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#2123359 - 07/26/13 02:20 PM Music Law Resources
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi All,

Several questions have come up on recent threads about copy- and performance rights in our new, digital age.

We all take videos of our students (and ourselves), and we share or post them occasionally. We compose and arrange, we perform, and we write stuff with words too. So the legal questions about our intellectual property affect us all.

Does anyone use any legal reference books specifically for music? I've been very happy with this one from Nolo Press:

http://www.nolo.com/products/music-law-ml.html

I also use their books about business, patent and copyright law quite a bit. I've also spent money to go talk to lawyers when the questions are complicated.

What kind of resources do you use? Do any of you have any good books to recommend?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2124336 - 07/28/13 05:23 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
I take the lack of responses to mean that nobody here has any legal resources or references to share?

Please! Prove me wrong!!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2124489 - 07/28/13 10:33 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10363
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Interesting question.

I'm guessing that most of the legal issues swirling in the last thread are a) fairly new to many teachers, and b) not on the active radar screens of most of them. I would imagine that many simply rely on common sense to help them navigate these waters unless and until something happens that really demands an appeal to higher legal authority. Most are not active composers, and most probably don't care about amateur videos made during recitals since they have become inured to the ubiquitous camcorders, iPads and cell phone cameras.

I'm not saying the issues are unimportant. They are. But in the cost-benefit calculus of how to allocate time, I'm sure many teachers don't see the benefit of studying the law in any detail.

In that vein, I too am interested in seeing if there are any simple non-jargon-laden references that cover the basics without requiring legal coursework or gobs of time to master.

How many teachers, for instance, have looked into contract law in designing their studio policies. Again, I suspect many would regard reading up on that law as an unproductive use of their limited time … until a serious dispute arises. That's a common human situation, and teachers are hardly unique in that.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2124503 - 07/28/13 10:55 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I have been told that once I record anything it is on auto-copyright.......which I suppose means it is mine first [ if it is original]. I agree. I won't utilize my time following up on all this. It takes forever to enter info into the ASCAP database. Maybe I need to practice more?

rada

I write music not laws....

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#2124511 - 07/28/13 11:10 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: rada]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Rada,

Your copyrights comes into being the moment you create the work(s). However, their defensibility becomes difficult and obscure if you don't register them timely.

You must not care about what happens to your work then, which is perfectly fine (yawn)...
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2124516 - 07/28/13 11:15 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: Piano*Dad]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Dad,

What you are really telling me is that most people here don't care to find out. Which is what I thought originally.

Contract law, while it is very simple and direct, has little to do with "common sense", copyright law even less so, let's not talk about recordings/video...

Hey, the Nolo Press books are free from jargon, easily accessible, inexpensive, and cover most everything a business person should know, even a musician.

Not that anybody here really cares...
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2124521 - 07/28/13 11:31 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10363
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
What you are really telling me is that most people here don't care to find out. Which is what I thought originally.


Well, I really wouldn't want to speak for most people here. But I think certain abstract ideas like cost versus benefit can go a long way toward explaining why most people don't spend significant amounts of time learning stuff that doesn't seem (I say seem, deliberately) to affect them very much. If and when it does enter their world, I suspect more people will seek self-help resources and/or professional counsel.

In the previous thread, the OP might feel some financial impact from copyright issues, so the question was more relevant to her.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2124555 - 07/29/13 01:19 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5934
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Not that anybody here really cares...
You assume a lot. "Nobody cares", just because your question gets only a few answers in a few hours? Some of us, believe it or not, are not in the same time zone as you. Your question and following assumption both came in the middle of the night here. And perhaps, just perhaps, some people are reluctant to engage with someone whose manner often seems, if I may put it nicely, a little terse.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2124564 - 07/29/13 01:38 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5265
Loc: Europe
First of all, you managed to make a thread look ugly (like curra mentions) (plus that "yawn" part to rada which seems quite rude to her!). Furthermore you are assuming that all the members are US based, which is far from the truth! Ultimately you are talking to piano teachers, who usually are kind and gentle creatures, who would be quite reluctant to show up to a parent waving a law excerpt in their hands! wink I mean, I haven't done that either, and I'm much more into copyrights, the law, publishing, composing, etc, than most here...

In addition the Nolo Press book got quite some coverage from you, but as I saw it deals with bands, so I'm guessing that a smaller part is relevant to a piano teacher.

In similar ways, I've had this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guide...ter+games+music , by Aaron Marks, which goes a little into the law side of things (though the tech side of things is and will always be oudated... You can't reach technology, if you're dealing with printed material).
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2124572 - 07/29/13 02:04 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5265
Loc: Europe
On the side ways, here's a REAL life story for you all...

A thread about all of this (too many replies, but still): http://www.vi-control.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32732&start=0

The story in a nutshell:

A Russian guy, living in Canada, is selling more than 1000 (!!!) music tracks in most music libraries available in the western world! (music library: A service that allows tv shows, films, trailer companies, etc to RENT a music track and both the composer and the music library earns money. There are many ups and downs, which is not to discuss now).

