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#2105005 - 06/19/13 07:03 PM The best study vertical piano for a conservatory
Rudy99golf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 130
Loc: Guanajuato, Mexico
As I have mentioned before, I am a member in the board of our local conservatory.

As you can figure out, here in Mexico, with all it's social and economic ups & downs, a Conservatory mainly funded by government grants and public donations is always struggling to survive. That is the main reason and purpose of the Board of Trustees, help the conservatory get funds for its operation and continuous growth.

It provides education to more than 600 students ranging from elementary education all the way to bachelor degrees on various music specialities, and most of the students come from very low income families.

The "Conservatorio de Musica y Artes de Celaya" does a very important social purpose of giving opportunities to young talents that, if it werent by the Conservatory, wouldn't have too many other options.

As you can imagine, the tuition fees are very small (around $100 USD for Bachelor degree, representing about 20% of the real cost per student). It is totally a social project that has been around now for 22 years in the heart of Mexico, and now is being recognized as one of the best 4 conservatories in the Country, compiting with others such as the Mexico City Music conservatory, among others.

We even have students that have earned scholarships at Juliard, and every time an important musician is in the vicinity, we try to bring him for Master Classes. We have a girl that has won a place to be with Yo-Yo Ma in Mexico City for a Cello Master Class, and now she was selected for a tour in Germany with the Youth Mexico City Symphonic Orchestra.

Building of a new study and practice cubicles wing just finished, and now we have 15 new cubicles ready to be used by students.

I am in charge of a very specific project to provide 15 new pianos for this cubicles, and I will appreciate all sugestions on the pianos that we can request. (Asking never hurts).

With all experts in this forum I know there are many of you that can sugest specific models and brands. (Sorry guys, we cannot afford Bosies, S&S, or such, but maybe we can get Yamahas or other similar).

We will request grants from different organizations and donations from diverse donnors so we can get this project done.

Hey! we even accept donations!!! wink

Ready for your comments.


Edited by Rudy99golf (06/19/13 11:22 PM)
_________________________
Rodolfo Grunberger
Piano amateur
Gebrüder Knake Grand, 7'1", circa 1895
Celaya, Mexico

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#2105023 - 06/19/13 07:39 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
beethoven986 Offline
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Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3318
Are these instruments intended to be used by pianists or by singers and other instrumentalists?
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#2105026 - 06/19/13 07:44 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7131
Loc: Rochester MN
Rudy,

I sounds like a remarkable program and I congratulate you on the success.

Keeping budget in mind, and still fulfilling the need to provide quality pianos, the piano that immediately popped into mind is the 52" Cunningham.

May I suggest that you give a call directly to Rich Galassini. You are probably familiar with him from Piano World. You could send him a PM or reach him at - (215) 991-0834.

I wish you well in your search.

Regards,
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2105060 - 06/19/13 08:58 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
BDB Offline
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I think that you should see what you can get in an inexpensive Asian studio upright. Chances are longevity will not be a big issue no matter what you buy. You will probably want to replace them after 20 years no matter what, if they get typical music school use, so save your money and budget for that.

Try to work with a local dealer for a deal that could be very good for both of you. Inspect what is available, looking for good, clean workmanship. You can read the piano buyer guide in the ad at the side of the page for some more guidance. But trust your eyes and ears.
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#2105075 - 06/19/13 09:30 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2684
Loc: Atlanta, GA
What you need are institutional grade instruments, preferably with a distributor formally assigned to your region (sorry Rich) in case of warranty support.

There are institutional grade instruments from many manufacturers at moderate prices. Here is a list from the top of my head of appropriate makes & models that would be available in the US. It won't be a complete list, but it's a start, and you may be able to cross pianos off the list based upon price & availability.

Seiler: ED126, ED132
Hailun: HU-1P, HU-5P, HU-7, 116
Albert Weber: AW121, AW131
Knabe: WKV 121, WKV 131, WMV 247
Pramberger: JP-125, JP-131
Yamaha: U1, U3, P22
Kawai: K5, K6, UST-9

Some of these models have music desks that are more sturdy and better suited for practice rooms which could be an additional consideration. "School" models have long desks: Hailun 116, Yamaha P22, Kawai UST-9, Knabe WMV 247. Some others have "Conductor" desks: Hailun HU-7 (newest), Knabe WKV121/131, AW121/131, U5, K8, etc.

Look for who distributes in Mexico for Hailun, Samick, Young Chang, Yamaha & Kawai
Seiler, Knabe & Pramberger are Samick owned.
Albert Weber is upper level from Young Chang.
Hailun is Hailun.

