so, to my surprise and delight i found out a couple of weeks ago that ccm is buying me a new steinway b for my studio. in the midst of all the budget issues at the university, it's refreshing and heartening that this sort of investment is made. the steinway currently in my studio came out of a practice room when i was hired, and you can imagine (perhaps) that no matter how diligent and capable a technician is, the abuse suffered prior is hard to erase and as such limits the possibilities of the instrument.
while one can learn music on an upright; the hardest things to teach on a piano are color, voicing, and gradations of tone and dynamic, (and......)
for a multiple of reasons, the larger the piano, the slightest variations in touch manifest exponetial difference in the tone, and color produced. even though the studio does not allow for the full bloom of the instrument, the student can hear immediately and more persuasively the difference in tones, after making adjustments and moderations to their touch, voicing, and pedaling.
i have had many opportunities to choose pianos, but those were for a concert. sometimes the selection made in a hall, sometimes not, but the choice is geared to a particular concert. i have never before chosen a new instrument for 'permanent installation' as it were. unlike string players who get to take the instrument away, have it adjusted by someone, play on it for weeks, and take it or return it for another; with pianos it's more like an arranged and shotgun marriage. you play them for a while, ( i was there for about 2 hrs.) and choose.
premier pianos is the steinway dealer in cincinnati, and greg kottman arranged the visit to the factory showroom. at the time we didn't know how many pianos there would be to choose from- i'd heard from 3-5, but as it turned out, there were six....
the trick was to find an instrument that i thought had the greatest range of possibilities, - of palette inherent in the instrument, and one with a beautiful tone. i believe i found it. in many ways it was the less obvious choice, (others were brighter in treble and punchier in the bass,) my opinion of its tone was seconded by our technician eric wolfley, who assured me that my reservations regarding the balance of the instrument, and the shy treble were not any problem at all.
it was the newest of the pianos, and the least played or prepped. in fact while i was there, the tech's at the factory did a quick lacquer job to show a bit what was possible with more time.
all in all a fascinating experience.