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#2002223 - 12/20/12 03:19 PM one opinion of an amateur piano judge
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1493
Last week, I had a discussion with a friend of mine who is going to join an amateur piano competition. She wanted to play Chopin Nocturne Op. 48 No.1. By the way, she and I have the same teacher. Originally, our teacher allowed her to play this pieces, however, two weeks later, he said "You should not use this piece for a competition". My friend was kind of not happy, after spending two weeks of her practicing time. Later, my teacher said "Do you want to know what the amateur piano competition judge said?"

This particular judge said "It was painful to listen to these amateur pianists, WE often needed to control ourselves so that we would not laugh during the performances". By the way, this particular judge took lesson from my teacher.

Do you agree with this judge opinion? I personally do not agree, most of the contestants played decently. Most were not outstanding, but very decent and not laughable. The top players were very good. I love to hear opinions of those who had listened to amateur piano competitions.

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#2002233 - 12/20/12 03:35 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Derulux Offline
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
I am very harsh and critical of people who say things like this, so I would very much like to hear that judge perform...
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#2002265 - 12/20/12 04:38 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 512
someone like this does not need to be judging. Why are they doing it anyway? Just for a power trip?

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#2002282 - 12/20/12 05:19 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Hakki Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2683
Of course I agree.

Sometimes I watch my 2010 Paris performance just to laugh.
LOL, it is still on my YouTube page.
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#2002302 - 12/20/12 05:51 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6114
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I don't think a judge should say anything like that. How did he play was he when he was their age?
Laughing at one's past performances is probably a different thing.
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#2002327 - 12/20/12 06:40 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13804
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
This particular judge said "It was painful to listen to these amateur pianists, WE often needed to control ourselves so that we would not laugh during the performances". By the way, this particular judge took lesson from my teacher.


Low-quality judge. Low-quality person.
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#2002329 - 12/20/12 06:44 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
pianoloverus Online   content
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I'd assume that someone judging a competition would have some idea of the general level of the participants and know what to expect. Maybe a few people got into the competition who shouldn't have or maybe there were simply no requirements or audition tape. Since the OP says nothing about the competition it's impossible to guess how well or poorly most of the participants played.

I've observed the IKIF master classes at Mannes for more than 10 summers and have seen a wide variety of ability levels(most of these pianists are not amateurs although a few are). I've only heard one performance out of several hundred that I personally might call laughable, and although the teacher was almost laughing at some points during the performance she was, to her credit, very kind and helpful to the pianist afterwards. So maybe more the usual number of these unqualified pianists(or pianists attempting pieces too far above their level) somehow got into the particular competition mentioned by the OP this past year.

Or maybe this particular judge is just rather nasty?

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#2002365 - 12/20/12 08:23 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
....Later, my teacher said "Do you want to know what the amateur piano competition judge said?"....

What judge? Someone from a particular known competition?

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I'd assume that someone judging a competition would have some idea of the general level of the participants and know what to expect....

Yes.

The amateur competitions have a wide range of levels of players, including some people who aren't very good. But to laugh at?? I think that's a very unusual reaction. I think the most common view is that the overall level is surprisingly high, although I think the occasional comments that they/we are "as good as professionals" is overblown except for just a very few of the contestants.

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#2002389 - 12/20/12 09:38 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 424
Loc: Bend, Or.
If that is this person/judge's opinion he should not be judging Amateur Competitions. Amateurs try their hearts out and are really putting it on the line just to be there. If nerves take over it can be dreadful....but NEVER does one laugh when someone is trying to do their best!
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#2002391 - 12/20/12 09:45 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 424
Loc: Bend, Or.
One more thought...the screening for these competitions needs to be intelligent and selective. I have witnessed a few people that made it into competitions that were not up to the level they should have been. It seems the Competitions really want/need the money and sometimes just take in every applicant, qualified or not.
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#2002667 - 12/21/12 01:14 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2683
I think there is a fundamental difference between my understanding of the OP's question and the rest of the replies.

Although OP asked about this judge's opinion, when I said I agreed, I was merely trying to say that these kind of things can happen in amateur competitions.

Quote:
This particular judge said "It was painful to listen to these amateur pianists, WE often needed to control ourselves so that we would not laugh during the performances".


Also, I took this sentence as a fact but not as the opinion of the judge. He was simply saying what has happened actually. There might be times that anybody can have a hard time to control him/herself. It is just spontaneous.

So, I think, comments like, "low person", "low judge" etc. are way too harsh and, irrelevant.

Lets face it. If you are someone who is accustomed to watching professional artistic ice skaters, you might have a hard time controlling yourself while watching amateur ice skaters who are falling here and there unexpectedly during their performances.
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#2002672 - 12/21/12 01:27 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Hakki]
Derulux Offline
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Hakki
I think there is a fundamental difference between my understanding of the OP's question and the rest of the replies.

Although OP asked about this judge's opinion, when I said I agreed, I was merely trying to say that these kind of things can happen in amateur competitions.

