Warehouses full of used, unwanted pianos waiting to be taken to their final resting place at the dump; Pages of ebay listings and Craigslist ads of cheap unwanted uprights that can’t find a bidder or even someone to take a worn-out piano for free: These may as well be scenes from a horror film, if you ask me. Unfortunately, they are the ever-present reality for thousands of pianos that have seen better days and are being sent to their permanent deaths. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I may be biased, but the attitude that it’s easier to get rid of a piano than to restore it is not one I share. Pianos have become victims of our disposable society, and the loss will surely reverberate for generations to follow. The way I see it, there is nothing convenient or easy about permanently destroying a piece of history or an instrument that could ignite a lifelong love of music for a child decades from now. How many future Mozarts will miss an opportunity to play on the instrument that made his works possible because people are dumping their pianos?
I realize I may sound like a romantic. Sure, I know that pianos are heavy and no one wants to be saddled with a cumbersome object that they don’t want come moving day. And, yes, I know that they are not necessarily cheap or easy to restore. But taking a longer and larger view, it’s possible to see how all unwanted pianos hold within them tremendous value and potential to be new again if given a chance. They don’t all hold the same monetary value, but many pianos sent to their deaths are in fact rare gems worth great amounts of money and historic value.
The Antique Piano Shop has been fortunate to receive many varieties and styles of pianos and fully restore them to their original glory.
Regardless of extrinsic value though, I simply want piano owners to realize that there is almost always someone who would be willing to take the instrument and keep it from meeting an untimely death.
Churches and schools are two great places to start – but considering the dozens of pianos that have found their way to me through the most unlikely channels, I know that there are many other possibilities too. I’ve even heard of people buying a house that came with a piano.
Taking the time to dig around to either donate or restore a shabby old piano is well worth the effort. No keyboard will ever match the rich, natural sounds that a piano makes, and even if it could, would that justify getting rid of what is a historically significant instrument that could be used for decades to come?
To draw an analogy, pianos are like books: we know there is a place for e-books in the world, but no one wants to see real books disappear – especially not first editions of classics.
Pianos are a gateway instrument for many children (and adults) who want to learn to play and read music. Many musicians who ended up playing other instruments learned on the piano. Even as the world becomes a busier, faster-paced, convenience-oriented one, it gives me great pleasure to connect with clients who are taking the effort to have pianos restored. I love knowing that the piano music I grew up playing will continue to be played on the classical instrument that made works of genius possible.
Just think of how delighted your children and grandchildren will be knowing “grandma’s piano” was lovingly restored. So often I have people tell me how sad they were to learn that mom or dad disposed of grandma’s beloved piano which could have held such financial and sentimental significance had they taken the time to have it fully restored.
Historic preservation of these beautiful instruments is a passion of ours at Antique Piano Shop. Our piano technicians are among the best in the world. There’s no restoration job too big or too small that our team cannot complete with the utmost sincere care and dedication to our clients’ satisfaction.
Michael Stinnett, Founder, Antique Piano Shop