New Studio Piano!

Our studio got an exciting upgrade in July with the addition of this beautiful Kawai RX-2 Grand Piano! 

I knew going to the Sounds Great Retail Retirement Sale unsupervised could get me into trouble (the good kind!) because the action on our main studio piano had been deteriorating pretty rapidly, and I had already started thinking about how to get a newer instrument in the next year or two. . . So off I went. I played several different pianos while I was there, and there were a lot of great options. Some old Steinways, a couple excellent Baldwins, and I did spend some time with a Chickering concert grand which would have been much too large for our studio, but was a lovely instrument.  (I grew up playing a Chickering, so they will always have a special place in my heart.) But the one really spoke to me as a good studio instrument and a real investment in my students' growth for many years was this Kawai professional grand, and I ended up signing the purchase agreement before I left that day. 

Before I jump too far into gushing about the Kawai, I did want to give a moment to the old Mason piano that is now begin retired. It was my grandmother's, and has a lot of history and sentiment played into the keys, hammers, and strings. It helped get Dawn's Piano in McPherson off the ground after my move from Pasadena, and has seen a lot of beginning pianists on their way into becoming lifelong musicians. We will be retiring it as an instrument and repurposing it into some furniture and art to keep in the family, so stay tuned for updates on that project in a future blog post! 

And back to the point of today's post, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about an instrument upgrade. The first thing most students have commented on is the color, and how smooth the wood finish is. πŸ˜„And it is lovely, but beyond the aesthetics, here's what I'm hoping this instrument will offer our studio:

For beginning students -

A lot of younger beginners are often pulled to the digital instruments where they can choose different instrument voices or they hope to do some iPad piano lab activities. And learning some digital music making is something all of today's musicians need to know, so I don't shy away from introducing them to it. But also, a new instrument with beautiful tone means we can have the lid open during lessons. My hope is this will generate a renewed curiosity in the acoustic instrument, and understanding how it works and why we learn to play the way we do. And that this will result in a real appreciation for acoustic instruments in addition to the digitals in these very young musicians. (And we've already seen some of this in the last few weeks as I'm making sure that everyone gets a chance to play the grand! I think this September's Piano Party about looking inside the piano is going to be especially fun). 

For Intermediate and Advancing students -

Now that I've been in McPherson a few years, several local students are moving beyond the basics into learning different techniques for producing good tone and expression on the instrument, and different types of pedaling. These are very nuanced as we get to higher levels, but they make such a big difference in how our music sounds. My hope is that on our new instrument, which has more responsive action, students will find more satisfaction in exploring these and hearing a real difference in their music. (Several of our intermediate and advancing students are already noticing this in lessons! πŸ‘) 

For the teacher - 

And the final way I'm hoping this will help our studio is by providing me, the teacher, with a practice instrument that motivates me to continue pushing forward and growing in my own craft. I will be a better teacher to my students if I am also inspired and motivated in my own musical growth. I've mentioned in the past how important it is to have a good home practice instrument that will encourage students towards practice, and the same is true for teachers. I was finding motivation difficult when my instrument struggled to respond to some of the techniques I was practicing, and certain pedal positions would make the strings sound tinny and harsh. I have already seen a massive uptick in my own practicing as I've pulled out some pieces that had previously been put on hold. I haven't recorded any full pieces on it yet, but my husband did record a bit of me noodling right after it was delivered, so here's some of that video so you can enjoy the beautiful tone. 

That's our exciting update as we head into our 2021-2022 school year. You can also consider this your annual instrument check in. πŸ˜‰ If your piano needs attention, call your technician, or maybe it's time to consider an upgrade, and help set your piano kid up for success this year.