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#1898593 - 05/17/12 11:15 AM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Julien McCann]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Julien,

You might try teaching piano. It probably would change your mind about what young students are, in fact, able to appreciate. Please give them credit, even if not to yourself.

Why are so many so cynical about all of this? What on earth is wrong with the piano industry building and selling their products?

My head spins in disbelief!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1898622 - 05/17/12 12:14 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Rafterman]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1269
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Any of the deluded that believes that a grand only contributes as an ego booster, needs a reality check and only shows gross ignorance. As a kid I was lucky enough to have two pianos, an upright and a grand. I can assure anyone that the difference was night and day. I loved having the upright to practice on in my bedroom, but when it came time to play the pieces and actually enjoy the music making and be engulfed in sound there is no substitute for a grand. You have such a larger range of dynamics in general.I knew it at the age of seven,it's not that hard to discern. In addition, the grand had a stiffer action and better prepared me for contests which were always played on grands. I logged lots of hours on upright Steinways in college, and never did I ever think that what I really need when I graduate is an upright. Needless to say all of the piano faculty owned grands, none smaller than 7'. There must be a reason....and I don't think that it's ego!

After college, little grands grew into big grands and that's another story.

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#1898663 - 05/17/12 01:39 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Rafterman]
Julien McCann Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Quebec, Canada
Come on generally speaking, students won't see an improvement in their game while practicing on a grand. Difference is slight to most of them and reason why they have the chance to do so is because they or their parents can afford it. I've been practicing on uprights, grands, and competing on concert grands and i never had to 'adjust' from a piano to another, it happens naturally of course and same is true from one grand to another. Uprights better fit domestic use and grands are designed for large room and concert hall projection, if you have the liberty to fit one in your living room fine, but it's not mandatory to become a skilled pianist that's all.
_________________________
Piano tuning is much like life itself ; an endless lesson in humility

Supply Chain Manager in the hydraulic field
Beginner piano tech and pianist

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#1898713 - 05/17/12 03:04 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Julien McCann]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Quote:
Come on generally speaking, students won't see an improvement in their game while practicing on a grand.


Sez Who? - If a student doesn't see any improvement on any keyboard instrument, why are they practicing?

Quote:
Uprights better fit domestic use


Sez Who? - Yes, an upright piano goes well with an upright vaccuum cleaner. I also believe in harmony in the domestic environment.

Quote:
grands are designed for large room and concert hall projection


Sez Who? - Why do piano builders continue to build small and mid-size grands? Maybe so they can "project" into an appropriate environment?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1898800 - 05/17/12 05:45 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: John Pels]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1521
Originally Posted By: John Pels
Needless to say all of the piano faculty owned grands, none smaller than 7'. There must be a reason....and I don't think that it's ego!


There is a common thing among people who make money from teaching piano, they always want to have a grand piano. If possible, it should be a Steinway. It is such an embarrassing thing for these people if they do not have a grand. I am not saying grand is not good, it is good, but it is not necessary at all. Rafal Blechaz, Lang Lang, etc did not have a grand. The musicality is not from what piano you practice on.

I have a friend who has the ugliest white out of tuned pearl river piano. It is hard for me to play on that piano, but he can make that piano sings. In addition, he always placed in the top three of amateur competitions that he entered.

It is just totally feel good thing for those who never play on a grand piano. Your mom was good in making her students feel good. It is a good skill to have as a teacher.

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#1898815 - 05/17/12 06:30 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
lisztchopin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 16
Loc: UK
yes i agree wholly there is a snobbery still pervading even in this forum with some alluding that a grand is a massive step up in pianism but i have played on grands and uprights there is a difference but not one that would seriously dampen real talent

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4wsh9oO0Lw

this is just one example of a fine pianist on an upright i think a lot of rich people buy their 'little molly' or whoever a black steinway grand just to adorn the drawing room amongst objets d'art to show how 'cultured' we are! it is proclaimed to all that molly is a budding musician [when she can play chopsticks] and we are endeavouring to cater for her special skills as a child prodigy no doubt the same piano will in a year be covered in dust and out of tune and a considerable depreciation has taken place

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#1898820 - 05/17/12 06:37 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Rafterman]
acortot Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 503
Loc: Italy
when they can afford it
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

Max DiMario

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#1899115 - 05/18/12 09:34 AM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Larry B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 377
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
The musicality is not from what piano you practice on.


Absolutely...I'd rather have a good upright than a poor grand. It may be true that the best grands will be better (i.e. more expressive, more dynamic, more finely controllable, better sound) than the best uprights. But in the real world, I've played uprights that are much better than some grands I've played (and owned).

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#1899144 - 05/18/12 10:32 AM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Rafterman]
re22 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 147
Hi!

I'd thought I'd share my experience as a student and a teacher.

My parents purchased me a weighted digital much to my teachers disapproval. They were concerned my interest wouldn't hold as I was in middle school when I first displayed interest in an instrument.

After just a few months I out grew that piano and they purchased me a very nice Schafer & Sons 48" Upright. I had that for less than 2 years when I informed my parents/teacher that the piano could not respond quickly enough for one of my CM songs; C.P.E. Bachs Solfeggietto.