While I have additional personal opinions about these instruments, I believe all are musically suitable, predictably serviceable & sturdy enough for a good music program. My best advice is to budget for proper service, especially tuning in the first year + regulation in the first few years. This matters more than even upgrading models...example, a P22 with good service will fare better than a U3 at twice the price but with inadequate service.
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#2105081 - 06/19/13 09:46 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
IMO, Yamaha or Kawai, in the models Sam mentioned.

I know Mexican pricing is different than pricing in the U.S., so I really don't have a clue how far your money can go.
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#2105084 - 06/19/13 09:54 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
tdv Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/13
Posts: 51
Loc: MI
I don't suppose that you can afford the Walter studio. I have played the Yamaha U-1 and I often play a Yamaha P-22 and a Kawai UST in my church. While they are good pianos, I like the Walter better.
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#2105091 - 06/19/13 10:01 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Registered: 05/15/12
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Loc: Rochester MN
Rodolfo already stated that the price of Yamaha would be a stretch.
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#2105100 - 06/19/13 10:11 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
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From what I see today being made as institutional pianos. I think the Charles Walter 1500 is pretty hard to beat for materials that will last with heavy use and climate issues if any.
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#2105108 - 06/19/13 10:28 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2684
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
From what I see today being made as institutional pianos. I think the Charles Walter 1500 is pretty hard to beat for materials that will last with heavy use and climate issues if any.
I definitely agree if they are in budget. We know these models and have sold them both new & used to institutions with great results. Florida State University purchased a few from us used and they are the favorites among all the practice rooms.

They are a bargain but much higher than most of my list. Maybe you can be the first "All Charles R. Walter" School. wink
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
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#2105117 - 06/19/13 10:42 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7131
Loc: Rochester MN
Wouldn't the drawback of the Cunningham be the same for Walters? They're great pianos but would they fit the criteria?
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Marty in Minnesota

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#2105145 - 06/19/13 11:39 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Rudy99golf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 130
Loc: Guanajuato, Mexico
Wowww!! Great and interesting responses in such a short time.

I love PianoWorld!!!

I will be responding one by one, and thank you all for your help and for sharing your experience and knowledge.
_________________________
Rodolfo Grunberger
Piano amateur
Gebrüder Knake Grand, 7'1", circa 1895
Celaya, Mexico

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#2105148 - 06/19/13 11:51 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: beethoven986]
Rudy99golf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 130
Loc: Guanajuato, Mexico
These instruments are to be used by both pianists and instrumentalists, including singers.

What I have noticed is that pianists "chase" the good pianos all the time. So when a piano gets out of tune or is damaged, students move to next piano.

We have 29 pianos, including 4 grands, and most of them are donations. And some of them with more than 40, 50 or 60 years old. Hey, there is one that is around 90 years old. Can you imagine?

There are 3 verticals and one grand less than 2 years old. Yamahas, but not sure the models. I will find out and post them tomorrow.
_________________________
Rodolfo Grunberger
Piano amateur
Gebrüder Knake Grand, 7'1", circa 1895
Celaya, Mexico

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#2105154 - 06/20/13 12:04 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Rudy99golf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 130
Loc: Guanajuato, Mexico
Marty,

I have read great things about Cunninghams, and of course I have read Rich' great comments on Piano World.

I don't know how much shipping into Mexico would increase cost and still make it affordable.

I will get in touch with Rich for sure.
_________________________
Rodolfo Grunberger
Piano amateur
Gebrüder Knake Grand, 7'1", circa 1895
Celaya, Mexico

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#2105222 - 06/20/13 06:21 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1045
For a conservatoire, you can afford to compromise a little on sound, but you need a good strong action.

Not knowing anything about the Mexican market, my default choice would be the large Kawai uprights, the K6 or K8. The ABS mechanism is very strong and reliable, and the tone of these instruments is probably about the best you'll get at the price.

I don't know anything about Charles Walter, because I'm in the UK, but I've heard that they are also excellent pianos.

If you have more money to spend per piano, then you might want to think about Steinway or something in that price range. Steinway verticals are excellent - certainly the ones I have played here in the UK have been beautiful pianos. The fact is though, that any piano will require a lot of work after a few years in a conservatory, and what you want is a piano that will remain playable, and have good tuning stability over time, and that you will be able to either sell or have reconditioned when the time comes. Hence I say Kawai, Yamaha, Steinway, Boston, which have all been proven in the UK as pretty much unbeatable institutional pianos.

That said, it's 10 years since I graduated and the piano market has changed dramatically in that time. There is more choice and a greater range of budget instruments all at varying (from high to low) quality, so it's a good time to buy.

Also don't rule out remanufactured grand and upright pianos - they can represent a huge saving over a new instrument and be of exceptional quality depending on who did the work. On this board there are afew exceptional rebuilders posting, and they will be happy to advise you, some of them are even selling new pianos which they have selected based on their experience as highly regarded technicians.

