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The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

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Urbandale February 2017 Musican of the Month: Mitchell Logan
By West Music Company
3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM  
Mitchell Logan is a 4th grader within the West Des Moines School District. He has been a piano student at West Music studying under Janet Winship for 2 years. Along with the piano, Mitchell plays the recorder, as well as the viola in the West Des Moines beginning orchestra program.

Janet Winship believes Mitchell deserves recognition because “Mitchell is an active participant in class and highly motivated. He pays attention to the details and memorizes his music quickly and carefully. Time flies in class and always makes us wish we had more time to play piano.” Mitchell loves playing music because “It’s very satisfying to learn a new song and completely get it.” One of his musical goals is to become a better viola and recorder player.

While away from the piano bench, Mitchell participates in Taekwondo Team JETT and an awesome light saber club! Some of his other interests include playing with nerf guns, LEGOs, and traveling. Mitchell’s favorite musician is Lindsey Stirling who is known for her Dubstep violin original song “Crystallize”. One surprising fact we learned about Mitchell is that he had surgery on his stomach when he was a baby. Whoa!

Congrats, Mitchell!!

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Tags: Janet Winship, piano, student, lessons, west des moines, urbandale
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Dry Winter Equals Dry Pianos
By Nelda Witting
2/7/2017 8:32:00 AM  

Piano maintenance advice and tips by Nelda Wittig, West Music Piano Consultant.

Piano Care

You may have just made an investment in a piano or you have had one for years. Learn how to properly maintain your piano in the Midwest where temperatures dip and humidy is difficult to keep level. Since 85% of a piano is made of wood, it is important that your piano keeps a consistent humidity level between 40-50%. Just like a living tree that responds to the environment, the wood in your piano will respond to the ever changing environment in your home.

When the humidity inside your home drops below the ideal of 40-50% humidity, you may notice some changes in the piano—some minor; some costly.

Wooden action parts shrink when they become too dry, and they become loose and start to rattle and make noise.  This puts early wear on your action and repairs in your future!

Cracks may appear in the soundboard (the heart of a piano), or on the bridges, or in the pin block.  Any of these cracks can be a costly fix.

Pitch and tone will fluctuate with the dry environment. 

What’s the solution? A humidifier system can be installed in your upright or grand piano and will keep the soundboard area constant. We suggest installing a dual system which will remove excess moisture in the air and will also add moisture if needed. You may want to also purchase a hygrometer to keep in or nearby your piano to have a continuous readout of humidity. Your piano will thank you!

Our experts at West Music are available to install a humidifier system into almost any piano, or answer any you might have about the care of your instrument. Contact your local West Music store for more information.

Learn more about West Music's piano galleries and services: pianos.westmusic.com


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Categories: Pianos, Digital Pianos & Keyboards, West Music Piano Gallery, piano
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Urbandale January 2017 Musician of the Month: Morgan Sullivan
By West Music Company
1/2/2017 3:17:00 PM  
Morgan Sullivan has studied piano with teacher Emily Walter for 1 year. Morgan is a 4th grader within the Johnston community who loves learning new things every day and sets goals to play challenging songs on the piano.

Some of Morgan’s other artistic interests involve playing the recorder, dancing, singing, and writing. Her favorite musician is Taylor Swift and she loves listening to pop music. Morgan also participates in gymnastics and soccer. Fun facts about Morgan: She was born in Milwaukee and she is left-handed.

Emily Walter referred Morgan for Musician of the Month because “Morgan always comes to her piano lesson prepared and with a great attitude! She is a hard worker and is wonderful at taking risks to learn new songs.” Morgan’s advice to other musicians: “Be patient because you need to learn the easy songs before you play the harder songs.”

Good advice, Morgan! Congratulations!

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Tags: Emily Walter, piano, des moines, gallery, lesson
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Urbandale December 2016 Musician of the Month: Charlie LaCroix
By West Music Company
12/1/2016 8:32:00 AM  
Charlie LaCroix has been studying piano with Dr. Asia Grant for 2 ½ years. He is a 3rd grader in the West Des Moines community and he is preparing for his first recital in December. Along with playing piano, Charlie’s musical goals include playing percussion in the 5th grade band.

