Archive for the ‘Coppell Piano Shop’ Category

It is August 2015. My last blog appeared on the 30th of December last year. I’ve been busy.

I have written over 100 articles about pianos since I started this blog. The blog has received over 40,000 visits. You would think that the experiences I shared in 100 blogs would have altered consumer behavior. Maybe a few parents would have reconsidered before buying a junk piano off Craigslist. Maybe local piano dealers would stop making outrageous claims about their products.

Nothing has changed. I have helped many people make decisions about pianos – in person, but to my knowledge, the blog has not helped me save the world, one piano at a time. By the way, that’s my company slogan. I changed world to planet. I still can’t decide which I like better. Planet is rather impersonal, but it has more geek appeal.

Grand piano hammers ready for installation

A new set of grand piano hammers are being prepared for installation. New hammers makes a dramatic improvement to the volume and tone of an old piano.

We each need to realize that our work, opinions, ideas and actions do in fact contribute to the sum of all work, opinions, ideas and actions. It just isn’t very obvious or even noticeable at times, but we are each shaping this world we live in – each saving the planet as we are able. I have my hands full saving pianos, otherwise I would offer to help you. If you do your part and I do mine, the planet will be saved eventually. When saving planets (and pianos) it is best to embrace a long term attitude. (Pack a lunch.)

What I Have Been Doing

Like I said, I’ve been busy. I moved. That took a long time. We moved into the new house in November of 2014 (which may explain why I have not been writing blogs!). Six months passed before the last box was emptied or stored in the attic. I had to build a new shop (after I moved all of my pianos from the old place.) My shop is now functional, but it is not yet cozy. It is also no longer located in Coppell, although it is closer to Coppell’s Towncenter than it was before.

I lived in Coppell for 25 years. I knew a lot of people, worked as a volunteer for many  groups, and watched as young leaders destroyed the town one building, one road at a time. It was painful at times. Coppell was such a nice little town when we first moved there, but today it has too much traffic, is over-crowded, and the population turns over so often that the community experience is very limited. You move in, raise your kids, and then leave. After age 50, the demographics drop off. The median age stays around 34. (Time Magazine recently ranked Coppell #8 in Best Places to Live.)

Pianos in my shop are undergoing repair.

The new and improved Coppell Piano Shop.

And that means that the amenities, services and features of the community are guided by the short-term interests of thirty-four year old parents. I do not know if you have been a parent, but 34 y.o. parents do not know a lot about parenting, and even less about running a community.  Coppell is a nice place to raise your kids, but I would not want to live there. That should be the town slogan.  For me, it was time to move – so I headed north to Lewisville.

For the next year I will attending the Lewisville’s Citizen University. I hope to learn about my new community and join other volunteers in community service in some capacity. I try to participate in one major community event each year. It may be a committee, a task force or a

This is Lewisville City Hall, located in the older part of town.

This is Lewisville City Hall, located in the older part of town.

project volunteer. I never know what it will be. Lewisville is a much larger community than Coppell. It is far more diverse in its offerings. There is an established old part of town, a natural lake area, a lake, and a mall area to the south. It is a little overwhelming to understand how people in this community, who are spread out over a very large distance, can share a common view of the city. A large community has many personalities – I seek to learn what those identities are – but it must also have a general and broadly stated common personality. I do not yet know what that is.

Business is Good

The business has not suffered for the move. I am centrally located within the territory of customers I wish to serve. Flower Mound, Lantana and Coppell are just minutes away.  I continue to maintain the pianos at Coppell High School and the Community Chorale, but unlike most technicians, I do not pursue business from institutions often. I much prefer working with individual pianists, and parents of piano students. I have a ton of work to do in the shop, which – in terms of pianos that weigh 500 lbs each, could mean as few as 4 projects – I will busy for some time.

shopblogbreakfast

Eating lunch at the kitchen table, taking a break from saving the planet, one piano at a time.

I need people to buy junk pianos off Craiglist so there will be a need for someone like me to make them playable. I truly wish they would not buy those pianos, but since there is little hope of that happening, it looks like I am going to be busy for a while longer.

As I continue to add articles in this Part 2 episode of my piano blog, I invite you to follow along.

2014 in review

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Coppell Piano Shop, Piano

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

"Let a new piano indicate your real sentiment."

“Let a new piano indicate your real sentiment.”

