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#241702 - 10/17/08 02:29 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Wumpletoad Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/16/08
Posts: 13
Loc: England
Wayne K I think, has put it rather well.

I have been an organist for more than sixty years and have been down the "obsolete" road before with the mechanical/electronic organ argument and this is now being paralleled in the piano world with the acoustic/electronic debate. The discussion has been pretty well sealed by the huge advances made with the adoption of digital synthesis.

The guitar-piano argument is irrelevant - the instruments are different, their music is different and they are just not in any sense comparable beyond some adolescent fad consideration. However, changing fashions have impinged upon piano popularity and concomitant production numbers but this has been happening since The War, so is nothing new.

My own view is that despite mechanical action pipe organs becoming ever-more expensive (and infinitely pricier than any piano could ever be), they are being made in healthy numbers for an educated and discerning market and I imagine something similar will apply in the piano world. The concert recital at least will accept nothing less than a "proper" instrument and there will always be those who will somehow find the money to possess a real piano whose character is beyond replication but things may not extend much beyond that.

But I own a "real" piano; an ex-Busoni Erard and it is a dog! Sounds great but the under-damper action, worn wrestplank and all the other problems attending this venerable instrument make it impractical as a serious musical proposition. That is why I have a Kawai CA71 which sounds almost as goood, feels much the same, takes up much less space, holds its tune indefinitely and (so far) requires no maintenance at all. Frankly, in my judgment, there can be no competition in a domestic environment but it is a very sad situation which I liken to the passing of steam traction - another form of music.

Odd about the flying connection - they pulled my ATPL a long time ago. Age, they said . . . .

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#241703 - 10/18/08 04:59 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Bubbleghost Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 3
Loc: UK

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#241704 - 10/18/08 05:00 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Bubbleghost Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 3
Loc: UK
I took up learning the piano two years ago as a 50th birthday present to myself (about 45 years too late but I'm not letting that stop me). When I move house there are four considerations:

1) a large garden because I love plants

2) a powered garage because I do a lot of DIY

3) (semi-)detached house so I can play without annoying my neighbours (I've never played any other instrument so I'm still struggling with sight reading)

4) enough money left over to buy a reasonable grand piano because every piano feels different to me and even my expensive digital doesn't have the "real feel".

No matter how good the sampling on digitals, or the progressive weighting of their keys, there is NOTHING like a real piano, even for a beginner.

Thing of the past? - no way! Not here in the UK.

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#241705 - 10/18/08 05:22 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
I think that here in the UK the acoustic piano has indeed become obsolete except for very small, largely middle class, market.

Pianos shops selling lower to middle tier pianos struggle to survive and are few and far between. There are plenty of music stores - but they sell a mix of guitars, keyboards and percussion, often along with a range of recording and amplification gear.

Classical piano has become somewhat elitist and almost no one is teaching or learning contemporary acoustic piano playing. Piano is barely taught in state schools anymore, and has shifted almost entirely to the private school sector (back to that middle class niche again).

When I was a kid many homes, including mine, had an upright acoustic. 99% of these are long since gone and are rarely seen in homes anymore. Pubs also frequently had a piano: but no more (and if there is one it was tuned 30 years ago).

But the acoustic piano will survive as an elitist instrument for those who are willing to commit thousands of hours to learning and of course a few who with to have a PSO decorating their drawing room.

The problem with debating this on a piano forum, is that we are dealing with an audience of aficionados. It is easy to preach to the converted who will all tell each other what they want to hear - and post photos to prove it. Means nothing.

Nor does the supposed membership here demonstrate much. Frank occasionally likes to post about the many thousands of members here: but in reality not many are active. Many have left long ago, or just dipped in for a few days to get a valuation on their ancient upright.

But supply and demand will eventually match each other. The dealer/manufacturer shake out is not over yet.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#241706 - 10/18/08 09:40 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
We just returned from 2 weeks in Ireland, staying in hotels the first week and B&Bs the second. The first hotel had an upright Yamaha in the lobby which was badly out of tune but otherwise ok. No piano in the second hotel. The third hotel had an old Bechstein upright in a room next to the bar. The soft pedal was missing, some notes and dampers were sticking and it was so badly out of tune that it was pretty well unplayable. Three of the B&Bs had pianos but only one was barely playable and terribly out of tune. Note, I am not being overly fussy here. When I say terribly out of tune I mean really bad. I was told by two of the owners that piano tuners have basically disappeared from the scene in Ireland, possibly explaining the state of the these pianos. I was also told by one of the B&B owners that I was the first person to attempt to play their piano in a long time and that they wished more guests would play.