While away from the piano bench, Charlie can be found playing basketball, reading, and writing stories, as well as supporting his sister, Anna, who plays violin. Dr. Grant nominated Charlie for Musician of the Month as “he is exceptionally dedicated and a very quick learner.”

Congratulations, Charlie!

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Tags: piano, lessons, des moines, urbandale, piano gallery, Asia Grant
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Urbandale May 2016 Musicican of the Month: Kaylyn Jensen
By West Music Company
5/1/2016 8:05:00 AM  
Kaylyn is in 6th grade at Summit Middle School, she has studied piano with Janet Winship at the Des Moines Piano Gallery for two years. Janet says about Kaylyn: "Kaylyn has never missed a lesson. She treats each day of practice as an opportunity to become a better musician than she was the day before. Kaylyn has participated 5 times over the past year in recitals and piano festivals. She performs with a confidence and artistry that is delightful to her audience and inspiring to other piano players. Simply put - Kaylyn uses her head and always plays from the heart."

Kaylyn's goals are to play more advanced music as she gets older, like the original Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata. Her advice to other musicians is to challenge yourself with challenging pieces. She says she loves playing music because "it lets me be creative and discover new things about myself."

Kaylyn also plays the trombone, and is involved in soccer, basketball, softball, and track. She is involved in TSA (Technology Student Association) and enjoys gardening, cooking, skiing. reading, sports, science, and history. Her favorite music genres are classical and movie/game theme songs.

Some things you may be suprised to learn about Kaylyn is that she's skied in the Rocky Mountains and started her own vegetable garden.

Great job, Kaylyn! Keep up the good work!

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Tags: Janet Winship, piano gallery, urbandale, piano, lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Des Moines Piano Gallery April 2016 Musician of the Month: Eleanor Meek
By West Music Company
4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Eleanor Meek is a piano student at West Music Des Moines Piano Gallery. She has been taking lessons with Paige Pederson for 1 1/2 years!

Eleanor says her musical goal is "to play at my local church someday, and maybe learn the violin". Her advide to other musicians is "even if you think the instrument you are playing is hard, keep going. It will make more sense and you will love it more."

When asked what she loves about music, she says "I love the fact that if you love it so much and focus, you can make beautiful music."

Outside of music, Eleanor participates in dance and church group. Her interests include horses, animals and reading, and she dislikes broccoli! Her favorite artists are Crowder, Matthew West, and Shawn Mendes.  She also likes hip-hop and Christian music. It may suprise you to learn that  Eleanor is an only child.

Her teacher, Paige Pederson, says: "Eleanor is a joy to work with every week! She is always pushing herself to be a better musician and has even set a goal to finish the next level by the end of the summer!"

Great job, Eleanor! Keep up the good work!

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Tags: Paige Pederson, piano, lessons,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Urbandale March 2016 Teacher Feature: Asia Brutian-Grant
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Asia Brutian-Grant was born in Yerevan, Armenia to a musical family. Her father was professional cellist, and her grandmother was professional pianist and composer. Her father’s family included professional  musicians, artists, and sculptors. The Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Armenia was named after her great-grandfather.

Asia began her education at the P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children. Her musical training since first grade was heavily focused on technique, tone, articulation, the art of performance, theory, and music critique. After graduating with a Bachelors of Music degree she was accepted into the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory. She studied under Anahit Bogdanian, who was a pupil of the legendary Professor Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory. While in school, Asia performed numerous solos, with chamber ensembles, orchestras, and stood out for her musicality and a unique tone. She completed her Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy at the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory.

Dr. Grant continued teaching at Music Schools in Yerevan, and also at the Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Yerevan, Armenia. Asia is one of the most sought-after piano instructors. Under her tutelage students have won competitions, and were prepared to be accepted to Conservatory. Upon moving to USA, she was performing with solo and duo concerts. She was immediately in high demand to instruct Master Classes. She has been a resident of Sioux Falls, SD since 1994.

Dr. Grant has served as a President for Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association (SFAMTA), and is an active MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) member. Has volunteered with Solo Piano Concerts for the Good Samaritan, and Dow Rummel Villages, and has performed monthly solos at Lincoln Hills Bible Church.

