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Episode 70 – Follow Your Dreams

Author, Transformation Coach and book promotion coach Lynn Serafinn hosts master pianist, composer, music historian, and performance artist Robert Estrin. A second generation concert pianist, Robert was brought up in a widely-known musical family, so he knew how tough it is to “make it” as a classical performer, and supported himself for many years from a combination of performing, teaching, freelance work and, occasionally, the “day job”. In his 40s, after decades of wearing many “hats” and feeling like he wasn’t getting anywhere in life, Robert decided to leave a lucrative 6-figure job he had working for a top-end musical instrument retailer, and began his quest for something worth his life’s energy. After seeking for answers through numerous self-help books and audio, he envisioned “Living Piano”—a new venture that could utilize all his talents, and allow him to express his passion for instruments, music, history and, most of all, performance.

Robert now lives his passion every day with his Living Piano career, sharing the joy of music and our human connection to the past through his brilliant and unique performance art. On tonight’s show, Robert will share clips from his Living Piano performances, along with his insights into how it is sometimes necessary in life to give up what is good for what is important, so you can find sources of limitless energy and motivation for success and happiness beyond your wildest expectations. Tune in to this inspiring show, and get to hear from a true musical master, who has found is authentic voice by allowing music to speak through his work.

YOUR HOST LYNN SERAFINN is in Round 2 of the “Next Top Spiritual Author” contest. To view her compelling entry video, her fascinating book proposal AND read a COMPLETE section from her bestselling book The Garden of the Soul, cast your vote of support, at http://www.NextTopAuthor.com/?aid=2016.

Robert Estrin on Lynn Serafinn’s Garden of the Soul – BlogTalk Radio

Listen to internet radio with Lynn Serafinn on Blog Talk Radio Episode 70 – Follow Your Dreams Author, Transformation Coach and book promotion coach Lynn Serafinn hosts master pianist, composer, music historian, and performance artist Robert Es

digital-pianosAcoustic Versus Digital:

There are benefits to both acoustic and digital pianos. However, if the primary purpose is learning to play the piano, an acoustic piano is best. A digital piano has many features that are useful for other purposes such as working with music software, practicing with headphones, and playing a wide variety of sounds. But the piano action of an acoustic piano has nearly 100 parts for each key which provides a much higher level of performance. The subtleties of touch and pedaling enable much more expressive performance on an acoustic piano.

Upright Versus Grand:

upright-piano

An upright might be a good choice if space and budget are limited. However, a grand piano offers superior touch and tone. The vertical motion of hammers in a grand piano offers faster repetition than the horizontal hammer motion of an upright piano. Also, the length of the keys beyond the fall board is greater on a grand piano than on an upright offering better leverage when playing black keys and between black keys. Finally, the sound of a grand piano projects into the room, not into the wall. You may be surprised at how easy it is to place a baby grand piano since it looks good on all sides and can be placed in a corner.

New Versus Used:

acoustic-piano

If budget is unlimited, buying new can be a good choice. However, it comes with risks. A piano doesn’t reach its full potential until it has had a chance to season and become broken in. So, it is difficult to assess the quality of a new piano until years down the line. Also, if there are any major manufacturing defects in a piano, it will almost always evidence itself within the first few years. Used pianos can offer tremendous value but you must have knowledge in order to make the right buying decision. Factors include the quality of the manufacturer, as well as the history of the specific piano in question.

New: Handmade Versus Production Pianos:

handmade-piano1

Asian production pianos cost a fraction of hand-made American and European pianos. They are best bought new or nearly new because once they wear out, it doesn’t pay to restore them because they are so inexpensive to begin with. American pianos are a dying breed. We have gone from over 300 manufacturers prior to WWII to 3 companies producing pianos in the United States today. While everyone knows Steinway is a great piano, there are several other piano companies that produced pianos equal to Steinway which can be purchased for a fraction of the cost if you know what to look for. Because this is a vanishing commodity, there is lasting value in these instruments and it can be worthwhile restoring Mason & Hamlin, Knabe, Sohmer, Chickering, Baldwin and many other great American pianos.

Used: Rebuilt Versus Reconditioned:

restored-chickering-grand-pianoUnlike people, pianos don’t age unless acted upon by outside forces, namely environment and use. A piano that isn’t played very much and has spent its life in a stable environment in regards to temperature and humidity may only require reconditioning in order to achieve a high level of performance. This is true of some high quality pianos 50 or 75 years old! Other pianos much younger may require rebuilding which involves removal of the strings and plate, and complete restoration of the 10,000 parts throughout the instrument. While this is very costly, the high price of new hand-made pianos makes this investment worthwhile for the right instrument.

giant-pianoSize Matters:

With pianos, all things being equal, bigger is better. This is due to the longer strings and bigger sound board which offer enhanced tone. However, it is important to match the size of the piano to the room. A larger piano produces more volume. So you must assess the acoustics and purpose of the piano to determine what size is appropriate for the space.

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old-pianoThink Long Term:

Unlike almost everything else you buy, you buy a piano only once if you make the right decision. This is because a piano can last a lifetime if it is properly cared for. So you should think beyond your current family situation and home and project far into the future when making a purchasing decision.

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piano-furniturePiano as Instrument and Furniture:

While a piano is a musical instrument, it is also one of the most significant pieces of furniture you invest in. So, consider the look of the piano so that you are happy living with it. Black pianos are the most popular, offer the easiest resale, and also are most versatile. But you should ultimately get what you like to be happy.

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inside-of-pianoIntellect Versus Emotion:

While it is important to make the right decision when getting a piano, ultimately it is about satisfying aesthetics. You must not over think it. If you feel an attachment to the sound and look of a piano, it is probably the right one to get. Because then you will want to play and hear the instrument. Educate yourself as to what to look for, but ultimately make the decision based upon what you love.

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How to Buy a Piano

Acoustic Versus Digital: There are benefits to both acoustic and digital pianos. However, if the primary purpose is learning to play the piano, an acoustic piano is best. A digital piano has many features that are useful for other purposes such as wo

So What Are the Best Piano Brands?

The country of origin is often the best indicator of the quality of pianos. Since piano production began in Germany and the United States, these represent the very best piano brands.

The United States only has 3 manufacturers left although there used to be hundreds of piano companies building in America. Today we have only:

Steinway

is Steinway the best piano brand

 

 

Steinway makes about 2500 pianos a year

 

 

 

Mason & Hamlin

is mason and hamlin one of the best piano brands

 

 

Mason & Hamlin builds only 250 pianos per year

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Walter

Charles Walter, one of the top piano brands in the united states

 

 

Charles Walter is a relative newcomer which builds only about 65 pianos each year.

 

 

 

 

 

The best European pianos come primarily from Germany:

Bechstein

Bechstein is one of the best piano brands in the world

Bluthner

Bluthner pianos are one of the best brands

Bosendorfer (from Austria)

Bosendorfer is one of the best piano brands in Europe, they are based in Austria

Fazioli (from Italy)

Fazioli from Italy is one of the best piano brands in the world

The Eastern European pianos are not as refined but offer excellent value:

Petrof/Weinbach

(The same company produces both pianos.)
petrof and weinbach are among the best piano brands

Estonia

estonia is one of the best piano brands in europe

Japan makes the best Asian production pianos. There are 2 companies which are the largest and second largest manufacturers of pianos in the world:

Yamaha

Yamaha is one of the best asian production brand pianos

Kawai

kawai is one of the best piano brands in Asia

Both companies have factories throughout Asia (not just in Japan) and the best pianos they build are made in Japan. They offer everything from budget instruments to hand-made pianos rivaling the best German and American pianos.

Korea has been making pianos for quite some time. While not as refined as the Japanese pianos, they continually improve. There are 2 Korean piano manufactures both of which have factories in other countries:

Samick

samick is a great piano brand, is it one of the best?

Young Chang

young chang is one of the best asian piano brands

Samick sells pianos under many different brand names including Kohler and Campbell, Knabe, Sohmer, Pramberger, Remington and many more. These are referred to as “stencil pianos” since the original manufacturer is either out of business or it is a made up name. Young Chang sells pianos under the Weber name.

Best Piano Brands YouTube Video

Best Piano Brands

What Are the Best Piano Brands?

The country of origin is often the best indicator of the quality of pianos. Since piano production began in Germany and the United States, these represent the very best, pianos.

1. Steinway is the best piano in the world:
There are a handful of piano companies which make pianos equal in quality to Steinway. (For example: Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Fazioli, Blüthner and Mason & Hamlin are all top notch pianos with rich histories.) In fact, if you look in the latest supplement to “The Piano Book”, by Larry Fine, New York made Steinway pianos are rated in the 3rd rank of pianos according to manufacturing quality. So why is Steinway recognized as the undisputed leader? In a word: marketing. Just as Microsoft dominates computer software because of aggressive licensing arrangements, John Steinway helped propel Steinway & Sons to its market dominance through exclusive artist contracts and favorable institutional arrangements.

2. Steinway pianos that have Teflon bushings in the action should always be avoided:
There are some pianos from the period that Steinway was owned by CBS in which Teflon was used in place of the felt bushings in the action. Some of these pianos exhibit problems. However, the issues are not nearly as severe as the problems of Steinways from decades earlier suffering from verdigris (a condition of gumming up of action parts as a result of having them dipped in paraffin oil when manufactured). One of the biggest problems with Teflon action parts is that few technicians know how to deal with them properly. Usually they can work fine unless there is a major change in climate.

3. Steinway upright pianos aren’t very good:
Here Steinway is getting a bum rap! While one could argue that Mason & Hamlin upright pianos and some of the extinct American companies from years ago produced superior upright pianos, Steinway uprights are by no means sub-par pianos. The fact that they don’t measure up to their grand pianos is the nature of uprights compared to grands.

4. Boston and Essex pianos are as close as you can get to a Steinway in a lower price range:
This is a beautiful myth created by Steinway to sell more than the 2,500 or so pianos that Steinway produces. These stencil brands are rebadged Kawais made in Japan, and Pearl Rivers made in China. No company ever OEM’s higher quality instruments to competitors! And the buyer must pay a premium since 2 companies have to make money on the sale. You are better off buying a Kawai or Pearl River directly from the manufacturer. Or better yet, search out a high quality, used American piano other than Steinway since the Steinway name has a price premium attached to it.

