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The first piano was built around 1700, but underwent several adjustments in the first 150 years or so.  These days the piano is fairly basic but there are electronic varieties to choose from as well as the traditional varieties.  I’m a fan of the electric digital piano because I don’t like having to get a piano tuned.  Of course, the down side of an electric piano is obvious.  If there is a power failure, I won’t be able to play.  Bummer.

In the nineteenth century the piano became the primary source of home entertainment, and learning to play became an important part of childhood education. The United States developed as a major producer of the instrument, with early centers in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York making instruments for a seemingly infinite domestic market. By the second half of the twentieth century, however, other forms of home entertainment that competed with the piano led to its decline from the once-ubiquitous place it held in culture, though the instrument is still to be found in many homes and most public buildings.

Kids today are entertained with an X-box.  :-/

Pianos have two basic categories: the vertical and horizontal pianos.  Let’s take a look at them – from smallest to largest.

Vertical Pianos – They are called vertical pianos because of their height and the position of the strings. The height of this kind of piano range from 36 to 60 inches. There are 4 types:

  • Spinet – With its height of around 36 to 38 inches, and an approximate width of 58 inches, spinets are the smallest of the pianos. Given its size, it is the popular choice of many people who live in limited living spaces such as apartments. One noted downside of spinets is called “lost motion,” which means it has less power and accuracy due to its size and construction.  Most children learn on a spinet.  After all, you don’t want to invest a fortune just to discover your child will not follow through.
  • Console – Slightly larger than the spinet, its height ranges from 40 to 43 inches and is approximately 58 inches wide. This type of piano comes in various styles and finishes. So if you’re particular about your furniture complementing, consoles give you a variety of choices. It’s made with a direct action, thus producing more enhanced tones.  My folks gave me a console once I was asked to be church pianist.
  • Studio – This is the kind of piano you usually see in music schools and music studios. It is around 45 to 48 inches in height and has a width of approximately 58 inches. Because of its larger soundboard and longer strings, it produces good tone quality and is very durable.  These instruments can withstand hours of use per week.
  • Upright – This is the tallest among the vertical pianos, with a height ranging from 50 to 60 inches and an approximate width of 58 inches. This is the type of piano your great grandparents or grandparents used to play. When cared for properly, it stands the test of time and maintains its rich tone.  That means you need to get it tuned once a year.

Horizontal Pianos – Also known as grand pianos. They are called horizontal pianos because of their length and the placement of their strings. Grand pianos are said to produce finer tones and has the most responsive key action. There are 6 basic types:

  • Petite Grand – This is the smallest of the horizontal pianos. It ranges in size from 4 feet 5 inches to 4 feet 10 inches. It is indeed small but still powerful.
  • Baby Grand – A very popular type of piano which ranges in size from 4 feet 11 inches to 5 feet 6 inches. Baby grands is a popular choice because of its sound quality, aesthetic appeal and affordability.  I recently saw a white Baby Grand, but I believe I like the black ones better.
  • Medium Grand – Larger than the baby grand at around 5 feet and 7 inches.
  • Parlor Grand – These ranges in size from 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 1 inch. The parlor grand piano is also called living room grand piano.
  • Semiconcert or Ballroom – It is approximately 6 feet 2 inches to 7 feet long.
  • Concert Grand – At around 9 feet, this is the largest of all the grand pianos.

I only had the privilege of playing a Concert Grand one time.  It was like driving a luxury vehicle as opposed to a junk car.  There’s no greater joy than to play an instrument that is tuned and in good repair.  When the key response of the piano works with you, there’s just nothing that brings more satisfaction.  Steinway, Baldwin, Yamaha and Kawai are all very good brands.

For years my favorite piano was my Japanese Yamaha Console – (it had a distinctive little mark on the right side).  As it got older and in need of repair, I sold it and bought a gently used Yamaha Clavinova.  It has all different sounds and never needs tuned…  boom!  The key response is excellent as well, which makes me very happy.

Here’s to pianists everywhere – and here’s to great pianos!   🙂





Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.
– Judy Garland

Where has this year gone? Today is a brand new month! Hello, September!!! You know, most people make New Year’s resolutions, but I make New Month resolutions. This month I resolve to stop comparing me or my life with others. They have not walked my path and I have not walked theirs. September’s theme is “Live and Let Live”.  I vow not to compete, but be complete.

I happened to see an advertisement today that acted as a catalyst for this post.

Name: Paul & Darla Star Date Of Event: 9/1/13 Event Type: Reunion Venue: Century II – Wichita, KS    Comments: Bob from Notable Genius was AMAZING. You were the best DJ! We wanted high energy and people on the dance floor all night and he was able to keep all age groups happy and dancing.

I understand the value of word-of-mouth recommendations for advertisement, but there seems to be so much competition in life that I forget to look at my face in the mirror and promise to be a better me today than I was yesterday.  Sometimes we drown in the competition around us.  I know it’s just good business to put your name out there and get noticed, but sometimes it’s a good idea to be interested in giving someone else a hand up.  I wonder if it would hurt a person in business so much to do that.  There are too many heartless, competitive businesses.  When did the Golden Rule turn to rust?

Every day of our lives we are faced with a choice. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, we can either choose to have a bitter attitude toward life and circumstances, or we can choose to have a better attitude toward life and circumstances. Is it really that simple? Yes, it is!

If you have tried to do something in your life and it doesn’t happen for you the first time, it’s a great temptation to just throw your hands in the air and give up, right? But what if you tried again – and maybe just tweak one little aspect of your plan. What if that one small change made all the difference between failure and success? There’s a mistaken idea that success just magically happens for people. I’m not sure how that lie got spread around, but it is not true. Success is a string of failures! Too many people just give up on their dream too soon. It’s sad because they will never realize their full potential – and the world may have missed out on something truly wonderful!

The choice to be better no matter what circumstances you find yourself in, really speaks to an individual’s integrity, character and moral fiber to a great extent. If a person tends to be more positive, they are more likely to hang in there and succeed. If a person has a negative outlook about life in general, they will more than likely give up when they come to the first bump in the road. A good attitude in life leads to positive actions – and positive results.  Pray for a good Samaritan to come along to lend a helping hand.

That’s a great skit! That poor girl just wanted to be useful but kept stepping on someone else’s toes. I’ve been there in church, haven’t you?  Sad but true.

Most people visiting a church are walking away from a bad situation. They either feel unwanted, unappreciated, over-worked or they felt invisible in their former church. It’s not the congregation’s job to figure out which group the visitor falls in.

Sometimes it’s difficult for a visitor to find their “niche'” in the body of Christ. I don’t mean to sound ugly, but it’s like nobody really wants to make room for anyone else to use their talents. Then there are times when you walk in the door and you are handed an entire LIST of jobs that nobody wants to do – so they really hope that you will take one of those jobs – or all of them.

The church really needs to be careful about how it approaches visitors. Everyone is different and we don’t want to exclude anyone, but we don’t want to bombard them with responsibilities either.  Wink!   😉