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#1845769 02/16/12 01:29 AM
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I have to say after shopping around in all these piano dealers in the NY area that the amount of talent and education in these dealers is simply stunning. I have attended Berklee College of Music for guitar and I also hold a degree in Music Composition from a noted conservatory in NY. I grew up in NYC and I have seen my fair share of talented players. (Both classical and jazz)

Although I can play professionally, my career has brought me down other lucrative roads. It has been a pleasure seeing the talent of a lot of the staff personnel at these stores. I always inquired about the education of the player/sales people.
I would go home and view their performances on different links. When I returned to the store I always felt humbled. I couldn't help thinking.....How does the store retain these fantastic educated musicians? Do they just love being around the piano that much? Hats off to you guys!

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Originally Posted by Rafterman
I have to say after shopping around in all these piano dealers in the NY area that the amount of talent and education in these dealers is simply stunning. I have attended Berklee College of Music for guitar and I also hold a degree in Music Composition from a noted conservatory in NY. I grew up in NYC and I have seen my fair share of talented players. (Both classical and jazz)

Although I can play professionally, my career has brought me down other lucrative roads. It has been a pleasure seeing the talent of a lot of the staff personnel at these stores. I always inquired about the education of the player/sales people.
I would go home and view their performances on different links. When I returned to the store I always felt humbled. I couldn't help thinking.....How does the store retain these fantastic educated musicians? Do they just love being around the piano that much? Hats off to you guys!


This subject has spurred my interest and intrigued me as well. One conclusion I draw from this is the fact that the field of music, in terms of paid performances, is very limited and only a very few elite and unusually gifted and talented musicians are able to make a living at it. In other words, in the music performance industry, being good is not always good enough. There are other factors involved like politics (who you know) and being at the right place at the right time.

Piano sales are usually a secondary path that many very talented and gifted pianists take as an alternative for actually making a living at it; as well as teaching piano.

Of course, my conclusions are not based on any scientific research, but just my own personal thoughts and opinions.

Rick


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I am honored to have many of the NY sales representatives from the major firms as friends. They, along with a few others working in other major dealerships, are the cream of the crop.

They are responsible for more in gross sales in a month than most sale representatives produce in a year.

They are generally consumate professionals.


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I want to post an addendum here in praise of Cunningham Piano Company's personnel. Rich and Tim are both pianists and singers. I think that it helps to sell pianos when the salesperson can play them for the customers. It certainly helps in comparing them.

It is also a great way for a pianist to make a living! Not everyone can make it on the stage, and there must be very few careers out there for pianists who want to use their music skills other than on the stage, in teaching, or in sales.

Incidentally, while I was not in the market for a Bosendorfer Imperial, it was wonderful to visit the one they had at Cunningham and hear Tim play pieces on it that actually used all the extra bass notes.

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funny topic, because I've encountered a lot of sales people that don't even play piano at all!


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Originally Posted by Rickster
in the music performance industry, being good is not always good enough.


Let's rephrase here: How about, "Being really really good us usually not enough"?

Like John (Rafterman), I left music when I was young (in my case, so that I could afford to eat more than once a day). I'm not sorry I did, but impending retirement will hopefully allow many of us to return to our musical dream, even if we'll never be be Chick Corea (if you play Yamaha), McCoy Tyner (if you play Steinway), Oscar Peterson (if you play Bosendorfer), or Bill Evans (if you have an old Chickering). John's piano(s) and mine are about to arrive in a few weeks. It's much like waiting for Santa Claus at age five.

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Originally Posted by kdr152004
funny topic, because I've encountered a lot of sales people that don't even play piano at all!

I honestly don’t think being a great pianist is a prerequisite for being a piano salesperson, although I’m sure it is helpful.

In fact, it still surprises me that Steve Cohen doesn’t play the piano. But, he has lots of charisma! smile

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Originally Posted by Rickster

In fact, it still surprises me that Steve Cohen doesn’t play the piano. But, he has lots of charisma! smile


...I think he trains his dogs to do that! What is the new puppy up to now, Alfred's book 2, Steve?

Seriously though, I have had overwhelmingly positive experiences with store owners and sales personnel. Of course, I come in having researched the crap out of what I'm going to see and play. On the other hand, I've overheard some rather ridiculous sales pitches given to walk-in customers who were first-time buyers or had little knowledge about pianos....and everything in between.

I think it's good to have someone on staff that plays, but I must say I'm occasionally nervous when auditioning a piano in front of someone that I know is a really good pianist (or, in some stores, a concert-caliber player).


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It is a fall back for a musician, I don't think anybody studies music for years with the intent of becoming a piano salesperson. Almost every piano salesperson I've met has been on this path the reasoning being "at least I'll still be involved with music".


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I think it's good to have someone on staff that plays, but I must say I'm occasionally nervous when auditioning a piano in front of someone that I know is a really good pianist (or, in some stores, a concert-caliber player).

Just wait until you’re outdone by a 10 year old in the piano store, with the salesperson and other customers watching. laugh

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Originally Posted by Rickster

Just wait until you’re outdone by a 10 year old in the piano store, with the salesperson and other customers watching. laugh


I don't have to wait for that! I know a seven year old that plays circles around me.


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I like to say to my customers...If an opera singer HAS to get a job, "the piano biz" sure does beat waiting tables and teaching lessons.

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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by Rickster

In fact, it still surprises me that Steve Cohen doesn’t play the piano. But, he has lots of charisma! smile


...I think he trains his dogs to do that! What is the new puppy up to now, Alfred's book 2, Steve?


No, he's on Bastien's Book 3. (Quick learner!)

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Originally Posted by Rafterman
How does the store retain these fantastic educated musicians?

What else are they going to do? Begin designing programmable logic or bridges, write microcode, teach calculus, manage multi-million dollar construction projects?


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I have seen people walk out while the new salesman was still playing (They were stopped by a more experienced salesman and closed on a better instrument.

There are those that can play but don't.

Then there was the salesman who had the highest sales figures who decided to learn to play. His sales figures went down when he included playing to his sales prospects. Couldn't make this stuff up. I'll bet there are lots more stories like this out there.


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When I've looked and shopped for a piano, most of my decision was based on what I heard and felt when I played each one. After I narrowed it down to one or two, I had the salesman (first 2 purchases) and the owner (this last purchase) play so I could focus on listening only and hear the sound from a different place than directly in front of the keyboard. Plus, since I'm studying classical, most of what I play when I'm trying out a piano is classical. I do want to have the salesperson play some jazz or "piano bar" type pieces so I can hear what they sound like on my perspective purchase.

I'm guessing a salesperson that can play well really helps those people looking to buy their first piano, or a piano for their children, who haven't yet advanced past a few simple pieces.

Besides, for piano performance majors who haven't yet hit the big time, selling pianos and playing for potential buyers sure beats working at Guitar Center. In fact, when I retire from my day job, I'd love to work at a piano dealer's showroom. I'd be happy just getting to dust all those beautiful instruments and after the store closes getting to sneak playing a piece on the Bosendorfer or the 7' Schimmel. Piano dreams are alive and well.


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Everyones' playing is so different and so many ways to play a piano. Take along a trusted colleague whose playing and judgement you respect and play for each other.


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Yes Gryphon what else are they supposed to do? It's a bad economy granted.Believe me some of those people graduated from institutes that are the equivalent of engineering to M.I.T.

Maybe they will program Logic or go on to run a firm. I did. I was just trying to compliment the talent and educational ability.

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