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Topic Options
#1935065 - 07/31/12 12:20 AM This is depressing
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA


Read story here.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935115 - 07/31/12 03:48 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
I don't find that depressing. I find it depressing to watch a kid unable to learn or practice because their piano needs to be dumped and replaced but the parents won't accept it, or can't afford to do anything. It's depressing to watch a poor family fork out to have a free piano-like carcass delivered up the stairs to their 6th floor flat, and for them not to be able to afford to have a tuner come and declare the piano dead.

That's depressing.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1935178 - 07/31/12 08:01 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
To me, it's not an either/or situation, but both!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935195 - 07/31/12 09:31 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
We are all passing through this life. People. And our pianos.

If it's an old piano that has been well loved and played, then it lived a full life. Parting is sad, but not depressing.

Under the topic of sad piano stories: My mother told me her dad obtained a used grand piano when she was a girl. But after a while they noticed the floor was sagging a bit under the weight. So her brothers moved the piano out to a barn. And they were all surprised to find it soon was destroyed under these conditions. frown
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1935216 - 07/31/12 10:41 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
If it's an old piano that has been well loved and played, then it lived a full life. Parting is sad, but not depressing.

It seems the English I learned in the "old days" is different than the English they are teaching today.

Quote:
depressing = /dɪˈprɛs/ Show Spelled[dih-pres] Show IPA. verb (used with object). 1. to make sad or gloomy; lower in spirits; deject; dispirit. 2. to lower in force, vigor, activity,....
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935249 - 07/31/12 11:51 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
BinghamtonPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 91
Loc: New York
Quote:
nit·pick (ntpk)
intr.v. nit·picked, nit·pick·ing, nit·picks
To be concerned with or find fault with insignificant details.

LOL!
_________________________
Piano lessons in Binghamton, Vestal, Endicott, and other areas of upstate NY. Specializing in homeschool piano lessons.
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White Rabbit - 60's, 70's & 80's classic rock, southern rock and blues rock band - Binghamton, NY.
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#1935257 - 07/31/12 12:05 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
On the one hand we have pianos that might still be decent being dumped because the "have" owners don't want them anymore. On the other hand we have the poor families described by Ten Left Thumbs who need a decent piano but can't afford one. The image of waste and destruction by the affluent who have more than they need, juxtaposed by need and inaccessibility because of poverty, is disturbing and it goes beyond pianos. The destruction of a functioning musical instrument is sad. The society side is also sad.

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#1935274 - 07/31/12 12:21 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: BinghamtonPiano]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: BinghamtonPiano
Quote:
nit·pick (ntpk)
intr.v. nit·picked, nit·pick·ing, nit·picks
To be concerned with or find fault with insignificant details.

LOL!

Uh, if you find this topic insignificant - the decline of pianos, players and teachers, perhaps you're in the wrong vocation. Nothing to laugh about.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935305 - 07/31/12 01:11 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
If it's an old piano that has been well loved and played, then it lived a full life. Parting is sad, but not depressing.

It seems the English I learned in the "old days" is different than the English they are teaching today.

Quote:
depressing = /dɪˈprɛs/ Show Spelled[dih-pres] Show IPA. verb (used with object). 1. to make sad or gloomy; lower in spirits; deject; dispirit. 2. to lower in force, vigor, activity,....


You've given me the opportunity to use my English Oxford Dictionary:
sad: unhappy
depressed: a. dispirited or miserable. b. suffering from depression

I see a difference in the degree of feeling. If I find something disappointing, I may feel sad. If I find something depressing, maybe I can't get out of bed because it's not worth the effort.

Edit: Your use of the word "depressing" is fine, although different from how I use the word. I apologize for sounding as though I was correcting your use of the word depressing. I was just giving my impression of the piano story off the top of my head.


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (07/31/12 01:17 PM)
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1935343 - 07/31/12 02:00 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Ann, being older, I've watched/experienced the decline of musical arts, in the USA in particular, in a big way. Not just piano playing. The arts aren't the only area of American life where the "old way" has been supplanted through progress, or at least in the name of progress. If you want to be technical, no, it doesn't rise to the definition of clinical depression, but sad seems a bit superficial and understated. There must be a better word. I need a larger vocabulary!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935355 - 07/31/12 02:09 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Hmm...

