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#2141733 - 08/31/13 09:43 AM Please tell me your thoughts about instruments
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2494
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
In general, I'm familiar with what the reg.s say over on the Piano Forum, but I would like to hear what you all think.

Specifically, personally, I have a rather nice upright, which I play rather poorly at a sort of struggling intermediate level. I intermittently ponder upgrading to a grand and I wonder if it would make any difference, apart from taking up more room in the house.

The issue came up recently on the 'future of...' thread, and I just want to hear more.

Thanks!!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2141745 - 08/31/13 10:19 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1335
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Malkin, you are asking what to me is a very interesting question, because there is a lot beneath it.

Would acquiring a grand piano improve you as a pianist - when you presently play on a good upright? I'd say, maybe, if it's a grand as good as your upright.

But less because of the grand than simply because such a purchase might give you a lift, and inspire you to spend more time at the piano. It might be a declaration to yourself - and to your family, and to your accountant - that playing the piano is a valued part on your life.

If your question is about the mechanism of a grand versus an upright, then you should start renting practice time on a good grand, and see for yourself if there are differences you can feel.

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#2141747 - 08/31/13 10:23 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I wish I could put you in touch with some parents of my students who have made the switch from upright to grand. They are unanimous that the difference is more than worth the expense, that the inspiration is far greater, that their children practice more, with more energy and focus, and accomplish more each session.

We had a piano party with four families a week ago Friday; the occasion was the delivery of a new Boston 5'4" grand, which was a perfect match for the smallish living room. The kids (and I) played on it continuously for 3 1/2 hrs, including solos and duets. At the student's next lesson, the mom was still raving at how much better it was than their upright, and ruing her reticence in not upgrading sooner.

The technicians can explain the differences between the two, and why, in the end, the grand aces out the upright. This is my take as a musician and teacher.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2141757 - 08/31/13 10:58 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Hi Malkin,

My thoughts told me that my high quality upright was all I need and that there was no justification for acquiring a grand.
My feelings had me obsessing over finding a grand anyway.

Feelings won out, and I came across an affordable grand. I have loved playing the grand. There is something very open and inviting about it. Irresistible, yet I can't really say why.



Edited by Ann in Kentucky (08/31/13 11:00 AM)
_________________________
piano teacher

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

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#2141764 - 08/31/13 11:09 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1341
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Malkin,

You will like the grand much, much better. It will make it much more satisfying to play.

If you're worried about the expense, consider this idea from very far in left field from where your conversation started.

I have a close friend, a now-retired federal court judge, who about 30 years ago bought a 1940s Steinway "B" "C & A" instrument. C&As, if you didn't already know, are pianos Steinway uses as concert rentals for their official artists, and are generally the better instruments from their output, well maintained and regulated.

My friend does not consider himself a good pianist and, while his friends all find his playing attractive, he is just now getting out of the advancing intermediate grades of the literature.

It became clear about 7 years ago that the piano needed some serious rebuilding. So he called the best rebuilder in Southern California and got a quote for the work, which came to about $30,000.00. Even if you're a federal court judge, that's a lot of money to part with in retirement!

"I'm not a very good player!" he whined. "I shouldn't waste that money! I should just live with the piano as it is! I'll never be a very good player anyway, so why should I do this? I'm just too old!"

Everybody who knew him, myself included, slapped him on the back of the head and told him to stop being so incredibly ridiculous. We all knew he would fall in love with the piano all over again if he got the work done, and told him so.

So about 14 months ago, he bit the bullet and got the work done. It took about 9 months, and the results are stunning. It's one of the most beautiful American "B"s to be found anywhere, with a gorgeous tone and the most responsive action. It's something very rare and special. Several people have offered him twice the price of the rebuild for it, including the rebuilder himself.

Today, he practices all the time because he's just so in love with that piano. He just can't get enough of it! He doesn't care at all how his playing sounds, and this was such a burning concern even a few months ago. We all want to go over to his house and play it all the time. He's not sorry he spent the money now, considering the pleasure and satisfaction he gets every single day from playing it.

You will, too.
_________________________
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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#2141833 - 08/31/13 01:36 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
In reading this thread, I'm struck by how vague the answers are, and all about emotional feeling (to distinguish from feeling that can be touch on the keyboard). I'm reading that it will inspire you, make you feel good, "gives you a lift". There is nothing factual or practical.

