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#2024775 - 01/31/13 06:10 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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Norbert Offline
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Quote
Consider that Graves Piano (disclosure: I worked there), which was a HUGE dealership, closed in 2002. Sumwalt, which was the Kawai and M&H dealer, closed around the same time.


One hardly needs to be surprised.

A smaller market obviously doesn't need mega-size music outlets but smaller, dedicated dealers sincere in their efforts to get their customers the very best pianos for their money.

If this means avoiding or shedding certain brands over some others, so be it.

It's not an easy ride for sure but can be highly rewarding.

The problem is that few having been used to the "easy life" when times were good don't wish to work any harder than they were used to and when making money was easy.

Let alone taking some of the more established brands by the horns....

Although there's lots of opportunity in today's market to do so.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 01/31/13 07:06 PM.

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#2024955 - 02/01/13 12:41 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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I think there's no cause to worry about declining piano sales: these are highly cyclical.

I found canadian statistics of musical instrument stores; their revenues closely follow the state of the economy: http://www.ic.gc.ca/cis-sic/cis-sic.nsf/IDE/cis-sic45114rdpe.html

Some express concern that people are becoming lazy because of the possibility of instant gratification, but that has always been the case. It is part of human nature. There's only a small percentage of the population that can succeed at mastering an instument - and piano is certainly not the hardest: try learning violin, if you dare!

The argument on cultural grounds is also dubious. Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber are not responsible for common people being musically retarded; common people have always been that way. I remember that while in Paris in the 1770's, Mozart was complaining to his father of the exact same thing: people interested only in popular music, no demand for his compositions, etc.

As for the digital pianos, they have several advantages, and year after year, they emulate even more closely the real thing, at a cost that may be a bit less. Maybe the traditional piano is on its way out, but it does not mean that people will stop playing pianos.

Like it or not, playing piano is an elite thing. Higher rates of learning in Asian countries such as Korea (the highest in the world) and Chine have more to do with an obsession to get ahead socially, but in my experience, very few of Korean kids who are learning piano continue to do so in their adulthood.

Disclosure: I was a piano teacher to several Korean families. Many kids were under duress from their parents to learn piano and were receiving physical punishment if they did not practise enough. I can certify that no great talent emerged from that bunch.

#2024958 - 02/01/13 12:56 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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Norbert Offline
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Katai:

Interesting post! thumb

However, music including music-making was hardly ever a numbers game.

Time and time again genius and real talent in conjunction with personal dedication, have won out in the long run.

And at no time in history had musicians have had better or more affordable instruments at their avail.

So, how are we to really 'measure' things?

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 02/01/13 01:00 AM.

www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908
#2024966 - 02/01/13 01:06 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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It's traditional Asian method for parents to to force wills to their kids.
I'm sure Lang Lang took more physical punishment than any other kid. The idea behind it is kids lacks perseverance and it's the best time for parents to kick in and get them back on track.

I will still keep my argument about media exposure to classical music. I remember in high school when I lend my Chopin ballade&scherzo cd to friends who normally listen to hard rocks they all think it's amazing. Classical music is for everyone.



PLEYEL P124
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#2024985 - 02/01/13 01:50 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: Steven Y. A.]  
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Steven,

Experiences vary. I had to exert duress upon my parents for them to buy me a piano when I was 8. I had read in Robert Schumann biography that he threatened to commit suicide if he did not get a piano, and the same threat worked for me.

Your point about children easily giving up is generally true, though. However, it is not true for **all** children. Once I had my piano, nothing could unglue me from it, not even having to eat. I think I did not eat for two days when I first received it. And it was an old piece of junk, a Gaveau maybe 100 years old with broken keys. But it was heaven to me.

That said, there are other areas of my life that would have been improved if I had Asian parents. I really respect that kind of tough love, even if it is sometimes for base motives, such as climbing the social ladder.

And I could easily find examples contrary to what you say about Chopin's cd to friends: I remember sending a YouTube video to a dear friend of the beginning Matthaeus-Passion with Karl Richter and she said it was "boring".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf4UNJqv_-A

I was so angry at her that I stopped communicating with her. The most sublime music ever composed by any human being, and a truly inspired interpretation, "boring"! To this day I feel angry with that description.

Also, I find the reaction of most people when listening to opera **most annoying**, as if the experience was truly a pain to them. I remember showing the following delightful aria sung by a delightful soprano:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kvdf-fRNM8

to my cousins and I was horrified by how the music made them feel physically uncomfortable. I guess there is something about human voices in the treble range that some people cannot physically endure, no matter how beautiful they sound to the trained ear.

