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Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2108926
06/27/13 06:19 AM
06/27/13 06:19 AM
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TwoSnowflakes Offline OP
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Wait, I need speakers? They don't all have speakers? Do they all have, at least, a way to plug in a good set of headphones? If I can do that, I don't care one bit that I can't make sound in the room. If anything, that's better. Nobody is here to hear me play so might as well just wear headphones all the time.

(ETA: I'm so sorry... I told you I was confused. I'm not a technophobe, I just have never once thought about digital pianos or what parts make up the whole. I do have a MacBook Air with me that could run software if somehow I need to involve a computer in the whole thing in order to run it. Though I don't know if the thunderbolt port is sufficient input for whatever it is the computer would then need to do. I simply want to play a key and hear the sound through headphones. I don't need anything else.)

Last edited by TwoSnowflakes; 06/27/13 06:22 AM.
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Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2108959
06/27/13 07:52 AM
06/27/13 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
Wait, I need speakers? They don't all have speakers? Do they all have, at least, a way to plug in a good set of headphones? If I can do that, I don't care one bit that I can't make sound in the room. If anything, that's better. Nobody is here to hear me play so might as well just wear headphones all the time.



I was in the same position as you three years ago, and had a steep learning curve. grin

Yes, some slabs don't have any speakers, but all have headphone sockets. My V-Piano has no speakers (I use headphones exclusively with it, because I have neighbors to worry about); its big brother V-Piano Grand has a grand piano cabinet with dedicated speakers.

I don't know about the Kawai VPC1, but there is a big long thread in the digital forum about it, if you want to go down that route of software 'pianos'. I believe it's quite complicated to set up, and I don't understand it myself.


"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."
Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2108972
06/27/13 08:31 AM
06/27/13 08:31 AM
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If you are happy with just headphones and need a decent action then the Kawai MP6 or MP10 would do, but they are heavy and don't support half-pedalling. The Kawai ES7 does support half-pedalling and is just about portable, also has built in speakers and can be supplied with a stand with 3 functioning pedals. The ES7 action is of a lower spec than the MP6 or MP10.

However, I - for reasons posted elsewhere - have moved from a Kawai RX2 to a Kawai ES7. I played both until the RX2 went. After an adjustment period, measured in days, but days not hours, I am quite happy with the ES7, acknowledge it is not an RX2, have carted it about for public performance, but would hesitate to say it is portable by train for instance. Carrying from a building to a car and from the car to another building is about it. The stand is much less portable but portable X-type stands are available, or, temporarily, any flat surface at a suitable height. Not ideal, but better than your technique melting by the hour ........

A number of people on these forums are very dismissive of digital instruments. I was, until I tried the latest generation. Other makes other than Kawai have similar capabilities. I can only speak of my own experience having tried Kawai, Yamaha and Roland products.

I would advise you to spend a little time trying digital pianos so that you have some idea of what is acceptable. You may be pleasantly surprised and maybe disconcerted to find them more unforgiving of flaws in your technique than acoustics. This has to do with no natural resonance of an acoustic, so things tend to be crystal clear, but, unlike other people, I find my pedalling to be almost the same as with an acoustic, except for sometimes holding an extended note with the pedal because the decay is less than that of an acoustic. But then, I was brought up on pedalless Bach. The ES7 will enable you to take 5 minutes over the Aria from the Goldberg (ie quite slow) without any pedalling and sound perfectly OK.


Oh yes, I am exclusively a classical pianist.

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: sandalholme] #2108977
06/27/13 08:48 AM
06/27/13 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sandalholme
The ES7 action is of a lower spec than the MP6 or MP10.


The ES7 has 3 sensor RHII action which is actually a higher spec than the MP6 2 sensor RH action. The MP10 is consider to be better than both using RM3 wooden-key action, yet only 2 sensor.


KAWAI ES7 | ROLAND RD-800 | YAMAHA CP4 | YAMAHA STAGEPAS 400i | PRESONUS R65 & T10 | SHURE SRH1540 | SENNHEISER HD650 | K&M OMEGA
Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109092
06/27/13 12:44 PM
06/27/13 12:44 PM
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To clarify the VPC1 is strictly a midi-controller which means it doesn't have a sound engine. You need to connect it to a computer running piano (or otherwise) software.