Here are the things that I understand about grand pianos, as limited as that knowledge may be. A good quality grand will be more responsive so you can do more things with it, as I understand it. It is constructed differently - what is vertical in one is horizontal in the other. Given that there are moving hammers and we live on a planet that has gravity, that makes a difference.

Recently I learned about the soft pedal: on a grand piano the mechanism moves to one side so that less strings are struck, thereby giving a different quality of sound rather than just "quieter". The upright works differently and you don't get that quality. This makes a major difference in what you can do with music.

These are factual things.

Meanwhile there are questions of affordability, and the quality of the instrument you may be able to have access too --- a poor quality grand (badly made, ruined or whatever) could not be a better option.

Honestly, I was surprised by the vagueness and feeling-orientation of the answers. I don't have a grand. I don't even have an acoustic: I'm stuck with an entry-level Yamaha digital because I have no choice, so I am certainly not the best person to give information. I'm hoping that those who DO have grand pianos (or acoustics) and know something about them can flesh out - and correct if necessary - the bit that I wrote.

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#2141859 - 08/31/13 03:11 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
malkin, I have read your post, here:

In general, I'm familiar with what the reg.s say over on the Piano Forum, but I would like to hear what you all think.

Specifically, personally, I have a rather nice upright, which I play rather poorly at a sort of struggling intermediate level. I intermittently ponder upgrading to a grand and I wonder if it would make any difference, apart from taking up more room in the house.

The issue came up recently on the 'future of...' thread, and I just want to hear more.

Thanks!!

________________________________________________________________________________________\\

Interesting post, malkin. This may be more than you ever wanted to know.

as I understand your post, malkin, you want to know if you should update to a better instrument.

as a beginner piano player, you should be guided by the opinions of advanced piano players or in this case the advice of teachers, too, in this particular forum.

As a kid under the age of 8, I was exposed to a 3/4 acoustic piano of 66 keys, of course. It just seemed like a piano to me. I heard later it was referred to as a bird cage which means it was a very low end piano. We lived in a shop so it was a garage with living quarters. At age 10 we moved into a 200 sq.ft. house trailer (mobile home) so bye bye piano - no room. Next I got a sears organ that had a little fan that makes the air for the organ and had 21 spring loaded keys and a few chord buttons. I lived with what I had but I was quietly unhappy not having the bird cage

The very first thing I bought after college was buying a brand new Upright studio grand - didn't know what that "upright studio grand" meant and still don't know what that means but it was what the saleswoman called it. I don't remember playing it much. It was black and always dusty. At 23 I wasn't bright enough to know that my body, mind, and spirit, had better things to do everyday and practicing the piano wasn't even on the list. I moved once and then sold the piano.
The only thing I remember was that the piano was against the wall and it was depressing because if I put the piano next to the sliding door/window, it blocked the only light into the apartment.
So at that point I formed the opinion that uprights are depressing for me to play. I may be manic but I am never depressive! At 38 I tried again with playing the piano. Bought a Clavinova CLP-50. Again, I didn't play it much because I typed for a living and my mind and fingers were too tired to play the piano. The only thing I remember was trying to play fast - not caring about making mistakes and, of course, as we all know - is suicide - if one ever hopes to play a piano. I stumbled through to book 3 of Leila Fletcher and got to a piece about a swing and was stopped dead in my tracks - because I was too impatient and ignorant to follow the instructions of playing slowly without mistakes looking only at the music and not looking at your hands.

Next at 40 I saw an ad in a paper that said musicians at all levels welcome, I told the conductor I could play a major C scale on the piano. He suggested I play a triangle. Someone whispered play a sax and all you do is blow and push buttons. I went to a music store, got a sax and got a teacher - luckily for me he was an awesome teacher and kept me on track of learning the basics of playing an instrument. I got a student model sax and after 2 or years I got a second hand professional sax. I learned there - there was a big difference from a student model to a professional model.

So when I dusted off the clavinova after 20 years at 62 and remembering and using all the instructions of how to play any musical instrument, I fell insanely in love with the piano - except after one year of playing - I had strong - faint memories of acoustic pianos and the Clavinova was awesome, nice, nice to play, but there was something missing and it was the acoustic part that I was missing.

