I've often been asked about the nuts and bolts of assessing a piano, even before a technician lays his hands on it. (A Registered pro will explore facets of internal assembly while my journey of discovery is intuitively tactile and tonal, forged on behalf of students searching for an alternative to the digital universe.) The… Continue reading Evaluating an Acoustic piano before purchase
Chuck Terpo, who continues to finely regulate my Steinway M grand, gave an encore performance yesterday, as he meticulously "lightened" some weighty bass notes. His nifty maneuvers on display in my iPhone generated video, revealed an analytic approach and smooth follow-through. Watch Chuck methodically check the bass range, that was a bit too heavy for… Continue reading Piano Maintenance: Resolving a weighty problem
It took the awesome skills of a former Alabaman to resurrect my once beloved M from the dead. The keyboard had been an injury risk for months, plundered by too many technicians with pet regulation formulas and experimental impulses. After 6 months of rotating down weights and disappearing aftertouch, the black keys sat out of… Continue reading My Steinway M piano is back!
The legendary pianist, Shura Cherkassky made triple ppps (pianississimos) melt in his hands through a fluid keyboard approach that encompassed an array of colors and shadings. In Shura's exemplary performance of Saint-Saens' Swan the pianist's multi-voice tier of dynamics was particularly astounding for its repository of textural timbres. Not surprisingly, the artist's touch sensitivity intertwined… Continue reading Tiers of dynamics, well-regulated pianos, and expressive playing
I'm very concerned about my Southern USA students' pianos that are subject to warbling unisons, or wavy, beating octaves. A case in point is my Kentucky Online pupil who owns a well-regarded Charles Walter upright that was tuned about 5 months ago. Yet it now has "beating" notes due to extreme vacillations of humidity in… Continue reading Climate control and Pianos: A conversation with Sam Bennett (Piano Works in Duluth, GA)
What was seemingly a straightforward search and destroy mission surrounding a clicking note, mushroomed suddenly into a PSTD level catastrophe. Pianists, so viscerally tied to their beloved musical partners, can be catapulted over the edge when something unexpected occurs. In fact two post-clicking note repair events had transpired that threatened my mental health. 1) After… Continue reading Piano Maintenance: 48 hours of pain and anguish!
I couldn't resist an opportunity to immerse myself in an engaging dialog with Israel Stein, RPT, as he was tuning my piano. Regaled far and wide by a community of pianists and teachers as he amasses awards bestowed by his peers at the National Piano Technician's Guild, Stein remains thoroughly dedicated to what seems like… Continue reading A Conversation about machine and ear tuning (and more) with Israel Stein, Registered Piano Technician
Israel Stein, Registered Piano Technician, whose feats of repair have earned him national recognition, descended upon my humble abode like the fix-it fairy, and banished my sustain pedal noise forever! (Count on it for the years remaining in my playing lifetime) Trouble-shooting as he went along, Stein diagnosed the problem and followed through in graduated… Continue reading Piano Repair: Taking the noise out of my pedal!
I had a delightful exchange with John Peters, RPT, about pianos, restorations, repairs, machine vs. aural tunings, and all that sprung from his wild imagination. For instance, John communicates an intense passion for tuning.. "I get paid to "meditate," he insists. Then he quickly veers off with a one-liner about fixing squeaky pedals. "I pour… Continue reading An informative chat with a whimsical piano technician (REGISTERED, of course)
I'm no country bumpkin, but as I departed Bart's El Cerrito Del Norte station, I felt like one. Last week I ran into a turkey, most likely separated from the pack. And as it daintily climbed up the steps of a split-level house, turning around for a for a few seconds, I caught it on… Continue reading Part TWO: Guess what happened on the way to my El Cerrito Piano Studio? (Video)