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Access to acoustic piano
#2952401 02/28/20 01:44 AM
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I grew up playing a Petrof upright. I currently have a Yamaha Clavinova and it's decent, but boy would it be great to play on an acoustic piano sometimes for recordings, etc. At the moment, I don't want to buy an acoustic yet as I have a toddler who is fun and active but also destructive.
Anyone have thoughts or past experiences on where to find/pay for practice time on an acoustic? Where did you go? I live and work in the LA/OC area of Southern California.

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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2952406 02/28/20 02:06 AM
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I was in the same boat as you before I got an acoustic and found it harder to find one than I expected. When I grew up every local hall and church had an older piano somewhere that anyone could noodle on if they wanted. Not so much nowadays it seems.

I found that music shops with a teaching school attached were the most reliable source. But they are going to want something for the rental time, plus the only time available is when kids are not being taught. At least the instruments are usually better than some random street piano.


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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2952410 02/28/20 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruth CM
boy would it be great to play on an acoustic piano sometimes for recordings,

Not what you ask for, but if you would like to make good recordings, the other route you can take is to go more digital, not less. For instance, I play from a cheap DP, but I get lovely sounds with Pianoteq, and everything I play is automatically saved. Then with iMovie I connect the digitally recorded sounds with the video, so you don't hear my pianostool squeak or my husband saying something to me in the background.


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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2952422 02/28/20 04:18 AM
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what about here. Or perhaps there are other practice studios in your area.

Or perhaps you could join a cheap class at a local college which will give you access to their practice rooms


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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2952538 02/28/20 11:55 AM
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I tried to find the same for when I travel.. There are a few places which will rent you piano playing time - but I found them too expensive ($25+ per hour or so). It is not reasonable to spend this much on a regular basis. If you just want it for occasional recordings, places like what earlofmar mentioned are available. If you call a few recording studios in your area, they can also give you pointers as to where there are recording places with an acoustic piano.

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Last edited by Osho; 02/28/20 11:55 AM.

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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2952781 02/28/20 11:49 PM
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I’ve often had good luck with churches. I always couple my request with an offer to contribute to their music fund. And if you’re going to establish a continuing relationship, it should work even better, as you can coordinate times that don’t interfere with their activities.

Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2952847 02/29/20 09:06 AM
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I have 4 locations to go to all involve some kind of payment:
1. A vintage piano store with an upright and a grand piano in the basement. The recording is less than ideal since the water pipes run in the back which make noise occasionally.
2. A community center. The pianos are only free for students who take lessons there and first come first serve. Everybody else pay by the hour.
3. A performance studio. They rent space for local performers with a reasonable quality Yamaha C3 type grand piano in the auditorium.
4. The basement at the Royal Conservatory for students only. It is pay by the hour.

I used to know a man who inherited a second-hand piano living nearby. I can never practice in his apartment because he is a hoarder. The living space is full of stuff that you can't walk through. The only chair in the room you can sit is the piano bench. The room with the piano is a junkyard.

When I'm out of the country, it's harder to find acoustic pianos so I would spend a good half-hour, once a week in a store that sells keyboards playing pieces with the headphones plugged. In some cases, I'm lucky enough to find a street piano that is reasonably in tune.

Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2953442 03/02/20 02:10 AM
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Thank you so much to everyone that responded! There were some creative ideas here, community centers, churches, colleges. In general it sounds like it's a lot tougher than it used to be to access a reliable acoustic in a private setting for a reasonable amount. I didn't feel like it was this way growing up but looks like times have changed. I'm going to give some of these ideas a try. Thanks all again!

Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2954123 03/04/20 10:27 AM
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Another idea would be to buy an acoustic piano and while your toddler is in Dr. Destructo mode place it in a room with a locking door. Many acoustic pianos also come with a locking fallboard. You can keep your acoustic piano safe until your kid is over the “everything s/he touches turns to broken pieces stage”. Although with my brother he didn’t leave that stage until fifteen. wink


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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2954629 03/05/20 10:17 PM
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Acoustic pianos are dying out because of size, weight and maintenance at the same time digital keyboards are get better and better as well as smaller and more portable. Check some of the really good 88-key MIDI controllers the keyboards are so close to an acoustic piano then use a computer or iPad with a virtual piano app. Todays sampled and modeled piano libraries offer you details and adjustment to the sound that even an lone acoustic won't.

Personally I have a real good digital piano and an old Wurlitzer upright piano I prefer playing my digital over the Wurlitzer. The Wurly is fun now and them, but the digital has about 40 different acoustic pianos and I can tweak their settings to bring out whatever aspect of the piano's sound I want.

It's 2020 and it's digital world unless you're Yuja Wang or someone in that league.

Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2954640 03/05/20 11:04 PM
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I don’t want to get into another digital vs acoustic war, but there are many of us here who are not in the Yuja Wang league but would not give up our acoustic pianos. The choice is very personal and no generalizations should be made —- by either group. Buy what you love and what you find fits YOU


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2954646 03/05/20 11:37 PM
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If an acoustic piano could speak, perhaps it would say "The report of my death was an exaggeration,” which is what Mark Twain said when it was rumored that he had died.


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Re: Access to acoustic piano
LarryK #2954664 03/06/20 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
If an acoustic piano could speak, perhaps it would say "The report of my death was an exaggeration,” which is what Mark Twain said when it was rumored that he had died.


wink

As an additional remark to the OP: I recently bought a new upright. My kids were 3 and 5 years old at that time. The 3 year old is a pretty active (destructive) boy, but he understood that the piano is ultraimportant to me, and managed to treat it respectfully (no scratches or so so far). He even likes to draw paintings of stop signs when other kids come to us, and puts those on the piano.
So, three years is probably a good age for getting a new piano.


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Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2954670 03/06/20 04:14 AM
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If you home can accommodate an acoustic piano, there are people who are downsizing and would be happy to give away the acoustic (usually upright) at home for free. In a local buy & sell listing online I see people giving pianos away. You just get a mover to your place and a technician to tune the instrument afterwards.

2 years ago I met a man who acquired an acoustic piano from a lady moving out of town. She hasn't played for years and decided to give it away for free. The man who took the piano lives in a small rental apartment. He found a way to move the piano into the small unit. Even practicing at night his neighbor don't mind listening to his music.

Re: Access to acoustic piano
Ruth CM #2955285 03/08/20 03:12 AM
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Thanks again to everyone for the latest round of comments. Again, some great suggestions: it would be ideal to have room for both an acoustic and a digital piano. We do not at the moment but I've also always thought that the next acoustic piano I get would be a used as there are potentially some rare gems out there from people that have bought one and found that they didn't want to commit to the instrument.
Also good to know that there are pianos with a locking fallboard. I could definitely be better with being more consistent with rules for my toddler (currently a year and a half) in touching the piano, but when he wants to be lifted up to play it warms my heart, and the brief daydreams of him also falling in love with the instrument come crashing to a halt when he starts climbing up on the keys...
I personally do prefer an acoustic (although my digital piano is a lot better than some acoustics out there!) and will probably reevaluate every couple years as to whether it would be something we could afford and fit into our lives

Re: Access to acoustic piano
earlofmar #2955317 03/08/20 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
what about here. Or perhaps there are other practice studios in your area.

Or perhaps you could join a cheap class at a local college which will give you access to their practice rooms


And they generally do not post guards around the practice rooms.


"Motivation is simple, you eliminate anyone who isn't motivated." - Lou Holtz.
Re: Access to acoustic piano
tbonesays #2955602 03/09/20 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by tbonesays
Originally Posted by earlofmar
what about here. Or perhaps there are other practice studios in your area.

Or perhaps you could join a cheap class at a local college which will give you access to their practice rooms


And they generally do not post guards around the practice rooms.


This made me laugh. I am unfortunately such a rules follower I'd probably be spooked while practicing smile!


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