This is admittedly a small sample but is consistent with the assessment of the piano as a dwindling cultural artifact, at least in Ireland.

Pity.
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#241707 - 10/18/08 12:41 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Starting Over,

Pity is right!

As you were noticing this decline, did you experience disappointment, or was it only in hindsight that it came together as to what you had witnessed.

This is neglect over a lot of time, not over night.

Is it a good thing that the pianos remain in their spots in the condition they are in so that visitors get the message.

Are these pianos accumulated with dust? That would be the only other thing missing to show the decline of the piano.

What a message! "Grave" in Italian!

Betty

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#241708 - 10/18/08 01:00 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
People in Europe are at least as clean as those in America you know Betty! We have dusters and those new fangled things called vacuum cleaners. Some of us have further embraced advanced technology and chucked out the tin bath in favour of a sprinkler thing - I think it may be called a shower?

The piano is in decline because hardly anyone is interested any more. Music fashion has changed. Pressures on time have changed. Entertainment has changed fundamentally. And very many people can see no point in investing thousands of hours learning to play an instrument - when they can get all the music they want via iTunes and Utube.

We also have daft government policy in the UK that requires licensing of pretty much all establishments (apart from the home!) that play live music, so this makes it increasingly harder for working musicians. The performing rights society and especially the musicians union have not helped themselves in this regard as they have failed to fight the corner of the average working musician.

Street music is thriving in places - but guess what, no one lugs a piano around!

Some classical pianists give free recitals in halls and London churches - and still struggle to get an audience of more than a couple of dozen (I know as I have both played and attended a good few of these).

I am encouraging my own son to learn guitar mainly, because it is much more useful for him to have fun with his friends with live music. And this is in a household where music is quite central.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#241709 - 10/18/08 02:35 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
It seems to me that a piano not being played is going to have dust upon it - and when I think unplayed pianos as in Starting Overs post, I think of a piano graveyard.

I can see you think to the future, and good for you. But, some of us have lived a lifetime with our love of piano, and without the acoustic uprights and grand pianos, life is not the same.

At one time pianos were everywhere, so many homes had them, before there were radios, tv's, and before the modern 21st Century.

That pianos, as we've known them, should be missing from our environments is a considerable loss. And, it is a sign of more things to come....is it not?

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#241710 - 10/18/08 03:46 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
Betty, I was disappointed in the condition of these pianos and it struck me at the time that it would not have been this way a generation ago. The pianos were neglected and forgotten. Unfortunately, I think it's only a matter of time before they are gone, disposed of by the next generation who, with no sentiment or nostalgia holding them back, will not think twice about it.
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#241711 - 10/18/08 03:52 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thank you for your comments, Starting Over,

I agree with your viewpoints.

Things that are part of our arts heritage being dumped in desperation, no longer coveted in a world too busy - instead of a proud possession they are now becoming relics.

Hasty wouldn't you say?

Betty

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#241712 - 10/18/08 08:03 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7265
Loc: torrance, CA
Music has always been a perilous choice for those who demand nothing less than a career in performance. Cast your lot with the acoustic piano and the odds are even longer. There are plenty of community orchestras, bands, and ensembles, but precious few that require anything more than occasional representation from an acoustic pianist.

What is a concert pianist? What is a concert-level pianist? Is there a difference? Is the player who performs a little second-rate Chopin gratis for a church fund-raiser a concert pianist? a concert level pianist? Even the few acoustic soloists who break through to elite status have a devil of a time staying there.

It never ceases to amaze me how parents embrace competitions for their acoustic-piano-playing youngsters. The odds that the sacrifice of your childhood and adolescence will pay off in a sustained career performing to packed audiences at the world's elite soloist venues are getting longer and longer.

Inculcate an appreciation of music in the home....fine. Begin musical training of youngsters on a keyboard to develop basic musical skills....terrific. Dictate to the young the choice of instrument or repertoire....it just ain't gonna work. Force-feeding often brings about revulsion and rebellion at a later time.