Since I learned the difference between a student model and a professional model of band instruments - I had no idea how to find a student model of a piano - because I certainly couldn't afford a professional piano whatever that was. I searched on the internet on how to find a proper
piano and a guy in Australia, a piano teacher, described a piano for a serious piano player as
a piano which was about 10 years old and of good quality but because of its age, it may have a weak sound at the high end or the low end of the piano - but being a good piano it had excellent piano key action.

So I went to the piano store telling them that is what I was looking for - and the short answer is - that I was lucky enough to get it - except the piano is good all around - as I understand it - I am not sure whether or not he, the teacher, mentioned it had to be a 3 legged piano/grand but I knew that I didn't want to be depressed playing the piano so I told the sales person it had to be a baby grand - but I am embarrassed - to say grand or baby grand because it seems too pretentious so I only ever call it a 3 legged piano.

I knew nothing about a 3 legged piano so I didn't even know how to open it up or pop up the music stand, but I can tell you it is the most awesome experience of my lifetime. Sure, I always ran to the window at the sound of a Harley motorcycle, but the sounds of my 3 legged piano with the top wide open is beyond description - just playing one simple key on the piano and it is music to my ears every time.

But understand - that it is never the instrument that matters, it is you the piano player that makes the difference. My mistakes never sound worse or better on the acoustic or the digital.

Sure you need a decent piano, but it is one's commitment to excellence that makes the difference and not the piano.

3G31INT







Edited by Michael_99 (08/31/13 03:24 PM)

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#2141861 - 08/31/13 03:13 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Keystring, to the contrary, music is all about emotions, not facts, so answers which deal with imagery, emotions, etc., are to the point. Of course, we can tell you that with a grand, the sound from the soundboard travels directly to your ear, it doesn't bounce off a wall and get muffled in the process. We can tell you that the action (as you pointed out) is gravity dependent, not using springs, so evenness of touch is enhanced; we can tell you that grands typically come with both una chorda and sostenuto pedals, which can only be found on a couple of high end uprights (usually costing more than a parlor grand). Most owners of uprights don't even realize they are short two pedals! Keys on a grand are generally longer, thus giving the player more sensitivity of touch. But what does all this mean to the player? It means you'll enjoy the playing experience much more, and that factor is very difficult to put into words. One has to make the assumption that no one is going to purchase a poorly maintained instrument in lieu of a well maintained instrument, so while there will always be budget considerations, we have to assume the purchaser has some common sense. If you were to ask the mom of the $20k parlor grand if her investment was worth double of a fine upright, she's respond with a resounding YES and tell you why in totally emotional terms.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2141890 - 08/31/13 04:44 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Can you honestly say, John, that you teach or practice music based solely on emotion? How much of your own playing of any piece of music, and the development of it, "flows from feeling", and how much of it is craftsmanship? Do you not teach touch, good position at the piano, well thought out timing,rubato and dynamics? Is it done merely be feeling it emotionally, and then voila, you have a performance fit for kings - pure magic and all you need is your heart? Do you not analyze music with your students, and tell them how to approach it - and the results of that will move the listener? Or do you invite them to "feel" it along with you, and all will come from there.

I tried to be diplomatic in my first post and left out some of my impressions. In my opinion, a musician must gain an understanding of his instrument, how to care for it, how to works, and how to work with it. Your instrument is the tool of your craft. Painters learn about pigments and canvas. Sculptors learn what consistency their clay should have. The most moving works in all of the arts include such mundane knowledge. If I study under a painter then I expect to be told more about the choice of brushes than that certain ones will make me feel happy.

Music is NOT just about emotion. Not for the one producing it. You need to have some degree of skill, which is also not acquired through emotion though it will allow you to express it. You create effects through devices which are also not emotion-driven - much of it is a combination of feeling and knowledge and technique. And what your instrument allows you to do is part of that.

I am working on a piece right now which goes diminuendo to pp and then erupts into a sudden fff. I have a digital piano. It mimics the pedal of an upright instead of a grand. The limitations of my instrument are preventing me from creating the dynamics I want. This is a practical consideration - "feeling" has nothing to do with it. Though if I had an instrument that did respond properly, I would feel good about it. wink But in choosing an instrument, I want to make that choice based on knowledge -not feeling.


Edited by keystring (08/31/13 08:03 PM)

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#2141894 - 08/31/13 04:55 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Most owners of uprights don't even realize they are short two pedals! Keys on a grand are generally longer, thus giving the player more sensitivity of touch. But what does all this mean to the player? It means you'll enjoy the playing experience much more, and that factor is very difficult to put into words.

