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Piano Types for The Home
By West Music Company
4/6/2017 1:34:00 PM  

Whether you are starting to think about taking piano lessons, have been playing for a few years, or are an expert pianist, having the proper piano that suits your needs is vital. With all of the options that are available, it can be challenging to find the right instrument for your level and your budget. Let us help guide you in finding a piano that fits your needs.


Vertical Pianos

vertical piano

A very common type of piano for the home or studio is the vertical piano. They are called vertical pianos, because of their vertical strings, and are particularly known for their height, which ranges from three to five feet. Due to their cost effectiveness and space efficiency (they typically are no wider than 5’), verticals are a popular choice for homes, churches, schools and music studios.

Common Types of Vertical Pianos Are:

  • Spinet – 36” to 40” in height
  • Console – 40” to 43” in height
  • Studio – 44” to 48” in height
  • Upright – 45” and above

The larger piano, the larger soundboard, and it’s the soundboard that create tone quality. Therefore, Console and Studio pianos are the most common types of pianos found in homes. They are extremely durable so they can be a good choice around children.

Rarely manufactured today,  upright pianos are the tallest of the vertical pianos, with a typical height ranging from four to five feet tall. This piano was very popular at the turn of the century and is what you usually see in older homes and long lineages of families.

 

Grand Pianos

grand piano

Horizontal pianos also referred to as grand pianos. They got their name because of their large size and the fact that their strings are placed horizontally. Grand pianos range in size from four feet long all the way up to nine feet long and produce a very fine tone. Many professional pianists or performers enjoy them for their responsive key action and their spectacular sound.

There Are Six Kinds of Grand Pianos:

  • Petite Grand – under 5’ in length
  • Baby Grand – 5’ to 5’5” in length
  • Medium Grand – 5’ 6” to 5’ 9” in length
  • Parlor / Living Grand – 5’ 10” to 6’ 9” in length
  • Semi-Concert / Ballroom Grand – 6’ 10” to 7’ 10” in length
  • Concert Grand - 8’ 11” and longer

If you are looking for a grand piano for your home, a popular choice is the baby grand. These pianos have amazing sound quality, are extremely aesthetically pleasing, and don't take up a ton of space. Some baby grands are meticulously hand-crafted and can take up to 12 months to produce. They are also affordable but still have the rich sound you want from a grand piano.

 

Digital Pianos

digital

A compact and cost-efficient type of piano is the digital piano. Digital pianos have only been around for the past 30 years or so, but they have come a long way from when they were first introduced. Today, they have excellent sound and can even have gravity-based, spring-free action to feel like a grand piano.

Digital pianos are very versatile and can be a good choice for beginners or professionals. They cost less, weigh less, and do not have to be tuned. They also can be plugged into headphones, which can be very convenient in small houses or apartments.

 

Contact West Music Piano Division

Whether you are just starting to learn how to play the piano, or have been performing for years, having the correct type of piano that fits your needs can make all the difference in playing. Choosing the right piano is a complex and important decision that should not be rushed.

Feel free to stop by your local West Music store to test out your options personally. We offer a wide variety of pianos - vertical, grand, digital, and even used models - and have knowledgeable and helpful piano associates to assist you. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to see all our different available models, please call West Music at 800-373-2000 or head to our piano website at pianos.westmusic.com.

 


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Des Moines March 2017 Musician of the Month: Lucas Clark
By West Music Company
3/29/2017 1:17:00 PM  

Lucas ClarkLucas Clark is in the 3rd grade in West Des Moines. He has studied guitar with Mark Willie for six months. Mark Willie believes Lucas deserves recognition because “Lucas has consistently shown hard work and dedication since day one. He always comes into lessons prepared and can demonstrate his knowledge of the material. His talent and ambition combined leave no doubt that he has great potential to go far in music.” Lucas’ main musical goal is to master his instrument. His advice to other musicians: “Always try your hardest and never give up. Be prepared. Practice and listen!”

Lucas loves learning new songs and new chords. He enjoys performing songs for people and loves playing with his family. His dad plays multiple instruments and his sister sings and is a great jazz drummer. Sometimes Lucas performs songs for his class. Last year he played The Ventures “Walk Don’t Run” for a crowd at a ski resort. One of Lucas’ favorite music genres to play is surf rock, but he’s a fan of different types of music including: The Strokes, Bon Jovi, The Beach Boys, and The Ventures.

Lucas’ other interests include playing lots of sports. He loves soccer, tennis, and golf. He enjoys snowboarding while in the mountains, and at home he loves playing with his dogs and being outside.

One surprising fact is that Lucas’ great-grandfather was best friends with Lawrence Welk, and played with him before he became famous. Lawrence even asked his great-grandfather to go on the road with him, but had to turn him down. That’s awesome! 


