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Bad Instruments #1220351
06/21/09 12:47 AM
06/21/09 12:47 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 178
Los Angeles
MrsCamels Offline OP
Full Member
MrsCamels  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 178
Los Angeles
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...


Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008
www.ecsorota.com
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Re: Bad Instruments [Re: MrsCamels] #1220404
06/21/09 06:40 AM
06/21/09 06:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member
John v.d.Brook  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
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 [Re: John v.d.Brook] #1220407
06/21/09 07:06 AM
06/21/09 07:06 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 286
Chicago 'burbs
lalakeys Offline
Full Member
lalakeys  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 286
Chicago 'burbs
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 [Re: lalakeys] #1220409
06/21/09 07:21 AM
06/21/09 07:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member
John v.d.Brook  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
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 [Re: John v.d.Brook] #1220413
06/21/09 07:47 AM
06/21/09 07:47 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 108
Georgia USA
C
Chromatickeys Offline
Full Member
Chromatickeys  Offline
Full Member
C

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 108
Georgia USA
"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 [Re: Chromatickeys] #1220469
06/21/09 11:08 AM
06/21/09 11:08 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 431
Toronto, Canada
M
musiclady Offline
Full Member
musiclady  Offline
Full Member
M

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 431
Toronto, Canada
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 [Re: MrsCamels] #1220733
06/21/09 08:28 PM
06/21/09 08:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,654
northern California
B
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Barb860  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,654
northern California
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.


Piano Teacher
Re: Bad Instruments [Re: Barb860] #1220948
06/22/09 11:14 AM
06/22/09 11:14 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,461
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Stanny  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,461
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~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA
Re: Bad Instruments [Re: Stanny] #1220969
06/22/09 11:46 AM
06/22/09 11:46 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,026
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,026
Boynton Beach, FL
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.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Bad Instruments [Re: Morodiene] #1220991
06/22/09 12:32 PM
06/22/09 12:32 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 304
San Diego
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member
trillingadventurer  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 304
San Diego
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 [Re: trillingadventurer] #1221063
06/22/09 02:05 PM
06/22/09 02:05 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,461
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Stanny  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,461
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~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA
Re: Bad Instruments [Re: Stanny] #1221503
06/23/09 11:15 AM
06/23/09 11:15 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 298
New Hampshire
foxyw Offline
Full Member
foxyw  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 298
New Hampshire
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.

[Linked Image]
Re: Bad Instruments [Re: MrsCamels] #1221623
06/23/09 02:36 PM
06/23/09 02:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 888
Somewhere in Europe
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member
GreenRain  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 888
Somewhere in Europe
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


Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

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