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#2105244 - 06/20/13 08:35 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5275
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Rudy, I guess the next question is, how much money will be allocated for tuning and maintenance?

Having said that, I would suggest at the very least to look into buying the hybrid pianos from Yamaha since they have an 'acoustic' action and never need to be tuned. I remember back to my college days when the pianos in the practice rooms were less than desirable.

You might save money in the long run having to forgo tuning costs.

Yamaha NU1 - upright piano hybrid

AvantGrand series ... N1, N2, N3
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#2105275 - 06/20/13 10:25 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 580
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Rudy, Dave Horne has a point about the Yamaha hybrid pianos. They would never need tuning or voicing, but I don't know if they are sturdy enough to stand up to conservatory use. Check with your local Yamaha dealer.

As for considering the Charles Walter Model 1500 vertical, Walter Piano makes a concerted effort to sell their pianos to churches and other non-profits. In other words, Walter offers hefty discounts to non-profit institutions. A call or e-mail to the Walter factory in Elkhart, Indiana would be worth your while.

Good luck.

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#2105287 - 06/20/13 10:49 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1169
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hy Rudy,

Congratulations on your excellent and worthwhile program and on raising the endowment to upgrade your practice facilities.

Everybody's recommendations are ones I agree with. I tend to favor the Yamaha uprights in particular. In the schools I've taught at, these are usually the most stable, hold up well under heavy wear, and play and sound very well. If you can't afford any of the Walters, I would try these out.

Joe's advice about remanufactured pianos is also a very good idea and one that institutions tend to overlook. You could get some excellent quality instrument at better prices than new.

The advice about the hybrid pianos has one drawback. Most of these actions do not allow the student to influence the tone quality or color of the sound produced. I don't let any of my advancing students practice on instruments that lack this capability as it is an essential ability the advanced student must learn to control at the instrument. If the action also does not perfectly mimic that of an acoustic action, then the student's keystroke timing will get messed up, making it very difficult to control the sound on an acoustic instrument when they finally play one. If you decide to go that route, just make sure that any hybrid action mimics that of an acoustic instrument perfectly.


Edited by laguna_greg (06/20/13 11:01 AM)
Edit Reason: thought of something important to add
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#2105326 - 06/20/13 12:12 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
KurtZ Offline
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Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 846
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
Both Yamaha and Kawai have regional distributors in GDL and DF respectively. Don't overlook or underestimate the promotional value of exposure to your 600 students and the people who come to see their performances. I know several recording school owners up here in alta california who have received very sweet deals on electronic music equipment for the price of having a banner in the lobby. The fact that both companies make well thought of institutional grade pianos should make that an easy track to follow.

From a "trip" to Celaya via google maps it seems to me a lovely town. I already know somewhat that part of México but my wife hasn't seen the mummies or el Alhondiga yet so I owe her a trip to León, Guanajuato etc. It's clear to me now that I need to add time for a stop in Celaya.

Kurt
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#2105346 - 06/20/13 12:48 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5275
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
One more point regarding the Yamaha hybrids. The N1 and N2 models, while having a slightly larger footprint than an upright piano, use a grand piano action.

I own a N3 which looks like a small baby grand. I'm giving very serious thought of buying a second piano, the NU1, the upright action Yamaha hybrid. I personally find an upright action more difficult to play than a grand action. I prefer having the wind against me when I practice instead of having the wind at my back so to speak.
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#2105356 - 06/20/13 01:18 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
joe80 Offline
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Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1045
Actually, the N1, 2 and 3 MIGHT be a good idea for some applications in conservatoires.

I am not all that enthusiastic about them BUT in their favour - Grand piano action and virtually no maintenance except for some regulation (which will be probably once a year if you're lucky).

I prefer the Yamaha U1 to the AvantGrand series (I know many of you prefer the AvantGrand to uprights and I respect that), it's not just about the action but the whole piano experience. However, they are good instruments in their own right.

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#2105383 - 06/20/13 02:56 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7131
Loc: Rochester MN
As a pianist, I take issue with electronic instruments as primary practice instruments in a music school which appears to focus on classical music. If the school can provide acoustic instruments, I believe that is the better choice.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2105422 - 06/20/13 04:12 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3427
Congratulations on such good news!

>15 new cubicles

Does that mean that all these pianos are audible to all the other players?
Wow, I really hope not .. That would be one noisy place.
I hate DPs but in that case you might have no option ...
Otherwise, I hugely prefer acoustics

Just curious, would lightly used 2nd hand (but not too old, say up to 5 years) be an option? You might get a lot more value for the money and it probably won't make much difference in their total life span.

And as said above, a big portion of the budget would go into maintenance.

A few years ago when I was looking for a piano myself I heard that a local conservatory was very enthousiastic about Seiler uprights.

