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So you want to learn to play piano?  You want to be a concert pianist?
Say yes to both, but be realistic. You can still find all the enjoyment in music, learning it, sharing it, even without exams, competitions, or a solo concert career.  Check these two sites/pages:

Truth about piano lessons - this article offers some wisdom:

What are the financial realities of a typical concert pianist?
If the above link becomes expired, here is a cached page.

Here is a very interesting video interview with one of the greatest pianists (and conductor) of our century,
Vladimir ASHKENAZY. He is a genuine soul, and he speak honestly about the reality of becoming a concert pianist. 
I think we hear similar advice for young people who aspire to exceptionally difficult dreams and ambitions.
While I think one should always be hopeful and should have big dreams, it is wise to also recognise balance and have realistic expectations.

For now, I can not find that special advice video that I recently watched, so I will post the link here as soon as I do find it.
For now, here are two other nice videos of Vladimir Ashkenazy:


Free Sheet Music

Petrucci Music Library -  Sharing the world's public domain music.

Music Paper -

Piano Tuning & Technician Services

"They say" a piano should be tuned twice a year--most piano tuners/technicians recommend this. Personally, I believe this recommendation has a lot of basis in economy--piano tuners don't want to be seen as trying to milk clients for money. Truthfully, tuning should be much more frequent. My goal is to tune my piano 4 times a year. Ideally, according to this article, once a month would be for the best health of the piano.  Read on:

ITUNE4u -  Rick: 403-667-8483   Colin: 587-777-8654

Mark Calkhoven Piano Tuning -  403-251-3260

Piano Technician's Guild - Canadian Piano Page -

Both technicians above (Mark and Colin) have done excellent work on my piano, I love to recommend them.

Soundboard Cleaner

How to buy a piano - Piano Ratings -

Your one stop piano research page -


Online Music Stores


Sheet Music Plus - (recommended by Rideau Music)

Now here is a nice find - Liberace sheet music!

Rideau Music (Calgary) -   (Unfortunately, no longer in business).

Music Minus One - (Orchestra accompaniment for concertos--YOU play the piano part!)


Miscellaneous Music Links

Canadian Network for Arts & Learning (CNAL) -
Le Réseau canadien pour les arts et l'apprentissage

Alternative Keyboard Sizes! -

The future of piano technologies!

Calgary Concerts -

Concert Pitch Piano Services -  (in Toronto)

Irene Besse Keyboards (Calgary) -

Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival -

Canadian Federation of Music Festivals -

Conservatory Canada -

Student login portal -

Teacher login portal -

Conservatory Canada E-Exams -

Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) -

Registering for RCM Examinations:

ARMTA (Alberta Registered Music Teachers' Association) Calgary -

APTA (Alberta Piano Teachers' Association) -

UCSF article on Absolute Pitch -

Parent Handbook (ARMTA) - this might answer some questions that parents might have:


Below are some other misc links that I've been searching/visiting lately... (excellent site for scales & chords)   Grotrian Steinweg!!

BHA Pianos -

Piano Finders -

If the page above (Piano Knock-Offs) ever disappears, I have cached a copy of it here (December 2012).

Piano Decals


Piano Moving Companies

Braymore Delivery Company (Toronto Piano Movers) -

CDS Group of Companies (International Piano Movers) -

RPM Piano Moving (Calgary) -

Here is another excellent web site, Robert ESTRIN* of Living Pianos as well as his other site,  
* (See my notes at the bottom of this page).

*Robert ESTRIN is a concert pianist, piano enthusiast, technician, expert piano-historian. 

If I had to purchase another piano, it would be from his store in Santa Ana, Orange County. Educate yourself on the history of piano production in America during the past century. Learn why these older, restored, regulated, even rebuilt pianos are precious treasures of the past.  Would you buy a brand new Asian built piano or a rebuilt hand-crafted piano within the past 20 to 80 years?  Try to find an excellent condition USA built BALDWIN grand piano--well, Baldwin went bankrupt in 2000 so these hand-made pianos are no longer being produced. You can buy a brand new Baldwin, but they are built in one of the 2 factories in China. Baldwin was purchased by Gibson guitar company in 2001 and they have found a "cheap" way to reproduce this famous piano of excellent reputation. These Chinese Baldwins are NOT the same as the hand-crafted American Baldwin.  These are referred to as "stencil" pianos;  these Asian built pianos have a completely different design (using softer wood and even plastic moving parts!) but they "stencil" the name Baldwin on the front & sides of the piano.  This is entirely legal, albeit deceptive--the "Baldwin" title is legally owned by Gibson, but they are now making these Baldwin grands with a much reduced cost structure (our inevitable economy). There is a rumour, and I do LOVE this rumour, that Gibson still has their Arkansas Baldwin factory "on hold" -- with the possibility that they could at any time start up the American production of Baldwin again.  That would be nice--as long as they rehired the previous employees who knew the art & science of building  hand-crafted Baldwin pianos. 

If you read the "ABOUT" page on Robert ESTRIN's site, he gives a good explanation about the difference in quality between American and Asian pianos. Just in case his page ever disappears, I have cached a copy of it here. 

Quality Pianos - American vs Asian.

Yes, I own a Baldwin grand piano :-)  Mine is a Baldwin Model L, 6'3" Artist grand, built in 1994 in the USA.  Incidentally, this Baldwin Model L used to sell for over $60,000 when they were still being produced in the USA!  Gibson now sells the Chinese made Baldwin L1 for $50,700 (as of Sept-Dec 2012; see the 2 links below). This is a reflection of the downward pressure of the value/economy of pianos due to the huge influx of Asian pianos into our market.  Here is the link for the current Baldwin site:   and

If the above 2 links become extinct, here is an archive of them here.


One of the more interesting sites that I love to recommend is LaDona's Music Studio.  Hers is a very interesting site with much relevant content, a reliable source of valid information!  She has lots of variety and balance in her content, very worthwhile. I subscribe to her blog, it's stimulating and thought-provoking.

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