Author Archives: Steinway Piano Galleries

The benefits of learning piano as an adult…

Think you’re too old to learn piano? Learning to play piano as an adult has many advantages.

Contributed by Belinda Williams for the Roland Australia Blog

It might feel like you’re behind the eight ball when choosing to learn piano as an adult, but the opposite is actually true. The benefits of learning piano as an adult can be incredibly rewarding and you might discover things you never expected.

You’re the boss and you can choose how you learn

As adults, we all have so many responsibilities including work, family and parenting. Life can often feel like an endless list of to-do tasks. That’s the refreshing thing about learning piano as an adult. You’re learning because you want to, not because someone told you to!

When you decide to learn piano as an adult you’re in control of the entire experience. You can choose when and how you practice and what sort of songs you play. For more on what to expect when learning piano as an adult, you can also read our blog post here.

Learning piano as an adult is good for you

So often as adults we’re told to do things because they are good for us: exercise, the right amount of sleep, eating well . . . the list goes on. One of the benefits of learning to play piano as an adult is that not only is it fun, it’s good for you too. Sitting down to play a tune after a long day at work can be a great stress reliever. I find that as someone who is an over-thinker and a worrier, nothing beats playing piano to keep me in the moment and to give me a much-needed break.

Scientists have also found that learning a musical instrument when you’re an adult helps to make the brain more efficient. This even extends to protecting against dementia as we get older. So it really doesn’t matter how old you are, the piano is an instrument you can play for life

Piano can be a fun, creative outlet – even for adults

When was the last time you did something because it was fun? Often as adults we forget to make time for fun like we did as kids and piano can be a great way to factor some play time into your life.

Piano also allows you to be creative with absolutely no demands. As a writer, my professional life is creative, but that comes with deadlines and demands. Nothing beats being creative just for creativity’s sake. Often at the end of a busy day of writing, I’ll play piano and sometimes I’ll even end up writing a new song just because I can! Even if your job isn’t creative, piano can be a fantastic outlet to let your creative juices flow outside of work.

There’s no pressure when you learn piano as an adult

Possibly one of the best things about learning piano as an adult is there’s no pressure. You only have to pass an exam or perform if you want to. Everything else is up to you. In fact, when else in life can you choose to follow your heart without any risks? If you’re considering learning piano as an adult, I recommend seizing the day.

About Belinda Williams

Belinda is a pianist, songwriter and singer who performs in a cover band whenever the opportunity allows. By day, she writes professionally as a marketing copywriter and fiction author. She enjoys nothing better than combining her love for music and love for words.

Find out more about adult piano lessons here!

Colette Maze

This French Pianist Has Been Playing For 102 Years And Just Released A New Album

via NPR

Family photo; Eleanor Beardsley/NPR

Colette Maze, now 107, began playing the piano at age 5 and defied the social conventions of her day to embrace it as a profession rather than as a pastime. Her son first arranged for her performances to be recorded when she was in her 90s. She has just released her sixth album.

Colette Maze, now 107, began playing the piano at age 5 and defied the social conventions of her day to embrace it as a profession rather than as a pastime. Her son first arranged for her performances to be recorded when she was in her 90s. She has just released her sixth album.

PARIS — Colette Maze welcomes me warmly into her apartment on the 14th floor of a building overlooking the Seine River. From her flowered balcony, she has a view of the Eiffel Tower. She offers me a whiskey or a cognac — along with a hearty laugh as it’s 10:30 in the morning.

It’s that humor, a sense of optimism and her beloved piano that have buttressed and comforted this centenarian through an often difficult life. Maze has just released her sixth album at the age of 107.

While she lives alone, on this day her 71-year-old son, Fabrice, has joined us. Maze sits down to play her Steinway baby grand — one of two pianos she owns — with her gray tabby cat, Tigrou, stretched out on the carpet near her feet.

