Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. I recorded a virtual tour of the facilities here at Living Pianos and our sister company Stilwell Pianos. You can find that video here:

See the Living Pianos video studio, showroom and the 30,000 square foot Stilwell Pianos showroom, piano workshop, performance space, as well as the video creation studios of The Piano Technicians’ Academy from the comfort of your home!

Piano Technician Academy

You can see and hear high quality video and audio of the fine collection of pianos we have to offer you.
LivingPianos.com
StilwellPianos.com

Right now we are being offered so many pianos that we are lowering the prices on our entire inventory!

This unprecedented sale includes 15% off all pianos from Stilwell’s huge collection, as well as 0% interest on all instruments in the Living Pianos: Private Reserve showroom. Now is the perfect time to get the piano you’ve always wanted.

We have beautifully restored baby grand pianos in the $3,000s!

There are hundreds of pianos for you to choose from, without ever leaving your home. Now is a great time to get an instrument you and your family can enjoy for years to come.

The pianos that are available right now are the best I’ve ever seen! We have tremendous instruments for you. We are also going to have so many more videos for you. We are all hunkering down at home. What better way to enjoy this time than with a piano? Life goes on and we are here hoping to enrich it for you. So, keep submitting questions and I will keep answering them for you in new videos!

I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store.

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

Living Pianos Studio & Showroom Virtual Tour

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. I recorded a virtual tour of the facilities here at Living Pianos and our sister company Stilwell Pianos. You can find that video here: See the Living Pianos video studio, showroom and the 30,000

Hi, this is Robert Estrin at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store. Today’s question is, “What Can You Do at Home With Music?” If you have time on your hands and you have a piano at home, this could be a perfect time to study a new piece! Maybe you’ve always wanted to compose music or teach your kids how to play the piano. Something that I love to do is make music up. I always have music going on in my head. So, sometimes some pretty cool things come out! I recorded one last night. I just popped my iPad open and recorded, and what came out was pretty cool. So I want to share it with you. There will be a lot more morning inspirations and evening inspirations for you, and I hope you enjoy them. Once again, this is Robert Estrin at LivingPianos.com. Thanks for joining me.

I hope you enjoyed the music, and if you do, please let me know and I can share much more music with you. It’s my pleasure! Hopefully you can find enriching ways to play music at home with your family. We’ll see you next time. Thanks for joining me at LivingPianos.com Your Online Piano Store.

Please feel free to contact us with any piano related questions for future videos!

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

What Can You Do at Home With Music?

Hi, this is Robert Estrin at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store. Today’s question is, “What Can You Do at Home With Music?” If you have time on your hands and you have a piano at home, this could be a perfect time to study a

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s viewer submitted question is, “Do You Need to Disinfect the Keys on Your Piano?” This is a very timely subject with the coronavirus going around. Let’s say you’re a piano teacher with 30 students coming into your studio every week playing your piano. One student after the next, after the next, after the next. What can you do to keep yourself and your students safe?

Can germs live on piano keys?

Absolutely. There’s no reason why they can’t. I would say it’s a very good idea to clean your piano keys. So the question is, how do you disinfect the keys on your piano? What’s important is to not get them wet. Why? Because even though the tops may be ivory or plastic, piano keys are wooden underneath. If they get wet, the wood will absorb the moisture. It could expand the wood, so the key tops could warp or fall off! So you really want to be careful.

The best way to sterilize your piano keys while cleaning them is using a high solution of alcohol.

Alcohol evaporates extremely quickly, much faster than water. So it’s important to find a high concentration of 90% alcohol or higher. Just put a small amount on a paper towel or cotton swab. Then, wipe all the keys of your piano. It shouldn’t be soaked, just slightly damp. The benefit of the alcohol is, it evaporates quickly, so you’re not likely to do any damage to your piano. But of course if you have 30 students you might not have the time to clean your piano keys meticulously between every student. You could just use little Clorox wipes and I’m sure that would do the job for you. Something is certainly better than nothing.


One note of caution is, cleaning ivory keys regularly with alcohol can damage ivory. So, using bleach or white vinegar may be a better choice for pianos with ivory keys.

I would recommend sterilizing your piano keys as a precaution.