Sentiment naturally clings to any possession cherished by one we love. Something spiritual seems to invest material things, especially after the death of those near to us. We used to know of an old, old man, who kept a little rag doll in his trunk — a rag doll moistened now and then with tears, for over eighty years — “ever since little Ellen passed on.”

In many a home today there is a revered piano — revered because it was mother’s piano. It has become a monument of sentiment. Sentiment is one of the finest of all human traits. The individual without sentiment is usually not a very desirable member of society. Many of the strong men we have known — men who have had a reputation for being “hard-boiled” — have merely been exhibiting an armor which they have donned over their  human sentimentalism.

"Sentiment, however, is often misplaced. 'Mother's Piano' is properly a symbol for mother's love for music."

“Sentiment, however, is often misplaced. ‘Mother’s Piano’ is properly a symbol for mother’s love for music.”

Sentiment, however, is often misplaced. “Mother’s Piano” is properly a symbol for mother’s love for music. In one family, where the mother was a great music lover, the instrument was arbitrarily closed by father for two years after the passing of mother – “out of respect.” This was a very queer way of showing respect for mother’s love for music. Meanwhile the children of that home went without the music lessons and practice that mother was so anxious that they should have.

How much more properly and reverently could that father have paid tribute to his wife’s memory, if he had but taken up and carried on her instinctive wisdom in caring for her “babies,” by devoting as large a sum as possible to the higher perpetuation of her ideals. Even if this meant discarding the old piano and buying a finer and newer instrument, it would have been a far nobler symbol of a real sentimental regard for the dear lady who had brought so much joy and beauty to the home through music. Instead, he put a small fortune into a mausoleum in the cemetery which he visits twice a year, A mausoleum may be a fine way of remembering the dead. Isn’t it a far more reverent and beautiful duty to remember the living with a living instrument representing the ideals of one who has passed?’

There are many disgracefully old and dilapidated pianos in homes in all parts of the country, kept there by a false sentiment. Let a new piano indicate your real sentiment. How proud mother would be to see that piano in daily, happy, productive use! ~ The Etude, February 1935

etude.feb.1935.cover

Ten Rules for Successful Piano Practice

  1. Concentrate every moment of your practice time.
  2. Always practice systematically.
  3. Always practice slowly at first.
  4. Do not practice too long at one time.
  5. Remember that the mind must govern all muscular motion.
  6. Always listen intently to your own playing.
  7. Always maintain a correct and comfortable position while at the keyboard.
  8. Determine one fingering, and do not permit yourself to employ any other until the piece has been mastered.
  9. Always practice in strict time.
  10. Devote a portion of the practice time each day to memorizing.

Your list of ten rules might differ so let me add the weight of credibility and authority to this one. This list was compiled in 1909 by The Etude, “a monthly journal for the musician, the music student, and all music lovers.”  The list was republished in the August 1919, ten years after it first appeared in an issue in 1909. Ninety-four years hence, it appears in my blog. If you have not read even a single issue of The Etude, you are missing some of the most beautiful prose ever written about music.

August 1919 issue of The Etude.

August 1919 issue of The Etude.

The ten rules were compiled from letters written by Mrs. Bloomfield Zeisler, Miss Amy Fay , Mr. J. J. Hattstaedt, Mr. L. G. Heinze, Mr. Perless V. Jervis, Mr. Alexander Lambert, Mr. B. J. Land, Mr. Emil Liebling, Mr. E. R. Kroeger, Mr. F. H. Sheperd,  Mme. Marie von Unschuld, Mr. Charles E. Watt, Mr. Leopold Winkler, Mr. Francis L. York, and Mr. J. de Zielinski.

The opinions of the members of the following group of “eminent pianists, teachers and conservatory heads” were solicited and published on pages that followed.

Oscar Beringer, Le Roy B. Campbell, J. Lawrence Erb, Percy Grainger, Rudolph Ganz, Edwin Hughes, Helen Hopekirk, Clayton Johns, Alexander Lambert, John Orth, Eugenio di Pirani, Arthur Shattuck, Hans Schneider, Constantin von Sternberg.

[Note: The links above go to videos, books, bios when available.  When read in sum, they provide a glimpse of a very interesting age of piano pedagogy and performance.]

 

From the Etude 1919, the list of contributors to the Ten Rules for Successful Piano Practice

From the Etude 1919, the list of contributors to the Ten Rules for Successful Piano Practice

 

 

Blues or Jazz: What’s the diff?.