Across the room is the Pleyel piano she received on her 18th birthday. Maze began playing at the age of 5. Her grandmother played piano and her mother the violin. She remembers concerts at their grand Paris apartment when she was a child.

But Maze, born on June 16, 1914, says her mother was severe and unloving. So she turned to music for the affection she lacked at home.

“I always preferred composers who gave me tenderness,” she says. “Like [Robert] Schumann and [Claude] Debussy. Music is an affective language, a poetic language. In music there is everything — nature, emotion, love, revolt, dreams; it’s like a spiritual food.”

Maze says she believes there is a guiding force in our lives. The fact that she grew up just steps away from Paris’ prestigiousÉcole Normale de Musique is one example. She auditioned for, and was granted, a spot with its director, legendary pianist Alfred Cortot. Maze’s other early instructors included virtuoso pianists Nadia Boulanger and Jeanne Blanchard. (She remembers Blanchard had tiny hands, just like her.)

Maze plays the piano as a young woman. “The way she’s touching the piano is very special,” son Fabrice Maze says. “It’s very rare. The way she is playing Debussy is very unique.”

Read the full article here

Mercer’s Music School Gets New Pianos

The sound of music at Mercer University is about to get a lot richer and a lot more enhanced.

That’s because a large donation to the music school bought students nearly 40 brand new, top-of-the line Steinway pianos and helped refurbish seven others.

Mercer University’s chancellor, Dr. Kirby Godsey, gave $1.5 million to the Townsend School of Music in his wife, Joan’s, honor.

That money helped create the Joan Stockstill Godsey Center for Keyboard Studies and will cover annual maintenance and upkeep for the pianos.

“I was totally blown away, I had no idea,” Joan Godsey said.

For Godsey, ebony and ivory are her solace.

“I started piano when I was 7 years old and music has been my life,” Godsey said.

You can read the rest of the story, here, on WMAZ’s website.

Piano Review: Boston GP-163PE Grand Piano

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The Boston GP-163PE benefits from Steinway & Sons’ design to create an unrivaled class and value instrument. This particular model has been further enhanced to create a Performance Edition. This features improved materials, specification and performance, which you are unlikely to find in a mid-price range grand piano.

GP163EPAt five-feet four inches, this smaller model of grand piano is perfectly sized to fit into most homes, while the wide tail design delivers the deep rich sound of a far larger grand piano. It features a duplex scale which has been adapted from the design made famous by Steinway & Sons. This adds a richness to the harmonics which cannot be emulated.

The Boston has a less tension in the springs than other models of piano. This reduction in tension facilitates a tapered and larger soundboard, allowing longer sustain and greater quality of tone. The GP-163PE benefits from a vast array of other engineering and design enhancements. This includes the optimal placement of the bridges, braces and ribs to accentuate the stability and tone.

The soundboard on the Boston has a larger soundboard when compared to pianos of a similar length due to the innovative design of a “wide tail”. This is a wider construction of case allowing for a greater soundboard area in smaller models. Boston quote that the wide tail design provides a soundboard area of a 6’2 piano within a 5’10 Boston. Overall, this creates a more powerful and rich sound which has creates the feel and experience of playing a larger piano.

boston_grand_pianoThe soundboard has been crafted from Sitka Spruce, which is widely believed to provide the greatest resonance. It is precisely tapered for freer vibrational movement. When operated in conjunction with the innovative and patented technologies of Steinway & Sons, it creates a sustained powerful tone.

The Boston GP163-PE does not merely provide a great quality of sound. The overall design and finish has been combined to create an elegant aesthetic which is available in walnut satin and polished, mahogany satin and polished and ebonized fine veneers. This creates an attractive and lovely finish which enhances the playing experience. The classic cabinet style is accentuated with these crafted touches and solid brass polished hardware.