Right now it’s a very good idea to avoid the risk of transferring infection, particularly if you have a large teaching studio. This is a very good idea for you. Thanks for the great question!

I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store.
Please feel free to contact us with any piano related questions for future videos!

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

Do You Need to Disinfect the Keys on Your Piano?

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s viewer submitted question is, “Do You Need to Disinfect the Keys on Your Piano?” This is a very timely subject with the coronavirus going around. Let’s say you̵

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s question from a viewer is, “Can You Play the Piano While Wearing Gloves?” That sounds like a silly question, but I started thinking about it. I’ve been in practice rooms that were so cold. What can you do about that? Can you play the piano with gloves on? Well, in advance of this video, I went out to my car and sure enough I had a pair of gloves there. I have not tried to play yet with these gloves. So this is going to be an experiment for all of us watching, as well as me. I remember as a kid just walking by the piano when I had my winter gloves on, and I was surprised that I could play! But that was a lot of years ago when I had the hands of a child. Let’s see what happens now! I’m going to play the beginning of Mozart’s famous C major Sonata K. 545 with gloves on. (You can watch the accompanying video performance.)

The answer is yes, you can play the piano while wearing gloves!

Now that’s kind of surprising, isn’t it? I remember the very first time I ever played the piano while wearing gloves. I was shocked that I could do it! The gloves don’t really add that much mass to your fingers in terms of hitting surrounding keys. If you’re somebody with big hands and fat fingers, the gloves might be such that you won’t be able to fit your fingers between the black keys. In fact, I’ve met pianists whose fingers don’t quite fit between the black keys as it is! Certainly on some old pianos where the black keys are thicker, it can be difficult to get your fingers between them if you have particularly large hands. With my modest hands I can play with gloves. So, I’m in good shape if I’m in a cold practice room!

I’m sure many of you want to try this now for yourselves. Tell me how it works out for you!

Please feel free to contact us with any piano related questions for future videos!
I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store. See you next time!

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

Can You Play the Piano While Wearing Gloves?

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s question from a viewer is, “Can You Play the Piano While Wearing Gloves?” That sounds like a silly question, but I started thinking about it. I’ve been in practice

Welcome to LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The question today is, “Is there a standard for piano regulation?” The gut reaction, you’re probably all thinking is, of course, there must be a standard for piano regulation. I know this involves many precise measurements. I’ve got news for you, though. I’ve been around piano technicians my entire life. Some of my best friends are piano technicians! As a matter of fact, many of them, and I certainly depend upon them. Here’s the funny thing. I don’t care how great a piano technician is. Once they get done with a piano, you take another piano technician and they look at the work, how the regulation was performed, and they usually respond something like this, “Oh yeah, this is good, but I would take it down a little bit, and maybe a little bit higher, over here.” Everybody’s got their own ideas!

Is there a standard? Well, yes and no. Here’s the standard.

Yamaha has their specifications, for piano regulation. Steinway has theirs. There are little differences. There are some universals, certainly, but there are nuances of differences. Naturally, different pianos have slightly different geometry from one another. So, you can’t necessarily regulate every piano exactly the same. But perhaps even more significant is:

Every technician has slightly different ideas about regulation.

But I think the real key is this. Some pianos can be taken to a higher level of regulation than others. If things are really precise on a piano, you can take it to the edge of closeness where you know it’s still going to work and get optimal performance. But sometimes compromises are necessary. As a matter of fact, it’s typical that there are going to be some compromises in regulation because there’s no such thing as a perfect piano. You get something that has the best combination of power, speed, repetition fluency, control, and there are different ideas as to how to achieve that.

So, even though there’s a lot that piano technicians will agree upon, they all seem to have their own little nuances and preferences as to how things should be measured. Now, I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of comments on this one because there are technicians out there who may feel differently. I want to hear from you in the comments here in YouTube, and you can always contact us here at LivingPianos.com. Once again, we’re your Online Piano Store, providing good information. That’s why we bring these videos to you! So, if you have suggestions for future videos, keep them coming in and they’ll always be more for you, and you’re welcome to subscribe. Thanks again, Robert Estrin, here at Living Pianos.

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

Is there a Standard for Piano Regulation?

