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#2027353 - 02/05/13 10:05 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: catpiano]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2547
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: catpiano
This might be weird, but I google every single one of my students/students' parents before I contact them...


You teachers do know that your prospective students are googling you as well, don't you?
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#2027355 - 02/05/13 10:14 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2911
Loc: UK.
Yes but it's usually quicker and more informative for them to look at our websites.
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#2027356 - 02/05/13 10:15 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Morodiene]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
. . . Could you possibly bring a male friend with you to the first lesson? They could wait out in the car and once you get in and see what things are like you can text them at an agreed-upon time . . .

And I thought we agreed: NO TEXTING during lessons!
(Is that a gerund?)

OOPS! Wrong thread . . .
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In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2027363 - 02/05/13 10:35 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: LoPresti]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5262
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
. . . Could you possibly bring a male friend with you to the first lesson? They could wait out in the car and once you get in and see what things are like you can text them at an agreed-upon time . . .

And I thought we agreed: NO TEXTING during lessons!
(Is that a gerund?)

OOPS! Wrong thread . . .
Ed?

You're grounded! A second time a similar joke!?!?!

You're grounded! grin

Really though...

I'm a big male, as I mentioned earlier, so I can't really relate, but in these cases just trust your instincts and use some common sense... Don't meet with a total strange in the woods for a first lesson! Just make sure your husband, boy friend, etc are there in the next room...

BTw, the last thing I expect would be to turn this thread into a gun related thread.

OOPS!

(For the record, I think that everything to be said on the subject has been said and I'm making a little fun, but not in the expense of anyone but myself! I hope this is clear)
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#2027367 - 02/05/13 10:51 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Chris H.]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Morodiene, I can fully relate to your fears. In the same way that I'm sure you can relate to the fact that male teachers might feel uncomfortable being left alone with female students and of course children.


Humans as a group are not very good at evaluating real risk as opposed to perceived risk.

We are fearful of things that have low likelihood of happening, and ignore those which really do pose a risk.

Except for people who frequent high crime areas, purchase drugs, etc., attacks by strangers are all but unknown.

That doesn't stop us from fearing them! We aren't very rational creatures, as you can tell from the flu shot thread.

It would be perfectly reasonable to advertise that you teach only students between the ages of 6 and 18. That should rule out most of those you fear.

And to stay safe: wear a seat belt, drink in moderation, don't smoke, get some exercise, use sun screen, get the flu shot.

And by all means have legal insurance. You are FAR more likely to have child slip on your stairs and sue successfully.
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#2027379 - 02/05/13 11:16 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Nikolas]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ed?

You're grounded! A second time a similar joke!?!?!

You're grounded! grin ...

Hi Nikolas,
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
. . . OOPS! Wrong Forum . . .

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
. . . OOPS! Wrong thread . . .

It is a developing theme, not simple recapitulation.

Anyway, I accept my punishment like a Man. KeyString has been trying to ground me (or otherwise silence my ramblings) for a very long time.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2027410 - 02/05/13 11:52 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11685
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
KeyString has been trying to ground me (or otherwise silence my ramblings) for a very long time.

I respond to posts. No, that has not happened. Censoring takes many forms including making people appear silly.

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#2027412 - 02/05/13 12:00 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: keystring]
PianoManChuck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 53
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Get one of those dummy cameras mounted on the wall like they have in some mom+pop shops. They usually have a red light that blinks (which draws their attention to the fact that there's a camera watching/recording them). That makes them think twice about trying anything.

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#2027632 - 02/05/13 06:46 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: PianoManChuck]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5933
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: PianoManChuck
Get one of those dummy cameras mounted on the wall like they have in some mom+pop shops. They usually have a red light that blinks (which draws their attention to the fact that there's a camera watching/recording them). That makes them think twice about trying anything.
Should I risk derailing the thread any further and ask what on earth a "mom + pop shop" is?
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2027635 - 02/05/13 06:48 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5933
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: P.M.
While this may sound paranoid, I am looking at this realistically and would really appreciate some advice on what to do if I get a call from someone who sounds suspicious.
And in answer to the OP, if something sounds sus to me, I steer clear of it.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2027686 - 02/05/13 08:23 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
ymapazagain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 65
Loc: Hobart, Australia
I have been the victim of several random assaults in my life (unrelated to piano teaching fortunately!) so I do tend to be a little cautious. If I have a new male student I ask my boyfriend to be around. On the one occasion he couldn't be here I left his X-box on and made of a point of "asking him" to turn it down as my student arrived so they thought someone else was in the house.

