Monthly Archives: February 2014

Considering buying a used piano? Buyer beware before you write that check!

Before you buy an expensive used piano have it evaluated by a piano tuner.

Before you buy an expensive used piano have it evaluated by a piano tuner.


You have just been presented with the opportunity to purchase a vintage or previously owned piano. The price seems right but is it appropriate with the condition of the instrument?   Many pianos can be quite inviting aesthetically but what is under the hood?


People call their mechanic to evaluate the condition of a used car before buying and even take it on a test run.  The same should be done before buying or moving a used or allegedly rebuilt piano.

Let me share with you one customer horror story so you may avoid the same misfortune. I received a call to provide a basic tuning for a customer who told me she recently moved an upright piano from out-of- state. I asked the woman to tell me about the style, age and condition of the piano.

She went on to proudly tell me that before she bought the piano, she paid the out-of- state dealer to have it rebuilt.  When I asked her the age of the piano, she told me the 1930’s.

When I arrived at her home to perform the tuning, I assumed the instrument was in good condition, since the customer told me she paid to have it refurbished.   However, I found the serial number indicated the instrument was much older than the customer was told.  The piano was manufactured in the early 1900’s.

Further examination showed that the hammer felts were completely worn and moth ea\ten and not new or replaced as the customer thought.    The piano was filthy inside and the strings were rusty.

When I tested the pin block (where the tuning pins attach into the piano), I found that the wood of the pin block was completely worn out and in needed replacement.

This piano was untunable but now I was faced with a dilemma.  How was I to tell this nice woman that she was taken?   Section by section I explained what work was not done. The more I explained the angrier she became.    As you can imagine, she did not take it well and I was chased out of the house as the women yelled after me “get out, get out.”

The lesson of this story is, had the woman had a piano/tuner technician go over the piano before she wrote the check, she would have avoided being taken by the dealer.

I perform tunings and basic repairs and also provide evaluations of the mechanical conditions of your piano.   Call me before you write that check.



9 More Reasons Music Lessons are Important


music lessons are worthwhile at any age

music lessons are worthwhile at any age









Several exciting studies have recently been published showing a correlation between brain development and music lessons in young children. These studies show that children eight and younger who play an instrument develop stronger cognitive skills and keep them for life. Mozart began composing songs at age 5 and Beethoven was reported to be 71/2 when he gave his first performance. Does this mean parents should rush out and start music lessons to develop the next great musical prodigy? Or that if you over the age of 8 you’ve missed out on the melodic marvel of music education. Of course not.

As a life-long musician and music teacher, these studies support my belief in music education. Older studies also show that music lessons are beneficial whenever students begin.

Music lessons provide more than brain development. The best music instruction will only help if the student plays an instrument he or she enjoys and will actually practice. Without practice there is no music.

Here are some of my reasons music lessons are important

  1. Music lessons nurture an appreciation for music and creativity.
  2. Music lessons teach you to read music and master timing and rhythm.
  3. Music lessons teach responsibility and time management
  4. Music lessons teach students who play in bands and orchestras how to work together in a group.
  5. Music lessons challenge students to be self-competitive – think about wanting to be the first chair or having a solo in a performance.
  6. Music lessons develop public appearance skills. A two-minute public performance may take months of preparation and then a whole lot of nerve to perform.
  7. Music lessons make you interesting – who doesn’t like hanging out with the musician at the party or lead a sing-a-long.
  8. Music lessons travel well.
  9. Music is universal and anything we can learn to help us connect with other people should be encouraged at any age.

I’ll stop at 9 reasons but I could go on for dozens more. If I may help you on your musical journey give me a call. I teach saxophone, clarinet, and flute. And when you study with me, you always sit in the first chair.

Barry Fleischer, February 2014