Monday, June 1, 2009

First impression of the Kawai at church...

... T-minus 4 days and counting for the recital. Piano Teacher (PT) suggested, nay, demanded that I find a way, some time, to get on the recital piano, and tinker with it a bit. She warned me it had a light touch, and, as a new piano (well, 5 years new, give or take), it had a very different sound from her old Emerson baby grand. So after church yesterday, after everyone had cleared out, and while Sue and the youngin's were having a coffee and cookie break, I took a moment to introduce myself to the piano.

First impression: meh. I don't know what I expected, but I expected more.

To begin with, overall, I don't find it THAT different from PT's Emerson. (Maybe this speaks well of THAT instrument, come to think of it.) What I mean is, I found the keys sort of spongy, and a little uneven, especially on the left hand. I expected that the keys would have a firm bottom, but it was more a matter of a gradual, soft landing at the end of their travel.

Furthermore, though I felt like I was hammering away on the keys, I couldn't generate nearly enough sound to fill the sanctuary. (For sizing purposes, the sanctuary is roughly the size of a basketball court. Which, not surprisingly, it is, complete with a carpeted floor and lines marking out the court.) I'm tempted to say, "This took a little getting used to," but that would infer I did, indeed, get used to it. I did not. In fact, my first time through, it seemed to me the left hand was totally dominating the right, so I paid a little closer attention to the relative dynamics between the two hands when I went through the piece a second time. I still didn't like it, and by this time, the family had consumed their cookies, returned the sanctuary (bringing NO COOKIES for me... hmph), and were listening to what I was doing. A minute or two later, in came our church's worship / music director, and by this point, I was ready to give Jillian a chance to try it out. (Not really... I wanted to keep playing, but I did not want to experiment in front of an audience, and I was a little concerned about the kids running around on a stage of expensive instruments and electronic gadgetry.)

So the good news: I'm not scraping around today for an extra $30k in sofa change, hoping to go out and by one of these things.

The bad news: I'm not totally comfortable with the piano, 4 days shy of recital. More importantly, I am concerned that what I didn't like about it (spongy, uneven feel) is a feature, rather than a bug. Have I become so used to the lightness and relative perfection of the graduated touch of my Ap-200, that when I sit down at a (from what I understand) perfectly fine acoustic instrument, I can't make the transition? Are the things that I dislike on the Kawai (and PT's Emerson) part and parcel of all acoustic instruments, and good piano players learn to use those characteristics to produce the exact sounds they want?

I suspect the answer to these questions is, "Yes, suck it up, and get used to it."

- Aw2pp, who is still awaiting the followup to Dexy's Midnight Runners 'Come on Eileen'...


pdxknitterati said...

All pianos are different; that's what makes a recital such an adventure! So different than bringing your own instrument.

When you're ready, play a lot of different instruments a LOT to decide what you like before you buy.

But for now, see if you can get some more time in on that particular piano, without an audience, just to make friends with it. Good luck!

Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

Thanks! We have practice tonight at PT's, and then we're on our own until Friday.

Not that it deserves it's own post, but Jillian has been sort of neglecting her recital piece (Brahm's Lullaby out of my Alfred's Book One). Knowing her, she'll rescue it in time, but she has a long way to go in just a few days.