Tickling the Keys: High School Music School


Placing your hands on 88 black and white keys as a musician can be a very satisfying way to spend your time. The piano is one of the most fundamental musical instruments in the realm of music. It can be played and revered as a soloist or combined with a band of friends and musicians to create a mood or atmosphere. The piano is a key instrument (pun intended) for a musician to develop skills that will last a lifetime.


The piano is centuries old (invented in the 1700s). When a young musician is learning the piano it is critical that they learn how to play on a piano or keyboard with weighted keys. Weighted keys mimic the feel of a traditional piano. When a musician learns how to play on a keyboard without weighted keys, there may be issues in the transition in being able to have the appropriate muscle memory in the fingers to be able to make the same notes in the same timing later. (I have seen young musicians that learned on unweighted keys crumble under the pressure of trying to play a traditional grand piano.)


Professional pianists have an average salary of $85,000 annually. They are expected to be able to play all types of music (classical to hip hop) and be able to perform both on a stage and in a studio. They will generally slip between a traditional piano and a synthesized keyboard to create music dependent on the needs of the one contracting them. In general, there is a lot of travel involved in their job and they will play in a variety of venues from rehearsal halls to the stage to the recording studio.


The piano is a great "gateway" instrument. Young musicians largely use piano as a way to master music theory. Every singer and musician can improve their candidacy in a job by mastering the piano. At Encore High School in Southern California, musicians generally master four instruments by the time they graduate in the music conservatory.


As a pianist at Encore, musicians have the opportunity to build their solo skills in classes taught by Dr. Choi, a master pianist from USC. Musicians get to use their piano skills in a variety of ways dependent on their engagement at school. There are multiple bands from Symphonic winds to Commercial touring ensembles that always need a great pianist. They can even tour with the circus! Pianists are taught a variety of music styles and are also taught how to compose music so they can showcase their own work in the semiannual songwriter's showcases. Graduates from Encore's piano program have secured scholarships at universities all over the country including Redlands University and Chapman University.


The piano is a versatile instrument and so are the great musicians that play it.


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Petey the Pirate is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's Arts program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Transportation is available through the Inland Empire (15 and 215 freeway) and the high desert. www.encorehighschool.com. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredtied. Copyright 2020.

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Encore High School

16955 Lemon Street

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