That is not the answer that I would give to "what does that mean to the player?" More importantly, what does that mean to the student?

As a student and as a player I want to know what the instrument will allow me to do. If I am learning, then I won't know that in the future I want to create dynamics with pedal, or be able to play notes rapidly and need a certain response. But if a teacher tells me that this instrument will allow me to do things that I will need, then I have something to go on.

There was a point where I had to choose between two violins. One of them had a greater range for harmonics, and it allowed for a resonant pianissimo, while the other one was good at being loud. The choice was made in consultation both for my instrument and my son's. There was no talk about feeling good. We looked at things the instrument allows you to do.

Quote:

If you were to ask the mom of the $20k parlor grand if her investment was worth double of a fine upright, she's respond with a resounding YES and tell you why in totally emotional terms.


Does the mom play the piano? If not, is she the one to ask? The person I am concerned with is the one who will be playing. And at that, we're right back to practicality and understanding your instrument.

I would also not make the assumption of the good quality well maintained instrument, because someone may indeed get a poor instrument, impressed by the fact that it's a "grand", and not know any better.

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#2141901 - 08/31/13 05:18 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KS, IMO, the choice between an upright and a grand is not comparable to a choice between two violins. A choice between two upright or between two grands would be comparable. The folks on the technician's forum can get into the technical details, which I suspect we've merely skimmed the surface.

In my parent example, the mom does play, and fairly well. And she offered precisely the same arguments that many of the "an upright is just as good as" offer. Now she's singing a different tune (pardon the weak puns).

The OP is at least an intermediate level player and should be able to detect a clunker when she plays it.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2141912 - 08/31/13 05:46 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
John, here is how I have been advised on the difference between uprights and grand pianos. If I had the option I would have a grand piano, and I also know why I would want to have a good grand. As a musician or a student becoming a musician a grand piano:
- has greater responsiveness
- allows more subtle things to be done re: touch, rapidity etc.
- gives a greater range of types of sound that I can produce such as I touched upon in regards to the soft pedal.
So I do believe a student can be told more than that one kind of piano makes you feel good when you play it.

These are not hard to list. If a prospective teacher told me he preferred I get a grand if I possibly could, then he might tell me that on a grand piano I would be able to do more of the things that he can teach me. This would be a convincing argument, and I would also feel that a) he is taking me seriously b) intends to teach me how to play the piano.

This is not a matter for the tec forum. This involves playing the piano, teaching how to play the piano, what can be done with the piano. the tec part crosses over into it, but this is also a playing matter.


Edited by keystring (08/31/13 08:01 PM)

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#2141919 - 08/31/13 05:58 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
KS, IMO, the choice between an upright and a grand is not comparable to a choice between two violins.

My point was attributes, versus a passive response of how you feel when you play a good instrument. In the violin analogy I mentioned the range of area over which harmonics could be caught, and the degree of pianissimo that could be produced. On a grand piano versus an upright piano, the soft pedal produces a changed quality of sound which an upright is incapable of producing. This again is attributes which a (growing) musician will be interested in, rather than how it will make you feel to play it.

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#2141957 - 08/31/13 08:00 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 755
Originally Posted By: malkin
Specifically, personally, I have a rather nice upright, which I play rather poorly at a sort of struggling intermediate level. I intermittently ponder upgrading to a grand and I wonder if it would make any difference, apart from taking up more room in the house.


From a sound production quality, it comes down to what moves you. I've played a few horrible grands that I consider my upright's sound far superior to and some grands that I've felt sounded nicer than my upright.

In terms of action, barring vertical pianos with special actions, you'll have more control over a regulated grand than an equally-regulated upright. You can play quiet notes more consistently and repeat notes faster. These effects begin to matter more as your skills advance, but it's not like there's a line in the repertoire where suddenly you need the control that a grand offers. Rather, you may start to find that you are having to 'fight' your upright to get the color and shading that you're after.

If you're looking for a richer sound, particularly in the bass, you should consider pulling your upright away from the wall by around 4 feet or so. I did this a few months ago and was amazed at how plump the bass became. I wish I'd done it long ago. Verticals tend to slam their sound right into an adjacent wall and if there's a separation of only a couple inches, I posit that it doesn't let the sound resonate well.

