Piano Questions: Which Piano Should I Buy?

We are currently looking for a piano for our church service use. We don’t have very high budget so we are currently looking at used pianos. We have come across the following model and it would be great if Bob could provide expert advice on which one is the better one:

  • Yamaha MC10A
  • Weinbach serial number 149862

Thank you Bob

 

Both Yamaha and Weinbach make good quality instruments. From the serial number, you can determine that the Weinbach was manufactured in the Czech Republic before it was acquired by Petrof. Since you don’t have the model number of the Weinbach, I will assume these are both similar style upright pianos. In that case, the better piano is the one that is in better condition. There are many factors that come into play.

You can determine how much use the pianos have had by looking at the grooves on the hammers. Deeper grooves mean the piano has had more use. The hammers also may have been filed. Look at how much felt is left particularly on the highest notes of the piano. Also, you can wiggle the keys back and forth. If there is a lot of play or worse yet clicking sounds, this indicates that the piano has been played substantially.

Another important factor is the environment the piano has been subjected to. An extremely dry or humid environment can damage a piano. Definitely look on the back of the piano at the soundboard for detached ribs, warping,or open cracks. (Tight, hairline cracks are not a concern.) Look for rust or corrosion on the strings. Yellowing of felt parts (hammers and dampers) also indicates parts that are more weather worn.

It is a mistake buying a piano you think will be fundamentally different after it has been serviced. Unless you have vast experience with pianos, you would be taking a tremendous risk. Ultimately, how the piano sounds and feels is paramount since this is probably what is most important to you.

We are currently looking for a piano for our church service use. We don’t have very high budget so we are currently looking at used pianos. We have come across the following model and it would be great if Bob could provide expert advice on which one is the better one: Yamaha MC10A Weinbach serial number 149862 Thank you Bob … Continue reading Piano Questions: Which Piano Should I Buy?

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How to Prepare for a Concert – Concert Pianist Preparation

 

Christina asks, how do you prepare for a concert? Do you play through your music on the day of the concert?

 

This question raises many issues of concern to all performers. Performing music requires many different types of preparation including:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional

The most important aspect of preparing to perform a concert is the work that is done weeks and months before the performance. This is essential to accomplish all 3 aspects listed above. Obviously a thorough knowledge of the score as well as technical fluency is required for a good performance. But equally important is the psychological preparation. If the first time you think about being out there in front of an audience is the moment of the performance, you will be ill prepared for the surge of adrenalin that surely would result. Take time days in advance of the performance to imagine the moment in great detail while being in a relaxed state so you can trigger that feeling when the actual performance comes.

 

Trying out your music the day of the program is a good idea particularly if the piano is one that you aren’t intimately familiar with. A good addition is to play some of your pieces slowly with the music with no pedal to reinforce the memory. Some people like to have special routines the day of a performance like taking a nap or a walk, avoiding caffeine, even eating bananas or taking beta blockers to help ease nerves. Other people like to go about their routines as normal. You should do what makes you feel good. The bottom line is to enjoy the performance. If you are engaged with the music, the audience will share the emotions of the performance!

  Christina asks, how do you prepare for a concert? Do you play through your music on the day of the concert?   This question raises many issues of concern to all performers. Performing music requires many different types of preparation including: Physical Mental Emotional The most important aspect of preparing to perform a concert is the work that is … Continue reading How to Prepare for a Concert – Concert Pianist Preparation

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PIANOWORLD EXCLUSIVE: Piano Playing Technique Secrets – Hand Positions

This video was produced exclusively for Pianoworld.com

Growing up people used to tell me to play the piano on the tips of my fingers. You might have been told to use rounded fingers, like your holding a ball; for many people this can be very uncomfortable. This is what we are going to talk about today.

When I was young I was told to play the piano with rounded fingers. I remember watching Vladimir Horowitz in concert and noticed that he seemed to play with flat fingers sometimes; I wondered how this could be. As a child I had very small, weak hands. When I would play the piano my fingers would collapse which is bad because I you can’t control the motion of fingers bent backwards. This is one of the reasons I was taught to play with rounded fingers. Eventually I realized that you don’t have to use any finger muscles to maintain an ideal position at the keyboard! I discovered the perfect piano position which can be maintained with absolutely zero effort. But how is this possible?

If you were to take your hand on a flat surface and let it drop naturally, you would notice that your fingers round naturally. But why is this so significant for the piano? If you put your hand flat on the piano you will notice that some fingers are longer than others; this presents a real problem. However, if you drop the hand and let it fall into its natural position, your fingers will all be in a straight line!

Another important revelation is how while white keys are full length black keys are only on the half closest to the fall board. It’s very important to keep your hand at the point at which black keys and white keys meet. Otherwise you will expend a lot of extra energy and motion going back and forth to hit all the keys.

By using the correct hand position in which you let your fingers fall naturally onto the keys with no effort, and placing your hand at the point at which black and white keys meet, you will utilize the minimal amount of effort to get the maximum amount of sound!

So yes, there is truth to the method of using rounded fingers but there is much more to it. Keeping your hand in a position which is uncomfortable or taxing to maintain will cause unnecessary strain and could damage your hands. Remember; let your hands fall naturally on the keyboard at the magic line at which black and white keys meet. Experiment with this and see how it helps you play in a more relaxed and efficient manner.

Thanks again for joining me and be sure to check out our future videos here at LivingPianos.com

This video was produced exclusively for Pianoworld.com Growing up people used to tell me to play the piano on the tips of my fingers. You might have been told to use rounded fingers, like your holding a ball; for many people this can be very uncomfortable. This is what we are going to talk about today. When I was young … Continue reading PIANOWORLD EXCLUSIVE: Piano Playing Technique Secrets – Hand Positions

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Brilliant Piano Finger Technique

  When listening to some of the great pianists of all time like Horowitz and Rachmaninoff, sometimes the fast finger passages sound almost jewel-like in the shimmering clarity of the notes. One of the secrets to developing this kind of technique is practicing slowly with raised fingers. You see, it is not just the placement of the attacks of the … Continue reading Brilliant Piano Finger Technique

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