I've only ever had one problem with a potential new enquirer, but it didn't even reach the point of him coming to my home. During our initial phone conversation I got a weird vibe and unfortunately my phone battery died mid conversation and I wasn't able to charge it for another half an hour. By the time I turned it back on I had 57 missed calls from him. That night he called me 208 times, and another 103 times the following day. I was too freaked out to answer, even though he obviously could have done with being told to sod off. The day after that he came into the school where I taught a few days a week. I wasn't in that day, but they sensed something was odd and let me know. I ended up going to the police. Turns out he was known to them. Fortunately it stopped once the police contacted him, but it was very scary at the time.

Aside from that, all of my students have been lovely!
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#2027690 - 02/05/13 08:35 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: currawong]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
Originally Posted By: currawong
Should I risk derailing the thread any further and ask what on earth a "mom + pop shop" is?


Its a small family-run store, as compared to a big chain store.
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Music teacher and piano player.

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#2027710 - 02/05/13 08:56 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Chris H.]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2547
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Yes but it's usually quicker and more informative for them to look at our websites.


Hmmm. Using Google to check out prospective teachers, I've turned up rabid political leanings, criminal offenses, and other surprises that I'd expect teachers would likely omit from professional websites.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2027720 - 02/05/13 09:04 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: rocket88]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5933
Loc: Down Under
Thanks, rocket. You'd think after nearly 60 years of American television here that I'd be familiar with every little Americanism, but there are some that have slipped through. smile
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2028060 - 02/06/13 12:20 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
Chris Goslow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/11
Posts: 49
Loc: California, USA
Hi, P.M.:

I hope my comments help.

I can certainly understand your desire to attract only good quality potential students and to stay safe. That's totally natural. Yet in my experience I have found that we often get what we expect. You could just as easily be expecting someone really amazing to show up at your door as someone horrible. Great students also show up and will contact you. I think it's important to be on the look out for the good at least as much or more as anything bad.

On the other hand, maybe you could get a dog...?
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#2028092 - 02/06/13 01:02 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1010
Loc: Irvine, CA
Quote:
On the other hand, maybe you could get a dog...?

Like thumb
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#2028098 - 02/06/13 01:07 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: ymapazagain]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
off topic, how does one get "randomly assaulted"? it doesn't make sense... and did you fight back?

Originally Posted By: ymapazagain
I have been the victim of several random assaults in my life (unrelated to piano teaching fortunately!) so I do tend to be a little cautious. If I have a new male student I ask my boyfriend to be around. On the one occasion he couldn't be here I left his X-box on and made of a point of "asking him" to turn it down as my student arrived so they thought someone else was in the house.

I've only ever had one problem with a potential new enquirer, but it didn't even reach the point of him coming to my home. During our initial phone conversation I got a weird vibe and unfortunately my phone battery died mid conversation and I wasn't able to charge it for another half an hour. By the time I turned it back on I had 57 missed calls from him. That night he called me 208 times, and another 103 times the following day. I was too freaked out to answer, even though he obviously could have done with being told to sod off. The day after that he came into the school where I taught a few days a week. I wasn't in that day, but they sensed something was odd and let me know. I ended up going to the police. Turns out he was known to them. Fortunately it stopped once the police contacted him, but it was very scary at the time.

Aside from that, all of my students have been lovely!
_________________________
Casio Privia PX-150


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#2028762 - 02/07/13 01:23 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...off topic, how does one get "randomly assaulted"? it doesn't make sense... and did you fight back?..."