In March 2012 Asia founded the annual Grant Piano Competition. Students from Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas are rewarded cash prizes. The goal of the Annual Grant Piano Competition is to give the young pianist an opportunity to sharpen their performing skills and reward them for their hard work.

Asia speaks fluent English, Armenian, Russian, and some Spanish.

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Tags: P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children, Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Anahit Bogdanian, Lev Naumov, Moscow Conservatory, Piano Pedagogy, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association, SFAMTA, MTN, Music Teachers National Association,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Urbandale March 2016 Musician of the Month: Mikayla Jensen
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Mikayla Jensen has been studying piano with Janet Winship for 2 years at the West Music Piano Gallery in Urbandale. She is in 5th grade and also plays the flute. Janet says "Mikayla does not shy away from the work that needs to be done to achieve a beautiful sound and welcomes music that challenges her abilities with a cheerful and hopeful attitude. She is a delight to teach."

Mikayla's other musical goals include learning to play the guitar. Her advice to other musicians is that music is something you can do at any age, so don't give up. Mikayla is involved in her school's band, plays in piano festivals, plays basketball, and swims. She also likes to sing, play video games, and draw. Mikayla's favorite styles of music are jazz, pop, and country.

It may suprise you to learn that Mikayla has traveled to Colorado and went body surfing in the Gulf of Mexico!

Congratulations, Mikayla! Great job!

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Tags: janet winship, piano gallery
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Urbandale August 2015 Teacher Feature: Asia Brutian-Grant
By West Music Company
8/1/2015 10:00:00 AM  
Asia Brutian-Grant was born in Yerevan, Armenia to a musical family. Her father was professional cellist, and her grandmother was professional pianist and composer. Her father’s family included professional  musicians, artists, and sculptors. The Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Armenia was named after her great-grandfather.

Asia began her education at the P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children. Her musical training since first grade was heavily focused on technique, tone, articulation, the art of performance, theory, and music critique. After graduating with a Bachelors of Music degree she was accepted into the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory. She studied under Anahit Bogdanian, who was a pupil of the legendary Professor Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory. While in school, Asia performed numerous solos, with chamber ensembles, orchestras, and stood out for her musicality and a unique tone. She completed her Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy at the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory.

Dr. Grant continued teaching at Music Schools in Yerevan, and also at the Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Yerevan, Armenia. Asia is one of the most sought-after piano instructors. Under her tutelage students have won competitions, and were prepared to be accepted to Conservatory. Upon moving to USA, she was performing with solo and duo concerts. She was immediately in high demand to instruct Master Classes. She has been a resident of Sioux Falls, SD since 1994.

Dr. Grant has served as a President for Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association (SFAMTA), and is an active MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) member. Has volunteered with Solo Piano Concerts for the Good Samaritan, and Dow Rummel Villages, and has performed monthly solos at Lincoln Hills Bible Church.

In March 2012 Asia founded the annual Grant Piano Competition. Students from Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas are rewarded cash prizes. The goal of the Annual Grant Piano Competition is to give the young pianist an opportunity to sharpen their performing skills and reward them for their hard work.

Asia speaks fluent English, Armenian, Russian, and some Spanish.



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Tags: P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children, Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Anahit Bogdanian, Lev Naumov, Moscow Conservatory, Piano Pedagogy, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association, SFAMTA, MTN, Music Teachers National Association,
Categories: West Music Piano Gallery, Music Education
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Urbandale July 2015 Musician of the Month: Jessica Seim
By West Music Company
7/1/2015 10:06:00 AM  
Jessica is in 5th grade at North Ridge Elementary. She has been a piano student of Janet Winship at the West Music Piano Gallery in Urbandale for nine months. Her musical goal is to join a band and maybe learn another instrument someday. Her advice to other musicians is to keep trying and if it doesn't sound right just keep practicing.

Jessica loves the feeling of playing music and how the tempo moves her.

Aside from music, Jessica participates in Curtain Call Kids and Karate. Her hobbies include acting, singing, and drawing. She says she dislikes that some kids get bullied just because they're different. Her favorite music is pop and jazz.

You might be suprised to learn that Jessica is actually from Nevada. When she was younger she would go to Disney Land a lot!

Congratulations, Jessica! Great job!

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Tags: jessica seim, north ridge elementary, janet winship, piano gallery
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery, Music Education
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