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On Piano Shopping...

I spent a good portion of last week in between Denver and Colorado Springs. There were actually two reasons why I wanted to take another trip back to Colorado. First, my 3 closest friends and roommates from college are all living in the area, and I make a yearly trip to see them all. Second, I am in the beginning stages of purchasing the forever piano for our home and there is a Steinway gallery in Denver I wanted to visit.

In short, it was a win-win-win-win experience!

But before I entered Schmitt Music gallery in Englewood, Colorado, I had to come in with some facts learned and questions ready before even touching one of the MANY beautiful Steinway pianos that they had.

So for those that are considering purchasing a piano in the next few months, I wanted to supply you with a few tips of mine that helped me facilitate a great conversation with all the staff.

1. Know what you want before you walk into a piano gallery

For my husband and I, we are specifically looking for a high-quality piano that will last throughout our entire lifetimes. For that, it was easy to choose the best line of piano products out there - Steinway and Sons.

However, for other couples and families, the needs are very different. Some families only want a small starter piano for their young beginner before investing in a high quality piano. Some families only have the living room space for an upright instead of a baby grand.

Whatever your situation, sit down with your family members and discuss exactly what you want before entering the store, and most specifically, the price range you are willing to spend. Communication with spouses and family members is crucial for such a significant purchase.

2. Research the specific brand of piano that you are looking to buy

For us, our budget in no way or shape could afford a brand-new Steinway straight from New York; however, we realized a used Steinway could very possibly fit into our budget. On top of that, we also researched and discovered that we could find a Steinway that has good bones for purchase now, and then we could spend a few years saving on upgrading things on it such as soundboard, keys, and action in the future. Of course, the technician would need to be Steinway-certified, and the new parts would need to come directly from Steinway.

The other interesting part of our research revealed to us that Steinway used teflon around the 1960s to early 1980s. If we chose to get a Steinway from that era, we would have to locate a Steinway certified technician that has a specialized expertise in teflon, and confident that our state does not have that person in our area to assist, we decided to look for Steinways pre-1960 or post-1985.

Research is crucial for you to have the ability to ask the right questions to the staff members at the gallery. They will appreciate your care in studying up on the subject before arriving.

3. Play, play, play!

The best part about my experience at Schmitt Music was their willingness to let me play on about every piano that interested me. Not only, I had one of my dear college roommates (also a piano major) come with me to play on the pianos. I greatly appreciated her point of view on each piano. Though she and I have a different approach when we play, we were very much in agreement when discussing things such as key responsiveness, pedals, soundboard, etc.

We played on about 10 pianos, and there is one piano out of the group that really made an impression upon me. I'm convinced that fairies built this particular 1917 Steinway Model M. This particular piano rivals my most favorite piano on which I've ever had the opportunity to perform, a Steinway held at Morningside College in Sioux City. The resonance and richness of sound still amazes me.

I currently am still thinking through some things before I make a purchase. One of which is I'm considering going to another gallery to test out more pianos, only this time it would be eastward instead of westward.

However, I hope these 3 tips are helpful to any and everyone who is looking to purchase a piano. And if you have any questions about my experience, you are always welcome to contact me.

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