My parents hired a piano broker and along with my piano teacher we went out and tried over 50+ pianos from uprights to concert grands. I fell in love with a few uprights/grands but there were already sold or out of our budget.

The last piano I tried was the "one" It ended up being a 1920ish Conover Model 77 5'11 Grand. In responded so quickly when I played and the sound was tremendous! The base is superb compared to many 6-8' foot grands I've tried.

Fast forward to now. Its been 10 years and my young students along with myself have worn out the action completely so I am on the hunt for a new grand. This time over 6' with a not so old action!

As for my students moving from their own upright to a grand I try to factor in these 3 things:

PRICE
Sometimes a better upright is the way to go. Many families that come to me could only afford a good upright. There are many uprights that could out perform an "ok" grands action thus a much bigger price tag on a great grand piano.

DEDICATION/REWARD
If I'm going to suggest to a parent that it is time for an upgrade/reward it will be because the child deserves it they've made great progress, hard worker, devoted, talented, etc)

IF IT AIN'T BROKE...
Is the child complaining about not being able to do the same things at home as they can do on my piano? I check with my students and ask them how was practicing _____ at home. If they had any issues. Some students come right out and tell me they can't do ____ because the piano wont respond fast enough, etc.

I hope this helped answer your question!

heart


Edited by re22 (05/18/12 11:06 AM)
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Private Piano Teacher

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#1899147 - 05/18/12 10:43 AM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: re22]
Julien McCann Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: re22
Some students come right out and tell me they can't do XXX at home.

whistle...... wink
_________________________
Piano tuning is much like life itself ; an endless lesson in humility

Supply Chain Manager in the hydraulic field
Beginner piano tech and pianist

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#1899156 - 05/18/12 11:05 AM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Julien McCann]
re22 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 147
Originally Posted By: Julien McCann
Originally Posted By: re22
Some students come right out and tell me they can't do XXX at home.

whistle...... wink


blush
Sorry I realize that sounds like something else now! Eeeek!

Fixed lol


Edited by re22 (05/18/12 11:07 AM)
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Private Piano Teacher

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#1899295 - 05/18/12 02:58 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: re22]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1521
Originally Posted By: re22
If they had any issues. Some students come right out and tell me they can't do ____ because the piano wont respond fast enough, etc.

I hope this helped answer your question!

heart


What did they play? Islamey? Even Islamey can be played on an upright if one has fast fingers.

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#1899358 - 05/18/12 04:46 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
re22 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 147
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: re22
If they had any issues. Some students come right out and tell me they can't do ____ because the piano wont respond fast enough, etc.

I hope this helped answer your question!

heart


What did they play? Islamey? Even Islamey can be played on an upright if one has fast fingers.


Hi my post is not meant for 1 song in particular just issues in general. Such as double strikes, the piano keys don't respond fast enough, impossible to play pianissimo on, etc

Its not a shot at uprights (which I love!) I'm referring to a students current piano might not be up to par with their playing skills.

Know what I mean? smile
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Private Piano Teacher

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#1899429 - 05/18/12 06:20 PM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Rafterman]
KarelG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 147
Loc: Czech Republic
I've just started playing/learning few month ago and already moved to combination of grand/upright. My teacher even supports this and "my" grand is 1934 AF model IV borrowed from my piano technician. It does have its own set of issues, but I still very much like playing it. This deep bass in comparison with my wife's AF upright! Also this action, although showing its age is very nice -- at least on keys where it works as it should. :-) Some of the keys are a little bit sticky, but otherwise I have much more pleasure from playing this instrument over my wife's upright (small). Also even as a complete beginner if you ask me where I'm better able to control at least some dynamics, I'll reply immediately that on the grand of course! Well, since my teacher insists on my training on both pianos I usually start on upright and then move during the day to grand for reward (side node: I'm trying to train over hour per day divided into 15-30 minutes blocks). Also it's better to be a little bit trained on the particular piece as the grand produce more sound to disturb neighbors than small upright.
So well back to your questions, my teacher does not recommend purchasing this particular grand (because of the action age) but agreed on lending it and insists on training on both pianos to have me more adjustable to the particular piano. Teacher himself does have petrof upright so I'm playing on three and I think it's really good experience and I'm glad for it.
_________________________
November 2011: piano entered into my life.

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#1904257 - 05/28/12 05:08 AM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Rafterman]
akita Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 55
Interesting thread. I think I was about 8-9 years into studying piano playing when the topic came up (I was either in jr. high or high school. can't remember). at the time I was using Yamaha U3 at home, but my teacher had larger grands that I had access to if I needed it. the main issue was regarding my ability to control the dynamic range of the piece, and fatigue when playing LOOOONG pieces on larger grands. ppp and fff became more and more difficult with playing the upright. Part of the issue was because the action on my U3 was bit too light and was harder to control the dynamics, and also when I played a larger grand, I started to fatigue due to lack of finger strength/endurance, and had trouble towards the end of the piece to play well.