If the acoustic piano continues to have unique charm in the world of today and tomorrow, recreational users will find instruments. pay for them, play them, and buy tickets to hear those who can do with them what they themselves cannot. If present and future generations choose other means of self-expression and support artists who explore and exploit those means, there's nothing we can do about it.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#241713 - 10/19/08 06:07 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Life moves on.

Where are all those lamenting the demise from home and small venue music making of the hydraulis, dulcimer, harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano, etc. ?

The pianoforte was the next step of keyboard musical evolution and trumped them all. Of course one still hears many old instruments in limited, specialist settings, but their days of ubiquity are condemned to antiquity.

The next steps in widespread, popular musical instrument evolution would not seem to point towards the acoustic piano. It would appear to already have had more than its day in the sun. Personally I enjoy riding its cusp of inevitable obsolescence from the mass market towards the almost counter-cultural, unique depth of experience that it provides. At the same time, I shave with a wet straight razor, enjoy flying vintage planes make out of wood and canvas instead of composite materials and read lots of real paper printed books instead of watching TV.

If the current youth scene is any indication, mass music making in future will be more about semi-passive sample reproduction and integration with other concurrent activities versus active, naked, character-building, long-term invested soloing with its concomitant worries about notation, intonation, sound production, structure, direction, etc. Think combining video games, guitar hero, garageband, itunes, DJ workstations, etc. into new (combined) forms. Is this an advance? It depends on your point of view.

As for professional music making, I believe there will always be a place for real musicians and real musical instruments (with difficult to penetrate but rewarding markets for the few winning composers and performers). How many pianos and piano manufacturers will we need 50 or a 100 years from now? Well, how many harps and harp manufacturers do we need today?

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#241714 - 10/19/08 06:30 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
I think your perspective is spot on The Journey. I have only just noticed that you live in Amsterdam - one of my favourite cities: my son and I go there regularly and I was there only two weeks ago. Oddly enough I can't think of a piano shop anywhere in the city centre.

I think the Dutch international schools have much less focus on musical education than the UK private schools. And as far as I can see the musical focus in the Dutch state system has all but disappeared.

If we do not invest in musical education, then we cannot be surprised if our children grow up without any real sense of the pleasure to be gained from making music, as opposed solely to listening to it.

It is increasingly clear - from this thread and general experience - that we are witnessing the dying breaths of the the acoustic piano as it has already lost its status as an everyday instrument for all and slipped inexorably into the realms of elitist exclusivity and relative obscurity.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#241715 - 10/19/08 08:13 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
While the acoustic piano may be on it's last legs, I'm not so sure that the current trend in popular music, emphasizing production and technology over musical creativity, has any future either. Eventually, people will turn their backs on the wasteland that is today's music scene creating enormous opportunities for anyone with the natural talent combined with the training and the drive. Surely, the gene pool has not been completely purged of these traits. There simply hasn't been time. Where are the Mozarts and Beethovens and Porters and Gershwins? They are among us but there are no rewards for them today. The bar is set so low that complete rubbish is often sufficient; excellence and all the hard work needed to acheive it is not required. This situation cannot not last. All of the people cannot be fooled forever. When the market starts demanding more, composers will be forced back to the piano keyboard and all it entails in order to compete.

The Journey writes of the evolution of keyboard instruments with each improvement eclipsing what came before. This is true, of course, but there is a slight difference in the current situation; there is no clear improvement on today's acoustic piano which is sweeping it away. Instead, we see digital pianos in all their various forms for which the acoustic piano is still the reference. The best digitals are the ones that sound most like the best acoustic pianos. The real problem for the piano is not that it has been replaced by a successor so much that it has been abandoned because it is so difficult to learn; there are no instant rewards. It is much easier to learn a few guitar chords and to patch together a hodge podge of synth samples on a computer than to learn music theory and technique through years of training and practice. Unfortunately, as we have seen, there are no short cuts to creating lasting beautiful music that will be played and enjoyed by future generations.

I am cautiously hopeful.
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#241716 - 10/19/08 08:21 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Unfortunately, the piano store has all but disappeared from the high street in Amsterdam during the last 3 years. Cristofori, majestic on the Prinsengracht, with its funky emphasis on (unsellable for 99% of customers) electic German/European manufacture and active concert and master class scene is gone. Ypma and the Steinway Centre have moved from their prominent, plush, parquet-floored place on the Spui to a cold, low-rent concrete mall in a North Holland cheese town's cow pasture. The myriad of smaller tuner/technicus/one brand stores that were once scattered all across the city have mostly closed their doors.

