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#2048280 - 03/14/13 03:48 PM Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
Recently, a friend recommended this little gem to me; it's author, Ben Klinger, is actually an acquaintance who manages the Sherman-Clay store in Seattle and I do see him from time to time. I had no idea he had published this little book.

So why am I telling you about it? It's so frustrating trying to teach students with inadequate instruments. This little book, actually, booklet would be a more apt description, takes the exact opposite approach from the Piano Book, and rather than talking technical issues, looks at the piano from a musical and emotional standpoint, and it's role in satisfying human needs and those of an interactive community. My sense is that parents who read through this will be more apt to actually invest the time and money necessary to provide their student with a good instrument.

Ben spends a good deal of time talking about how to get the salesman to work for you in the selection process, moving them away from their self-interest only to a mutually beneficial relationship. That I like.

Anyway, after my friend mentioned the book to me, curiosity got the better of me and I ordered it from Amazon. Having read it, I now intend to purchase several more to lend to parents. You might wish to read it and see if you concur. And, BTW, Ben nowhere pushes one brand over another. In fact, brands are not even mentioned.


"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
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#2048287 - 03/14/13 03:57 PM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,654
Barb860 Offline
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Barb860  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,654
northern California
Looks like a valuable resource! I will purchase a copy, too.

Thanks for the info!


Piano Teacher
#2048302 - 03/14/13 04:29 PM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,090
bzpiano Offline
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bzpiano  Offline
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Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,090
Irvine, CA
Wow, John, thanks for the resource!


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#2048350 - 03/14/13 06:04 PM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,013
PianoStudent88 Offline
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PianoStudent88  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,013
Maine
I'm a student (so no parents to hand it out to), and not even in the market for a new piano (or even a new-to-me piano), and I'm interested in this book! Thanks for posting about it here, John v.d.Brook.


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#2048359 - 03/14/13 06:18 PM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,609
chasingrainbows Offline
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chasingrainbows  Offline
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Posts: 1,609
NJ
Thanks, John. I would love to hand them out to all new families!


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
#2048468 - 03/14/13 11:52 PM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Michael_99  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Canada Alberta
Tim Topham from Austrailia who has a piano web site and sometimes posts here. Indicated that to look for a 10 year old good piano which may have lost some of it luster at either the high or low end but has excellent action and will be a good piano for a student. That is exactly what I found looking for a piano. You may wish to google his name and read his exact words. We are a small country, Canada, people wise so the options are much smaller than in the US when looking for a piano.

#2048476 - 03/15/13 12:31 AM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,052
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,052
Orange County, CA
It's interesting that some of my students (past and present) with the best pianos at home are also the worst students who put the wonderful instrument to waste. What a shame.

And for students whose parents finally agreed to upgrade the instrument, sooner or later, they also lost interest in learning piano.

I've yet to run into an example of a great student matched up with a great instrument. Life is so full of ironies and frustrations.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2048481 - 03/15/13 12:50 AM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: AZNpiano]  
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,549
Whizbang Offline
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Whizbang  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,549
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
And for students whose parents finally agreed to upgrade the instrument, sooner or later, they also lost interest in learning piano.


Probably a question for those who have been teaching since before the rise of the internet and Nintendo, but...

...do kids quit piano significantly more readily nowadays? There's no lack of adults my age who lament "I took piano as a kid but..."


Whizbang [Linked Image]
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala
#2048483 - 03/15/13 12:56 AM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: Whizbang]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,052
AZNpiano Offline
7000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,052
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Whizbang
Probably a question for those who have been teaching since before the rise of the internet and Nintendo, but...

...do kids quit piano significantly more readily nowadays? There's no lack of adults my age who lament "I took piano as a kid but..."

Well, I grew up in the age of Internet and Nintendo, but I stuck it out even when my friends were quitting lessons.

At least in my studio, most kids quit simply because they have zero interest in piano to begin with, and their parents sign them up for lesson because everybody else is doing it. That, and the fact that most kids have like 18 different extracurricular activities, and they just don't know how to manage their time properly.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2048610 - 03/15/13 07:50 AM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: AZNpiano]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
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
AZN, your second post probably explains the phenomenon you observe in your first post. I, on the other hand, have had quite the opposite experience. The better the piano, the further along the path the student went - and often, more quickly. It's hard to know what these students will be doing 30 years from now, when they reach retirement age, but I'm willing to bet quite a few return to the piano for their own personal pleasure.


"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
#2048734 - 03/15/13 02:52 PM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: AZNpiano]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
Ben Klinger Offline
Junior Member
Ben Klinger  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
Seattle, WA
I think it's important to distinguish between "the best pianos" and the pianos that are most suited to the individual. When inspiration lacks, it's because of a number of things: a bad home environment, no exposure to live music, inadequate teacher-chemistry or a poor instrument-match. My book addresses the piano-chemistry issue, which I think is hugely underrated. I've worked with thousands of customers over the years, and I've had the experience of observing what happens in the home after the piano has been purchased. People who purchase a piano thoughtfully, to which they were emotionally connected during the buying process, generally have a profoundly rewarding experience after the purchase. So, it's not solely a matter of buying a great instrument; that's not enough. The student, or the parents of the student, must have a thoughtful vision for buying an instrument that accomplishes their goals: what kind of music do they want to learn, where do they see themselves five years from now, etc. Then, they need to set themselves up for success by finding the right teacher and exposing themselves to great live music. It's true that many people don't have the time or energy to think these things through. My point is that if they want to succeed, they need to do that. My book attempts to inspire the reader to realize the value in playing and to follow through on their commitment.

Ben Klinger
Manager, Sherman Clay of Seattle
206-622-7580 / ben_klinger@sclay.com

Last edited by Ben Klinger; 03/15/13 02:55 PM. Reason: Signature was not current
#2048952 - 03/16/13 01:07 AM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: AZNpiano]  
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Michael_99  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Canada Alberta
"...It's interesting that some of my students (past and present) with the best pianos at home are also the worst students who put the wonderful instrument to waste. What a shame.

And for students whose parents finally agreed to upgrade the instrument, sooner or later, they also lost interest in learning piano.

I've yet to run into an example of a great student matched up with a great instrument. Life is so full of ironies and frustrations. ..."

That is why the odds are, you have to have good health, drive, talent, a good teacher, supportive family, good insrtument, a pleasing personality, and sufficient exposure, opportunity.

#2049181 - 03/16/13 02:41 PM Re: Why We Play - A Guide to Finding the Right Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,981
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Peter K. Mose  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,981
Toronto, Ontario
This is a wonderful premise for a book, and Ben is exploring fascinating ideas. I have helped plenty of students through the piano search and selection process, and their subsequent connections to their instruments become a strong part of their enhanced love of music. Bravo, Ben!


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