It is nice, adak, that you feel so safe that you can't even imagine such a thing, not even with the help of television and movies--- and I don't actually believe it. It happened to me twice, in the 15 years I lived in San Francisco. The only occurrence which would be to the purpose of this thread, was one in which I was followed by 4 guys as I got off the bus on the way home from work. They were making cracks; I was paying attention to my surroundings (point number 1) and got out my anti-crime whistle--- it's like a police whistle; it was on my keyring--- and as they jumped me, I blew it. Which (point number 2) frightened them away, and people nearby came to help me. I was shaken up, but uninjured.

It's possible to help yourself, in some cases--- not all--- and to minimize both the risk of attack, and the injury. "Random" is another way of saying, "target of opportunity;" in other words, anyone will do.

I think the OP has gotten some fair and realistic advice, that may help her. If 'risk assessment' crosses the line into 'paranoia,' (which, it seems to me, is where you're trying to take it) then some other line of work, or a different work environment (a music school, or a studio associated with a music store) would probably suit her better... though the risk of crime or misadventure, though lower, never gets as low as zero. That is the way of the world, and everyone knows it.
_________________________
Clef


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#2028773 - 02/07/13 01:40 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: P.M.


While this may sound paranoid, I am looking at this realistically and would really appreciate some advice on what to do if I get a call from someone who sounds suspicious.


If I felt that someone sounded suspicious, I would not plan to meet them at all.

I have not had any calls like that so far. But I trust my intuition and do not need to confirm suspicions of danger...just steer clear.

Suddenly an old story comes to mind: 2 guys walk along, one stops and points at the ground and the dialog goes like this:
"That looks like sh-t. Do you think it is sh-t?"
"I don't know. Sniff it."
"Smells like sh-t. Do you think it's sh-t?"
"I don't know. Taste of it."
"Tastes like sh-t. Do you think it's sh-t?"
"Looks like sh-t, smells like sh-t, tastes like sh-t. Must be sh-t."
"Good thing we didn't step in it."


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (02/07/13 02:14 PM)

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#2028823 - 02/07/13 03:31 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Chris H.]
P.M. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 18
Hi Chris,

While I have advertised for children, I did state that I teach pianists from ages 4-80. I know the general population of people that live in my area, so I am not really afraid of that. However, I have also advertised in other places and that is why I asked the question. I have not gotten any inquiries so far, so nothing really to worry about there. I simply asked this question to see how other piano teachers have dealt with this issue.

Thanks for all of the feedback and if I do get into a situation like this, I will try to use the advice I received.

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#2028856 - 02/07/13 04:34 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2911
Loc: UK.
Well hopefully the situation will never arise where you feel uncomfortable or threatened by a student. I've yet to come across anyone who has booked a lesson with the wrong intentions. And I don't think it's always a gender issue. I am not a big guy and have had several male students who could probably overpower me quite easily if they wished.

If you do get enquiries from men I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to meet you in a public place first. Most people would understand this.

With a bit of luck you will start getting some calls soon and can let us know how it goes.
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Pianist and piano teacher.

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#2028932 - 02/07/13 06:54 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: adak]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2547
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: adak
off topic, how does one get "randomly assaulted"? it doesn't make sense...


Of course assault does not "make sense," it's a crime.
THE VICTIM IS NOT AT FAULT.

Oh, pardon me! Did I just shout?
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2029067 - 02/07/13 11:49 PM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: adak]
ymapazagain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 65
Loc: Hobart, Australia
Originally Posted By: adak
off topic, how does one get "randomly assaulted"? it doesn't make sense... and did you fight back?


What doesn't make sense? I won't go into details about the type of assaults, but in each case I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (in broad daylight, open and seemingly safe places). If it wasn't me who was attacked it probably would have been someone else.
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#2029120 - 02/08/13 02:56 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: ymapazagain]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 984
Loc: Italy
I'd like to say a couple of things that have been going on a lot in my mind recently. It's certainly true, and sad, that women are more at risk than men, but I'm sure most men can also be targeted. Not everybody is Rambo and there are men who are smaller and weaker than some women. The fact is, women as a category are seen as weak and vulnerable; we see ourselves as such and are taught to be worried and cautious from childhood. Instilling fear is a very good way to control people, and we all know how some men would like women to be kept in their place. Things have been changing but not completely, and women are the first to seek protection from men (and sometimes their trust is misplaced). Also, a woman who thinks herself weak (even if she might not be!) will not fight back if assaulted. She won't even try. Fighting back might at least catch the attacker by surprise. But women are not used to physical contact and fighting, most of us don't do it when we are little like most boys do. Men have an advantage in terms of physical strength, but I'm convinced that the strength of assaulters is mainly in their head, and in the victim's fear.