One member expresses a feeling, a visceral response to seeing old pianos discarded, chopped up, burnt, destroyed.

Then several people come in and ANALYZE those feelings.

That seems like a strange response. frown

I have two thoughts, opposite:

1) I have had to play on pianos that I WISHED would be burnt, and frankly now and then some of my students are playing on them, at home - right now.

2) My home was destroyed in a terrible fire, including my grand, which was cinder. I gave up playing for about five years after that.

So that was not a happy picture for me either, John.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1935370 - 07/31/12 02:27 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1523
Loc: Danville, California
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Ann, being older, I've watched/experienced the decline of musical arts, in the USA in particular, in a big way. Not just piano playing. The arts aren't the only area of American life where the "old way" has been supplanted through progress, or at least in the name of progress. If you want to be technical, no, it doesn't rise to the definition of clinical depression, but sad seems a bit superficial and understated. There must be a better word. I need a larger vocabulary!


"Dismayed" perhaps?

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#1935392 - 07/31/12 03:35 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: Furtwangler]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
I find it depressing that there is more discussion about the mearning of "depression" than anything else. laugh
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Piano Teacher

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#1935428 - 07/31/12 05:25 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: Gary D.]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Hmm...

One member expresses a feeling, a visceral response to seeing old pianos discarded, chopped up, burnt, destroyed.

Then several people come in and ANALYZE those feelings.


John simply said "This is depressing". And a couple of us said we didn't find it all that depressing. And then we explored what we mean by the word depressing. We did not analyze the OP's feelings. We expressed our own feelings which happened to differ from John's.

I'm just saying pianos have a lifespan. Yet I admit that we'd probably feel better if we put them in an individual grave with a headstone labeling their make, model, serial number and "the beloved piano of the John Smith family".


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (07/31/12 05:30 PM)
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1935433 - 07/31/12 05:38 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Ann, being older, I've watched/experienced the decline of musical arts, in the USA in particular, in a big way. Not just piano playing. The arts aren't the only area of American life where the "old way" has been supplanted through progress, or at least in the name of progress. If you want to be technical, no, it doesn't rise to the definition of clinical depression, but sad seems a bit superficial and understated. There must be a better word. I need a larger vocabulary!


I was not accepting the discarding of pianos as proof of decline of the arts. I was not being "technical". No one would have taken no offense if I'd written "IMO" after stating my opinion. I'll try to remember it next time.

I was born in 1962. There was little public school arts education then (in my educational experience) and that continues today IMO. But I can afford a better piano than my parents could. And teaching has greatly improved since the 60's and 70's IMO.


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (07/31/12 05:42 PM)
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

Top
#1935442 - 07/31/12 06:13 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 470
I do think it is sad, but I did see a resource for free piano adoptions. I looked in my area and it might be feasible (it is still a cost to have one inspected, delivered, repaired and tuned) when the time comes.

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#1935491 - 07/31/12 08:49 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
I was not accepting the discarding of pianos as proof of decline of the arts. I was not being "technical". No one would have taken no offense if I'd written "IMO" after stating my opinion. I'll try to remember it next time.

Ann, you're correct, it's not proof, it's just another nail in the coffin. And, FWIW, I didn't take offense at your statement and those of others. I simply was amazed that there are piano teachers who are not as emotionally invested in their instruments as I apparently am. I studied violin all through high school, and have similar feelings about that instrument. There are, however, some instruments in the brass and woodwind families which I would volunteer to run the crushing machine!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935498 - 07/31/12 09:02 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
BinghamtonPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 91
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: BinghamtonPiano
Quote:
nit·pick (ntpk)
intr.v. nit·picked, nit·pick·ing, nit·picks
To be concerned with or find fault with insignificant details.

LOL!

Uh, if you find this topic insignificant - the decline of pianos, players and teachers, perhaps you're in the wrong vocation. Nothing to laugh about.