You plug your headphones (or speakers) via the computer's headphone jack. You can also use an external USB interface which also has jacks for sound output. The VPC1 connects to your computer via a usb host connection, or you can use midi cables and connect through an USB interface.

Again, if you don't want to get into installing software and connecting everything then this is not a solution for you. You can't simply plug the VPC in and play.

I will throw in a recommendation for Kawai keyboards in general (the M series as other posters have mentioned). I think they have done a lot in developing a piano like action. IMO it is years ahead of what Yamaha is offering these days.





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Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109094
06/27/13 12:46 PM
06/27/13 12:46 PM
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Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Online content
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Quote

. . . Anybody have a similar suggestion in the Roland/Yamaha brands? I ask simply because I see stores carrying Roland and Yamaha all over the place. . . .


FWIW (PMFJI) --

The Kawai VPC is _just a keyboard with MIDI output_. It does _not_ produce sounds. You'll need a high-spec computer to go with it, and you'll have to buy software.

It's _not_ a good solution for your (short-term) problem.

If you can, find a Yamah P155 to try out. You won't need a moving truck. If you decide it's "good enough", rent one for the summer.

The Roland FP-7F (already mentioned), and RD-700, and FP-50 and FP-80 would also work nicely. They're higher-end than the P155 -- better sound, better action.

All those are "slab pianos" -- they'll need a stand, or a tabletop. IMHO, stands are better, because you can adjust the height. And you'll need a pedal.

Get headphones, for your sanity (they sound way better than the built-in loudspeakers, and won't disturb neighbors). Expect to spend around $100 (or the equivalent in Euros) for something that's comfortable and has good sound. I use Sennheiser HD280 phones, but there are long threads in the "Digital Pianos" forum debating the choice. A Sony V6 is another possibility. When you go home, carry them with you.

Have fun, and don't get snowed under by the technology --

. Charles

PS -- I'm assuming that you're _not_ a concert-grade pianist, from your list of pieces. If you are, 'bennevis' seems to have sensible ideas.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109108
06/27/13 01:06 PM
06/27/13 01:06 PM
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"...but portable X-type stands are available..."

Ugh. You can do better in a folding stand than the ironing-board X models, which are rickety and whose legs are always getting in the way. A table-type stand is far more stable, and nearly comparable in cost. The big deal with stands is to make sure the legs are adjustable to just the right height--- this is where a lot of them fall down. It is also where putting the piano on the kitchen table fails. If you're seriously practicing, a seat and keyboard that are the wrong height is a good way to ruin yourself.

"...or, temporarily, any flat surface at a suitable height. Not ideal, but better than your technique melting by the hour..."

My technique suffers if I take even a few days off, let alone months. I think you are doing the smart thing, to adapt to an instrument that makes it possible to keep going, even though it may not be 100% ideal. But, many acoustic pianos can say no better for themselves, and we love them anyway.

If you just buy something like an MP-10 outright (which might be cheaper than renting), you could take it home on the plane. You don't absolutely need a flight case; the beer-cooler type is probably ok for one, direct flight as checked baggage. Insured, of course. The stand is under a hundred bucks, so you could just ditch it, or give it away, or sell it and get a new one when you get home. The nice headphones, you would keep--- of course.

The best way to decide what to get, is to try a lot of them and see what suits you. There are things I like about the Roland and Yamaha models, but so far I haven't seen one which was much in the piano action department.


Clef

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109235
06/27/13 05:42 PM
06/27/13 05:42 PM
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TwoSnowflakes Offline OP
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Ok, thanks, folks! Everything is coming into focus for me now and I think I understand everything so far.

The interesting thing is that I am absolutely a huge computer/technology/programming nut. I am constantly networking things to each other, writing scripts to do things better, or I'm taking gadgets apart simply to put them back together.