If I were to get an additional piano, I'm legitimately split between whether I'd get a carefully-selected grand or a high-end digital. The digital would be able to fill niches that an acoustic couldn't. A quality grand could probably produce a fuller and richer sound than my very nice upright.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2141981 - 08/31/13 09:34 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2494
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Thanks everyone, interesting discussion.

Y'all had me at 'you're gonna like it.'

The 'you'll spend more time on the bench' argument doesn't really fly; I already spend more time there than any rational person.

I don't know if I can even come up with a single rational reason that I play piano at all and there is no explaining why I like it. Perhaps a case could be made for keeping my brain active and fending off senility, but the research indicates that I could accomplish that by knitting socks, which would certainly be more portable and less expensive and I'd end up with socks besides.

Of course I won't 'upgrade' to a worse piano! I would only make that kind of stupid move in my career!

Finally, although my husband isn't exactly a co-conspirator in this escapade, he isn't opposed to it, and he's a terrific duet partner. He's generally rational too, although he fell in love when he played our current piano.

Please continue the discussion if you've got more to say!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2142161 - 09/01/13 08:34 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
The OP wrote:

Quote:
In general, I'm familiar with what the reg.s say over on the Piano Forum, but I would like to hear what you all think.

Specifically, personally, I have a rather nice upright, which I play rather poorly at a sort of struggling intermediate level. I intermittently ponder upgrading to a grand and I wonder if it would make any difference, apart from taking up more room in the house.

The issue came up recently on the 'future of...' thread, and I just want to hear more.

I and apparently several other teachers took this as a solicitation of opinions of teachers as to their experience with students upgrading from uprights to grands, whether it made any difference in their progress, their enjoyment of piano playing, their technique, etc. I did not take the question as an expose on technical means by which, all other things being equal, a grand is better for a piano player than an upright. From the comments of the OP, I gather she already knew the technical advantages and was really seeking confirmation that these would translate into viable practical benefits and thus justify the spending of many $$$$.

Perhaps we tend to forget that a grand is actually the norm for pianos, an upright is a technical compromise to deal with space/placement issues.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2142181 - 09/01/13 09:36 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: John v.d.Brook]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2494
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
You got it, John.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2142209 - 09/01/13 10:58 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: keystring]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
I deleted this post because I accidentally said the opposite of what I'd intended to say. Oops. And since then I've changed my opinion anyway.



Edited by Ann in Kentucky (09/01/13 01:24 PM)
_________________________
piano teacher

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

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#2142212 - 09/01/13 11:07 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook


Perhaps we tend to forget that a grand is actually the norm for pianos, an upright is a technical compromise to deal with space/placement issues.


That in itself is a sentence that I can only understand now, after I learned about how grands work, and what they do. Once I understood how the soft pedal works, for example, and that it creates a changed quality of sound and not just a quieter sound, then I understood why it would be a desirable thing to have a grand if you could have a grand. (which I can't.)

See, on the other side of the coin there is also a lot of magical thinking. If I have the perfect instrument and the perfect teacher and the magical ingredient in playing and the magical inspiration -- then these things will make me play perfectly. As soon as I hear things about how something will make me feel happy or whatever, it brings me to this kind of mindset and that's a turn-off. Magical thinking is a killer for growth as a musician. Their is a fair bit of craftsmanship in music. If you don't understand that, then you will also be the student who "plays" rather than "practising" (focusing on what needs to be focused on). It all goes hand in hand.

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#2142215 - 09/01/13 11:09 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

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edit
smile


Edited by keystring (09/01/13 01:42 PM)

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#2142218 - 09/01/13 11:15 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Peter K. Mose Offline
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If Malkin is accurate in saying that she plays the piano poorly at a struggling intermediate level, then a grand piano action would probably not make much difference to her, let alone represent salvation. She may not even notice a difference. Of course she should still buy one if she wants to, because they look great and have symbolic status.

The quality line between uprights and grands is not clearly drawn, and there are high-end uprights (esp. German) that can bring tears of joy.

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#2142222 - 09/01/13 11:27 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: Peter K. Mose]
laguna_greg Offline
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Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Peter,

I disagree with that notion. Anyone, even beginners, will benefit from a more responsive action. Nobody benefits from a less responsive one.
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#2142230 - 09/01/13 11:54 AM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Loc: Kentucky
This thread has interested me because I couldn't quantify why I had to have a grand or why I like the grand better. Since getting a grand I have only been using my Yamaha U3 for duets with students.