Welcome to LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The question today is, “Is there a standard for piano regulation?” The gut reaction, you’re probably all thinking is, of course, there must be a standard for piano regulation. I

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is, “Why Does A Soft Pedal Make No Difference on Some Pianos?” On many pianos, the soft pedal creates a nice tonal change. Other pianos, it doesn’t seem to do anything at all! Are they broken? I’m talking about the una corda pedal. On grand and baby grand pianos, the left pedal shifts the entire action. So, the hammers don’t strike the three strings directly. Una corda, as a matter of fact, means one string. A long time ago, pianos only had two strings for each note. So, shifting the action made the hammers hit only one string. Modern pianos are a little bit different. The hammer doesn’t actually strike only one less string. The entire hammer hits at a different point.

The hammers on a piano that’s been played a lot will have grooves where the strings make contact.

Therefore, the felt is compacted, which gives a more brilliant tone than the softer felt surrounding. So, when you push down the soft pedal, you’ll hear a dramatic change on pianos that are broken in. Of course a piano with brand new hammers will have a minimal difference in tone when using the soft pedal, because the hammers are barely broken in. If there is a tonal change, it is extremely subtle, which is what you would expect.

Play your piano, and the soft pedal will make a bigger difference over time.

After six months or a year of playing a piano, the hammers will get grooved and the tone will brighten up. This is normal on all pianos. However, the soft pedal will engage a part of the hammer that isn’t normally played, and you’ll hear a dramatic difference in tone when depressing it. For example, a couple of months ago I was at a good friend’s house. He has a Yamaha that he plays a good deal. The hammers were pretty hard. So, pushing down the soft pedal sounded like a completely different piano! You wouldn’t believe the difference. The compacted felt of the grooves were bypassed just a fraction of an inch, and the fresh part of the felt hit the strings. That’s why on some pianos you won’t hear much difference with the soft pedal. A certain amount can be voiced or regulated. However, time is your best cure for a soft pedal that doesn’t do much.

‘m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store.
Please feel free to contact us with any piano related questions for future videos!

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

Why Does A Soft Pedal Make No Difference on Some Pianos?

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is, “Why Does A Soft Pedal Make No Difference on Some Pianos?” On many pianos, the soft pedal creates a nice tonal change. Other pianos, it doesn’t seem to

Thanks for joining us here at LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is, “How Can A Piano With A Heavy Action Feel Light?” How can that be possible? Believe it or not, we have discovered this to be true! Sometimes we get a piano in and the action feels comfortable and light, but when the technicians weigh it out it’s really heavy. Typically, you want somewhere between 48 – 60 grams of down weight. Of course the lower notes on a piano are harder to push down than the higher notes. The keys are longer and the hammers have more felt. So, the action doesn’t have the same weight throughout the keyboard. But, generally, a piano should be somewhere in that 48 – 60 gram zone. A piano that has 65 – 70 grams of down weight in the middle register is a heavy piano. We have had some pianos with heavy actions that didn’t feel heavy. The flip side is also true. Sometimes a piano feels heavy and it’s not. You feel like you’re working so hard to push down the keys. How can this be?

It comes down to psychoacoustics.

The amount of energy you have to expend to get sound out makes you feel like a piano action is either heavy or light. For example, let’s say you’re playing a 9 foot concert grand piano with bright voicing and a heavy action in a very small, live room. If you play that piano in that room, you will feel like you barely have to touch the keys to get a big sound. The heavy action will feel light to you. The opposite can also be true. Let’s say you’re playing a small piano in a big room that has carpet, drapes, and soft furniture absorbing all the sound. You’re working so hard to get sound out that it feels heavy to you! So, there’s more to action weight than you might think. I will say this: If your piano action is extremely heavy, you could possibly do hand damage. So, you want to avoid actions that are out of that zone. Secondly, if a piano is really light, let’s say in the low 40s, it’s almost impossible to get very fast repetition because you don’t have any weight to overcome the friction of the action. That’s why there’s a certain zone of normal action weight. Within that range, there’s heavy normal and light normal. Psychoacoustics play a role in that as well.

It’s important to match your piano to your room to have the right playing experience.

