Sunday, December 28, 2008

My new Kohler & Campbell KC118 Piano

Ok. Here are my pictures taken from my laptop webcam. Not very good. The morning sun was a bit bright, washing out the colors but it'll do for now. Enjoy.



New Piano Arrived Safely

Well, it snowed Friday night and my backyard recieved about an inch of snow. Temperature plummeted from 50 degrees down to 19 degrees in several hours which made certain section of the road I was traveling on a bit "treachorous" as I made my way to Albuquerque, NM Saturday morning with a rented Uhaul trailer. The whole trip took 9 hours but the roads were dry on the return trip.

Here's what my piano looks like, a Kohler & Campell 46.5 inch high (KC 118) ebony piece. My piano is quite similar to the picture below.


Even though I was tired from the tip I sat down and played and practiced my piano for 4 1/2 hours going through some ragtime pieces, some classical pieces and a Jelly Roll Morton piece (at a very slow pace). I'll get photos of my new piano soon enough.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hard of hearing kid pianist

Just because you're deaf or hard of hearing and you wear a cochlear implant or a hearing aid doesn't mean you cannot play a musical instrument, even the piano for that matter. Best time to start playing is when you're young, of course.

Here's a hard of hearing kid named Brenden who is now 9 or 10 years old and wears a hearing aid, just like me, who is just starting to play the piano. Seems like he is progressing very well from the videos I've seen and heard.

You can check out the rest of his piano videos he did over the months on YouTube, including his recent piano recital a few days ago, I believe. Who knows where he'll go with playing the piano. Maybe he'll discover ragtime or early jazz? Keep it up, Brenden. You're doing a great job! Don't give up playing the piano.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A new piano

Well, finally got around to it. After wanting my own piano after 20 years of playing old, crappy piano, I got myself a new Kohler and Campbell studio piano (KC 118 model) which is 118 cm or 46.5 in height that come with a 12 year full warranty. The piano I picked wasn't quite the upright (at least 50 inches high) that I wanted but the price was right and the piano comes with excellent play, feel and sound quality. For any serious pianists two things are important, the sound and the feel. Not to mention the amount of money you're willing to spend that could limit the selection process.

I bought my Kohler and Campbell (KC) piano in Albuquerque at a piano store that was in business since 1995 and was having a going out of business sale. Needless to say I just drooled looking at all the new and used pianos, especially those grand pianos, when I stepped into the store recently this Sunday. But my budget was limited and so I picked a new Kohler and Campbell piano brand. The picture below is a 121 cm KC piano which is very similar in style, color and height of the KC piano I bought. Until I get it this upcoming Saturday the picture below will do for now.


At the same piano store there was one excellent grand piano I played on. It was the Estonia. Price tag? Around $26,000 at a markedly reduced price. The Estonia grand piano I played on was absolutely rich and the notes resonated so exquisitely. There were others like Yamaha, Cable and Kawai grand pianos, including baby grand down to 5' 1" in size. Some were good. Others had a heavy feel or stately. Some were light, airy. Each piano was different and had a character and flavor of it's own. Each pianist's taste is different while one may prefer a particular piano for it's feel and sound while another would pick a different one not suitable to other pianists. I can distinctly tell the differences in sound quality and feel at each piano I played at the store. Even though I have a hearing loss I can certainly tell as a person who is deaf/hh. The KC118 I picked had a very good feel to it as well as sound quality which was richer in tone and vibrance. The price tag was reduced from $5400 to just under $3000 and it came with a 12 year warranty (for new pianos only).