This quality of finish and tone, together with the price range, makes the Boston GP163-PE a great choice for pianist of any skill level. It provides the perfect instrument for beginners or even more experienced players, offering a fantastic playing experience with the reassurance of Steinway & Sons design aspects. The rich sound will create the ambience of playing a far larger instrument, which can provide a deceptive playing experience. The aesthetic appearance makes for an attractive addition to any home, while the smaller stature makes it more practical to comfortably be accommodated within a domestic property.

 

 

Piano Review: Roland HPi-7 Digital

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The Roland HPi-7 is a fantastic example of the type of Roland Digitals which Atlanta musicians have been enjoying for years. It allows the enjoyment and fun of creating music in your own home to even higher levels. It incorporates the technological advancements of  a color LCD screen, interactive visual lessons and great connectivity to provide an instrument which will encourage and reward anyone seeking to learn the piano regardless of their age and experience.

The Roland HPi-7 digital piano features an easy to read, wide color LCD display screen which enhances the unique Roland Digiscore notation and makes the interactive visual lessons easier to follow. The lessons provide a readily available music tutor with three programs for practice allowing music exploration for pupils of any age. The 128-voice polyphony feature together with the innovative key off resonance of tones combines to produce an authentic acoustic sound. This unique sound benefits from subtle tonal changes which occur when the keys become released.

roland_digital_pianoThe HPi-7 also benefits from the library of Roland stereo sampled sounds of the latest pianos. This creates a realistic and authentic piano samples which creates a rich resonance of sound. There are a number of nuances of acoustic pianos which have been cleverly emulated and integrated into the software of the HPi-7 including damper resonance, hammer response, string resonance and velocity sensitivity of the keys.

Roland has filled it to the brim with innovations including the Digiscore screen which has been built into the music rest for optimum viewing. This feature allows the display of notations for all internal songs, recorded performances, midi files and downloads. There is a “bouncing ball” cue which helps the musician keep time as you are playing, while the pages are “turned” visually on the screen. This makes it an excellent teaching piano. There is a split screen facility which allows for a metronome to be set while looking at playback notations, or show the lyrics and notations simultaneously.

NKB 05Connectivity is also impressive on the HPi-7. The ports for midi and USB together with two headphone jacks have been conveniently located for easy access on the front panel of the instrument. This makes it easy to play without the need for excessively long cords and cables.

The editing functions allow finger numbering to be added directly to the notations. It will also allow changes to song length and editing of individual notes within the music files. This can be easily accomplished while looking at the screen display of the music. You can even save notations to your music files as a bitmap, which can be transferred to your PC for sharing or printing.

info_02R_MRoland’s HPi-7 provides visual lessons which can act as a personal music tutor. The interactive lessons feature three courses which include independent music exercises and songs with variable difficulty levels together with check, practice and review screens. This provides an excellent basis for learning and can supplement formal lessons, or teach on an independent basis.

If you are looking for digital Roland pianos, Atlanta musicians should seriously consider the HPi-7. It provides the optimum balance of authentic acoustic sound with all the innovations of an interactive digital piano. Right now we have one that just came into our used stock. See the Used Pianos.

Steinway 1098 Upright Piano Review

Steinway 1098 Piano

When anyone thinks of a piano, the name Steinway is always the first to come to mind. The brand name of Steinway & Sons is synonymous with beautiful timbre and fantastic quality.  Steinway has been crafting pianos since 1853, when master cabinet craftsman Henry E Steinway produced his first piano, built in his own home. By the time he had formally created the company and established Steinway & Sons, Henry had built over four hundred pianos. The first officially produced by Steinway & Sons sold to a family in New York for the sum of five hundred dollars and was identified as number 483.

For the next three decades, Henry together with his sons revolutionized the development of the modern piano. They patented over one hundred inventions which were based on scientific developments and research which emerged including theories on acoustics by renowned physicists. These amazing designs were coupled with superb craftsmanship to create a nationally recognized quality of piano creation.

