 2015 Piano Competition Winners & Participants

I would like to take a moment to mention and re-congratulate some of the students that were inspired to showcase their music at the 2015 Kiwanis Music Festival last year. It is not an easy feat — getting up to perform within a formal setting in front of an audience and a panel of judges. The dedication and diligence, that was displayed by each student during preparation for their piano competition, are undeniable, as well as their passion for music and desire to share what they’ve learned. Our 2016 piano competition winners and participants will be announced very soon. Best of luck to those that are preparing for their upcoming performances!   KIWANIS MUSIC FESTIVAL 2015 Arek Sarmazian 2nd Place Award — Piano Solo – Grade 1 – Studies/Etudes (“Relay Race” – Jon George) First Class Honours — Piano Solo – Grade 1 – List B Talar Sarmazian First Class Honours — Piano Solo – Grade 4 – List A Jada Carlton 1st Place Award — Piano Solo – Grade 4 – List A (“Minuet in G Major” – Christian Petzold) Curtis Cheng 2nd Place Award — Piano Solo – Grade 7 – List B (“Sonatina in C Major, 1st movement” – Muzio Clementi)     Competitors or not, Piano classes have consistently shown big rewards in life for those studying the art, so while not every student in our North York Piano Studio   is actively participating in competition we do suggest it be some all students experience at least once to get full experience of their efforts.   Thanks and again congrats to everyone who made the... read more

North York Piano|Performance & Becoming a Better Player

North York Piano Lessons How performance help make you a better piano player Piano performance provides an opportunity for students to showcase and share what they’ve learned. It can be a fun and truly rewarding experience, whether it’d be an informal performance in front of friends and family, a recital among fellow students or a formal presentation in front of an audience at a festival or competition.   The benefits are very fundamental to becoming a better piano player in many aspects, especially for young students. 1. MOTIVATION TO PRACTICE Piano performance motivates students to work towards a set goal. They learn what it means to complete the task of preparing a piece(s) from start to finish, and finessing it for a poised performance. Students are never as self-motivated as when preparing for a recital or presentation. They take ownership of their pieces and therefore become more focused, attentive to teachers instructions, and results-oriented.   2. PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE & MUSICAL EXPRESSION They learn what “making music” means: it’s not as simple as just playing through the notes from beginning to end. To be a performer is to be an entertainer — to artistically express and communicate the mood of your piece to the audience, through carefully selected tempo, rhythm, touch, and dynamic expression. What story are you telling with your piano playing?   3. SELF-ASSURANCE & CONFIDENCE The idea of getting up to play the piano in front of an audience can be intimidating for many students, especially those who have never done so before. Thorough preparation, diligent practice, and numerous performance rehearsals, even those in class or at... read more

Playing To Build the Mind | North York Piano Lessons

Piano study produces bigger and better functioning brains, a benefit to people of any age. Playing piano expands the mind-North york Piano Lessons A parent would be considered foolish if he or she said that they don’t want the best for their child. Of course you want your child to have every advantage possible. Piano lessons are one of those things that can help a child get a leg up. This might seem surprising to some. However, numerous studies have proven a connection between music and other factors. Lessons provide much more than just the ability to play piano. They influence many other aspects of a child’s life. What things can piano lessons help with? Here are just a few. What Piano Lessons Do for Children Taking piano lessons to children teaches patience. Taking piano lessons teaches discipline. Taking piano lessons inspires creativity. Learning piano promotes the habit of goal-mindedness. Piano studios provide a relaxing, yet structured environment. Taking piano lessons strengthens problem-solving ability. Taking piano lessons helps build confidence in children, especially as they progress in their skills. Playing piano has been linked to reducing stress. Playing piano helps increase fine motor skills. Taking piano lessons helps provide a love for a variety of music.     Why Lessons Are Important Some children are just naturally gifted when it comes to music. These exceptional few are just able to play and do it well. They still might have formal training, but their natural ability shines through mostly. However, this type of ability is present in only a small minority. Most children need lessons. Lessons are important because children... read more

