Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Our piano comes home

UntitledI grew up with a piano in the house. I took lessons on our pianos, and while I was no musical prodigy, I'm glad I learned to read music. I want the same (and preferably more) for my children.

Ada started taking piano lessons at her Montessori school about two years ago. I told myself that if she stuck with it, we'd eventually replace her cheap keyboard (the kind that plugs into a computer and runs off GarageBand) and get a piano. But there was no place for a piano in our old house.

So as we were designing our new place, I took the average measurements for an upright piano and made sure our first floor layout would have a place for one. That forethought paid off last week when two piano movers hoisted a new-to-us 1940's art deco style Charles Frederick Stein piano through the front door. It fit perfectly in the spot I'd selected on blueprints last summer.

I'd been collecting information on the best ways to acquire a quality used piano for a few months. The Montessori school got theirs from Keys 4/4 Kids, a charity that sets a lot of used pianos. Plenty of other people had bought theirs off Craig's List or MomMail, a classifieds-like listserv that is fiercely local and not anonymous (and therefore infinitely less sketchy). Because I'd chosen a prominent place for our piano, looks mattered. And when I saw a photo of the piano we eventually bought, it was love at first sight. But it wasn't free and I knew we'd also be paying to move it and tune it.

We visited it and talked with the owner, a piano teacher who played the instrument through high school. I consulted with my daughter's piano teacher and scoured the internet for information on the maker. I also paid a piano tuner $95 to come inspect it for me. With everyone in agreement that the piano looked like a very good buy, we plunked down the cash and bought it. $900 seems like a lot of money, but it's also what we're paying to rent Zoe's euphonium for the year. And we don't even get to own that!

Anyway, watching and listening to Ada practice piano on a real piano has been a real pleasure. She's pleased as can be and has been very reliably washing her hands before she sits down at its ivory keys.