I would probably totally dig getting into piano/music software, but I've never once thought that there was an interest overlap there because, well, there are pianos, and there's my love of technology, and I really don't have any need for a digital piano in my regular life, nor does my love of technology trump my love of a good acoustic piano. That is to say, I love to use technology for just about everything but I can't say that pianos are something I feel the need to apply technology to as a general matter. But in this particular situation? I have to say I'm intrigued to solve this problem of no piano this summer technologically, and could even see trying to tackle learning about software and getting a VPC1 up and running. Ha!

But it looks like the easiest thing to do is get the Roland RD (or FP) and make sure it has what it needs on board so all I have to do is plug in headphones. I'm happy to buy some good ones and I have absolutely no need for the sound to be audible in the room.

Apparently I can have a Roland RD (no indication of WHICH RD, just that it is an RD) for 300€ for the 5 weeks. I'm pretty darn sure this is not close to the price of buying it, so as much as I love the suggestion of just buying and bringing it home, I'm guessing there's no way I get close to 300€ for a new one.

Does the RD have enough in it to simply need to plug in headphones and go?

And no, I am no concert-level pianist. I'm low-to-mid-intermediate level now or so, was upper intermediate or possibly very low level advanced before stopping Way Back When, and my concern isn't that I need something worthy of my talent, but actually quite the opposite: that I'm NOT good enough yet to be able to make use of a digital piano which is too far from the touch and feel of a regular acoustic grand. If I had very high-level skills, I would be less prone to have a digital piano interfere with proper technical advancement, know what I mean? Very good pianists, I believe, can probably get quite a bit of use out of a good digital piano once piano skills are already acquired traditionally. But I am of the opinion, at least as I see it from my perspective right now, that one needs an acoustic piano to develop properly initially. Then, if later a digital piano is incorporated for one reason or another, it's simply providing MORE options rather than substituting.

I could be wrong, but that's where I am on that front, and I'm a little afraid I am NOT good enough yet to use a digital for any period of time "safely." If that makes sense.



Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109241
06/27/13 06:04 PM
06/27/13 06:04 PM
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TwoSnowflakes Offline OP
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My technique suffers if I take even a few days off, let alone months. I think you are doing the smart thing, to adapt to an instrument that makes it possible to keep going, even though it may not be 100% ideal. But, many acoustic pianos can say no better for themselves, and we love them anyway.

That's the idea. The piano at the music school is fine for general acquisition of what I'm learning right now. The whole resonance and evenness of it is lacking and it has a weird action that seems dull. For example, when I trill, the keys just start bottoming out after a few seconds whereas with my piano at home, I can just keep a bright trill going at any speed and give it shape softly or loudly, and I don't feel like I'm fighting the keyboard. I'm pretty sure it's not me, though of course any trill would sound better by someone more skilled than I am.

So if that's the best acoustic grand I can get access to for practicing, then maybe I just get a really nice digital and benefit from the ability to have it smack dab in front of me in my apartment. I am under no delusions that I'll be able to really put the finishing touches on pieces with it and not have to basically redo the whole endeavor when I'm playing it back home again, but right now I have some large issues that I could spend the time solving, like general accuracy and velocity, for which a digital piano, as long as it is weighted and generally in the ballpark of what a regular grand piano would have, might serve nicely. If this particular acoustic piano isn't, itself, good enough to give me what acoustic pianos generally are better at (overall tone and resonance, plus enjoyment of truly drawing something musical out of it), then why not at least consider a digital. I'm truly of the opinion that there probably ARE digitals, at this point, that are better than some low-level acoustic pianos, which this piano most certainly is. Besides, I have no problem working on scales and arpeggios for hours, so no real loss that I can't truly get to the musicality of certain pieces for 5 weeks, as long as I'm not backtracking in general.

I can certainly use the time to map out and get into my hands several pieces which I can then work on at home with my teacher for the technicality and dynamics. I'm sure she'd love to see me come home with a few pieces memorized and ready for work.

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109283
06/27/13 07:24 PM
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Yes, the Roland RD (any model) will work once you plug it in and power up, and you have your own headphones. As will every other normal digital, whether slab/stage or console.

I think the VPC1 is the first of its kind which has no sound generator, and relies totally on your own computer and the software you've uploaded (or is it downloaded?).

As for keeping your keyboard skills, I think that all the RDs will be fine, as they have realistic key actions - the high-end ones use PHA-III which is among the best around (my V-Piano uses it). I think all RDs have simulated escapement (the 'notch' feel as you slowly press down the key) as well as being graded (the low notes have heavier key weight than the high notes, just like in real pianos). Yamaha Clavinovas don't have the simulated escapement (and therefore, the key travel is totally - and unnaturally - smooth), and this for me is a drawback. The high-end Kawais have it.

As long as you use it sensibly, there's no reason why your technique should deteriorate while you're using the digital. (Mine improved - in all parameters - when I started using mine grin). Your pedaling and control of touch may suffer slightly, depending on which model you end up with, and how you use it. I'm a firm believer in setting the volume control at a realistic level and then never touching it again - unless you're already an established virtuoso and know how to use a digital purely to learn the notes and to get your fingers fluent, while being able to dissociate yourself from the actual sound. Otherwise, the constantly 'moving goalposts' from changing the volume setting will play havoc with your sense of touch and tonal & dynamic control.


"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."
Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109294
06/27/13 07:41 PM
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I'm a firm believer in setting the volume control at a realistic level and then never touching it again - unless you're already an established virtuoso and know how to use a digital purely to learn the notes and to get your fingers fluent, while being able to dissociate yourself from the actual sound. Otherwise, the constantly 'moving goalposts' from changing the volume setting will play havoc with your sense of touch and tonal & dynamic control.

This makes sense to me. I'm no virtuoso, but I'm hopeful that I at least I know what the risks are. Or, more to the point, I'm aware that there ARE pitfalls and I should not complacently treat it like a 1-to-1 substitute for a piano without thinking first about how it should be used and what it will be best for improving and what should be rigorously understood not to be used for.

Which leaves one last question: does 300€ sound like a good price for a Roland RD for 5 weeks?

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109447
06/28/13 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
Which leaves one last question: does 300€ sound like a good price for a Roland RD for 5 weeks?


I don't have any experience of rental - you might want to pose this particular question in the digital forum, if you don't get any replies here.
From my experience, the vast majority of people using that forum never read this one, as they aren't interested in classical music.....


"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."
Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: bennevis] #2109470
06/28/13 04:11 AM
06/28/13 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
Which leaves one last question: does 300€ sound like a good price for a Roland RD for 5 weeks?


I don't have any experience of rental - you might want to pose this particular question in the digital forum, if you don't get any replies here.
From my experience, the vast majority of people using that forum never read this one, as they aren't interested in classical music.....


300 euros for five weeks doesn't sound so bad considering my friend paid L400 (400 pounds) to rent a very bright Yahama upright for two weeks in Majorca last year.


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Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109483
06/28/13 05:44 AM
06/28/13 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
I'm a firm believer in setting the volume control at a realistic level and then never touching it again - unless you're already an established virtuoso and know how to use a digital purely to learn the notes and to get your fingers fluent, while being able to dissociate yourself from the actual sound. Otherwise, the constantly 'moving goalposts' from changing the volume setting will play havoc with your sense of touch and tonal & dynamic control.

This makes sense to me. I'm no virtuoso, but I'm hopeful that I at least I know what the risks are. Or, more to the point, I'm aware that there ARE pitfalls and I should not complacently treat it like a 1-to-1 substitute for a piano without thinking first about how it should be used and what it will be best for improving and what should be rigorously understood not to be used for.

Which leaves one last question: does 300€ sound like a good price for a Roland RD for 5 weeks?


I would pay it. Besides, whether it's competitive or not only matters if you have an alternative source. The real question is, is this worth the money to you?


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Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109497
06/28/13 06:43 AM
06/28/13 06:43 AM
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TwoSnowflakes Offline OP
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Yeah, that's the question... Obviously it all comes down to money anyway. Unfortunately, 300€ flirts with the edge of what's a tolerable cost for 5 weeks and what seems kind of silly for someone like me.

On the other hand, I can't see another time I'd have a colorable reason to check out the world of digital pianos since I am in no way in the market for one whatsoever as a general matter, and don't see one in my near future. Unless for some reason one of my kids decides to practice way more than they do, challenging me for time at our piano.

I think I might go for it if the RD is that really new one with the cool high end keyboard.

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2109618
06/28/13 10:42 AM
06/28/13 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes

Anybody have a similar suggestion in the Roland/Yamaha brands? I ask simply because I see stores carrying Roland and Yamaha all over the place.

Roland all the way. I am a serious classical pianist and have an FP7F in my apartment. Between the SuperNatural piano sound engine and the PHA-III action, this model or a similar one is the closest thing I've found to practicing on a good acoustic. It is FAR more responsive to nuances of touch than the cheaper Yamahas, Casios, etc. -- even after getting it, I was surprised at just how much it inspires me to practice. I had a cheaper digital for a while (a Korg) and found that it had a tendency to mess up my technique when I would go back to a grand piano, but this Roland, while still not quite the real thing, it MUCH better as a practice instrument

So, the models I would recommend would be the FP7F or its recent replacement, the FP80; or the RD700nx, which has the same action and sound engine but is marketed more for stage use than home use (and has more extra sounds and different features); or, of course, their top-of-the-line V-Piano (which was way out of my price range and is also much heavier).

Some of Roland's lower models (the FP4F, FP50, and RD300nx) have the same or similar sound engine but a different action. I would still take any of these over a Casio or Korg any day, but don't feel quite as good (to me, anyway). There are decent models on the higher end of some other brands that some people like, but it sounds like you've reasonably narrowed your options, so I'll stop here...

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: bennevis] #2110405
06/29/13 11:16 PM
06/29/13 11:16 PM
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There's one RD model that has a short keyboard (64 keys? 73 keys? -- whatever). All the others are OK. The RD-300 and RD-700 will do fine. They're probably around 1000 Euros and up, if you buy one.

Aside from that, 'bennevis' says what needs saying.

Pull out the 300 Euros, buy some headphones, and start playing. Think about pianos and technology when you get home.<g>

. Charles


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2110483
06/30/13 05:35 AM
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Done. I let him know I would take it if it is the RD700NX or the FP80/FP7F. Now let's see how quickly it gets to me. I'll consider this a flying success if, after a month, I don't reset back to where I was when I restarted. smile And I get to play with some fun technology while I'm at it!

Found this interesting article on the Wall Street Journal, whose only other interesting feature is that one of the people quoted in the article (Yocheved Kaplinsky) is the daughter-in-law of my piano teacher when I was young. I'd like to think that my teacher would be proud of me for getting back to playing. smile All of my music is marked up in her distinctive handwriting and I have thought about her a lot in the past several months. Thanks, Mrs. Light, for everything!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323605404578384472502632956.html

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2113254
07/05/13 12:24 PM
07/05/13 12:24 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,113
TwoSnowflakes Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member
TwoSnowflakes  Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,113
Update, for those who were following along...

Big ol' honkin' Roland V-Piano was delivered today! And after a really fun moment of panic during which the delivery guys literally DROPPED THE WHOLE THING FROM WAIST HEIGHT TO THE FLOOR, it was set up and appears to work normally. I still had them note on the delivery receipt what they had done, just in case later something goes wrong and I have to prove I wasn't the one who dropped it.

Anyway, fun, fun, fun! The only one who didn't think so was my four year old son. He came home from camp and went "uh oh, Mommy. Does this mean you're going to practice now like at home?"

You bet! Now go watch some TV.

[Linked Image]

Re: If you had to practice on a digital piano/keyboard... [Re: TwoSnowflakes] #2113268
07/05/13 12:55 PM
07/05/13 12:55 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,796
Ann Arbor, MI
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member
jazzyprof  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,796
Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes


Big ol' honkin' Roland V-Piano was delivered today!

Attagirl! Looks like fun. Now just get rid of those paper scores and set your laptop up on that nice flat surface and you'll be well into the 21st century! grin


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
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