While many people think Steinway piano ranges are limited to large grand pianos, their hand-craftsmanship and quality have actually been used to produce a number of upright piano models including the Steinway 1098. Steinway & Sons pride themselves on using the same craftsmen, techniques and processes which they use on a typical grand piano to produce a superior quality upright piano.

Steinway Upright Piano

While many of the world’s most talented and accomplished pianists from all genres of music prefer a Steinway piano, the upright models such as the 1098 remain more practical for many musicians. The 1098 allows for much of the quality and tone of a larger grand piano without needing an excessive amount of space. Steinway uprights are still made using over one hundred patented processes and features to ensure a superior quality of sound.

The frame is constructed from solid birch and maple to provide a great deal of stability and vertical strength. The braces are taped to ensure that the back frame remains straight and allows for consistent tuning.  The soundboard is constructed in a similar manor to that of a violin to allow an even and free response across the whole scale. The design and shape allows a great freedom of movement which creates a rich and longer tonal response.  The keys are individually weighted and are created to be stain resistant and chip proof to ensure the lasting beauty and functionality of the piano. The key bed is hand milled to promote a snug fit and a solid mounting which allows uncompromising and prolonged and precise action.

The Steinway 1098 provides a clarity of sound which is unrivalled by any other upright brand of piano. It makes a beautiful feature in any room and generates a satisfaction and love of playing in the most untrained novice to the most experienced aficionado. With a little care and attention, it can provide wonderful sounds and timbre of music for generations.

Through Steinway Piano Galleries of Atlanta you can order a new one or perhaps find a nice pre-owned Steinway Piano.

How to Take Care of Your Piano

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If you are the proud owner of a new piano in Atlanta, you may be searching for ways that will help you keep it functional, beautiful and elegant at all times. However, you must remember that taking proper care of your piano is a task which will require some of your attention and time. So, if you’re ready to really invest time in your piano and its maintenance, give the following aspects your attention.

Temperature Care

temperatureOne of the most important factors that you have to take care of in Steinway Pianos is the amount of heat and humidity you let in the room. The wood is extremely sensitive, so you can’t expose it to sudden changes in temperature. In a perfect world, you would have a good quality humidifier to maintain the humidity levels at 45 – 70%, and keep the temperature constant at about 20˚C.

Keyboard Care

cleaning piano keysIf you’ve had your piano for a long time, it is mandatory that you keep it clean and absolutely dust-free. For this, you only need to moisten a leather cloth slightly and clean the keyboard with it. Remember to apply minimum pressure as a lot will damage the internal strings. Also, to ensure the long life of the piano, make certain that you shut the lid every time you finish playing.

Location Care

Most good quality pianos, and especially high end pianos, such as the Steinway or even Yamaha Pianos, need a lot of care and looking after. Therefore, you also have to consider where you are placing the instrument. Experts suggest that the piano be kept somewhere against the wall of a room and as far away from the window as possible. Bear in mind that no matter what, keeping it away from the window is a must or else the wood of your piano will be damaged in a few years. Ultraviolet rays will over time damage the finish on the piano.

Maintenance and Repair Care

With any piano, you should carry out maintenance at a regular intervals as this is something which will keep the instrument running longer. A well maintained piano is one which will rarely require the need of repair. Even so, it is smart to have the number of a good piano servicer in your contacts list just in case. Having your piano serviced from time to time will ensure your ability to use it for years to come.

Transport Care

First of all, you have to know that transporting a piano is dangerous because it is a highly sensitive musical instrument and it may not arrive in the exact same playing condition than it left in. However, if you are moving it to another location, it is best if you bring in specialized personnel to take care of the job. Also, you may want to make certain that your piano is insured in case accidents take place.

How To Buy A Used Piano

A piano plays a vital role in music. Very often, no melody is complete without a piano to carry its tune. With so many pianos out there to choose from, you must first decide the purpose for which you will be purchasing one. For example, will you be training children or for casual playing at home. Buying a new Steinway Piano in Atlanta can be costly and depending upon your situation it may be better to look into a used Steinway piano.