What is left in Amsterdam proper? One very commercial and uninspired Yamaha dealer next to the ugliest concrete parking garage monstrosity ever built on the edge of the historic centre and one older, wildly unpredictable, on-the-edge-of-Alzheimer's dealer just south-east of the Albert Cuyp market. There are, however, signs of life: Bosendorfer has opened a renewed one-brand store across from the last-named store, there are several smaller businessmen who have started mini-showrooms off the visible path (e.g. behind the Spiegelgracht antique stores street) for Chinese grands with limited opening times of 2-3 days/week max. with the rest of the time being rented to piano teachers and for weekend concert series. Finally, there are several talented and dedicated piano restorers with their own workshops on the canals or in the new harbour development on the IJ.

As far as education is concerned, Amsterdam and Holland have found themselves in the last decade hurtling uncontrollably down the dead-end road of perdition of Anglo-Saxon-inspired utility theory and free market worship: privatising, pragmatising and reducing to soulless monetary terms all that comes in their path.

One must bear in mind that the Dutch have always considered school a place for academics, period. Sports, music, drama, etc. are seen as more appropriately taking place in charities, associations, clubs and private institutions. The public school associated but separate music schools have provided for decades quality, heavily subsidised music edcuation to school-age children of all socio-economic classes. However, government subsidies and support have been greatly reduced as part of the fashionable American philosophy and therefore access to music education has been greatly reduced. Making music on the piano or in a string trio, like reading the classics, or playing field hockey is more and more seen to be an elite activity where the rest of us just need to put our nose to the grindstone and focus on a pragmatic, job-oriented, narrow technical training so we can...MAKE LOTS OF MONEY!!! so that our grandchildren might be able to become rounded, renaissance individuals who can have the luxury of learning a musical instrument.

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#241717 - 10/19/08 10:25 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7265
Loc: torrance, CA
 Quote:
When the market starts demanding more, composers will be forced back to the piano keyboard and all it entails in order to compete.
Starting Over,

I don't see it this way. In terms of composition, the acoustic piano is at a significant disadvantage to the digital unless one is composing strictly for solo acoustic piano. There are two reasons for this. The digital allows a composer to test the interplay of different instruments through its menu of individual instrument simulations and the ability through an interface to layer tracks and simulate the resulting ensemble. Second, the digital allows the use of music notation software to lessen the burden of notation.

I know that beautiful hand notation is a minor art form in itself, but the fact is that most of us never achieve that level of notation proficiency and instead create scores and charts that strain players' sightreading abilities and hamper the productive use of rehearsal time. I took four semesters of notation and my ability ranges from decent when I have no creative ideas that create urgency to chicken scratch gibberish when creativity (or a deadline) applies pressure. Don't get me wrong. I think there is great value in musicians' studying and understanding notation, but today's production costs cannot support poorly executed hand notation.

I honestly cannot imagine that the great orchestral and operatic composers of yesterday would say "No thank you" to the opportunity to employ some sort of digital workstation as a collaborator in composition.

As to your comment about the bar being set so low, I'm not so sure. There has always been a rebellious vigor and impudence to the music that the younger generation enjoys. That music has always been discomforting to their elders. I don't like rap, but I would much rather give my attention to a rapper's attempt to express his honest reaction to the world he has been presented with than listen to someone like John Tesh trivialize pop and classical traditions to a point of absurdity.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#241718 - 10/19/08 11:19 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
I don't believe it's a stretch to generalize the issues associated with the acoustic piano to other instruments as well. To be sure, in the short run a digital keyboard with lots of buttons or better yet an electric guitar or bass appeals to fantasy role play/ego and these instruments show signs of life.

In each case however, its the same number of solitary hours of practice to become worth listening to. Perhaps a few more electric guitarists will make it through the hard part because there is a superior effort/pleasure relationship.

The larger elephant in the room is the discussion of happiness/fulfillment as a spectator sport versus participant sport. While we all complain that we and our kids are overprogrammed and in fact doing too much---how much of that is really dedicated to apprecenticeship in certain focus areas? I would argue that both exposure and deep focus are both lifelong habits worth pursuing.