Encore Piano Field Trip | Disney’s Fantasia – Live in Concert

What a unique experience it was for all who attended Encore Piano Studio’s annual field trip last month to Roy Thompson Hall for the special live performance of Disney’s beloved animated classic film Fantasia. What a fun way to have a piano lesson outside of the classroom! The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed a selection of magnificent repertoire from both the original Fantasia (1940) and Disney Fantasia 2000, while the scenes play on the big screen. There were so many memorable moments. Mickey Mouse dabbling in magic in Duka’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, mythical unicorns and winged horses accompanied by Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, the garden festivities of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, and much more! Here’s what the piano students had to say about the show – Elisha paid close attention to the instruments throughout the performance and really felt that the drums and the other percussion did an exceptional job on rhythm. Most students, like Curtis were extremely impressed by the work put in by the conductor and orchestra to synchronize the performance of the pieces in exact timing with the animation from the feature film, which was no easy feat! Ethan commented on how much he enjoyed the scenes with the flying whales as well Micky Mouse with the brooms and buckets. Some students have already started learning piano pieces that piqued their interest from the film in their first lesson after the trip! We are already looking forward to our 2016 excursion and the next stop on this musical journey!... read more

Five Steps to Good Posture | North York Piano Lessons

Playing piano comfortably, with the right posture, is necessary for your health, for your skill development and quality of playing, and for your image as an instrumental performer. Let’s talk about the key elements to attaining good piano posture.   1.  ADJUST YOUR PIANO BENCH The goal is to achieve “The Golden Middle” . The piano bench should not be too low or too high — forearms should lie at a level parallel to the keyboard with your elbows just slightly higher than the keys. Do not sit too far or too close — you’ll want to be able to reach the keyboard at a comfortable distance. Avoid leaning back too far or sitting so close that your elbows are pointing backwards.   2.  KEEP YOUR BACK STRAIGHT This will allow you to play well and develop your piano skills without affecting your health. Remember, playing piano is a performance art; it is important to play with poise, image, and grace — nobody likes to see a pianist who is slouching or looking uncomfortable.   3.  STABLE LEGS & FEET Keep the feet flat on the floor (if possible) and under the knee creating an angle, with your legs, just slightly larger than 90 degrees. The right foot may be slightly forward if you are right handed and vice versa. Do not cross legs or ankles, as that will diminish your stability while sitting on the bench. For young children, that are not tall enough to have their feet touch the floor, a foot stool placed near the bench will provide them with the stability they need.   4.  SHOULDERS, ARMS, WRISTS, & FINGERS Keep the shoulders down; they must never... read more

Correct Posture for Playing Piano | North York Piano Lessons

Why is it important to have the correct posture when playing piano? And what are the benefits from using proper arm and hand position? HEALTH. Maintaining proper posture helps prevent muscular strain and stress, that can damage our bodies, especially if accumulated after years of practicing piano with poor form. When using correct posture at the piano, you will be able to play comfortably for longer periods of time, without putting yourself at risk of repetitive strain injuries. SOUND PROJECTION & FLOW. Proper posture helps produce power and flow while playing piano. Good form will give way to freedom of movement in the upper body, allowing for the best dynamics and expression possible. CONTROL. It also allows us to play piano with more sensitivity, improving our ability to control the type of sounds we want to create, while providing our fingers with the flexibility to move with a wider range of motion and speed. There is a common misconception that we play piano with our fingers alone. The truth is, piano playing is a combination of finger, arm, torso, and body movement.  When used together in harmony, the body is balanced and free, allowing for secure technique as well as expressive and fluid playing. If the body is tense and unbalanced, not only will the playing suffer, but poor habits that cause discomfort can lead to bodily damage. Understanding good piano posture is necessary for all pianists to improve their playing and for preventing or curing injury. So what are the basic elements to achieving correct posture for playing piano? Stay tuned for our next article, which will reveal and explain FIVE STEPS TO... read more

