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Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757336
08/10/18 08:44 AM
08/10/18 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Pianolance
What can we do to bring back a culture that values learning to play the piano? We need to produce an environment where people want to learn to play the piano - the way we did when we were kids.


Hi Pianolance,

Could you more specifically state why you think this is important? More to the point, could you state what effect of this piano-valuing culture you want to see? How would it manifest itself?

Before that quote, you spoke mostly of dealer scarcity in the Nashville area. I might say that's due to regional income levels; the Northeastern U.S. has many states with high per-capita income, which might be a strong predictor of piano availability and dealer presence...likely a stronger predictor than city size. I'm in squarely middle-class Chicago, the third-largest city in the country, and dealers here are scarce.

I'm not really sure myself if anything needs to change just yet, but I'd like to hear what you think the effects of these boosted piano-values are.

MC

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Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757342
08/10/18 09:10 AM
08/10/18 09:10 AM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 473
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It's strange because one would have thought with this plethora of digital pianos and piano modelling/sampling software that is constantly coming out, that the piano was indeed more common than we thought.

I guess maybe it is, but not in the "classical" sense that we mean. There's a few rock and roll bands that I can think of that currently are very piano oriented, but I don't think they're actually that well known.

Matt Bellamy of Muse I think brought the piano slightly more in to mainstream focus with his Rachmaninov-style sections in their live gigs (not to mention his direct lifting of a few bars of Rachmaninov here and there). And maybe a few other similar bands as well.

I noticed though when I was deciding what "keyboard" to buy, and I say keyboard because I got a VPC1, not a digital piano, that when I was watching youtube review videos and suchlike, that all the pianists played this kind of either lounge music, or this saccharine type of music (I'm not sure what you call it) that sounds a bit like the theme tune to Hill Street Blues, but not quite as good.

So maybe to be more precise, it's not the piano per se, but the acoustic piano and classical music that isn't so prevalent? If that's the case, then I would simply cite difficulty as one of the reasons a lot of people don't go for it. I've noticed that seemingly we live in an attention-deficit society where the concept of practise and concentration seem to have waned somewhat, although I could be wrong. Also, us being slap bang in the middle of the age of dumbing down and mediocrity doesn't help.

This is a shame because nowadays we do have things like the internet and youtube, and so one would have thought it would be more accessible, which it is. One can pick up a digital piano and teach oneself to a certain extent.

The piano is pretty difficult though, seems to be the general consensus. A lot of young people go for the guitar instead for this reason, I think, although as I said before, I think the age of the guitar is waning slightly, being saturated to the brim.

Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: phacke] #2757355
08/10/18 10:14 AM
08/10/18 10:14 AM
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Posts: 1,357
Nashville, TN
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Originally Posted by phacke
Interesting thread, thank you, but to the OP seeking piano dealers near, how about:
https://www.nashvillepianorescue.com

I know about Nashville Piano Rescue and The Nashville Piano Room but I was talking about new piano dealers. Nashville Piano Rescue recently had to dispose of a mountain of used pianos that they couldn't sell. Check out this pile of pianos headed to the incinerator. https://www.facebook.com/1730493427...258/1655045124530938/?type=3&theater


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: mcontraveos] #2757359
08/10/18 10:24 AM
08/10/18 10:24 AM
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Posts: 1,357
Nashville, TN
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Originally Posted by mcontraveos
Originally Posted by Pianolance
What can we do to bring back a culture that values learning to play the piano? We need to produce an environment where people want to learn to play the piano - the way we did when we were kids.


Hi Pianolance,

Could you more specifically state why you think this is important? More to the point, could you state what effect of this piano-valuing culture you want to see? How would it manifest itself?

Before that quote, you spoke mostly of dealer scarcity in the Nashville area. I might say that's due to regional income levels; the Northeastern U.S. has many states with high per-capita income, which might be a strong predictor of piano availability and dealer presence...likely a stronger predictor than city size. I'm in squarely middle-class Chicago, the third-largest city in the country, and dealers here are scarce.

I'm not really sure myself if anything needs to change just yet, but I'd like to hear what you think the effects of these boosted piano-values are.

MC

My point is that learning to play the piano is becoming rare in our society and I think that's a shame. This is reflected in the lack of piano dealers. I think less interest in the piano, in general, is a bad thing. Learning to play the piano is a valuable skill, unlike learning to play a video game. Music teaches us culture, history, math, science, hand eye coordination, a sense of beauty, and in general is good for our culture. Is there a way to bring back a culture that values the piano as well as other instruments?


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757366
08/10/18 10:41 AM
08/10/18 10:41 AM
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Posts: 393
Virginia
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Bennevis, (I am a Boomer), I am fortunate to have had parents that exposed me to the arts. I had violin and piano lessons. I had tap and ballet lessons as well. Not saying I enjoyed all of that at the time. I also had to go to live plays and concerts with my parents. I grew for a good portion of my childhood in Chicago, so my parents took me to museums and art galleries. As I developed into adulthood I understood why they did that, most likely that is why I appreciate taking music lessons again. I have been taking lessons for 5 years. One instructor I had was a symphony musician. The one I have now is a jazz musician and is the orchestra director at a church. Piano is a lot of work, I do not think I would have progressed as I have if not for face-to-face instruction by qualified teachers. Interesting, the music director where I take lessons, told me I was the longest adult student she had. She has been in business about 20 years. She said on average an adult will take lessons for a year.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757383
08/10/18 11:47 AM
08/10/18 11:47 AM
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The city school district in my area is tragically under funded (what else is new) but our local symphony has really helped by giving children's concerts and sending musicians to schools for a variety of programs. They have also funded after school activities. Much of the money raised goes to in-school music education and after school programs. I have only seen the reaction of pretty young children but they seem very interested in classical music and extremely interested in how certain instruments actually "make the music". If there was just some way to hang on to that enthusiasm as the kids get older. Here we also have a "Pianos for People" organization that was started by the parents of a promising young pianist who was killed. The group provides and maintains a piano for promising local piano students who might otherwise not be able to have one at home. I realize this is only a drop in the proverbial bucket, but it does give me some hope for the future.

Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757393
08/10/18 12:30 PM
08/10/18 12:30 PM
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Excellent posts by all on this thread.

To add - all we can do as individuals is to keep the flag raised in our own piano playing. Keep going strong.

I find the same with boxing actually, I like boxing - I realise many don't, but that's not the issue. Also, Karate. Both of these disciplines have faded in modern culture, probably being replaced by mixed martial arts, or somesuch. When I say I like boxing, people call me old-fashioned.

I pride myself in being old-fashioned in this modern society of throw-away culture. I think old-fashioned is almost a counter culture in itself, in a funny kind of way.

I also love things like Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, etc.

What we players gain in this society as pianists is standing out as being individual and having our own thought processes - at least individually I think this is definitely something to be proud of. We are independent thinkers.

Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Zaphod] #2757404
08/10/18 01:06 PM
08/10/18 01:06 PM
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Posts: 1,876
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Originally Posted by Zaphod
I pride myself in being old-fashioned in this modern society of throw-away culture. I think old-fashioned is almost a counter culture in itself, in a funny kind of way.

I think there are at least two types of what one might call "old-fashion", and I react to them differently. One variety is to appreciate the finest of what culture offers, even if that is old and if the number of appreciators drops in contemporary society. Listening to Wagner and the Beatles and baroque music on original instruments, reading Shakespeare and Proust, playing a Grotrian, watching Citizen Kane and Laurel & Hardy, using vacuum tube amplifies amplifiers (for a warmer sound), etc. This is valuing the finest aspects of earlier cultures, times, and technologies. I personally favor and value this.

Then there is being old-fashioned because you feel the world is moving too fast and you want to climb into a cocoon to shelter yourself, as well as just for nostalgia. Examples might be to collect and program old personal computers from the 1970's, using old flip phones, shunning modern technologies and software, etc. While I can understand why there are people who do this, I personally have trouble understanding this sort of Neo-Luddism. For instance, why would one want to spend days programming an 8-bit CPU which has no relevance to life today, for example? I personally know someone like this, and he has tried to explain his past-times, but I simply don't get it since there is just nothing "better" about what he does than what is more commonly used, even being very generous about this. In fact, it's worse, because in the case of older technologies, the power consumption is through the roof. I see it a little bit as trying to bring by the coal/steam locomotive for day-to-day rail travel.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: mcontraveos] #2757409
08/10/18 01:20 PM
08/10/18 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mcontraveos
I'm in squarely middle-class Chicago, the third-largest city in the country, and dealers here are scarce

I realize the word scarce is subjective, even when it's in bold font. But I just purchased a piano this week and told my wife I was so glad we live some place where I can go and try any piano brand I can think of, both new and used. I don't think I traveled more than 30 minutes to find a showroom that had what I wanted on display.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757490
08/10/18 05:07 PM
08/10/18 05:07 PM
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Posts: 1,357
Nashville, TN
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In Nashville you can buy a new Yamaha or Steinway or Seilers made in Asia. You can't buy a Kawai, a Bechstein, a Mason & Hamlin, a Schimmel, a Bosendorfer, a Petrof, a Fazioli, a Charles Walter, an Estonia, a Bluthner or a Grotrian. You can't even buy a Hailun.


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757528
08/10/18 07:47 PM
08/10/18 07:47 PM
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Seattle, WA USA
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My shop neighbor is a company called Himalayan Dog Treat. They have employees from every ethnic group present in the USA. I am pleasantly surprised by the number of them who express interest in playing the piano. I haven't sold them any of mine as they mostly live in apartments and have yet to buy a house so they have digital pianos. But they salivate when looking and listening to the ones in my shop when they drop by from time to time. Very few of the ones who express interest would be characterized as white.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: JohnSprung] #2757537
08/10/18 08:20 PM
08/10/18 08:20 PM
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Reseda, California
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by dogperson
More television exposure (not sure how to make that happen)


On commercial TV, it would be a very tough sell. PBS is the way to go. They have far less material than the commercial networks, so they run things over and over and over. They also have very little money to acquire shows, so something that could be made very inexpensively and offered free to PBS would definitely get plenty of air time. Scott Houston's series is still in re-runs on PBS.


I just watched a few of Cunningham's videos on the web. Some of their material could be re-formatted for PBS, if they wanted to look into it.


-- J.S.

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Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: JohnSprung] #2757632
08/11/18 09:32 AM
08/11/18 09:32 AM
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Nashville, TN
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You know, that's not a bad idea. I can totally see Rich Galassini as a host of a PBS show about pianos, piano players, piano rebuilding, all things piano. Shoot, they have shows about painting, quilting, sewing, cooking, trains, wood working, decorating, etc. Why not have a show about pianos. I think Rich could be the next Chris Kimball.


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757733
08/11/18 05:59 PM
08/11/18 05:59 PM
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I completely agree. Rich Galassini would be awesome as host of such a show.

Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757735
08/11/18 06:04 PM
08/11/18 06:04 PM
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San Diego, CA
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Listen to the radio for a day, tuning from station to station. Or fire up Pandora and do the same. Keep track of the number of songs that contain a keyboard, it will be something less than 100%. Now what percentage of those keyboards are pianos? Finally, what percentage of those songs with piano sounds feature the piano vs just provide some backing or a bridge. It is going to be a small number that approaches zero unless you happen to hit a number of jazz stations. Why would people want to learn to play an instrument that is so rarely used in the music they hear around them every day? Maybe we should be surprised that there are still so many people interested in learning to play the piano.

Many, many years ago Latin was taught in high schools across the country because of its cultural value even though it had no immediate relevancy. Today, my understanding is that it has become very rare. Just being "good for you" is not enough of a reason to dedicate time to learning it. I think that promoting the cultural value of learning piano is an up hill battle. It takes a new crop of Elton John type performers to motivate a new crop of piano students.


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Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757737
08/11/18 06:08 PM
08/11/18 06:08 PM
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Quote
. But they salivate when looking and listening to the ones in my shop when they drop by from time to time. Very few of the ones who express interest would be characterized as white.


This is pretty well same all over the world now.

P.S. Saliviating with excitement is a good thing.
"Sweating from practicing the piano" is even better.

Having the strong suspicion that this is increasingly the exact same group.

Those in business today know exactly what I mean...

Good luck everybody!

Norbert


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Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: MarkL] #2757755
08/11/18 07:47 PM
08/11/18 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
I realize the word scarce is subjective, even when it's in bold font. But I just purchased a piano this week and told my wife I was so glad we live some place where I can go and try any piano brand I can think of, both new and used. I don't think I traveled more than 30 minutes to find a showroom that had what I wanted on display.


Wonderful, that is outstanding news -- congratulations!

I love the feeling of being able to find what I want in a piano store, but I have had very close to the opposite experience. With that, I should not have been so forceful with my typesetting...

It's more accurate for me to say that while I can name eight dealers within Illinois and a 1.5hr drive from Chicago, only two of them have a reasonable selection of larger pianos (7 ft and up), which is what I have been looking for.

Anyway...back to the topic at hand!

Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: GC13] #2757773
08/11/18 09:57 PM
08/11/18 09:57 PM
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Toronto, Canada
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Originally Posted by GC13
I'm brainstorming here, but 1st a little story about my son. He's 16 and started his Jr. year in High School. He has autism and has several obsessions, one of which is the drums. He works very hard at it, and is quite good. I use drums in the music at our church and he plays with me often. He's been in the school band for several years now. He says he wants to be a musician as an adult. This year he had time in his schedule for some electives, so he chose to take Beginning Piano.


The story reminds me of the English piano virtuoso Derek Pavavicini who was born blind and with severe autism. Very early on fell in love of the piano. He can remember a song after hearing it once and transpose it to another style and Key in an instant. The classic case of someone with an obsession for music & piano playing.

Know someone across town who started out as a normal young man with average intelligence. Like his other siblings the parents enrolled them in piano lessons for a few years. Shortly after he entered high school, the young man was showing anti-social behavior to the point he didn't want to be in school with other students. A condition you might describe as "Agoraphobia" in medical terms. Another member of the family who is a doctor thinks he may have signs of "Asperger Syndrome". Something that is similar to Autism. The young man just like to play video games all day to the point you can call an obsession. Unfortunately he doesn't have any interest in music or express himself through music. Partly the fault of the parents making practice time like an academic exercise where you learn to read music and regurgitate pieces assigned by your teacher. The kids' music lessons became boring and repetitive that after a few years instead of fun and engaging. Nobody in the family wants to touch a piano again.

Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: SoundThumb] #2757782
08/12/18 12:53 AM
08/12/18 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by SoundThumb
Why would people want to learn to play an instrument that is so rarely used in the music they hear around them every day? Maybe we should be surprised that there are still so many people interested in learning to play the piano.

Many, many years ago Latin was taught in high schools across the country because of its cultural value even though it had no immediate relevancy. Today, my understanding is that it has become very rare. Just being "good for you" is not enough of a reason to dedicate time to learning it. I think that promoting the cultural value of learning piano is an up hill battle. It takes a new crop of Elton John type performers to motivate a new crop of piano students.

I agree with this. The Piano is becoming less and less relevant to up and coming music makers (young and old). We need to stop pushing piano as “it’s good for you” and show them why it is useful for making music.

The Piano was culturally valuable for centuries because it was the most the most powerful tool for making music. Nowadays would-be musicians are reaching for their laptops and iPads instead ... and they are making tons of music without the piano. Just listen through any of the top Spotify playlists and the lack of of a Piano song borders on nearly 100%. And yet there is more music than ever.

It doesn’t help that there is an appalling disconnect between “piano lessons” and making music. There are too many “good piano students” who can play the crap out of 100 year old pieces written by other people, but can’t play the simplest creation of their own.

My teenage niece and nephew have several friends who gave up piano lessons but are always uploading their musical creations to Facebook and YouTube. Their musical weapon of choice? The computer/smart phone/tablet. And after some conversations - I found out these kids self-learned enough composition and arranging concepts that they can very intelligently explain how they apply them in different programs. They’ve even took a summer DAW class to learn more. (In addition to a singing class, thanks to to popularity of the TV shows).

I’m not sure how to convince these kids to apply those music making skills to piano, but every few days, they post another one of their musical creations. They may not be the piano player “performers” coming out of the piano lesson industry - but they are developing composing and arranging skills that many, many piano students will never acquire. And I have to wonder which way is actually creating “musicians”.

You can say what you want about the ease of making music on a computer. But many many musically inclined people are gravitating toward the computer - not the piano.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: How do we bring back a culture that values the piano? [Re: Pianolance] #2757783
08/12/18 01:04 AM
08/12/18 01:04 AM
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Well, I am just finishing recovering the keys of my local high school's 1923 Baldwin D. One of the middle schools has one from 1921, and I am working with the music teacher to restore that, as it is in much worse shape. I am kind of old for that sort of work, but we may be able to get it to be a class project, so the students would be involved with it. These are small steps, but they are steps forward, nevertheless.


Semipro Tech
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