btw, if you are a woman don't forget to RISE next Thursday! http://onebillionrising.org

(sorry for the feminist rant - and slightly OT too)
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Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2029125 - 02/08/13 03:10 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: sinophilia]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: sinophilia
I'd like to say a couple of things that have been going on a lot in my mind recently. It's certainly true, and sad, that women are more at risk than men, but I'm sure most men can also be targeted. Not everybody is Rambo and there are men who are smaller and weaker than some women. The fact is, women as a category are seen as weak and vulnerable; we see ourselves as such and are taught to be worried and cautious from childhood. Instilling fear is a very good way to control people, and we all know how some men would like women to be kept in their place. Things have been changing but not completely, and women are the first to seek protection from men (and sometimes their trust is misplaced). Also, a woman who thinks herself weak (even if she might not be!) will not fight back if assaulted. She won't even try. Fighting back might at least catch the attacker by surprise. But women are not used to physical contact and fighting, most of us don't do it when we are little like most boys do. Men have an advantage in terms of physical strength, but I'm convinced that the strength of assaulters is mainly in their head, and in the victim's fear.

btw, if you are a woman don't forget to RISE next Thursday! http://onebillionrising.org

(sorry for the feminist rant - and slightly OT too)


Violence against women is never right. The quickest way to end violence against women is if women fight back. If news got out that women are beating or killing their attackers then they would think twice before attacking women. Problem solved.


Edited by adak (02/08/13 03:32 AM)
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#2029150 - 02/08/13 04:33 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: adak]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: adak

Violence against women is never right. The quickest way to end violence against women is if women fight back. If news got out that women are beating or killing their attackers then they would think twice before attacking women. Problem solved.


Really????
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#2067827 - 04/21/13 12:33 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
I actually had this *exact* same thing happen to me! I put up fliers, and I listed on craigslist, and someone found me from craigslist. It was a guy and we emailed a couple times, and he mentioned his daughter (but he never actually told me her name - first warning sign.) But the weirdest thing was how in his emails he didn't really talk about his daughter, he just talked a bit about how he was in a band and played the drums and stuff. So, OF COURSE I was no way going to let him in my house without at least meeting him in a public place first. So as it neared our appointed meeting time at a coffee shop, I emailed him again and very specifically was like, "Ok, so I'll see you and your daughter, and make sure she brings her old piano books so I can look at them," (hint hint...don't even think about coming without her!)

Well, after waiting 15 minutes past the decided time, he never showed, and never emailed again to apologize. I was GLAD.

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#2067925 - 04/21/13 08:44 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10362
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: TimR
Humans as a group are not very good at evaluating real risk as opposed to perceived risk.

We are fearful of things that have low likelihood of happening, and ignore those which really do pose a risk.


Indeed.

This is such a sad discussion.

Everyone will evaluate this situation as they see fit, based on their experiences, their fears, and their attitudes about the world around them. But it's always wise to step back and ask just how many knots do you want to tie yourself into in order to feel comfortable existing in this world of ever present risk.

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#2067943 - 04/21/13 10:19 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Piano*Dad]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11685
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
But it's always wise to step back and ask just how many knots do you want to tie yourself into in order to feel comfortable existing in this world of ever present risk.

I don't think that what red-rose did is anything close to tying herself into knots. It was reasonable and prudent. I know you were responding to TimR, but I'd like RR's post not to be lost.

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#2067968 - 04/21/13 11:08 AM Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
But it's always wise to step back and ask just how many knots do you want to tie yourself into in order to feel comfortable existing in this world of ever present risk.

I don't think that what red-rose did is anything close to tying herself into knots. It was reasonable and prudent. I know you were responding to TimR, but I'd like RR's post not to be lost.

I love it when men have a private conversation about something that mainly involves women.

The word clueless comes to mind. smile
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