No, John, it was your correction of Ann's choice of words that I found nitpicky.
I take my teaching very seriously, and I resent your insinuation that I am "in the wrong vocation". I realize not everyone can be as perfect as you, but if that means becoming a pompous, arrogant windbag, then I'll pass.
Thanks.
_________________________
Piano lessons in Binghamton, Vestal, Endicott, and other areas of upstate NY. Specializing in homeschool piano lessons.
www.binghamtonpianolessons.com
Member: MTNA, NYSMTA

White Rabbit - 60's, 70's & 80's classic rock, southern rock and blues rock band - Binghamton, NY.
www.thewhiterabbitband.com

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#1935591 - 08/01/12 12:46 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: BinghamtonPiano]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: BinghamtonPiano
No, John, it was your correction of Ann's choice of words that I found nitpicky.

I would help if you'd said so. Correct word usage is important in written communications, otherwise misunderstandings develop.

Originally Posted By: BinghamtonPiano
I take my teaching very seriously, and I resent your insinuation that I am "in the wrong vocation". I realize not everyone can be as perfect as you, but if that means becoming a pompous, arrogant windbag, then I'll pass.

I'll work on being more succinct; can you work on not taking people's comments out of context?
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935631 - 08/01/12 03:47 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
I simply was amazed that there are piano teachers who are not as emotionally invested in their instruments as I apparently am.


Really? Don't get me wrong, I am emotionally invested in pianos. I don't like to see them die, but I do realise, like any piece of machinery (and that's what it is, not like a violin), there will come a point where is it makes more economic sense to replace than to repair. I don't like it, but I've seen too many kids suffer on pianos that need to be chucked...

My tuner told the story a guy he used to work for, in rural Yorkshire, used to pay customers £20 for an ex-piano. Why? Where he worked, travel to a new customer was a significant cost. So he would be called out to some farmhouse in the sticks, to find some ruined old rusty thing with loose pins and a broken sound board. He would tell the customer the piano was beyond repair and leave. No work, no fee. Six months later, he would be called out to anther farmhouse out in the sticks, to find, guess what? the same rusty old thing.

So after a while, he worked out that no one was listening when he told them the piano was worthless, they were selling it on to neighbours. Then he decided he would just say, "look it's not a good piano, it will take a lot to repair, and I'll need it in my workshop. I'll give you £20 for it". Then he would load it onto his van, take it home and use it for firewood. Apparently, they burn well.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1935721 - 08/01/12 09:15 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
As a full time piano technician since I was 18, I've talked to a lot of pianists and piano teachers over the years. I remember reading an article, I don't know exactly when but, I think, it was written by the music teachers association or something like that around 1970 or so...? They had done some research on what was the number one cause of students that quit taking piano lessons and why. The answer, was out of sheer frustration of having to play on a piece of junk for an instrument.

You can not begin to imagine how many times while tuning in a school and elsewhere, that I have been approached by a child at varying ages that said "I sure wish my piano played like this one does" or " my piano doesn't play like my piano teachers piano." If I inquired further, I almost always found out that keys weren't working at all, or they were sticking, the touch was inconsistent, the piano was never tuned etc. These same kids just wanted to quit because they were expected to do many things on this piano that would not allow them to do it. Can I blame them for quitting? Not one bit.

Probably well over 95 % of the time, their parents did not play the piano themselves. If the parents were forced to play on this piano, they would not put up with it playing that way but for some reason, so many of them have this mentality that a piano with 5 broken keys and a mirade of sticking ones that is 1 full tone flat, is still good enough for their kid to learn on. Then they wonder why they hate lessons so much and want to quit?

By the same token, if I tell them that I can fix this piano up "to the point where it will be an enjoyable instrument to learn on for a reasonable amount of money, they still don't want to fix it or tune it. That frustrates the heck out me and the piano teachers that I have talked with about that sort of mentaility. They don't like it either. But, what can we do? Try and educate them.