Finally piano can be a "gateway drug" to other instruments. A few years of piano at an early age makes other instruments much easier to master-so parents could justify the investment for that reason alone. My oldest who has been at the piano for 9 years can pick up just about any instrument and sound like someone who has had several months of lessons within a few minutes. He does play the electric bass (takes lessons) and saxaphone (first chair) and is taking up the trombone on the side. I only mention this because the piano has been the enabler.

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#241719 - 10/19/08 01:35 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
 Quote:
I honestly cannot imagine that the great orchestral and operatic composers of yesterday would say "No thank you" to the opportunity to employ some sort of digital workstation as a collaborator in composition.

Turandot, I absolutely agree with you.

To clarify, I didn't mean that composers would be forced back to the acoustic piano keyboard. The digital piano is better as a compositional tool for the reasons you cite. I'm no Luddite. However, making effective use of these amazing tools requires training in music theory combined with the ability to play the piano. I suspect there is precious little of either in today's pop music world and the results speak for themselves IMHO.

I have wrestled with the notion that I am just part of the older generation rejecting the musical preferences of our children as part of the endless circle of life. Sorry, but I just don't buy it. I am forced to listen to this stuff at the gym; if it was any good it would start to grow on me just like rock and roll grew on my parents despite their complaints about it. It doesn't grow on me because most of it doesn't cut it by any objective standard. It just doesn't sound any good. Melodies can't be coaxed out of a computer; they are human creations; training and hard work are required.

Again, I am cautiously hopeful that this will turn around and the piano, in both it's forms, will make a comeback.
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#241720 - 10/19/08 02:10 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
stanw909 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 195
Loc: SoCal
To reiterate what I stated earlier.The only way to get people to buy real pianos is live exposure.Pianos resonate physically and visually with the human body in a way that keyboards cannot.

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#241721 - 10/19/08 03:38 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Stanw909 says: "Pianos resonate physically and visually with the human body in a way that keyboards cannot."

And, I would say definitely!

Now why is that true? Can we elaborate??

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#241722 - 10/19/08 03:49 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
very interesting.. this is probably more info than most of you want to know, ...

recently i had a mastectomy. I play the organ and notice that my 'exposed' ribcage noticeably vibrated with the low 16' notes of the organ. I checked my other side of the ribcage and felt it vibrating too. I check it all the time.. i can feel vibrations of louder music through my hands, particularly on the piano.

there is a certain resonance.

check it on yourself and see.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#241723 - 10/19/08 03:55 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
It is not true.

Pianos merely create soundwaves. So do electronic instruments, albeit in a different way.

It is the MUSICIAN that creates this resonance, emotion, feeling, that sense of being overcome by the music. I have felt it with pianos, the human voice, the violin, Aeolian pipes, and yes the electric guitar, and occasionally even electronic keyboards in the hands of great players.

Betty - you agree because it is what you want to hear I suspect. But open your mind and you may discover a different perspective.

I was interested in the Amsterdam details - thank you for that. My son is in fact at school in The Netherlands. He has had guitar lessons for a year (and learnt next to nothing from a truly hopeless old school teacher who is obsessed with technique) but is prgressing well now with a bew young guy. I have sat with the piano teacher and students for an hour or two. He is a nice guy - also rather old school so he is obsessed with note accuracy at the expense of enthusing his students. His own expressive ability is not amazing and I would say his ability pretty much tops out at ABRSM grade 8 equivalent. I am not sure how the Dutch music diploma system works but finding good teachers in Holland is incredibly difficult in my experience.

I would get my son to learn piano if I could find a brilliant teacher. I will teach him more advanced guitar myself when he is a bit older - and if he gets the bug.

Back on topic - it is pointless kidding ourselves that acoustic piano has much of a future. All we can do is try to keep some appreciation of it alive through our children.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#241724 - 10/19/08 05:18 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
The vibrations of the musical instrument are a gift to us from the universe. One needs to have some knowledge of the "Music of the Sphere's" in that the universe vibrates constantly everywhere, we just are not hearing all of it.

From your own instrument that you play, you are bathed in vibrations potentially condusive to your well being. In the other direction the instrument will provide harmful resonances to you: think of startling noises, horns in cars, crashes, airplanes overhead, earthquakes rumbling, etc. Noises of the modern world. Shopping malls, restaurants alive in distracting, clashing sounds.

How wonderful to find respite with a good instrument in a soulful voice and what good it can bring to us. Espressive, controlled, beneficial playing on a quality instrument - and you are a quality instrument, too.