Mind you, in Montreal's subway, a few years back, they had a problem with bums squatting inside when in Winter. Some genius working for the city had the idea of blasting a viola da gamba music cd by Jordi Savall, and presto, the bums were out in no time - they apparently could not endure the cruel and unusual punishment of listening to Marin Marais' formal ordres. I found that episode clever but pretty depressing (using classical music as a repellent), but I've resigned myself over the years of the fact that not everyone can appreciate the good stuff.

Last edited by KataiYubi; 02/01/13 02:13 AM.
#2025576 - 02/01/13 09:30 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: KataiYubi]  
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Originally Posted by KataiYubi


I remember sending a YouTube video to a dear friend of the beginning Matthaeus-Passion with Karl Richter and she said it was "boring".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf4UNJqv_-A

I was so angry at her that I stopped communicating with her. The most sublime music ever composed by any human being, and a truly inspired interpretation, "boring"! To this day I feel angry with that description.



Mind you, in Montreal's subway, a few years back, they had a problem with bums squatting inside when in Winter. Some genius working for the city had the idea of blasting a viola da gamba music cd by Jordi Savall, and presto, the bums were out in no time - they apparently could not endure the cruel and unusual punishment of listening to Marin Marais' formal ordres. I found that episode clever but pretty depressing (using classical music as a repellent), but I've resigned myself over the years of the fact that not everyone can appreciate the good stuff.


I haven't heard that Karl Richter performance for a long time - it was the first recording of the St Matthew Passion I bought (on cassette tape, to use in my Walkman), and despite the fabulous singing, does sound rather slow now - especially since the likes of John Eliot Gardiner and other HIP recordings, who perform it with rhythmic buoyancy at a dance-like pace......(maybe your friend might have enjoyed HIPs better).

And classical music is frequently used in the UK to keep teenagers away from congregating around street corners, bus stops, malls etc. Even Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik is effective.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2025578 - 02/01/13 09:33 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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Well, that confirms the Fall of the British Empire!

I await bad Bluegrass at Proms.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2025606 - 02/01/13 10:23 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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i just find people who accept "rock" generally has a easier time to accept classical music compare to "pop" people.

there are pros and cons with asian method. but physical punishment is not an option for asian parents in north america:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn5jlrxcpkI




PLEYEL P124
#2025618 - 02/01/13 10:43 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty


I await bad Bluegrass at Proms.


Yo-Yo Ma has already brought his Silk Road Ensemble to the Proms, and on his next visit, will no doubt bring his Bluegrass friends (Edgar Meyer etc) for a Proms gig. But it will be elevated Bluegrass wink



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2025660 - 02/02/13 01:02 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: KataiYubi]  
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Originally Posted by KataiYubi
Mind you, in Montreal's subway, a few years back, they had a problem with bums squatting inside when in Winter. Some genius working for the city had the idea of blasting a viola da gamba music cd by Jordi Savall, and presto, the bums were out in no time - they apparently could not endure the cruel and unusual punishment of listening to Marin Marais' formal ordres.

If I remember correctly, a few decades ago, classical music was piped into New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal specifically to chase away the drug dealers, panhandlers and homeless (I don't think the term "homeless" existed back then).

New York is a different place these days, though the bus terminal is still not on the list of hot places to be seen.

#2025788 - 02/02/13 10:07 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: Steven Y. A.]  
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Originally Posted by Steven Y. A.
i just find people who accept "rock" generally has a easier time to accept classical music compare to "pop" people.

there are pros and cons with asian method. but physical punishment is not an option for asian parents in north america:)
According to my former Asian students physical punishment is still used by some.

#2025796 - 02/02/13 10:34 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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"...in Montreal's subway, a few years back, they had a problem with bums squatting inside when in Winter. Some genius working for the city had the idea of blasting a viola da gamba music cd by Jordi Savall, and presto, the bums were out in no time..."

I suppose the bums had never heard of earplugs.


Clef

#2025805 - 02/02/13 10:48 AM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
"...in Montreal's subway, a few years back, they had a problem with bums squatting inside when in Winter. Some genius working for the city had the idea of blasting a viola da gamba music cd by Jordi Savall, and presto, the bums were out in no time..."

I suppose the bums had never heard of earplugs.


I do actually believe that it's not so much the noisy, discordant, tuneless and objectionable music of Marais and other 'classical' composers that their finely-tuned and honed ears can't abide, but the very fact that they are in the same vicinity as such music, and perforce, might be mistakenly assumed by those not in the know that they actually like (shock! horror!!), and be associated with, such dastardly uncool stuff.

