Monday, November 17, 2014

So, You Wanna Know What Makes Andrea The Piano So Special???

So, what's my story?
People have been asking.
I hope you don't mind
if I repeat myself a little with this blog post.
But my story bears repeating!

My pianist owner
was in search of a piano.
she is a church musician and choir director.

She is also a piano teacher.
She has taught both at
COMPAS - Center of Music and Performing Arts Southwest
and at Garage Cultural,
both located in the City of Detroit.
She started teaching her niece from home
and then some church friends asked her for lessons,
and well,
she soon found herself in need of a piano.

Now, mind you,
she has several electronic keyboards.
But nothing is quite like a piano.

She is also the proud owner
of an antique Vose Baby Grand piano,

which was actually gifted to her.
But she needed another piano
to teach from in her studio,
away from the goings on of the household.

She quickly decided
that she didn't want a spinet piano.
After owning a baby grand piano
the small sound of a spinet just wouldn't do.
She decided on an old upright piano.
So many uneducated folk
are just giving those pianos away on Craigslist
and on the piano adoption website.

Most of those old uprights
have their original ivory keys.
Ivory hasn't been used on pianos since the 1970s.
And the new ivory laws (as of Feb. 2014)
means you can't import or export ivory from the U.S.
Giving away pianos with original ivory keys?
My pianist owner would take them all
if she had the space and resources
to repair/restore them all!!!

But even more,
the sound of an old upright piano
is absolutely phenomenal.
How this modern world
got all into those crummy little
61-key electronic evil no-name keyboards
is totally beyond me.
Well, you can learn some music
from those little things, that's true.
But an upright piano,
well, the sound is beyond comparison.
The music made from an upright piano
is simply heaven.

My pianist owner wanted an upright.

But then it occurred to her
that the Little Piano House
is a little house.
Uprights are rather wide.
An upright piano, in all likelihood,
would not fit through the door of the little house.
Removing the door from the hinges
might get it in the door,
but the door to the room would be another story.
No, an upright piano
wouldn't make it through that narrow door at all.

she deiced on a square grand piano.
although a square grand piano is much, much larger
(I am 7-ft. long)
they are disassembled for a move
and reassembled at their new location.
She even posted a photo on her facebook page
of a restored Steinway Square Grand Piano
and stated in her wall post,
that for no logical reason
she wanted one.
(really, a spinet piano
would have been the logical choice!)
Little did she know at that time
that I was looking for a new home.

This  makes me special to her.
But I'm special for more reasons
than her love of music and pianos.

I am made of Brazilian Rosewood,
which is endangered.
In fact,
rosewood cannot be import or exported
from just about every country in the world.
It is protected because it is endangered.
Many musical instruments
were made from Brazilian Rosewood
back in the day.
We just sound so good made of this wood.

I also have my original ivory keys.
So, this adds value
and a bit of something special to me
as a piano.

I was built in 1872.
it takes a year to create a Steinway,
even now in modern times.
It takes a year
to create a Steinway piano.
what this means
is that work on me started in 1871.

with the process Steinway uses,
then as now,
it take a year to prepare the wood.
what this means
is that the wood chosen
that would later become me,
Andrea The Piano,
was chosen in 1870.

Henry Steinway died in 1871.
there is no way to prove or document this,
but it is very probable that Henry Steinway himself
hand picked the wood that would later become
Andrea The Piano.


All the world knows

that there is no better piano
than a Steinway.
And I have been graced
to bear the Steinway name.
I have been graced
with the Steinway touch.

I am an American made beauty,
hand crafted by old world artisans
in New York.

I made my way from New York to Chicago
via horse and wagon.
I would later make another trek
via horse and wagon
to a farm in Lapeer, MI.

Then there was a gentleman in Pleasant Ridge, MI
who sought me out as gift
for his lovely wife.
I traveled form Lapeer to Pleasant Ridge
in the back of a pick-up truck
cushioned by mattresses and blankets.

And then,
in May 2014,
my current pianist owner came for me.
For the first time in all my years
I was moved by professional piano movers,
people who all they do
is move pianos for a living.
I knew she loved me
when she chose them to come for me.
And mind you,
she was very picky.
She called a gazillion professional movers
before deciding on the ones she chose for me.

And now
I live in The Little Piano House,
thus named
cuz it's a little house full of pianos
(and one antique organ, but that's another story!)

I am not a piano behind glass,
like Daniel, the piano at Greenfield Village
in Dearborn, MI.
Poor thing, like a caged animal.
People just stop and stare.

Even the pianos

at Wyandotte's Historical Museum
have those "do not touch" signs.
I wish they would remove those signs.
If a piano isn't played
they will forget how to be a piano.

A piano does have to be
tuned and maintained, that's true.

But why have a piano that no one can touch or play?
Is she really a piano if she is silenced?

Seasoned musicians
can enjoy me.

The curious can stop by for a visit.
(just contact my pianist owner!)

Young beginner musicians can play me.
Even older beginner musicians can make music with me!
They learn about music history.
They learn about piano history.

What great composers
would have written music
on a square grand piano?

When did they stop making
square grand pianos?

Why did they stop making
square grand pianos?

When and why did they stop using
ivory and rosewood?

Perhaps I do belong in a museum.
But then,
I would only be a photo opp.
And I want to be so much more than that.

It takes a year to create a Steinway.
But before that,
it takes a year to prepare the wood.
One fine day,
when all the funds are in place,
it will take a year to have me fully restored.

It takes 350 hands to create a Steinway.
But you know,
it only takes 2 to make her sing.
And you know,
I'm not picky.
I am just has happy
with those beginner piano students
playing "twinkle little star"
as I am with my pianist owner
working on her Mozart.

If I were in a museum
I would not have any hands at all
making me sing.

In a museum
my music would stop,
most likely, forever.
And that would really be tragic,
wouldn't it?

I am special.
I am an 1872 Steinway & Sons
Square Grand Piano.
I Am
Andrea, The Piano!!