Quote:
This particular judge said "It was painful to listen to these amateur pianists, WE often needed to control ourselves so that we would not laugh during the performances".


Also, I took this sentence as a fact but not as the opinion of the judge. He was simply saying what has happened actually. There might be times that anybody can have a hard time to control him/herself. It is just spontaneous.

So, I think, comments like, "low person", "low judge" etc. are way too harsh and, irrelevant.

Lets face it. If you are someone who is accustomed to watching professional artistic ice skaters, you might have a hard time controlling yourself while watching amateur ice skaters who are falling here and there unexpectedly during their performances.

I never judged a piano or ice skating competition, but I did spend the last 15 years judging martial arts competitions. I've seen just about everything happen in the ring, but in 15 years, I never got the urge to laugh once. That person is out there trying their best. They deserve better than someone, especially a judge who is supposed to be professional, laughing at them.

That said, I agree with you that I have laughed at myself many times, but then, I have never been particularly kind to myself, either. wink
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2002690 - 12/21/12 01:55 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Derulux]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2683
Quote:
That person is out there trying their best. They deserve better than someone, especially a judge who is supposed to be professional, laughing at them.


And this. It is being stated continually. But lets remember that this is not a primary school prom. It is a competition. The competitor has a claim that he/she is better than others. Trying your best is not an excuse. You have to be prepared and compete accordingly. Otherwise do not enter the competition in the first place. Sorry but mercy is not a judge's priority.
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#2002710 - 12/21/12 02:32 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1493
My friend told my teacher that she is tired of girly pieces (sweet and slow pieces). She wants something bombastic. But my teacher wants to tell my friend that it is better to play pieces that we can handle, rather than playing difficult pieces that she will fall apart.

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#2002802 - 12/21/12 06:29 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7913
I think it ill-advised for your teacher to share this comment. People say all sorts of stuff that gets weirdly distorted when taken out of context. Who knows how the comment was meant, or if those were even the actual words said...I am doubtful.

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#2002881 - 12/21/12 11:09 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: wr]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: wr
I think it ill-advised for your teacher to share this comment. People say all sorts of stuff that gets weirdly distorted when taken out of context. Who knows how the comment was meant, or if those were even the actual words said...I am doubtful.

I thought all the same. And I would offer that when things like this get reported 2nd or 3rd hand, they rarely capture what really happened. I don't mean it's usually flat-out false -- just that it doesn't capture what really happened.

But if it does capture what really happened, I agree with the judgments that have been offered about the judge.

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#2002946 - 12/22/12 04:30 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
I don't think there is anything wrong with thinking that, but he probably shouldn't have actually said it.

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#2003017 - 12/22/12 09:45 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
Anyone who judges an amateur competition is going to hear some amateur performances, marred by wrong notes, unorthodox interpretations, memory lapses, bouts of nerves, bad pedaling, and so on. Such performers cannot be weeded out of the competition easily because their biography and their application CD can all be wonderful, and either hide these problems, or not show what can happen to the performer if they are having a bad day.

The audience tends to feel very uncomfortable during these performances. Any amateur who has performed publicly can empathize with what the pianist is going through. It is certainly nothing to laugh at, since many performers in that position feel like they humiliated themselves. You can tell them afterward how brave they were to get out there and perform for an audience, but it doesn't help them much.

I think it is fair for the judge to feel uncomfortable for such performers, and in my experience having read quite a lot of the jury comments that are given to performers in this situation, the comments are appreciative of the good things the performer did, they do not harp on the mistakes, and they give helpful advice for the pianist. They encourage the pianist to continue practicing and performing publicly.

It's certainly possible there is a judge who feels no sympathy or empathy for the performers they are judging. They don't belong on a jury for an amateur competition. And I certainly wouldn't want to be taking lessons from them.

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#2003046 - 12/22/12 10:55 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Bashimatsu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/18/12
Posts: 7
I've never had the chance to listen to an amateur piano competition, but I've participated in a few. I find that I never want to bring an overdone piece to competition. They've heard too much of it. They have an opinion of it. Try taking the lesser beated path when it comes to choosing a piece for competition.

As for the judge's verdict, what was he expecting at a amateur piano competition?His comment was uncalled for, and frankly, he isn't cut out for it if all he's got to say is something negative with no constructive criticism or positive remark.

If I was a judge, I'd tell you to give your friend my apologies for such a rude judge she came across.

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#2003174 - 12/22/12 05:02 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Bashimatsu]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2683


Quote:
This particular judge said "It was painful to listen to these amateur pianists, WE often needed to control ourselves so that we would not laugh during the performances". By the way, this particular judge took lesson from my teacher.


Note that this is not only a single judge. He is talking for the whole panel of judges (OP has deliberately capitalized the word "WE").
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#2003214 - 12/22/12 06:45 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Kreisler]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
This particular judge said "It was painful to listen to these amateur pianists, WE often needed to control ourselves so that we would not laugh during the performances". By the way, this particular judge took lesson from my teacher.