We all tire of the excuses we hear. "Well, it is good enough for them to take lessons on." Actually, no, it is not. Or, the grownup that says, that's all I had to learn on too but, I managed and so they think it's okay for everyone else to play on the same thing just because "they did it." And, somehow, they managed to succeed. Well, most people will not manage to succeed and do not succeed with something that is not worthy of being played on in its current condition.

A reality check needs to take place. Rip off a few computer keys and see how much fun it is to type. Scribble black magic marker inside of a book and try to read it. Tear out some pages and read it, see how much enjoyment that same person will get out of it then and how long they will read or use that keyboard before tossing it into the trash....

As a professional tech, I hear this weekly. I read it in here somewhere constantly. A Craig's list buy "is this good enough for my child to learn on."

Maybe a better question might be: Is it good enough for a piano teacher to teach on? If the answer is yes then, it might be good enough for the kid to take lessons on. Otherwise, please find something that everyone will enjoy playing on and listening too. It is possible to find something "reasonable" to start out on if one has patience enough to look before leaping.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1935807 - 08/01/12 12:22 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
Don't bother trying to educate the parents. They think if they chipped in $3,000 to buy a used upright, they've done their job. Some of my students play on absolute clunkers at home. When I recommend my technician to do a regulation service (about $250), they found somebody "cheaper" who could do it at $90. Now their piano smells like baby powder.

It's like getting a car serviced every couple thousand miles. Some people don't do it. They just keep driving the car until it breaks. Or, some people will take their car to the cheapest mechanics they can find and hope for the best.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1935822 - 08/01/12 12:50 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1523
Loc: Danville, California
Would you try to teach a kid to drive in a car that wouldn't start and the brakes didn't work?

Seems kinda common sensical to me.

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#1935893 - 08/01/12 03:22 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
Pianos will die, like anything.
But we should give them some dignity and a better place to rest.

Rest In Peace






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#1935901 - 08/01/12 03:41 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 851
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
There are, however, some instruments in the brass and woodwind families which I would volunteer to run the crushing machine!


Excuse me, I have to go hide my recorders from John. BRB.

Kurt

add. Baroque woodwinds and early brass are lovely to listen to at a=415 and just intonation. It's the "modern" desire for volume and brightness along with the compromise of equal temperament that have ruined it. My father was right, nothing ever gets better.


Edited by KurtZ (08/01/12 03:57 PM)
_________________________
I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#1935958 - 08/01/12 05:44 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: KurtZ]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I love those wood flutes. Who doesn't?

PS I love those licorice sticks, bedposts and sapsuckers. Now what does that leave?


Edited by John v.d.Brook (08/01/12 05:48 PM)
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935974 - 08/01/12 06:02 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
The Monkeys -- is that last photo in Toronto? I'm looking forward to playing one of the painted pianos when I'm there for summer holidays.

http://www.canada.com/entertainment/all/...2533/story.html

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#1935997 - 08/01/12 07:07 PM Re: This is depressing [Re: LadyChen]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 422
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: LadyChen
The Monkeys -- is that last photo in Toronto? I'm looking forward to playing one of the painted pianos when I'm there for summer holidays.

http://www.canada.com/entertainment/all/...2533/story.html


I think it was in New York, a couple years ago.
http://www.roamingtales.com/2010/07/02/video-nyc-pianos/

I hope you find one in Toronto and enjoy it.

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#1936232 - 08/02/12 08:05 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2206
Loc: Pennsylvania
One thought I have that might take away from the gloom of that video...

I have heard it said that one reason for the loss of piano stores and manufacturers is that there are so many old pianos out there that can be had for free. This supply of mostly junky pianos has frustrated students and teachers because a piece of junk is no fun and difficult to learn on.

Maybe, just maybe, if the junky pianos were removed from the mix maybe (I hope) we would have fewer discouraged students - and they and teachers, and dealers and manufacturers could all benefit..

Just a thought... smile
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
http://www.pianoorgandepot.com
Hammond Organ Technician
http://www.tonewheeltech.com


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#1938586 - 08/07/12 01:48 AM Re: This is depressing [Re: John v.d.Brook]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
To anyone who found the story John posted depressing or sad, I hope you noticed the followup: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/arts/m...artists.html?hp

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