North York Piano | Surviving Back-to-School

Start Strong with Piano Practice this School Year   It’s that time of the year again — the summer has passed in the blink of an eye, and it’s back to school already! Regardless of whether a student had kept up with practice during the summer break or been completely away from the piano while on vacation, everyone now faces a new routine. When your routine changes, it’s very easy for piano practice to get disrupted. For those that have been away, getting back to practicing regularly could be a challenge at the beginning, especially with a new schedule in the mix. Here are some tips to help smooth the transition to bouncing back in your piano practice, stress-free. 1. Select the best time for piano practice. Set aside the same time each day for piano so that it is integrated into your daily routine. Some prefer first thing in the morning, while for others, after school is the best time. The worst time to play piano is late at night or right before bedtime, when you are worn out from the day’s activities, and your energy level and ability to focus is at it’s lowest. Decide what’s best for you and implement it from the first day of school. 2. Alternate piano practice and homework time. Piano is usually practiced within a relatively fixed length of time, therefore playing piano BEFORE homework may often be the best option, when possible. Or you can also take turns between piano practice with homework. For example 2 songs on the piano, 15 minutes of math, 1-2 songs + scales on the piano, 20 minutes of reading, etc…... read more

North York Piano lessons | The Best Age for Kids Piano Lessons

  When should my child begin piano lessons?   With back to school just around the corner, this is a time that many parents consider and look into kick-starting a musical education for their child. “At what age can my child begin piano lessons?” – this is one of the most common questions that I get from parents. There are no set rules, but there are pointers and signs to help determine when your child is ready.   1. Your child should be tuned into music from early on. Whether you wish to foster a musical genius or simply want to nurture a love of music in your child, it is important to take the first step of exposing yourself and your child to lots of classical, jazz and other types of instrumentally engaging music. It can be as easy as tuning into a radio station during your daily activities or spending downtime watching youtube performances.   An appreciation of music will help build and maintain your child’s interest. Rhythmic patterns, harmonics, and melodic ideas will be established in your child’s musical ear, making the transition to piano lessons an easier process.   2.To start piano lessons, your child should be able to recognize numbers 1-5 (for finger numbers) and alphabets A through G (for letter names of the keys), which are all required of a beginner. It will certainly help if they are able to distinguish the difference between left and right hand. However, there’s no need to worry if the knowledge is not perfect, as many beginner books will spend a good amount of time reinforcing these... read more

Encore Piano Studios | Wrap up of the 2014 Piano Recital

Kudos to all of the fantastic performers this past Saturday, June 14th at Encore Piano Studios’ 2014 Annual Recital! A big thumbs up for the hard work and dedication of these young pianists during their piano lessons and months of practice, to have so wonderfully prepared their pieces to share with us. Of course it goes with out saying the entire event couldn’t have been possible without the much appreciated support from the families and and friends in attendance in attendance every year. The art of piano is something that benefits those practicing it in many ways, this recital primarily highlighted the encore music studios kids piano classes members & really showed what dedication and commitment to a goal can achieve. Through study, determination and focus during all the piano lessons leading up to the event both parents and myself have had the pleasure of seeing the performers rise to the occasion resulting in yet another very successful event for encore piano studios and all of our members. Finally, a warm thank-you to the Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church for so graciously hosting our event and allowing us to share music here in their North York venue. Stay tuned for the upcoming showcase of select feature video performances from the 2014 north york piano recital – coming... read more

North York Piano Lessons | The Benefits of Music Education

Music and piano study prove to be instrumental for youth development. The latest research in neuroscience is showing that music and piano education is a powerful tool for attaining children’s full intellectual, social, and creative potential. Through the study of the musical arts, we often see that learning to play an instrument pays off in several very recognizable ways. 1. Learning to read music advances the development of speech and reading skills. 2. Children that take piano lessons show an increased attention span, that can be maintained for sustained periods of time. 3. Learning piano helps children develop creativity and gain a sense of empathy for others. 4. Piano lessons build crucial tools for professional life skills like discipline and time management. 5. Playing the piano develops the multi-tasking portion of the brain. It is easy to see that musically trained children are better able to distinguish subtle details of speech, leading to improved reading, better comprehension, and also greater ability to interpret the meaning of what others are truly saying. The cross-over effect of the benefits doesn’t stop there, whether it be a relaxing piano session or rigorous preparation for an RCM examination, we take pride in knowing that North York piano lessons at Encore play a positive role in our students lives. To take the first step in helping your children reach their full musical potential, click here — to register for your complimentary piano lesson and student consultation at Encore Piano... read more

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123 Northwood Drive
North York, Ontario
(647) 222-1660
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