Low-quality judge. Low-quality person.


Remember, this statement in the OP is 3rd degree hearsay. On the other hand, if a judge actually said that, then I would agree.

Hakki is right that these are competitions, not fifth grade recitals. Nonetheless, if a judge actually had to control themselves to avoid laughing at a competitor in almost any sort of event, I would conclude that they were the kind of person that I would avoid in life. I would indeed judge the judge and find them wanting in basic humanity.
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#2003389 - 12/23/12 07:24 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
I so well remember the piano competition judge ...
his name was Charlie ... with a first name of Ripe.

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#2003489 - 12/23/12 12:16 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Summary, IMO:

If he said it quite that way, he's a jerk.

Did he really say it quite that way? I'd guess not.

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#2003573 - 12/23/12 04:42 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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You do realize that you have just repeated what I said two posts above, but with less precision. Oh well.
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#2003593 - 12/23/12 05:46 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Piano*Dad]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
You do realize that you have just repeated what I said two posts above, but with less precision. Oh well.

Did you realize you had basically repeated what I'd said before but with even more precision? grin

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#2003756 - 12/24/12 02:32 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Hakki]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Hakki
Quote:
That person is out there trying their best. They deserve better than someone, especially a judge who is supposed to be professional, laughing at them.


And this. It is being stated continually. But lets remember that this is not a primary school prom. It is a competition. The competitor has a claim that he/she is better than others. Trying your best is not an excuse. You have to be prepared and compete accordingly. Otherwise do not enter the competition in the first place. Sorry but mercy is not a judge's priority.

I certainly understand it is not a middle school dance. Is it not equally possible that the competitor has made no such claim, and is there to see where they stand? (Especially in an amateur competition, if I remember the OP correctly?) Maybe they haven't quite reached such an arrogant/insistent stage in their career as to outright suggest they are better than everyone else. Maybe they're there to honestly find out? In such a case, a simple score should suffice, and not the rudeness and arrogance of distatesful remarks or behaviors from judges who are supposed to be professionals.

I don't know.. maybe it's because I've judged at the world level in other endeavors, but I would suggest to your comment about judge's priorities that neither is improper and unprofessional behavior. If I were running the competition, I would throw out any judge who laughed at a competitor and ensure they never returned until they could conduct themselves professionally. (And I have competed in, won, judged, and run world-class competitions.)

To me, that kind of immature behavior lessens the quality and professionalism of the competition, if nothing else.

Originally Posted By: debrucey
I don't think there is anything wrong with thinking that, but he probably shouldn't have actually said it.

While I would disagree with the judge's thoughts, I don't think something like this can be avoided, and I would certainly consider it higher class than outright expressing immaturity. So, in that respect, I can agree with this, even though it still irks me that someone would actually think it.
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#2003770 - 12/24/12 04:14 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
Human nature is human nature. My students make mistakes occasionally that I find funny, not because I have no sympathy for their position, but because it's just a natural instinct to find the pratfalls of others funny. Like I said, it's how you actually behave in spite of your thoughts that determines the sort of person that you are.

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#2003849 - 12/24/12 09:41 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Several posters seemed to have overlooked that the judge making the comment and the other judges in question did not laugh at the competitors. The judge did mention that some of the performances were so bad that the judges had to restrain themselves from laughing. In other words any behavior, if bad, was in their thoughts and not their actions.

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#2003879 - 12/24/12 10:23 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: pianoloverus]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Several posters seemed to have overlooked that the judge making the comment and the other judges in question did not laugh at the competitors. The judge did mention that some of the performances were so bad that the judges had to restrain themselves from laughing. In other words any behavior, if bad, was in their thoughts and not their actions.

Their actions necessarily included their vocalizing their thoughts. Had they not done such a thing, then their actions would fall in line with debrucey's comment, which I agree with. However, once they started vocalizing their thoughts, they were no longer restraining, but finding an outlet.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2003915 - 12/24/12 11:37 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Derulux]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19477
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Several posters seemed to have overlooked that the judge making the comment and the other judges in question did not laugh at the competitors. The judge did mention that some of the performances were so bad that the judges had to restrain themselves from laughing. In other words any behavior, if bad, was in their thoughts and not their actions.

Their actions necessarily included their vocalizing their thoughts. Had they not done such a thing, then their actions would fall in line with debrucey's comment, which I agree with. However, once they started vocalizing their thoughts, they were no longer restraining, but finding an outlet.
The point was they didn't laugh at the competitors. What they thought about or expressed afterwards to non competitors seems like a different level completely.

The OP's first post seems somewhat unclear but what seems inappropriate to me was that the OP's teacher passed on some comments from a judge that were not mean to be passed on to students. Why the teacher did this is unclear but it seems like the OP's teacher was the one acting inappropriately.


Edited by pianoloverus (12/24/12 11:42 AM)

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