I would also consider the acoustics of these "cubicles". I assume that they are small and a loud sounding piano might not be an appropriate choice. Maybe there are models that are not so loud yet still have good dynamics (so are "softer overall but still responsive). And that because of design, not because of excessive soft hammers or so.

If you already have one of these cubicles ready, it might be an idea to do some auditions with different pianos to see how they sound in there.


Edited by wouter79 (06/20/13 04:13 PM)
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#2105437 - 06/20/13 05:05 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5275
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
As a pianist, I take issue with electronic instruments as primary practice instruments in a music school which appears to focus on classical music. If the school can provide acoustic instruments, I believe that is the better choice.


Marty, the action of those hybrids are in essence the same as an acoustic piano.

For practice room purposes a hybrid suits the bill. For stage\performance I would agree that an acoustic would be the way to go.

I've made my living for the last 40 years solely by playing and the action of my hybrid in no way limits my ability. For practice purposes shouldn't we arguing for the action of a grand piano instead of an upright action? As long as we're not being purists should we abandon all alternatives?

The benefits of a hybrid far outweigh the supposed deficiencies.
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#2105441 - 06/20/13 05:28 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7131
Loc: Rochester MN
Well Dave, we disagree.

I believe that the musical response of an acoustic instrument, upright or grand, far exceeds any of the attempts to duplicate the sound and playing characteristics of a piano.

As the school develops, it would be great if a stable of grands be added to accommodate the demands of advanced students.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2105449 - 06/20/13 05:44 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1195
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Would it be possible to approach a major piano company like Yamaha or Kawai and investigate their deals on providing pianos for teaching institutions?
While there is the risk of piano abuse in practice studios I know that there have been leasing progammes which ensure that pianos are regularly renewed and the used ones are sold to the general public after a year or two in practice studios. However, maybe in tighter economic times these schemes no longer operate.

I believe that students should have good, dependable pianos in excellent working condition for their practice.

Regards to all,

Robert.

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#2105513 - 06/20/13 11:04 PM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
I agree with Marty. An electronic piano might be useful in a classroom for playing short musical examples but not for studying piano seriously or accompanying other instruments.

Have you spoken to the dealers in your area? For 15 pianos you should get such a deal that you can afford better instruments than you might think. Dealers will be competing for your business, often enlisting the help of manufacturers' discounts in securing the deal. You have more control on this situation than you might be aware.
Get the largest pianos you can afford.

Are the studios built yet? Consult an experienced piano technician. Architects of today know increasingly less about the needs of pianos. A little thought now will help with future maintenance.

I find that for that many pianos, employing a conciencious experienced tuner on a regular basis paid by the hour with the freedom to move between all the pianos involved giving service where it is most needed. This means maintenance to take place when students are not present.

Start talking to all the local dealers and tuners now.

I assume that you are looking into any grants available or the philanthropists who specialise in education. some dealers and manufacturers have finance raising plans. It is their business to sell pianos. You will find them very helpful. Talk to them all.

At some point, a dealer cannot give further financial discount but can help with early maintenance. Get after sales plans or promises in writing.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2105571 - 06/21/13 04:13 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Minnesota Marty]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1045
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
As a pianist, I take issue with electronic instruments as primary practice instruments in a music school which appears to focus on classical music. If the school can provide acoustic instruments, I believe that is the better choice.


I totally agree with you Marty, but I was thinking purely in economic terms - for instance if they don't have budget for piano tuning. The acoustic upright is, in my opinion and experience (which some may disagree with here), far superior to any digital hybrid. That assumes that the acoustic upright is of high quality and in a good state of repair.

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#2105572 - 06/21/13 04:17 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: Rudy99golf]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1045
In fact, why not just go to the TOP makers - write to Bluthner in Leipzig, Bechstein in Berlin, Steinway in New York or Hamburg, Charles Walter, Mason and Hamlin, Bosendorfer, Yamaha, Kawai, don't be shy of it. You have such a worthwhile project here, and the worst they can say is 'no', but I suspect that many of them will be willing to help you buy their instruments. It will bring them a lot of publicity and they can feature it on their website. They can write any losses off against tax and charitable donations, and exceptionally talented young pianists are going to be playing their instruments.

You should ask them for a couple of concert grands too, seriously! Don't think about retail prices - that's for individual customers. This is an educational establishment and a charity.

I think you will be surprised at the help you are offered. Go for it!

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#2105680 - 06/21/13 10:32 AM Re: The best study vertical piano for a conservatory [Re: rxd]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5275
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I agree with Marty. An electronic piano might be useful in a classroom for playing short musical examples but not for studying piano seriously or accompanying other instruments.

There are pianists much better than I who feel differently.







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