If you (addressed to anyone) have no idea what I am talking about you might consider resourcing to create a balanced information bank with which to speak from.

Playing the piano well will bring these vibrations up through your fingertips as you play, but you have to linger on the key in anticipation for a second to feel the transfer.

Please read my Plato signature and imagine this is still true for our world. I believe it is.

Betty

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#241725 - 10/19/08 05:22 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
Betty...
\:\)
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#241726 - 10/19/08 05:26 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Betty. You are clearly nuts. But I like you.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#241727 - 10/19/08 06:06 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
LOL!
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#241728 - 10/19/08 08:51 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
bravo Betty!
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#241729 - 10/19/08 09:42 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Scott The Piano Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 64
Loc: Indianapolis
This comment, I think, needs some rethinking IMHO...

 Quote:
The piano is possibly in terminal decline in popular music. It will inevitably persist in classical music but that is bound to be a minority market.
My experience, life, career, profession, and passion lead me to rephrase that quote into something like this:

"The piano will "possibly" be in terminal decline if we persist in trying to teach the majority of interested students classical music at the expense of popular music."

I'm sure that comment will probably start a firestorm here on the forums, which is not my intent at all...

My point is simply that the entire reason I have the career I have hosting an Emmy Award winning television show (we're going in to shoot seasons 11 and 12 in couple of months) and producing the books, videos, and other educational things we do, is because of the HUGE desire people have to play piano.

I categorically reject the notion that there is a lack of interested warm bodies able to sustain a healthy piano market. (and BTW, who cares if it is an acoustic or a digital, as long as we're creating lifelong happy music makers?)

The issue is that the huge desire a majority of these potential piano buyers have is to be taught how to play music of the modern era on the piano as opposed to classical techniques and repertoire.

Good or bad, right or wrong, (and we can debate the reasons ad nauseam,) the fact is that only a minority of these potential piano buyers have a desire to learn to play classical piano. Yet, to this day, the vast majority of piano education available to beginners funnels students right down the path toward "classicalville."

Accordingly, it should come as no surprise that guitars sell so well as they allow players to play music of our modern era fairly quickly. Go to a beginning guitar class and they have everyone playing some recognizable pop tune right from the start.

Give that same promise and ability to piano students and there will be no shortage of enthusiasts.

OK, I'll now step down from my soap-box. ;\)
_________________________
Host and Co-Executive Producer of the 7 time Emmy award winning public television series: The Piano Guy
www.scotthouston.com www.playpianoinaflash.com

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#241730 - 10/19/08 10:12 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Scott,

I enjoyed reading your post and I love your YouTube piano lesson videos! Wow, there are some really famous people on the PW forums!

By the way, I think you have a unique talent for teaching piano lessons.

Take care,

Rickster
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#241731 - 10/19/08 10:24 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5636
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Thanks Scott, I was hoping you would chime in on this thread. Based on the success of your show and your products, I was pretty sure there is still a lot of interest in the piano.

I'd also like to address some comments made earlier in this thread.

It's true our 35,000+ registered members are not all "active" because many of them drop by to get some information and move on. (By the way, over 26,000 of them elected to still receive our newsletter, and all 35,000+ are still registered [they haven't chosen to leave]).

But what is that information they seek?
Often times it's help decided what piano to purchase, or if their's is worth fixing, or where/how to get lessons.

Does this make them any less enthusiastic? I think not.

And while we don't have 35,000 people on the forums every day, we do have over 10,000 unique visitors EVERY DAY (actually over 11,000 unique visitors a day in September).

Our page views run into the millions every month.

These are all people with an interest in the piano.
Sure, sales of acoustic pianos are down over years past (but digitals are up). Even so, many people who start with a digital move to an acoustic later in life.

And as for the comment that it takes "thousands of hours" to learn the piano, I think Scott might refute that statement.

It may take thousands of hours to become a professional, but it doesn't take much more time and effort to learn the basics than it does to learn to skate board or get good at computer games.

Those who insist on a negative view (the piano is dead) are not helping. Luckily those of us with a more "glass is half full" positive view can still help spread the joy of playing.

Piano Parties are one way, shows like Scott's are another. If you play piano, share it with your friends, invite them over, and let them know they could do it too if they really wanted to.

Every time I play for a group of (non members) people, I hear "I wish I could play like that", or "I've always wanted to play the piano".

You know what? You can.
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