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Piano Desk

Tom Kaufmann, a professional pianist who composes and teaches with the aid of a computer is transforming old pianos into new usefull furniture.

After removing the steel wires, felt-covered hammers and other parts from an old piano, he adds shelves and turns it into a desk to hold a computer, monitor and keyboard. There's plenty of space left for CD-ROMs, computer manuals and even a music synthesizer. "We'll make them in almost any configuration to meet people's individual needs," said the Traverse City resident. "Many of them have beautiful wood and wonderful scrollwork."

Kaufmann, who plays piano at Grand Traverse Resort and operates Tinkertunes, a children's music learning center, got the idea when friends kept asking him to haul away their old pianos. "There must be millions of them in garages and basements all over the country," he said. "Around the turn of the century, there were literally hundreds of manufacturers and every home had one." Kaufmann's family had several old upright pianos when he was growing up, and he still loves the sound. "But for most people," he said, "a digital piano makes more sense. Even if you get one for free, they are expensive and difficult to maintain."

Mating old pianos with personal computers makes more than just practical sense, he said. "Today's technology has turned piano lessons into computer games," the instructor explained, "and there is a lot of software to help you compose and score music." For those whose main interest is bytes rather than notes, he said, an old upright also makes an ideal computer station. "One of their functions was always to serve as an attractive piece of furniture," he said.

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Tom can be reached at:
Tom Kaufmann
Tinkertunes Music Studios
2018 South Airport Road,
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Visit Tinkertunes Web site at:
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