“That’s not how it sounds on the CD!” Have you ever heard your piano student utter that famous line? You can just hear the disappointment oozing from every pore. They worked so hard to learn this piece, working sometimes for weeks just to be let down. I used to feel this way when I was a budding young pianist too. Luckily, as a budding young vocalist, I had already turned into the next at-home Paula Abdul with the invention of Karaoke. I could sing just like her and had the back-up band to prove it. But when it came to the piano, I was once again all alone – just me and my metronome.
I have often said that people think there’s “nothing new under the sun” in the piano business. We’re dealing with an instrument that is over 300 years old and has changed relatively little. Most teachers, technicians and private owners have chosen their favorite brands years ago, firmly plugged their fingers into their ears and begun to hum loud enough to drown out any new information that might contradict their traditional view of the piano world. For those of us who work with current piano information on a daily basis, this is extremely frustrating.
One of the biggest challenges I face as a piano expert is finding others in my community who understand the value of modern piano tools. It’s not easy to find someone who will ask their students to play along with a CD, record a MIDI file or – gasp – practice their scales with a drum rhythm instead of a metronome. However, I occasionally have the fortune of encountering one of these enlightened souls and I want to share her relatively unique story with you. Continue reading