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Urbandale February 2017 Musican of the Month: Mitchell Logan
By West Music Company
3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM  
Mitchell Logan is a 4th grader within the West Des Moines School District. He has been a piano student at West Music studying under Janet Winship for 2 years. Along with the piano, Mitchell plays the recorder, as well as the viola in the West Des Moines beginning orchestra program.

Janet Winship believes Mitchell deserves recognition because “Mitchell is an active participant in class and highly motivated. He pays attention to the details and memorizes his music quickly and carefully. Time flies in class and always makes us wish we had more time to play piano.” Mitchell loves playing music because “It’s very satisfying to learn a new song and completely get it.” One of his musical goals is to become a better viola and recorder player.

While away from the piano bench, Mitchell participates in Taekwondo Team JETT and an awesome light saber club! Some of his other interests include playing with nerf guns, LEGOs, and traveling. Mitchell’s favorite musician is Lindsey Stirling who is known for her Dubstep violin original song “Crystallize”. One surprising fact we learned about Mitchell is that he had surgery on his stomach when he was a baby. Whoa!

Congrats, Mitchell!!

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Tags: Janet Winship, piano, student, lessons, west des moines, urbandale
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Dry Winter Equals Dry Pianos
By Nelda Witting
2/7/2017 8:32:00 AM  

Piano maintenance advice and tips by Nelda Wittig, West Music Piano Consultant.

Piano Care

You may have just made an investment in a piano or you have had one for years. Learn how to properly maintain your piano in the Midwest where temperatures dip and humidy is difficult to keep level. Since 85% of a piano is made of wood, it is important that your piano keeps a consistent humidity level between 40-50%. Just like a living tree that responds to the environment, the wood in your piano will respond to the ever changing environment in your home.

When the humidity inside your home drops below the ideal of 40-50% humidity, you may notice some changes in the piano—some minor; some costly.

Wooden action parts shrink when they become too dry, and they become loose and start to rattle and make noise.  This puts early wear on your action and repairs in your future!

Cracks may appear in the soundboard (the heart of a piano), or on the bridges, or in the pin block.  Any of these cracks can be a costly fix.

Pitch and tone will fluctuate with the dry environment. 

What’s the solution? A humidifier system can be installed in your upright or grand piano and will keep the soundboard area constant. We suggest installing a dual system which will remove excess moisture in the air and will also add moisture if needed. You may want to also purchase a hygrometer to keep in or nearby your piano to have a continuous readout of humidity. Your piano will thank you!

Our experts at West Music are available to install a humidifier system into almost any piano, or answer any you might have about the care of your instrument. Contact your local West Music store for more information.

Learn more about West Music's piano galleries and services: pianos.westmusic.com


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Urbandale January 2017 Musician of the Month: Morgan Sullivan
By West Music Company
1/2/2017 3:17:00 PM  
Morgan Sullivan has studied piano with teacher Emily Walter for 1 year. Morgan is a 4th grader within the Johnston community who loves learning new things every day and sets goals to play challenging songs on the piano.

Some of Morgan’s other artistic interests involve playing the recorder, dancing, singing, and writing. Her favorite musician is Taylor Swift and she loves listening to pop music. Morgan also participates in gymnastics and soccer. Fun facts about Morgan: She was born in Milwaukee and she is left-handed.

Emily Walter referred Morgan for Musician of the Month because “Morgan always comes to her piano lesson prepared and with a great attitude! She is a hard worker and is wonderful at taking risks to learn new songs.” Morgan’s advice to other musicians: “Be patient because you need to learn the easy songs before you play the harder songs.”

Good advice, Morgan! Congratulations!

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Urbandale December 2016 Musician of the Month: Charlie LaCroix
By West Music Company
12/1/2016 8:32:00 AM  
Charlie LaCroix has been studying piano with Dr. Asia Grant for 2 ½ years. He is a 3rd grader in the West Des Moines community and he is preparing for his first recital in December. Along with playing piano, Charlie’s musical goals include playing percussion in the 5th grade band.

While away from the piano bench, Charlie can be found playing basketball, reading, and writing stories, as well as supporting his sister, Anna, who plays violin. Dr. Grant nominated Charlie for Musician of the Month as “he is exceptionally dedicated and a very quick learner.”

Congratulations, Charlie!

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Urbandale May 2016 Musicican of the Month: Kaylyn Jensen
By West Music Company
5/1/2016 8:05:00 AM  
Kaylyn is in 6th grade at Summit Middle School, she has studied piano with Janet Winship at the Des Moines Piano Gallery for two years. Janet says about Kaylyn: "Kaylyn has never missed a lesson. She treats each day of practice as an opportunity to become a better musician than she was the day before. Kaylyn has participated 5 times over the past year in recitals and piano festivals. She performs with a confidence and artistry that is delightful to her audience and inspiring to other piano players. Simply put - Kaylyn uses her head and always plays from the heart."