Our family didn't have the space nor the $$ for a grand, so my parents had the piano tech do something on the U3 to mimic more of the long hammer/key "throw weight" (I don't know the technical terms for this.. sorry) of the larger grands. I have no clue what the technician did. All I know that the action became heavier, which allwed me to build my stamina and strength, as well as give more control with the ppp.

Once I got the strength in my fingers (so it won't collapse when I use my weight to get the fff and sf) and ability to move fast with the heavier action, it became less of an issue when I moved back/forth between the upright and the grand.

In fact, once I mastered the slower upright actions, playing the grand well became easier, and truly a joy to play the nice grands. If you can play a fast repeat well on the upright, then when you move to play the grand it just played better, and you can concentrate on the expressions, beyond just playing the notes.

So it was always a pleasure to play on a grand (and I drooled over the semi-concert Yamaha grand my teacher had.. it had ivory keys, and I LOVED it. sweat slippage was a major problem with our upright that had the typical laquered key surface), but for practicing, it wasn't much of an issue that I had an upright. But usually few weeks before a competition/concour, my teacher would ask me to play on her piano more often leading up to the event (she had a steinway grand and a yamaha semi-concert) so I will learn to take advantage of the full range of the grand's faster action. So for me, I just needed the "final polish" on the grand, but everything leading up to it was on the upright, and it was fine.

I also had a friend, who was far more advanced pianist than me (same age), and she had a console at her house that she practiced on as long as she had been taking lessons. And she was a phenomenal pianist, with a scholarship to a well-known conservatory. Since she was such a great pianist, I assumed she had some awesome piano at home. but nope. Imagine my shock to find out that she was on a dinky little console, not even a studio!!! (she did do what I did, which is to start using the grand pianos at the conservatory leading up to an event). That sort of told me it's not the piano that makes a pianist, but the technique learned and the diligence of learning the correct keyboard attack methodologies (my teacher called it "attack". not sure if that is the conventional term used to describe how you actually depress the keys to get different tonal qualities of a note) were more important.

That and the passion to play, of course... :-)

and those techniques learned on an upright easily transfers between different pianos. And if anything, if you are able to control the tone on a "lesser" piano, playing on a better piano was a true joy, and allowed me to express better.

If I had kept the piano study much longer, I may have needed to move to grand piano for daily use. But it wasn't like I was vying to becoming a concert pianist, and once I went to college, just couldn't keep it up. soooo...

So in my mind, being able to practice on a grand on a daily basis is very nice, but not an absolute necessity, as long as you have some access to a grand somewhere (school, teacher, church, etc), if you're a very serious, advanced player. If you can afford it, it's great and ideal and you're lucky pianost! but not having one at home, I don't think it's that horrible of a penalty, like it would with you trying to do the same with a digital (digital, there's definitely a ceiling you will hit before it will start to hinder your progress.. and that level is at around advance beginner or beginning intermediate skill level).

Perhaps at some truly, far advanced level that I never achieved, you need a grand piano to excel. But since I never got there, I don't know if such requirement/need exists.. again, as long as you have some access to a grand to fine tune your performance.

Just a single perspective of a "once long ago a pretty serious student". not sure if it helps.

PS. this doesn't mean that I don't want one, and for those who can afford it, by all means they should get one, and I envy them.. I would LOVE to have a 6ft grand. just not able to due to space, and finance consideration smile In the mean time I'm happy with my K8 3hearts and to upgrade from that, it will have to be a very very nice grand, I think.. very much out of my price range (and will have to either remodel the house, or buy and move to another one!)


Edited by akita (05/29/12 02:57 AM)

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#1904321 - 05/28/12 09:30 AM Re: When do students commonly switch from an upright to a Grand? [Re: Rafterman]
oivavoi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 48
Loc: Norway
Hi, Interesting thread! Just thought I should add my own thoughts. From my experience, a grand is seldom needed in order to improve as a player. Most of us can do our practice on an upright, and there will still be lots of room for improvement. I would rather say that an upright vs. a grand is about the playing experience and the feeling you get. Does playing on a grand feel that much better that I'm willing to spend a lot of money purchasing a grand? That's the question!

I grew up playing an upright. I just moved into an apartment where the upright unfortunately makes too much noise for the neighbors, so I had to sell the Steinway upright I inherited from my grandma (but it didn't sound as good as you'd expect from a Steinway, actually). Now I'm in the process of purchasing a digital piano.

But I know one thing for sure: when I move to a house of my own, settle down etc, I'll for sure buy a grand. A good one. I've had the luck of playing on some really nice grands from time to time... and the feeling you get from that... just impossible to compare with playing on an upright. For me, playing is about expressing myself. On a nice grand, I can just lay down a jazzy chord, listen to it for a while, and then just add a small and simple melody. And: it sounds awsome. I feel at one with the instrument, I really don't need to do much in order to express something. The sound and the touch is there. I just have to carefully bring it out. On an upright... it's not the same. Laying down a chord can't sound beautiful in itself. I have to struggle and search much more to bring out the beauty.

But of course: for practice, for improving my technique, for just improving as a player, an upright or even a DP can function just fine. Going for the grand is a question of investing in musical beauty, imho. Not now, but in some years - most def.
_________________________
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