There’s nothing worse than having a piano that you have to keep closed because it’s too loud. Or conversely, if you have a small grand piano in a school or a church in a big auditorium everyone’s pounding the heck out of it trying to get the sound out. This will wear out the piano quickly, and the piano will produce an ugly, harsh sound. So it’s very important to consider the acoustics in your room, as well as the weight of the action.

I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store.
Please feel free to contact me with any piano related questions for future videos!

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

How Can A Piano With A Heavy Action Feel Light?

Thanks for joining us here at LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is, “How Can A Piano With A Heavy Action Feel Light?” How can that be possible? Believe it or not, we have discovered this to be true! Sometimes we

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The question today is, “Should You Learn to Play The Piano One Hand at a Time?” I have seen elementary piano method books that go on and on with just right hand alone, then the left-hand alone. So the question is, is this a good way to learn the piano?

I would say with very few exceptions this is not a good approach.

What are the exceptions? First of all, very young children. Let’s say you have a four-year-old champing at the bit to learn piano, but they’ve got tiny hands and a short attention span. You don’t want to say, “No, you may not play the piano.” So maybe you show them how to do some simple things with one hand to let them see what it’s like. But anybody who’s really studying the piano, unless they have hand problems which is another issue, must delve into playing hands together from the very beginning of studying the piano.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t practice hands separately.

As a matter of fact, it’s an essential technique on the piano. That’s how you learn music, mastering a small section at a time hands separately, then putting the hands together. It’s kind of like if you want to learn how to ride a bicycle and you try with one leg. You miss the whole point of the experience! The most intrinsic difficulty of the piano is being able to play the hands together. Therefore, you must not avoid it. You need to face it! How? By practicing intelligently. Take small chunks, practice each hand separately and put them together slowly until you get the feel for it. If the music is simple enough, you should be able to play hands together. And as you mature, you’ll be able to play more and more complex music hands together, always relying upon hands separate work when necessary. So, that’s a simple answer to this. Hands separate on the piano doesn’t have much relevancy in my opinion beyond being a valuable practice technique in order to put the hands together more easily.

I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store.
Please feel free to contact me with any piano related questions for future videos!

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

Should You Learn to Play The Piano One Hand at a Time?

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The question today is, “Should You Learn to Play The Piano One Hand at a Time?” I have seen elementary piano method books that go on and on with just right hand alone, then the left-ha

This is Robert Estrin at LivingPianos.com. The question today is, “Should You Practice Scales in Contrary Motion?” What does that even mean? Contrary motion is where your hands play in opposite directions from one another. How can you play in contrary motion? Wouldn’t your hands overlap? I’ll explain the value and we’ll talk about whether this is something important for you to practice on the piano. You can go through your scales up and down as you normally would in four octaves. Then, the hands go in opposite directions! Now, why would you ever want to do that? Is this written in music? Not very often.

The reason for this is to hear the independence of the hands more clearly.

When you’re playing hands together, whether the hands are precisely together or not is hard for you to hear because you’re playing the same notes in both hands. But when they start going in opposite directions, you can really hear better. Not only that, but your hands can then develop the ability to play independently from one another. You can really hone in your scale technique this way. So, of course learning all your major and minor scales and arpeggios is a very important skillset to have in your back pocket, particularly if you’re a classical pianist. But for any type of pianist, I think it’s incredibly valuable. Once you can do that, as well as scales in intervals of thirds, sixths and tenths, there’s no end to what can be done with scales.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the end all is scales, arpeggios and exercises.

Nothing could be further from the truth! It’s important to remember that the whole reason for exercises is in service of the music so that you can play repertoire on a high level. So spend only the time necessary playing scales to hone in your technique and devote most of your practice time to music. It’s more enjoyable and rewarding and you’ll get more out of it. At the end of the day, you’ll have music you can play! So put a fraction of your time into scales, arpeggios and exercises, but the majority of your time into learning and refining music. You will be richly rewarded!

I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store.
Please feel free to contact me with any piano related questions for future videos.

info@LivingPianos.com
949-244-3729

Should You Practice Scales in Contrary Motion?

This is Robert Estrin at LivingPianos.com. The question today is, “Should You Practice Scales in Contrary Motion?” What does that even mean? Contrary motion is where your hands play in opposite directions from one another. How can you pla