Kaylyn's goals are to play more advanced music as she gets older, like the original Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata. Her advice to other musicians is to challenge yourself with challenging pieces. She says she loves playing music because "it lets me be creative and discover new things about myself."

Kaylyn also plays the trombone, and is involved in soccer, basketball, softball, and track. She is involved in TSA (Technology Student Association) and enjoys gardening, cooking, skiing. reading, sports, science, and history. Her favorite music genres are classical and movie/game theme songs.

Some things you may be suprised to learn about Kaylyn is that she's skied in the Rocky Mountains and started her own vegetable garden.

Great job, Kaylyn! Keep up the good work!

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Des Moines Piano Gallery April 2016 Musician of the Month: Eleanor Meek
By West Music Company
4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Eleanor Meek is a piano student at West Music Des Moines Piano Gallery. She has been taking lessons with Paige Pederson for 1 1/2 years!

Eleanor says her musical goal is "to play at my local church someday, and maybe learn the violin". Her advide to other musicians is "even if you think the instrument you are playing is hard, keep going. It will make more sense and you will love it more."

When asked what she loves about music, she says "I love the fact that if you love it so much and focus, you can make beautiful music."

Outside of music, Eleanor participates in dance and church group. Her interests include horses, animals and reading, and she dislikes broccoli! Her favorite artists are Crowder, Matthew West, and Shawn Mendes.  She also likes hip-hop and Christian music. It may suprise you to learn that  Eleanor is an only child.

Her teacher, Paige Pederson, says: "Eleanor is a joy to work with every week! She is always pushing herself to be a better musician and has even set a goal to finish the next level by the end of the summer!"

Great job, Eleanor! Keep up the good work!

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Urbandale March 2016 Teacher Feature: Asia Brutian-Grant
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Asia Brutian-Grant was born in Yerevan, Armenia to a musical family. Her father was professional cellist, and her grandmother was professional pianist and composer. Her father’s family included professional  musicians, artists, and sculptors. The Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Armenia was named after her great-grandfather.

Asia began her education at the P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children. Her musical training since first grade was heavily focused on technique, tone, articulation, the art of performance, theory, and music critique. After graduating with a Bachelors of Music degree she was accepted into the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory. She studied under Anahit Bogdanian, who was a pupil of the legendary Professor Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory. While in school, Asia performed numerous solos, with chamber ensembles, orchestras, and stood out for her musicality and a unique tone. She completed her Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy at the Komitas Armenian State Conservatory.

Dr. Grant continued teaching at Music Schools in Yerevan, and also at the Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Yerevan, Armenia. Asia is one of the most sought-after piano instructors. Under her tutelage students have won competitions, and were prepared to be accepted to Conservatory. Upon moving to USA, she was performing with solo and duo concerts. She was immediately in high demand to instruct Master Classes. She has been a resident of Sioux Falls, SD since 1994.

Dr. Grant has served as a President for Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association (SFAMTA), and is an active MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) member. Has volunteered with Solo Piano Concerts for the Good Samaritan, and Dow Rummel Villages, and has performed monthly solos at Lincoln Hills Bible Church.

In March 2012 Asia founded the annual Grant Piano Competition. Students from Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas are rewarded cash prizes. The goal of the Annual Grant Piano Competition is to give the young pianist an opportunity to sharpen their performing skills and reward them for their hard work.

Asia speaks fluent English, Armenian, Russian, and some Spanish.

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Tags: P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children, Arshak Brutian Music School in Gumri, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Anahit Bogdanian, Lev Naumov, Moscow Conservatory, Piano Pedagogy, Komitas Armenian State Conservatory, Jazz Studio of the Ministry of Culture, Sioux Falls Area of Music Teachers Association, SFAMTA, MTN, Music Teachers National Association,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Urbandale March 2016 Musician of the Month: Mikayla Jensen
By West Music Company
3/1/2016 8:01:00 AM  
Mikayla Jensen has been studying piano with Janet Winship for 2 years at the West Music Piano Gallery in Urbandale. She is in 5th grade and also plays the flute. Janet says "Mikayla does not shy away from the work that needs to be done to achieve a beautiful sound and welcomes music that challenges her abilities with a cheerful and hopeful attitude. She is a delight to teach."

Mikayla's other musical goals include learning to play the guitar. Her advice to other musicians is that music is something you can do at any age, so don't give up. Mikayla is involved in her school's band, plays in piano festivals, plays basketball, and swims. She also likes to sing, play video games, and draw. Mikayla's favorite styles of music are jazz, pop, and country.

It may suprise you to learn that Mikayla has traveled to Colorado and went body surfing in the Gulf of Mexico!

Congratulations, Mikayla! Great job!

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