However, not all used pianos are created equal. Here are a few questions you should ask before buying a used piano. Especially if you’re looking for a top Steinway piano.

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What is the Reason for Sale?

The first thing you should know is the reason a person is selling a used piano. Their answer is usually helpful in determining if the buyer is being truthful or not as many buyers aren’t expecting the question. In a dealership or piano store this is also a good question to ask. Many times at a piano store or dealer it’s possible that new arrivals have replaced the older versions. These older pianos are sometimes offered as “used” even when they are not. These are often very good finds as they offer great value for a piano that is essentially “new”. Finding out if there are any of these is a smart question to ask as well.

How Often Has the Piano Been Tuned?

piano_tuningMany of the higher end pianos – especially those by Steinway, Essex, Yamaha, and the like –  require to be tuned at least twice a year for maximum sound performance. If care is not taken, you’ll end up paying extra money for its maintenance after the purchase. If not tuned, then make sure you have a certified piano tuner take a look at the piano before purchase to make to know the cost of getting back to it’s top playing condition.

You should also know who did the piano’s last tuning and maintenance. Remember, Steinway Pianos should always be tuned by an authorized Steinway piano technician and not by just any tuner. An accurate and detailed tuning record is a sign of a well cared for piano.

Where It Has Been Stored?

The details of where the piano has been stored must also be taken into account. Make sure that it hasn’t been cramped up in a place experiencing seepage, water outflow or extreme temperature variation. If a piano has been stored in a garage, stay away. These factors can seriously affect a piano’s performance and appearance.

How Much Movement Has It Experienced?

piano_movingIs this the first owner? Or has the piano changed hands a few times? These are good things to be aware of in determining how well the piano was cared for. Find out how often the piano has been shifted from one place to another. Inspect it for dents, scratches or defects which might affect its performance.

How Often Has The Piano Been Used?

You should be well aware of how often the instrument was been used. This is also often a key indicator of how well the piano was cared for. Don’t be alarmed if the person used the piano every day. A person that uses a piano often is much more likely to be one who has taken great care of it.

Keep these in mind while shopping for a used piano and you will definitely get the best value for your money. Or, you can just let the pros do it for you. You can always swing by Steinway Piano in Atlanta to view the used pianos available anytime.

Always remember that either is it a piano or any other musical instrument, proper tuning and care must be taken for best result.

6 Reasons Why Your Child Should Learn Piano

There are many highly defensible arguments for encouraging children to learn to play piano. Not the least of which is that over the past several years a great deal of research has produced an ever expanding amount of evidence showing that music can have a distinctly measurable and undeniably positive impact on the brain and its processes.

Robert DeFazio writes in the Feb/March edition of Amercian Music Teacher, “… the value proposition of music is not merely that a student will learn to play scales; it goes far beyond that. With musical training, a student could also read better, develop a facility with language that enables him to express himself more accurately and capably, and acquire a foreign language more rapidly and effectively.” Many other studies conclude that early piano training also has a direct effect on the development of the brain’s neural circuitry, actually improving intellectual development and helping to create and maintain certain “connections” in children’s brains that might not otherwise ever form.

Well… All this “Brain Stuff” is very well and good, but what does it actually mean out in the real world? A very interesting article by Liz Ryan, CEO & Founder of Human Workplace, an online community and consulting firm focused on reinventing work and career education for humans, reveals some incredible advantages not commonly associated with piano training.

Ms. Ryan challenges the concept that a college degree in “computer science or accounting” prepares a child for the real world. In a February 4 blog posted to DenverPost.com she writes…

“Here’s what prepares a kid for real life: growing muscles. Musicians grow those muscles from an early age, because every kid in class can get an A in Algebra, but not every kid can be first chair in the concert band. There is competition in music (as in life). It goes with the territory.

Here are other things that go with the musical territory:

  • Coming back from a disappointment (not getting the part, the solo or the chair you wanted), doing the gig or the show anyway and learning from it.
  • Working on something hard, like an upcoming audition, for weeks while your friends are having fun without you.
  • Digging in to surmount an obstacle (a vocal wobble, e.g.) and getting past it.
  • Staying within yourself and in the music when a million distractions loom.

In high school, music kids get labeled nerds and wonks, but music kids are hardier than most.” All that competition, the hard work of self improvement and the repeated bouncing back from disappointment helps a musician grow not only muscles, but a thicker skin and ability to roll with life’s punches that many kids never approach (paraphrasing).

Finally, there are also real societal benefits derived from playing the PIANO. The following is taken straight from literature provided by the Boston Piano Company (a division of Steinway & Sons) giving us the 6 reasons that your child should learn piano.

  1. For the shy child, piano is self expression.
  2. For the awkward child, piano is coordination.
  3. For the impulsive child, piano is a way to channel energy into a rewarding accomplishment.
  4. For the easily distracted child, piano is concentration.
  5. For the uncertain child, piano is poise and confidence.
  6. For the child who gives up easily, piano is perseverance.

How different would our lives or our world be if we could all experience more self expression, be more coordinated, achieve more rewarding accomplishments, and have higher levels of concentration, confidence and perseverance? Any takers?

About the Author

Ike Van Meter is the Director of Institutional Sales for Steinway Piano Galleries of Alpharetta Atlanta, GA a graduate of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music and member of the Grammy Award winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Steinway Model M Grand Piano Review

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be a special buy on a hand crafted Steinway and Sons Grand Piano, this beautiful Model M Grand takes the cake. It is what we would called a slightly used, SLU for short….a new never-sold product that has been a floor model for several years. This particular one happens to be almost 7 years old but still looks and plays like a brand new 2012 model. It measure a mid size 5′ 7″ so it fits in the smaller rooms but also is long enough to accommodate the larger rooms too, making it Steinway’s most popular grand piano size.

While it is mostly used in homes, it is also suitable for a smaller practice room or studio at a University or Music Conservatory. This piano typically has a very nice, mellow sound ideal for smaller spaces. The action is very responsive as it is equipped with Steinway’s Accelerated Action (as are all Steinway pianos). This makes the action much faster and more responsive than any other manufacturer’s action design. Along with nearly 125 other Steinway patents, this is the highest quality piano money can buy in this size range. It is finished in that beautiful lustrous satin black that Steinways are famous for.

What make this particular Steinway so appealing is that it is equipped with the latest technology in player piano systems, the current top-of-the-line Pianodisc IQ System, and it is completely controlled by an Apple Ipad so there isn’t that unsightly box on the front of this rare Steinway Grand Piano. And talk about loaded…..this Ipad comes complete with the music of over 100 CD albums (over 720 songs) and over 80 Videos, in other words, thousands of dollars of software already preloaded in the Ipad that comes with the piano.
Imagine listening to the immortal Ray Charles singing his classics while the Steinway accompanies him live in your home.

You will be able to listen to the world’s greatest pianists, Billy Joel, Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Diana Krall, and the immortals like Horowitz and Rubinstein performing for you in the privacy of your own home. In addition, the videos allow you to watch the world’s greatest entertainers and pianists play and sing their greatest hits for you while the piano plays live, its accompanying part. Artists like Ray Charles, Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, and the list goes on and on and on, will entertain you and your friends for hours on end.

With this iPad – should you desire more music – you can download new music for the piano directly from a special website or you can connect to a radio streaming service to hear endless music played directly through your piano. With Pianodisc and Apple, there is no end to what you can do and accomplish with this player system, and, whether you play or not, to enjoy all of this music on the world’s greatest piano, is heaven on earth.

You can inquire about our Used Steinway Pianos here.