5. New York Steinways can’t compare to Hamburg produced Steinways:
Just as there is a mystique to the Steinway name, there is romance to the Hamburg Steinway name. Perhaps there is more consistency from era to era in the German manufactured Steinways. However, a great Steinway is a great Steinway and there are phenomenal instruments from both factories.

TOP 5 Steinway Piano Myths.

There are a handful of piano companies which make pianos equal in quality to Steinway. Find out 5 common Myths associated with the iconic piano company.

Top 5 Piano Myths

1. Steinway is the best piano in the world.

steinway piano

There are a handful of piano companies which make pianos equal in quality to Steinway. (For example: Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Fazioli, Blüthner and Mason & Hamlin are all top notch pianos with rich histories.) In fact, if you look in the latest supplement to “The Piano Book”, by Larry Fine, New York made Steinway pianos are rated in the 3rd rank of pianos according to manufacturing quality. So why is Steinway recognized as the undisputed leader? In a word: marketing. Just as Microsoft dominates computer software because of aggressive licensing arrangements, John Steinway helped propel Steinway & Sons to its market dominance through exclusive artist contracts and favorable institutional arrangements.

2. When you move a piano it has to be tuned.

piano moving

This is a half truth. The fact is, a piano that is moved will show up pretty much as it left most of the time. However, after the piano gets acclimated to its new environment, it will require tuning. The piano may not sound bad, but the pitch of the entire instrument may adjust slightly up or down. It is important to keep a piano stable. It is best to wait at least a couple of weeks or even longer after a move before tuning to make sure the piano has settled.

3. Kids banging on a piano may damage the instrument.

kid playing piano

While it can grate on your nerves, the force with which kids hit the keys of a piano even with their fists can’t match the power professional pianists inflict upon a piano in concert. Just be sure that the children don’t take sharp or heavy objects to the keyboard since this can damage the instrument.

4. The fall board of a piano must have a slow close feature to avoid injury.

piano fall board

The slow close fall-board feature of a piano is a great marketing tool. The truth is, unless you have some really wild kids, the incidence of being hurt by a falling fall board is quite rare. Most of the best pianos including Steinway do not offer a slow close fall board.

5. You shouldn’t place a piano on an outside wall.

piano fall board

Even in a temperate climate, the insulation of modern homes will keep the temperature fairly stable even on an outside wall. However, it is important to avoid direct sunlight on your piano. This will not only effect tuning stability, but it will fade the finish in a matter of weeks. Also, you should keep your piano closed particularly at night. If you leave your windows open at night, the moist night air will rust the strings. Also, even with the piano closed, the cooler air can make the sound board contract destabilizing the tuning. Use your judgment in balancing the enjoyment of your piano versus its longevity.

I’m interested to hear your opinions and thoughts on these piano myths. Please leave some comments below. Thanks for reading.

TOP 5 PIANO MYTHS

Top 5 Piano Myths 1. Steinway is the best piano in the world. There are a handful of piano companies which make pianos equal in quality to Steinway. (For example: Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Fazioli, Blüthner and Mason & Hamlin are all top notch pi

This question is not as simple as it seems. At first, you might consider that Bartolomeo Christofori is credited with inventing the piano in 1709. (Although, there are accounts of pianos prior to the 18th century.) However, the instrument that Christofori built was actually a harpsichord (the predecessor of the piano). In fact, he called his instrument, “Arcicembal che fa il piano e il forte” which translated from Italian is, “Harpsichord with soft and loud”. Eventually the name was shortened to the “pianoforte” and then simply the “piano”.

The harpsichord is a keyboard instrument that creates tone by plucking strings with duck quills. As a result, the force with which the keys are depressed doesn’t affect the volume. Christofori developed a primitive hammer action which allowed for dynamics. However, there were subsequently countless technical innovations that led to the development of the piano as we know it.
It was during Beethoven’s life that the piano experienced dramatic evolution. While Christofori’s keyboard was made entirely out of wood, little by little, metal bracing was added to strengthen the piano. By the late nineteenth century, nearly the entire inside of the piano became reinforced by a cast iron plate which supports enormous string tension. Steinway & Sons was producing a fully modern piano by the late 1800’s.

So, it is a subjective question as to when the first “Piano” was played. It depends upon how you define the piano. In the strictest sense one could argue that Christofori played the first piano at the turn of the 18th century. Or, perhaps the first piano was played by Henry Steinway! However, Franz Liszt was the first to play the piano as we know it. The first person to play solo piano recitals, Liszt transformed the instrument to a modern standard with the help of countless instrument builders. While the instrument he played was not quite a modern piano, his performances solidified the piano as we know it today.

When was the first piano played?

When was the first piano played? This question is not as simple as it seems. At first, you might consider that Bartolomeo Christofori is credited with inventing the piano in 1709. (Although, there are accounts of pianos prior to the 18th century.) Ho