At some point about 2-3 weeks ago, someone had a listen and found out that underneath the tracks that the Russian guy was selling was his own track! Then he took a bit more time and found more and more tracks overlaid in there.

It's like grabbing the melody AND orchestration of Beethovens' 5th and adding a choir (to hide the fact that you stole it).

The Russian guy went SO far as to steal from the EXTREMELY WELL KNOWN film composer Hans Zimmer (from the film he scores "Pirates of the Carribean").

Now, here's where the interesting part comes in:

The Russian guy claims that his son uploaded the "wrong files". Which is bizarre (so as to NOT use another word starting with "b"), because is it possible that his son actually overlaid and re-orchestated ALL those tracks? *ahem*.

The music libraries, trying to free themselves, deleted his account from everywhere pretty much, and the Internet is buzzing about this.

NOBODY, as of yet, has actually gone after the guy! Cause there's very little idea on how much damage we're talking about. And all these are people making a living out of composing!

We know who he is, and we actually know where he lives in Canada (simple to find out in this time and age). If we find out that because he's been selling more than 1000 tracks, that he actually has made a substantial sum of money ($100,000 or something like that), then YES, there's every reason to make a massive claim. Otherwise, even the biggest composers' attorneys will probably send a "stop it right now" letter and this things will blow out.

In this case (which is as deep and as ugly and as awful as it can be) nobody is sending in their lawyer teams, nobody is waiving law papers around and nobody is contacting the musicians union. BUT, since all media composers are registered to the relevant PRO (Performance Rights Organization) my guess is that ALL are trying to track down how many times their tracks were used, without them getting paid, etc.

Point? After all is real life proof that some music is yours, it's dead difficult for anyone to steal it. If they do, even if they can claim it's theirs, the public opinion will be SO steered, that things will be awful for the composer who stole your music. Stealing will occur, and it's difficult to stop it; heck it's difficult to find out! But there's very little copyrights claim in the larger parts of any industry, because of the risks involved!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2124594 - 07/29/13 02:55 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
musicpassion Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 977
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Not that anybody here really cares...

Wrong. Speed of response doesn't indicate much.

I have a Nolo press book about running a small business in California(not specific to music), I read the articles on legal matters in our MTAC magazine, and (this one's a bit embarrassing to admit, but you drug it out of me, Greg) a "for dummies" book on running a business.

I am not currently producing compositions or recordings I need to be concerned about. You did post this in a teachers' forum remember.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2124750 - 07/29/13 11:29 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
I take the lack of responses to mean that nobody here has any legal resources or references to share?

Please! Prove me wrong!!


I was in Chicago at a keyboard pedagogy conference, thus the late reply.

I've consulted a variety of resources, including the legal information pages of sites like YouTube and Vimeo, the US Copyright office, Sue Basko's blog (http://suebaskolaw.blogspot.com) and countless other websites (for example, the references listed on the Wikipedia page for DMCA.) I avoid print books for the most part because the law is changing a bit too quickly for me to trust their relevance.

I attend conferences (thus my late reply) and these kinds of issues are often discussed.

I also make it a point to ignore 99% of any legal advice that comes from these forums or Facebook.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2125109 - 07/30/13 01:42 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 842
Greg Laguna,
It's probably better not to assume you know who cares about your thread and who doesn't. Your statement--"not that anybody here really cares"--is meant to throw an unnecessary emotional twist/manipulation into the conversation. Only two days had passed since you'd posted. Many people are on vacation, and many people like to think things over at their leisure.

Kindly desist from throwing the cat amongst the pigeons.


Edited by Candywoman (07/30/13 01:43 AM)

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#2126863 - 08/02/13 10:15 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: Nikolas]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Nik,

You know, when somebody signs a response with...

"I write music not laws...."

It is safe to assume that the topic is not of much interest, hence my equal flippancy. Is that the "ugliness" you were talking about?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2126877 - 08/02/13 10:52 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
I deal with copyright and ownership issues in my own freelance work. I see some American authors quoted. Are these things specific to countries? I.e. would the works of an American lawyer apply to teachers living in other jurisdictions? Is it national or international or maybe even both? Have the laws caught up to the Internet.

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#2126878 - 08/02/13 10:54 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: musicpassion]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Passion,

Originally Posted By: musicpassion


...(this one's a bit embarrassing to admit, but you drug it out of me, Greg) a "for dummies" book on running a business.


Don't you dare feel embarrassed! Those books are very often an excellent resource for general knowledge in a given topic. That you use it shows just how well-informed you are. I own many of those books. And I never feel dumb for reading them (just for other things)...

Originally Posted By: musicpassion

You did post this in a teachers' forum remember.


I posted this on the teachers forum because, of all the people who post here, teachers are the ones who are running a business from day to day over the long term, just as much as any piano dealer. People have been asking questions in this forum over the last few months about digital media law, and I was hoping people would have some good resources to share. Oops! My mistake!

It saddens me to say it, but the level of professionalism generally in our industry, that of teaching, is still quite low despite I don't know how many decades of professional organizations working to raise them. The public perception of piano teachers as a professional group is still rather flaky. I've taught a number of professional teachers over the years, and I've also seen a fair few of them get taken advantage of by their customers or colleagues because they don't know even the basic laws governing how to run a business. That's just plain depressing, and completely avoidable.

