Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Future of Piano Playing

There seems to be a movement toward closing stores that sell pianos and supplies. There may be many reasons for it in the United States. Whenever someone contacts me about piano lessons, undoubtedly they have a keyboard or digital piano at home, rather than an acoustic piano. The main reason is that it is expensive to move a used piano from one location to another. The other reason is because of the relatively inexpensive price of a digital piano, as opposed to a brand new acoustic piano, grand piano, or baby grand piano, even though an acoustic piano sounds better.

There has also been a resurgence in piano craftsmanship. Piano craftsmen are building or repairing pianos, for those who have a limited budget for a piano or some who desire a superior product. Some piano dealers blame their reduced sales on the depressed housing market. Others say there is still a vivacious market for pianos and are still successfully selling pianos. It would depend on the demographics of the area where the pianos are being sold. If there are many school aged children in the area, then the possibility of a thriving market for pianos exists. If not, there may not be enough interest in purchasing pianos and the sales would diminish.

Additionally, there are numerous, and I want to emphasize, numerous tutorial videos on You Tube for anyone who wants to learn how to play the piano or at least listen to someone playing it. There apparently is a demand for hearing and seeing piano players. This could lead one to believe that there is still a vital interest in the piano.

However, funding for music programs in the public schools has declined, again. Some schools are not encouraging children to learn how to play the piano and others have reduced their music programs. There is an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instead of music programs. Many girls are enrolling in these programs instead of music programs. As a result, parents who want their children to play the piano are involving their children in private lessons. But, not all parents can afford the private lessons.

Many educators have observed that children who are exposed to music education score better on standardized tests and have better reading and math skills. It would appear that these students whose parents desire them to pursue the STEM subjects, would perform better with the music instruction, but many schools are not including music programs in their curriculum.

For this reason, the After School Alliance Program has indicated there is a need for after school programs, as “for every child enrolled in a program, two are waiting to get in.” More music programs after school would enable more children to pursue a music program.

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