Praying that it doesn't snow on Saturday when I go and pick it up. It'll be an 8 hour round trip towing a rented enclosed U-haul trailer. It's about time I got a decent piano. Until I save enough for a baby grand someday, I'm one step closer to getting a piano I can only dream of. For sure, I will enjoy immensely my new piano and the beautiful and exciting sounds I'll be producing in my upcoming YouTube videos for ya'll in my continuing quest to play novelty rags, early jazz and ragtime pieces. The only deaf/hh Ragtime pianist around.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Future Young Deaf Pianist

Although this blog piece is not ragtime but this deaf boy is seven years old, the same age when I started playing the piano, and he wears a cochlear implant. Maybe he'll be a future ragtime pianist? Who knows. Don't give up Elliot. You're doing well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Deaf Ragtime Pianist

Often I wonder how many deaf or hard of hearing pianists in the United States who enjoy playing the piano, especially in the arena of Ragtime. I simply refuse to believe that I am the only deaf/hh pianist who play Ragtime actively. There has to be a few people out there who enjoy playing the piano who happens to be deaf or hard of hearing and like playing Ragtime. Although if you go to Google and type in "deaf," "ragtime" and "piano" you'll see that my blogsite is mentioned first in a Google's search result. Not much help there but I'm sure someday something will pop up.

Meanwhile, I am currently looking for a better piano to replace my clunky spinet piano which currently does not have any really good sound to begin with along with the odd key and hammer movements where a key or two will get stuck from time to time. Very aggravating at that! Even though with the right Ragtime music piece my washed out white piano would exhibit that bit of clinky (or clacky in this case), out of tune sound noise that'd make Ragtime playing sound a bit more, well, "authentic." But that's pushing it if you listen to my Maple Leaf Rag rendition on YouTube. So far, is the best bet and I have seen pianos for sale that looked good but the price is bit out of my range. At least I can scan the music instrument section for the El Paso, Texas area, and the Las Cruces to Roswell area in New Mexico as well.

The choices I'm looking for are studio and upright pianos. The differences?

Studio - This is the kind of piano you see in music schools and music studios. It is 45 to 48 inches in height and has a width of approxmately 58 inches. Because of its larger soundboard and longer strings, it produces good tone quality and is very durable.

Upright - This is the tallest among the vertical pianos, with a height ranging from 50 to 60 inches and an approximate width of 58 inches. This is the type of piano your great grandparents or grandparents used to play. When cared for properly, it stands the test of time and maintains its rich tone.

If the price is right and the condition of the piano is right (i.e. no missing strings, stuck keys or parts that need replacing) then I will surely get it. It's better to get the right one than not at all. Meanwhile, be sure to watch out for my upcoming videos of me playing a few pieces of Scott Joplin's. I just need to get around to video taping my pieces soon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

K.K. Ragtime by Tom Brier

If you haven't heard Tom Brier play ragtime you won't be disappointed. Here's Tom playing "K.K. Ragtime" for the first time by sight reading this piano piece. He stumbles about 1/4 way but his effort playing this piece for the first time by sight reading is still quite impressive. This tune was composed by Kazumi Totaka for the Nintendo video game series "Animal Crossing" where it was transcribed and put into a ragtime format. In the end Tom Brier remarked, "Oh, that's cute!"

Here's the music sheet if you want a copy of K.K. Ragtime. Of course, I'm going to practice this piece and give y'all a performance soon someday.

Just be patience. I'm curious how it'll sound on my "crappy" piano with me being the only deaf Ragtime pianist around. Of course, I'm not completely deaf but hard of hearing with the help of my new Siemen hearing aid which can pick up all of the notes on my piano and finally with volume control this time since my old digital hearing aid had an automatic volume control which was maddening whenever I played the piano because it would make it soft. So, thank goodness for getting one with volume control this time.

Anyway, enjoy K.K. Ragtime. A real diddy to enjoy listening to.

ADDENDUM: Here's a YouTube version of Tom Brier playing it again on a different piano a year later seen here. Still, I liked Tom's playing in the first video. It sounded much more livelier.

But a month earlier played that piece at the 2008 West Coast Ragtime Festival with the Raspberry Jam Band playing the "K.K. Ragtime" in one of their after-hours jam session. Pretty cool with all instruments playing. Even with a bit of "K.K." vocal piece thrown in for a short time.

Here's where K.K. Ragtime got it's inspiration from.

Friday, December 5, 2008

An update...

Still practicing my Black and White Rag. I got the technicals down pretty good. Just need to work on the transition and a couple of sticking points. Hopefully in a week or so I'll have it down good for a video piece of myself playing it.

If you have forgotten what Black and White Rag sounds like watch Marty Mincer play that piece, although I will *not* be playing that fast (yet).