However, it could well be that Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps (especially the Sacrificial Dance) may be more suited to their profoundly profound musical sensibilities - as long as nobody tells them that it's actually a great work by a great 'classical composer'........ wink


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2026270 - 02/03/13 12:17 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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Let's face it, a piano is a big, expensive, complicated, complex, instrument and like any instrument takes many hours of study and practice a day to learn to play it well. Several piano dealers have gone out of business in recent years in my city and other music stores have either gone out of business or moved to different locations. The dealer who sold me my Yamaha seems to be holding his own. If he was only in the piano business for the $$, he and his partners sure "picked a hard row to hoe". I wish the three surviving piano dealers in town the best because people need a choice in brands, sound, action, and price. Although the variety can be confusing and frustrating to new piano shoppers as mentioned in another thread, I'm extremely thankful that there's so many different choices at so many price points. It makes it very difficult for dealers to provide buyers this variety and to prep and maintain all the pianos in the showroom, so I won't begrudge them their profit (too much). grin

Some really good news. The undergrad and graduate music program at our university is growing and all the piano classes are full. The students enrolled have very diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and tastes. Hopefully, in the near future, they'll be shopping for an acoustic for their home or studio.

OT: I'll spend a quiet hour or two playing and practicing to celebrate the one year anniversary of my piano's delivery. Even though many of the PW folks wouldn't even give my piano a second glance, I'm still thrilled playing it and really love it's sustain. I'm trying to improve my ability to finger-peddle and my Yamaha really makes my meager skills sound decent.


J & J
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#2026278 - 02/03/13 12:35 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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Originally Posted by J&J
Let's face it, a piano is a big, expensive, complicated, complex, instrument and like any instrument takes many hours of study and practice a day to learn to play it well.

Who says you have to learn to play it well… there is a lot of enjoyment in plinking a simple tune here and there or playing a little boogie-woogie. smile

I hope and pray that the piano industry will survive and the stores that have survived thus far will continue to survive. The glory days may well be over, but a lot of baby-boomers, like me, may become interested in learning to play the piano.

I was invited to perform special music at a local church in our community a few weeks ago. After the service, this elderly gentleman came up to me and complemented me very nicely on my piano playing. He said he had always wanted to learn to play the piano… I told him it was never too late. He said he was 90 years old and it was too late for him. I said it is never too late and offered to show him a few cords (Since that is about all I know). smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2026314 - 02/03/13 02:20 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: NFexec]  
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Rick,

It's that enjoyment that keeps me going. If I had to wait to enjoy playing until I sounded good, Satan would be ice-skating.

I'm really glad you had fun and shared your music with the members of your local church. Hymns and boogie-woogie would be cool.


J & J
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"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso
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#2026344 - 02/03/13 03:07 PM Re: Newspaper Article About Dwindling Piano Stores [Re: j&j]  
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Originally Posted by j&j
Rick,

It's that enjoyment that keeps me going. If I had to wait to enjoy playing until I sounded good.....



One thing about playing piano is that anyone can start playing, and sound reasonable within a very short time once they can play a few chords. Unlike someone learning to play the violin or cello, where it takes years (maybe months if very gifted) before they can play reliably in tune and not squawk.

I was skimming through a few old movies a few weeks ago (mostly British, from 1940-1960) and what caught my eye was how frequently there were scenes where people who met at a pub got together around the honky-tonk, and someone would sit down to bang out a popular tune of the time, and then possibly start singing too. And, especially in American movies from the same era, there was frequently a piano in the home scenes, not as redundant furniture, but being played by a family member.

If there are still such pianos in typical American homes (other than those of musicians and the rich), chances are that nobody plays them anymore (YouTube and iPods/downloads being preferred), and they are ancient cast-offs from previous generations, and just waiting to be disposed of. Just like those in the few pubs left in Britain which still have old honky-tonks, but with no-one able to play them.

Chatting to proprietors of some piano showrooms recently, they told me that more than half their current sales are to foreigners (Russians, East Europeans and Chinese who have moved here permanently, or temporarily on business contracts) rather than to home-grown British. The implication was that they were being kept afloat largely by immigrants.

I occasionally attend free lunchtime concerts hosted by a large London piano showroom where students from British music colleges (RCM, RAM, RNCM etc) play on a concert grand. This season, there are six concerts, but not a single one of the pianists are home-grown....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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