Hi, this is Robert Estrin at LivingPianos.com, the question today is: Why are Steinways so expensive? I’m sitting in front of a concert grand Steinway that costs new over $200,000. Can you believe it? You might wonder, are they really worth that? W
I explained how some 100+ year old pianos that have lived in a stable environment in regards to temperature and humidity, barely played, yet serviced on a regular basis can be like new! The flip side of this are pianos that live at the beach and get rusted out, or pianos in the desert with cracked soundboards. There are also pianos from schools which are worn out after just a few years. But there is another element to this.
There are certain eras of production of specific piano companies that are known for being either particularly stellar years of production, or conversely, years where quality was not up to par. However, this isn’t to suggest that every piano from a good period of production is a gem and every piano made during a lesser period of production is a dog. It’s more of a law of averages. Even brand new pianos of the same make and model have unique characteristics of sound and touch.
There are other things to consider. If a supposedly good period of production was many decades ago, it calls into question where the piano has lived, how much wear there is, as well as any major work that may have been done on the piano and the quality of the work.
You also have to consider that some piano companies have improved over the years. For example, there are many Chinese piano companies today making good pianos that didn’t even exist just a few decades ago! Even Japanese pianos were not up to an export quality of production until well into the 20th century.
So, the age of a piano matters, but it is a more complex subject than you may have thought. You are always welcome to contact us here at info@LivingPianos.com for answers to any of your piano questions! Robert Estrin 949-244-3729
There is a lot to consider with this question. A short while ago, I produced a video: Pianos Don’t Age! I explained how some 100+ year old pianos that have lived in a stable environment in regards to temperature and humidity, barely played, yet
When I first thought of this question, I was interested in what information was available from Google and on Youtube. I was surprised to find that there isn’t much information available on this subject! This is a really important subject for anyone
I’m just going to show you that here with this piece. The very next thing I would do if I was learning this piece, even if it was a piece of Mozart which is relatively easy to memorize, is to break it down as follows.
Start at the beginning taking just the right hand, the very, first tiny phrase.
Believe it or not, that’s all you should take because you can learn that really quickly and it’s satisfying. You will notice things like how the music starts with a decrescendo, and then you have a decrescendo. Also, the very first note starts with an accent. That doesn’t take very long to learn, so you might as well get all these details learned right away.
You want to check your work constantly as you go. Work out the fingering as well as the notes, the phrasing and the expression – everything!
Before moving on, be sure everything is solid. Play it until it becomes automatic and you don’t even have to think about it!
Next, you take the left hand. Solidify the music until it is memorized.
Check everything over and make sure there are no other markings, no indications of expression or phrasing that you may have missed.
Before putting the hands together, refresh your memory of the right-hand part you learned earlier.
Make sure you still remember it. Check it with the score once more. You might wonder why you need to go through such tremendous pains to learn a piece of music. It’s because you never want to have to unlearn something. You must make sure you are learning things correctly.
Next is the hardest parts – putting the hands together!
It’s important to put the hands together from memory the first time. You must challenge yourself even if you have to play much slower. Again, check your work with the score. You will hear subtle differences when you follow details precisely.
Finally, you add the pedal – That’s your reward for a job well done!
Keep playing until you are happy with your performance. Then you can go on to the next phrase and learn it the same way.
If you practice this way, you will be able to play your music exactly as you intend it to sound.
By taking very small phrases, you can spoonfeed the music to yourself. This is important because you can practice like this all day long because it’s relatively easy. Where if you try to memorize eight measure phrases or 16 measure phrases, you may be able to do it. But it would take so long that you may be limited in how many phrases you can emass in one practice session. However, you can work through this entire piece of two measure phrases and never get mentally tired. And better than that, you know it’s secure since you’re looking at every detail and solidifying as you go..
Next, you want to put the phrases together from the beginning.
First, refresh your memory of the first phrase you learned earlier. Check your work with the score. Play many times until it is secure from memory putting the two phrases together. Now you can reward yourself playing with the pedal!
So, that is the secret of productive piano practice. You must take your time focusing your attention on all the details as you learn. Remember, first read through the piece, a little bit more carefully than you’d read it if you were just reading it for somebody or accompanying somebody certainly. Take the time to make sure you have all the notes and at least have an idea of places you need to work out fingering later, even if you can’t quite get it initially. And then get to work and practice. Don’t take more than you can bite off at a time. If you’re taking more than a minute to learn something, you’re taking too much, because that way you can learn something every single minute of your practice and make it really productive and sustain a long practice. Even if you could read through the whole piece a bunch of times and almost have it memorized, and almost is the key word here, you don’t want to do that. You want it to be learned perfectly. You want to get every last detail of the score because that’s what makes it sound so beautiful!
Chopin was a master and crafted his music taking advantage of every marking in the score. Don’t get used to playing it wrong, because the correct phrasing and expression and fingering are going to bring the piece to life.
I hope this has been enlightening for you and you see the way I work and I recommend that you try it with your music. You can go through the whole piece connecting phrases as you go, memorising first just after you’ve just read through it and you won’t believe the difference it will make it your practice.
I hope that’s been helpful for you again, this is Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com Your Online Piano Store. info@LivingPianos.com 949-244-3729
Welcome to LivingPianos.com. This is Robert Estrin. Today the subject is, how to approach a new piece of music on the piano. I randomly opened this big fat book of Chopin Mazurkas to the Mazurka in A-flat Opus 24 No. 3. I do not know this piece. I li
Every day, the first thing I do when I get up is to go to the piano and play music – often times before I’ve even gotten dressed! After an entire night, there is always fresh music percolating in my head. Sometimes I play music in my drea
Let’s get some historical context to this question. When I was growing up, if we saw a piano tuner come into a home carrying a strobe tuner, and that’s all that was available at that time, well, you knew right away that you had basically
Living in Southern California, we are used to almost perfect weather. I remember when first moving to California, the weather broadcast seemed like a joke because every single day it was the same, perfect, “Disneyland” sky! So, the questi
Today’s show is intrinsically important for a wide range of people and careers, and it’s applicable to almost everything! The subject is, letting go of the ego in your music. You may wonder what I mean by that? In order to play a public p
Playing classical improvisations is almost a lost art but is something Roger and I both enjoy doing. You can see the beauty of the refinished cabinet and internals of this piano which look very much like it did nearly a century ago when it was originally manufactured.
One of the challenges of organists approaching the piano is the expressive possibilities of the touch of a piano since organs don’t respond to how hard or soft you depress the keys. Fortunately, Roger began his musical studies on the piano. So, you can enjoy his expressive playing of some original music in the accompanying video.
Pianists often times miss the aid of the sustain pedal when playing the organ.
Fortunately, pianists like myself practice the piano with no pedal a great deal making the transition to organ a bit more seamless. But the many registrations of sound possible on the organ offers a whole other level to explore!
I hope you enjoy this exploration of playing the piano and organ on this Steinway grand piano. Thanks for joining Roger and me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com Your Online Piano Store info@LivingPianos.com 949-244-3729
The organ and piano share a similar keyboard layout. So, you may wonder how easy it is for an organist to play the piano and for pianists to approach the organ. One of the first challenges pianists face playing the organ is being able to play melodie