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Bad Instruments
#1220351 06/21/09 12:47 AM
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How many of you all deal with this?

Usually I'm very good about inquiring what kind of instrument my students have. However, apparently one slipped by me.
His parents called with questions about purchasing a new piano and after 4 months of lessons is when I first learned that many of the keys on his piano do not produce sound. He finally admitted that that's why he's so surprised sometimes during lessons. He's never really heard the pieces before!

They have a new piano now and he is enjoying piano much more...


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Re: Bad Instruments
MrsCamels #1220404 06/21/09 06:40 AM
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Students' home practice instrument are/have been a sore subject here. "We want to wait until we find out if junior has any (insert appropriate word: talent/interest/other) before we invest in an expensive instrument." It never occurs to these types that lack of a decent instrument will prevent (insert appropriate word: talent/interest/other).


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
Re: Bad Instruments
John v.d.Brook #1220407 06/21/09 07:06 AM
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And yet those same families will spend thousands of dollars on expensive vacations (which, unlike a good instrument, cannot be justified as an investment)! In my experience, it's the more affluent families who are the most reluctant to provide a good piano for young students. Middle-income parents will try to scrape together money for a decent (new or used) instrument (grandparents often help with this)--they seem to appreciate the correlation between success in music and success in school. Privileged kids mostly concern themselves with their tennis or golf lessons, and their social life. At least that's been my experience!


Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir
Re: Bad Instruments
lalakeys #1220409 06/21/09 07:21 AM
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This is an area where I believe teachers and piano dealers really miss the boat. We ought to be working together somehow to educate parents or at least to help them get a glimmer that without a decent instrument, students are not going very far. But it always comes across as self-serving. The stories I could tell.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
Re: Bad Instruments
John v.d.Brook #1220413 06/21/09 07:47 AM
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"learned that many of the keys on his piano do not produce sound."

That is truely damnedable. Demand work of a child that has no hope of producing results.

James

Re: Bad Instruments
Chromatickeys #1220469 06/21/09 11:08 AM
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That's why I check out my student's instruments before accepting them, though often I end up helping them pick out an instrument.

Meri


Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com
Re: Bad Instruments
MrsCamels #1220733 06/21/09 08:28 PM
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Unfortunately, this happens. I always ask parents what type of piano they have during our initial phone conversation, before lessons begin. Then I ask if it is maintained. I then recommend my tech and give them his biz card at the first lesson. And then, I bug them till they get him out to tune. This is just too important to me. The student will say, "the pedals on my piano don't work". So I tell the parents we will be skipping pieces with pedal, till they can get the instrument in order. The student will say, "the middle C on my piano is stuck", so I bug the parents again.


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Re: Bad Instruments
Barb860 #1220948 06/22/09 11:14 AM
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The hardest thing for me to do is to turn down a student because they don't have a decent instrument at home. I've started students on keyboards with promises to get a piano after 6 months, but it doesn't happen a lot of times and then it's just plain frusturating.


~Stanny~

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Re: Bad Instruments
Stanny #1220969 06/22/09 11:46 AM
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Same here, Stanny, although I talk to them about getting a piano right from the start. Usually I'm able to catch them before they spend any money on a keyboard though. For a little bit more you can get a digital piano which would at least last them through intermediate level playing.


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Re: Bad Instruments
Morodiene #1220991 06/22/09 12:32 PM
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In my opinion there is just no excuse for not getting a decent instrument. Digital pianos have come down in price and you can always rent a piano pretty reasonably too. Students with the "starter keyboard" have always become situations littered with complications.



M. Katchur
Re: Bad Instruments
trillingadventurer #1221063 06/22/09 02:05 PM
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There is no place to rent a piano in my town, but you find pianos all the time on craigslist, and our local tuner sometimes buys up old pianos and fixes them up and sells them for about $800. It's a great deal for a starter piano.


~Stanny~

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Re: Bad Instruments
Stanny #1221503 06/23/09 11:15 AM
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Hope it's ok for me to comment on this with my own experience as an adult student. Sometimes pianos are inherited and these pianos can seem great when you first get them but then that can change once you really start using them daily. I inherited a Chickering console piano just before I started taking piano lessons last year. Didn't know much about pianos, especially how to evaluate the action. Within the first few months of lessons, I realized that it paled in comparison to other pianos I played. A couple of sticky keys, notes that sometimes don't play, etc., even after some work.

So guilt set in that I wanted to replace a family owned piano but I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a Baldwin Hamilton and am thrilled with it. My mother is taking the Chickering and she doesn't play but it will look nice in her living room. Things worked out for us but I wonder how many people end up investing a lot of money trying to keep a family piano going.


"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!" J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997.

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Re: Bad Instruments
MrsCamels #1221623 06/23/09 02:36 PM
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I own an acoustic upright, but it's a very average piano.

However, i'm glad that i can at least have an acoustic piano in those hard times. smile


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