But this thread renewed my curiosity. Why do I like the grand better? For one thing my grand has a medium touch, and the upright I have found is too light for me. But I wondered if it's more than that.

This morning I have played the same piece (excerpt from Wedding Day at Troldhaugen) on grand then upright, back and forth. And now I can say that I can tell the difference. At last I can feel the difference in the action. On my grand what I play is more controlled, piano responding exactly to my movement. On the upright at certain times playing bass notes piano, it feels like I've triggered a spring loaded response, (that punches out a note unexpectedly louder) that I have to carefully try to avoid to be able to obtain a lighter sound. It does take extra work with the upright.


At last I see that my grand truly is a better piano. Previously I thought my upright was technically better with its big resonant sound.

I see it's not just my preference for medium touch over light, or warmer sound over bright, but the action. Strangely I did not know why I wanted a grand so bad. And I've heard repeated descriptions of action differences that didn't add up to a meaningful understanding. My intuition led me to a grand. And after 2 years of playing it, I'm understanding not just that it is a better experience, but WHY. And I see clearly that my playing does sound better on my grand.

Thanks for this thread.



Edited by Ann in Kentucky (09/01/13 01:28 PM)
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And straightaway all her polka dots
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#2142266 - 09/01/13 01:31 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Michael Sayers Offline
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I've been told that Joaquin Achucarro credits some of his technical prowess to having practiced for years as a student on uprights. I don't know if he feels this way or not, or what the truth of the matter is - he didn't say it to me, this was spoken to me by one of his students, so maybe it is just food for thought!

Chopin Waltz in E Minor, Op. posth. - Joaquin Achucarro
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs4bC8IpdbU

(I don't think I've ever seen anyone play with a bench that high!)


M.

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#2142303 - 09/01/13 02:49 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: malkin
Perhaps a case could be made for keeping my brain active and fending off senility, but the research indicates that I could accomplish that by knitting socks, which would certainly be more portable and less expensive and I'd end up with socks besides.



...my husband... he fell in love when he played our current piano.


I think you'd get bored knitting socks. smile Really, piano is so much more interesting and challenging.

Did hubby fall in love with you or the piano when he played it? If he loves the piano, then it's a good reason to stay with it.
_________________________
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"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#2142343 - 09/01/13 04:20 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: malkin]
The Monkeys Offline
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Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 425
Loc: Vancouver BC
In general, a grand is better than an upright, both in general are better than a digital.
But I don't think we are arguing on this.

Anecdote is not data, personal feelings are not facts.
Teachers, statistically, do your students that have a grant out perform other students? Do they learn faster? Do they stay longer? Are they happier?

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#2142346 - 09/01/13 04:24 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: The Monkeys]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Teachers, statistically, do your students that have a grand out perform other students? Do they learn faster? Do they stay longer? Are they happier?

Overwhelmingly yes to all three questions.
_________________________
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#2142347 - 09/01/13 04:26 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5240
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Teachers, statistically, do your students that have a grand out perform other students? Do they learn faster? Do they stay longer? Are they happier?

Overwhelmingly yes to all three questions.
Heck yeah!

Though, I'd like to state that the students who DO own a grand piano (here in Greece) are also those who are also proven to be dedicated in what they're doing with the instrument. And I'd like to think that this applies globally: I don't think anyone goes to buy a grand piano costing at least 20,000$ (or whatever amount you want to put in) to their 6 year old because he just starter piano... Right? :-/
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2142355 - 09/01/13 04:36 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: Nikolas]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Let me add that I see the same differential with students using keyboards compared to those using uprights. The differences aren't minimal, they are very pronounced.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2142370 - 09/01/13 05:02 PM Re: Please tell me your thoughts about instruments [Re: John v.d.Brook]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 425
Loc: Vancouver BC
If statistically students with a grand out performance the students with a keyboard, it does not rule out the chance that a student that only has the keyboard actually turned out to be the best. Just the chance is smaller.

If you don't have access to an acoustic and you play better than the ones with grands, fell good about it, don't feel offended, you are exceptional. There are other factors, but let's focus on one for now.

Two teachers have spoken, more teachers, please....

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