Piano-Buying Stories Submitted by piano buyers and dealers

Stories about the piano-buying experience


A Three-Year-Old Reminds Me Why We Love Pianos

by Sally Phillips

One day, a young mother and her toddler son came in to look at pianos. The mother told me that her son was three, but had started lessons and was very enthusiastic. Having seen many proud parents, and observing that the tiny child was indeed very young, I was a bit skeptical about his level of enthusiasm — until he started examining with great care all the vertical pianos on the floor.

The boy had a limited repertoire: one short piece that covered a single octave, which he methodically tried on each register of each piano. He was so diminutive that the keyboards were at his eye level. He was very systematic in walking down the rows of instruments, giving each one his attention, until he stopped in front of a vertical that I had recently prepped to go to a statewide teachers’ convention. He tried the piano with his little piece, said a few things to his mother that I didn’t understand, and nodded his approval. Lots of pointing made clear that he had made his selection.

Mom explained that they couldn’t make a decision until Father was consulted. When she tried to leave, her young charge was dismayed. He wanted that piano, and was most determined to have it. Most of his pleas were nonverbal, and included vigorous “no” head shaking and petulant body language. When she insisted that it was time to go, he sobbed and planted himself there, wrapping his little arms around the leg of the piano, and leaned his head against it, cheek to piano cheek. Wow, I thought. That, in a nutshell, is why we are here.

I was reminded afresh of the passion that drives us to love these instruments, of our excitement on hearing and creating beautiful sounds, of our joy at being able to convey our thoughts in music. Here, that passion had been unabashedly expressed as pure emotion.

He got his piano.

Sally Phillips
Steinway Piano Galleries
Alpharetta, Georgia

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Piano-Buying Stories are copyright 2014 by their respective authors. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of a story without the express written permission of that story's author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Pianos are unique among consumer goods in the extent to which deciding whether or not to purchase a particular instrument combines hardheaded choices about price and features with emotional responses involving art and passion. For many, buying a piano is more like finding a marriage partner than like buying a refrigerator or washing machine. Selling a piano, too, has its special challenges and fulfillments: satisfying the famous client, the donated instrument that helped launch a career, the sharing of a touching moment involving the importance of a piano in a customer’s life.

In Piano-Buying Stories, we bring together tales, from both consumers and retailers, of their experiences in buying or selling pianos that were somehow unusual, surprising, touching, or instructive — or all of these at once. We invite the submission of additional stories; please see our submission guidelines below. — L.F.

If you'd like to make a comment on any of the stories, please visit our Piano-Buying Stories blog page.

Submission Guidelines
  • Stories should be of the author’s experience in buying or selling pianos — experiences that were somehow unusual, surprising, touching, and/or instructive.
  • Stories must be true; however, the names of persons and firms mentioned in the stories may be disguised when advisable.
  • The author’s real name — and, if a retailer, actual store affiliation — must accompany submission. In rare instances, however, a request to publish anonymously will be considered.
  • Stories will be edited for length, grammar, and style, but the edited version will be published only with the author’s approval.
  • Photos pertinent to the story will be considered for publication.
  • Publication will be online only.
  • In general, no payment will be made for use of the story. However, when the story is by a professional author, a small payment will be considered.
  • License is only to publish online on the Piano Buyer blog/website; author retains all other rights.
  • Submissions of any length are considered, but shorter ones are preferred.
  • Submissions should be sent in Microsoft Word, as an e-mail attachment, to larry@pianobuyer.com.

If you'd like to make a comment on any of the stories, please visit our Piano-Buying Stories blog page.









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