And then there's the whole issue of evolving new media law. There appear, at first glance, to be no good, accessible resources available for piano teachers to easily access without going to see a very specialized and high-powered attorney, or reading a print book which Kreisler points out can quickly go past its sell-by date. So far, he is the only poster who uses a useful, free online resource. These are concerns being posted here on this forum even today, so people already need some good answers right away. It's unfortunate there's no place teachers can go to get them.

Perhaps the members should lobby their state MTAs to get them to do more this way? After all, what are professional associations for if not this?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2126885 - 08/02/13 11:10 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: keystring]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Key,

Nice to see/read you!

The laws vary from country to country. However, international treaties on intellectual property offer some kinds of protection and reciprocity to published works provided that international, and some times local, applications are also filed.

Some countries like China play fast and loose with international law governing intellectual property. So you take a big risk doing business there.

There has been a growing trend in the US to weaken intellectual property law to favor business interests over those of the artist, author or inventor, domestically and internationally. This happened with patent law in the 90s and again in 00s. Google and other online providers are working relentlessly to weaken copyright laws so they don't have to pay fees or royalties for print works in their digital libraries, which I'm sure you've read about. As far as I can tell, the music industry is still in a big muddle about the enforcement of digital performing and licensing rights to recorded music, film and video. I thought the SCOTUS Napster decision was a good thing for authors, performers and the industry in general. But I don't know how long that will stay that way.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2126886 - 08/02/13 11:10 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
American? Country-specific? International? I see "state MTAs" - that's American again. Even if MTA information is passed on, will it be pertinent to people in other countries? Are these issues governed internationally, or per country?

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#2126977 - 08/02/13 02:26 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: keystring]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Key,

MTA= Music Teachers Association. There's one in every state in the US, and a national organization above that, I believe, as well as one or two other associations whose names escape me.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2126982 - 08/02/13 02:33 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Hi Key,

MTA= Music Teachers Association. There's one in every state in the US, and a national organization above that, I believe, as well as one or two other associations whose names escape me.

Yes, I'm aware that it is an association existing in the United States. Other resources were American lawyers (probably) dealing with US law. I was asking if anyone knew whether these matters are national or international or possibly both. Copyright laws are different in different countries. With Youtube a student of a teacher in Canada can upload a video that is seen by someone in Japan who borrows something that he sells in Africa. So are these things national or international. Does the MTA address matters on a national or international basis? I.e. will what the MTA says help a Canadian or German or Greek teacher?


Edited by keystring (08/02/13 03:49 PM)

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#2127018 - 08/02/13 04:23 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
musicpassion Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 977
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Don't you dare feel embarrassed! Those books are very often an excellent resource for general knowledge in a given topic. That you use it shows just how well-informed you are. I own many of those books. And I never feel dumb for reading them (just for other things)...

Thanks! And you are right, those books are full of good information.

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Perhaps the members should lobby their state MTAs to get them to do more this way? After all, what are professional associations for if not this?

Now I understand your reason for posting it in the teachers forum. You are right. However I think it goes even deeper than it might first appear. I think many piano teachers don't even think of themselves as running a business. Of course they are (unless they are only working as an employee for another business. But even if they are, few piano teachers plan to keep that arrangement for the long term). Many teachers don't even like to think of the financial aspects.
With the teachers' association Iv'e generally seen all the focus be on teaching music. One challenge for the association to offer business/law knowledge is the habit of looking within. Generally they (we) look within the profession for guest lectures, etc. The knowledge base we need for business might be better addressed by someone not a music teacher.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2127024 - 08/02/13 04:32 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5265
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Hi Nik,

You know, when somebody signs a response with...

"I write music not laws...."

It is safe to assume that the topic is not of much interest, hence my equal flippancy. Is that the "ugliness" you were talking about?
I'm assuming you mean me, but it's Nikolas and not Nik, right Grego-y? wink

Now, I think that my post was very very clear, on which part was rather ugly, so no question there...

Further to that, I do feel slightly disappointed that you decided to ignore my too rather lengthy posts... wink Oh well... it was worth an effort I guess!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2127107 - 08/02/13 07:28 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
MTNA does offer a variety of business services, including legal consultation that covers the issues we've been discussing:

http://www.mtna.org/member-resources/
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2127363 - 08/03/13 08:57 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: laguna_greg]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10363
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
That MTNA page seems quite thorough. For members, I suspect the MTNA services would cover 99.9% of the things most teachers are ever likely to encounter in their day-to-day business experience.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2127377 - 08/03/13 09:40 AM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: Kreisler]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Thanks for that, Kreisler. I don't believe this is common knowledge among the membership.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2127615 - 08/03/13 07:04 PM Re: Music Law Resources [Re: musicpassion]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Passion,

" I think many piano teachers don't even think of themselves as running a business.... Many teachers don't even like to think of the financial aspects."

I'm afraid that is absolutely true. When I've taught at university, my colleagues have all been guilty of the same willful ignorance.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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