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#1258248 - 08/28/09 09:50 PM StudioPiano
abcdefg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 67
Loc: midwest
I might be buying a new piano for my studio. I currently have a Kawai baby grand. It has served me well.

How do you all teach your students to respect your piano and treat it with care? I know some of my students would love an upgrade and others wouldn't know the difference. I am mainly concerned about the young beginner that gets excited and wiggles a bit too much. They are not behaving badly, sometimes they just get so excited that they can't sit still.

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#1258255 - 08/28/09 10:01 PM Re: StudioPiano [Re: abcdefg]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 337
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Oh boy... I've had to make students take off their shoes, because they couldn't help swinging their legs and kicking my piano!

At the first lesson I always have a little talk with kids about my piano. I tell them about its age and its name, etc. I tell them that it was a very special gift from my parents when I had been playing the piano diligently for 10 years, and that it's the piano I will have for my entire life. (I think kids just don't understand that it's more than a toy, more than a piece of furniture. It's up to you to teach them what a special thing it is.) Then I tell them how important it is not to touch any part of it except the keys. I tell them how hard it is to keep clean, etc. Of course, I do this all with a lot of humor and a big smile on my face. Don't want them to be scared of it either!

Funny aside... Now, my piano is a 1925 Steinway. Once, I was giving the little speech to a new student... an 8 year-old girl. I led with the fact that the piano was a special gift from my parents for my 15th birthday when I had been practicing hard for 10 years. First thing out of the kid's mouth? "WOW, your piano doesn't look *THAT* old!" Gotta love the honesty of children. laugh When I told her the piano was already about 60 years old when I got it, she completely freaked out.
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method

#1258256 - 08/28/09 10:03 PM Re: StudioPiano [Re: abcdefg]
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6157
Loc: Down Under
Just not sitting still isn't going to damage your piano smile

Have some basic rules - clean hands, nothing on the piano except music (ie don't put your phone/watch/keys/(shudder)water bottle on the piano), no violence (banging lid, hitting keys). If I had my time over I would have been a bit more insistent on the washing hands, but even this caused no lasting damage to my beloved C3. I generally keep its cover on the tail half and fold back the lid - which is a good first defence if students were to look like dumping things on it. Just don't let anyone get away with anything and they'll learn. Having a bright shiny new piano is a good opportunity to tighten up your rules if you've become a little lax, too.
Du holde Kunst...

#1258279 - 08/28/09 10:46 PM Re: StudioPiano [Re: currawong]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
... OR, you could buy a 41-year-old former conservatory piano that already has cosmetic flaws... but it wouldn't have exactly the same level of "wow-factor" when you see it in the living room or studio. wink smile

On another note, my adjustable bench (not an especially pricey one at least) is a complete mess. A student accidentally ripped out one of the buttons, and recently, my cats clawed-up the leather. They are permanently banned from the studio now, but the damage is done! frown Well, I guess the bench kind of matches the piano now. *sigh*

abcdefg ~ Best of luck in your piano search! laugh I hope you find a great piano. How long have you had your Kawai?

Rachel J ~ I love your story! I once had a parent ask, at the first lesson after their interview, if "this was the same piano" I had the week before. ??? At the interview and in earlier e-mails I had explained that we'd just bought it a month prior... so I guess it's not just students who may be unaware of the permanence of these things, LOL. FWIW, the lid was down at the second meeting, so I guess it looked different to the parent. I thought it was funny, but didn't dare laugh out loud. She was really serious. shocked

currawong ~ Good rules! I do the same thing, but the rules just serve to maintain the "status quo" of my piano's appearance, and to minimize cleaning, what with all the kids who file through my studio each week. I wouldn't recognize a new nick or scratch (well, maybe I would by now, but I might not be absolutely certain). The most pristine-looking finish is under the folded-back lid, and it's a satin finish anyhow... but still, it sounds like it could be a shiny new piano. laugh
Private piano teacher in Lexington, Kentucky
Member MTNA, NGPT Board of Adjudicators

#1258291 - 08/28/09 11:08 PM Re: StudioPiano [Re: MsAdrienne]
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13837
Loc: Iowa City, IA
One thing that's rarely thought of is belt buckles. Get a boy the right height with a metal belt buckle on, and get ready for scratches on the wood in front of the keys. I knew a teacher who had a custom made plexiglass cover put across the front of the keyboard below the keys.

I wonder if you could do the same with the kind of plastic covers you put on iPhone screens - attach a long, thin strip of plastic to various parts of the piano and music desk to avoid scratches.

I also like matte finishes because they don't seem to show blemishes as much. (I'd get a matte finish on my car if I could!)
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#1258456 - 08/29/09 10:53 AM Re: StudioPiano [Re: Kreisler]
abcdefg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 67
Loc: midwest
MsAdrienne--you asked how long I have had my piano. About 17 years. I do still love my piano but it is beginning to make action noises and such. Plus I just got to play a couple of really nice Steinways. That makes it very tempting. So my husband says--you're not getting any younger if you are going to get a new piano you should do it now while you can enjoy it.

#1258477 - 08/29/09 11:34 AM Re: StudioPiano [Re: abcdefg]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
That's what my husband said too, abcdefg! And while you teach, you can use it as a tax deduction!

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians

#1258950 - 08/30/09 11:15 AM Re: StudioPiano [Re: Kreisler]
Knabe26 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 222
Loc: Northern California
Re: Kreisler's comment about scratches beneath the keys, I put a strip of plastic soft-cover book covering material on the wood and it really helps. It's like a satin-finish Contac paper, but easily removable. (I guess more like removable shelf liner.) It's the same material I use to cover my Henle editions. I first tried a small piece on an inconspicuous place for several months, then cut a large piece that covers the whole front under the keys. I've had it there a few years now, and it's not even noticeable except when sitting right at the piano.

Full-Time Private Piano Instructor


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