Lorraine Liyanage reviews The Grand Hybrid Competition at the Dulwich Music Festival

The Dulwich Music Festival runs several events throughout the year for piano at various London venues. The festival was established in 2012 by South London-based musician Lorraine Liyanage to address the need for local music events in the vibrant community of South London. 

The Festival is always an exciting time for Casio. This year however, the Festival was even more stimulating than usual: Casio teamed up with Dulwich Music Festival for the first digital piano competition for amateur pianists of all ages.

We had nearly 60 performers participating in a free piano competition on Sunday 11 June 2018 at Kingsdale Foundation School in South London. Find out more about the event below, in the word of Lorraine Liyanage

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This is the third year the festival has been sponsored by Casio but the first time we have offered a competitive music platform solely on digital pianos.

We believe this is the first-ever digital piano competition held in the UK (and maybe further afield!). The competition was adjudicated by Claire HarrisNikolas SiderisBen Norburyand Alison Mathews.

Casio have gone one step further than recreating the sound of a grand piano and that is making the digital piano  feel like a grand piano. They have incorporated C. Bechstein’s traditional wooden keys into the Grand Hybrid and it has also brought in a natural grand hammer action to enhance response and feedback, which in turn should enhance the expressiveness of playing. The Grand Hybrid feels satisfyingly weighty under the keys and I have not played another digital piano that actually feels like an acoustic piano.

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We had nearly 60 performers participating in a free piano competition on Sunday 11 June 2018 at Kingsdale Foundation School in South London.

Wiktoria Cwik, student of the Womack-Banning Piano Academy in Bedford performed in the piano competition and has decided to order a Casio Grand Hybrid digital piano as she embarks upon a music career once she leaves secondary school:

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Wiktoria says: “My teacher, Lorraine Womack, is a Casio Grand Hybrid Ambassador and suggested that I should upgrade my digital piano to a Casio Grand Hybrid Piano now that I am studying towards my Grade 7 exam. As I am looking to pursue my musical studies at university once I leave school, this instrument ticks all the boxes for me! I was delighted to have the opportunity to perform in the Casio Grand Hybrid Piano Competition at Kingsdale School as well as speak to Casio expert Andy Brown who gave us all the information to satisfy us that this is the right piano for us to purchase. We are ordering the piano this week and as I know it will greatly improve my playing to have such a beautiful instrument. I will be taking this instrument to University with me so it will accompany me on the next stage of my exciting musical journey.”

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Many of my piano teacher colleagues are members of the new Casio Grand Hybrid Ambassador scheme info.casio.co.uk/pianoteachernetwork This allows us the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of the instruments and make recommendations to our students that are seeking a high-quality digital piano for use at home. One of my favourite features of the instrument which makes it ideal for learners is the Record and Playback function of the piano. I always encourage my students to record their performances and listen back to them to critique and review their technique and interpretation. The playback function lets you pause, fast-forward, rewind and A-B segment your performance during playback. This is a fantastic feature that lets you improve your playing skills by reviewing your own performance objectively afterwards.

I also love the Concert Play function that improves students’ listening skills by playing along with live orchestra audio. Very few pianists will have the option to play with a live orchestra but with the Grand Hybrid piano, it is entirely possible to bring the orchestra to you and for you to become the soloist! Listen to the Concert Play sample tracks online. You can also choose which acoustic setting you want your performance to take place in – cathedral, opera house or concert hall. The choice is yours!

We interviewed Roberta Wolff, pianist, piano teacher, adjudicator and owner of Music, Me, Piano about her thoughts on her Grand Hybrid Piano:

 

For more information about the Casio CELVIANO Grand Hybrid pianos, please email me. You can play the pianos at Musicroom in Denmark Street, WC2, open 7 days a week.

View the Casio digital piano range online:

GP-400 Celviano
GP-500 Celviano

" I love my Casio hybrid piano. It has enhanced both my piano teaching and personal music making opportunities.

The touch is authentic and the sound quality is great. Many pianists who visit comment on the quality of sound.

I enjoy having two pianos for teaching. With younger students the duet mode works well when playing in unison along side the student. This helps develop listening skills and rhythmic playing in a very intuitive way.

For older students it is comfortable to teach from one piano whilst the student uses the other. We also play together during the learning stages of a piece which is a very instinctive way to refine skills such as rubato, tone and shaping.

The various features like hall simulator, listener position, light to heavy touch options and different piano sounds are very useful, especially in the run up to a performance. I set the piano up differently each week and the student has to play on it and respond and alter touch in real time to create a balanced performance.  A particularly fun and informative setting is harpsichord with no touch response (this sounds terribly unmusical, I know) but I use this when a student is underplaying the bass lines, particularly in Bach. There is a light bulb moment when they suddenly hear balance between their own hands.

I use this piano along side my Steinway model O when playing two piano repertoire. It does a good job of holding its own against my grand. Sight reading concertos with the orchestral backing is a very rewarding way of improving this skill. There are also a range of other instrument voices to select which add colour and depth when we play in groups.

The record function is ever useful and just last week I recorded a set of backing tracks for a singer who needed a specific key.

The Casio hybrid is great value for money. It is easy to use and I wouldn’t be without it now.

Roberta Wolff

www.musicmepiano.co.uk –

Highly acclaimed practice resources for students of all ages and stages. Instant download available as well as many freebies.

www.robertawolff.co.uk –
Please check out my website for further details on what I offer in addition to piano lessons."

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For more information about the Casio CELVIANO Grand Hybrid pianos, please email me. You can play the pianos at Musicroom in Denmark Street, WC2, open 7 days a week.

View the Casio digital piano range online:

GP-400 Celviano
GP-500 Celviano