We were delighted to work with the Telegraph newspaper on Thursday last week they wanted to undertake a review of just how many pianos are now being disposed of within the UK.
As we specialise in all piano related areas including piano sales and piano event hire see our sister companies www.thepianoshopbath.co.uk www.directpianohire.co.uk we were able to provide a balanced view of the current trend to dispose of the instruments that are no longer worth restoring. The more prestigious makes i.e. Steinway and Bechstein are often well worth the re-investment and as a result are often re-built.
The story actually raises deeper issues about how society in the UK has changed over the last 100 years. The rise of digital and its impact on the piano market tells a story not only of digital piano technology becoming ever more sophisticated, but it also reveals how space in our homes is at a premium. Digital pianos sound excellent and have the advantage of being more affordable, portable and compact. Now even the smallest of flats can be the start of someone’s explorations into piano playing.
There is also the success of Chinese resources combined with European engineering in the manufacture of acoustic pianos. This has gone hand in hand with the decline of the British piano manufacturing industry, which back in the 1920’s was producing tens of thousands of pianos every year for the domestic market. Chinese made pianos are more affordable than any remaining British counterpart, and have dominated the UK domestic piano market for several years now. The article rightly identifies this is as another example of a UK skills resource having been lost to the economic developments over the last century. For further reading on the Chinese success story, take a look at my previous posts on Kemble and Steinmayer pianos.
The piano was the main form of home entertainment, but radio, television, computer games and the internet has sidelined it to those serious on studying music. An instrument takes time and dedication to learn, and our fast paced modern world also puts time at a premium. So does this indicate less people are taking the time to learn an instrument? At the Piano Shop Bath we do not see this as the case. Taking up any instrument is still seen as an important part of children’s education and their personal development. Youth orchestras are as popular as ever and provide a great place to socialise and work towards a joint endeavour. Working towards an exam or a recital provides great personal satisfaction once achieved, having overcome technical difficulties and the inevitable stage nerves along the way.
And it is not just the more youthful end of the spectrum that is keeping piano playing alive. Adult beginners regularly come into our showroom wanting to know how to get started on the piano. There is perhaps a greater passion for the music in later years and learning can be more enjoyable, no longer just a case of endless scales and arpeggios!
The Piano Shop Bath wants to help people whatever their age or ability find the right piano for their circumstance. We actively encourage you to come along and try out the pianos in our showroom, to get a feel of their different characteristics, without pressure to buy. We have pianos that feature in every part of the article: digital, new Chinese and pre-owned British made models from manufacturers like Kemble, plus many more. We can now also offer a free introductory lesson, so whatever your start point there will be support to help you find the direction you want to take your piano playing in.
For links to the article and the radio show, see below:
And a small mention in the Radio 4 review this morning, jump to 49:36 20/01/2013 click here to listen
Here is the BBC article done back in October 2012: