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A step up to a New Piano for a student

My newest Online student from the San Jose area was having to plow through the keys of a 1980’s era Wurlitzer studio size piano whose tone was unremarkable, and at times raucous. I felt that her talents and musical intuition were lost in the din of noise this piano produced. (Here she’s playing Burgmuller’s “Pastorale, ” Op. 100, No. 3, braving its challenges.) In time, I’d nudge her to contemplate purchasing a new piano with the “creamy legato” reserves she needed to give full expression to the masterworks.

Today, turned out to be the moment of truth, when we met in Berkeley, California and set out for DC Piano where one of a host of mid-size Kawaii pianos would become her dream piano. Alternately, we sat at various piano benches, playing at least 4 of the model K-200s (45 inches), “feeling” our way through their ranges, in soft to louder dynamics, testing for smooth transit from note to note–opening and closing the lid to compare tone and projection.

And then suddenly I noticed a Kawaii that was a bit hidden from the others that I slid over to, giving it my methodical run through. (It’s a prototype for how I test any size piano) I started at the softest dynamic possible with chromatic (half-step) transit, increasing my arm weight in subsequent efforts.

Naturally, as I floated over the keyboard, I was attentive to voicing in each range, from low to high, and how I could incrementally raise my dynamics and still feel a “creamy” legato/seamless flow of notes. The pedals were separately tested for ease in creating sustain and then employing the soft pedal to monitor the piano’s clarity in a more muted range.

This piano was definitely the ONE for my student, as validated by her own comparisons among the pianos we had tried.

Did we sample other manufacturers in this piano finding journey? Our goal was to seek out the “roundest” most tonally beautiful piano with an integrated touch sensitivity, and the K-200 surely surpassed any Yamaha in the store, even at a higher price range. But each to his or her own taste and predilection when selecting a piano.

Finally, a few years ago I posted a blog giving tips to Buyers and Sellers of Pianos, so I thought to add it in. And with that, Happy Piano Hunting!

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