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Host Your Next Recital at Riverton!

Host Your Next Recital at Riverton!

Riverton Piano Company is Phoenix’s new musical hub.  Not only do we offer the best pianos in The Valley, we also offer the best PLACE to host a piano RECITAL in town!  Our Scottsdale facility is conveniently located right across from the Fashion Square Mall at Scottsdale Rd and Camelback.  It features a 60-seat recital hall with a world-class grand piano on stage.  …and our rates are extremely reasonable!  Call Sonja at (480) 368-8888 to learn more or click for more information on our Scottsdale store.  Our Peoria facility is perfectly positioned alongside The 101 at West Olive Ave.  Featuring a 95-seat recital hall with world-class grand piano, it’s no wonder that this new store is quickly becoming a popular recital spot for area teachers.  For more information on this store, contact Gary Gordon at (480) 905-8888 or click for more information on our Peoria piano store.  Host a concert, CD signing, meeting and more at Riverton Piano Company.  You and your guests will have an unforgettable experience with us!

…but contact us quickly.  Fall dates are already filling up!

See you soon!

A Trip for Two to Vienna

A Trip for Two to Vienna

Riverton Piano Company is honored to represent the finest pianos in the world, the hand-crafted Austrian Bösendorfer Pianos. Since 1828, Bösendorfer has created and set the worldwide standard for high quality pianos. The oldest continuously-operating piano factory in the World, Bösendorfer still delivers the most exquisite sound, touch and cabinetry of any piano made in the world today.

Bösendorfer’s limited annual production of only about 220 pianos makes them highly prized and desired. Furthermore, only about 50 of them are brought into the United States each year. That is what makes encountering one so very special.  …and right now, Riverton Piano Company in Scottsdale is thrilled to host a spectacular tour of designer Bösendorfer Grand Pianos. Thanks to our special partnership with Bösendorfer, we currently have over $1 Million in luxuriously handcrafted Bösendorfer pianos for you to explore, including Artisana stunning, Designer-series grand piano with old world marquetry and stunning floral figures, two limited edition models, the Dragonfly and the Jean Cocteau, as well as several Artisan-Series models. Each piano represents the epitome of master craftsmanship and cottage, Venetian design.  Each takes at least six years to build.

In celebration of these unforgettable pianos, we are offering anyone who selects a new Bösendorfer from Riverton Piano Company a free VIP trip for two to Vienna.  Including first-class, round-trip tickets and three nights in “The Imperial City,” this exclusive getaway will take you to the Bösendorfer factory for a rare glimpse at how the world’s finest pianos are made. What better way to celebrate your decision to obtain a true work of art?  …but hurry.  This offer is only available for a limited time!

Owning a Bösendorfer artisan grand piano is an exquisite – and rare – pleasure. Select yours today and join an elite family of owners, including European royalty, iconic composers, movie stars and the world’s most successful executives.

Call us at (480) 368-8888 or visit our Scottsdale Piano Salon and begin your Austrian adventure today!

Technology in Today’s Music Classroom

Technology in Today’s Music Classroom

It’s no secret that today’s classroom music teachers are facing challenges as never before.  Students have constant distractions, impossible schedules and widening social and economic barriers that make a universal approach to learning extremely difficult.  Budget cuts are forcing teachers to find new (and less expensive) ways to give students a basic competency in music education and fewer private corporations are interested in supporting these critical programs.  In short, classroom music teachers and their administrators are struggling harder than ever to do more with fewer resources in a field that is becoming more and more specialized.

That is where technology comes in.

As countless young people have demonstrated through their inventions and problem-solving spirits, today’s students are making technology work for them as no previous generations ever have. It is the language they all share, and a potential “perfect solution” to deficiencies in program budgets AND customized curriculum.

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What Causes a Piano to Go Out of Tune?

Tuning a Grand Piano

When you purchased your last car, you knew you’d have to maintain it.  You expected to fill it with gas on a weekly basis; you knew you’d have to wash it from time to time and you planned on an oil change every 3000 miles.  You also knew that – as your car aged – it would begin to wear out.  Over time, you’d have to put on some new tires; you’d have to replace the brakes and you’d have to swap the battery at some point.  From the beginning, you understood that such expenses were necessary to maintain your car’s performance and resale value.  Now imagine that your car was made out of wood.  How many more repairs and adjustments would you have expected to make?

Like a car, pianos have thousands of tiny components – many of which move or vibrate as part of their vital function.  …and, like neglected cars, neglected pianos will deteriorate to a point where they can’t be used (or sold) without costly repairs.  Put simply, it’s much less expensive to properly maintain your piano than to allow it to fall into disrepair.  Why, then, do so many piano owners neglect their instruments?

Oddly enough, most people don’t understand why pianos require regular maintenance.  It’s fairly easy for car owners envision the “wear and tear” their breaks or tires experience, but piano “wear and tear” is often much more subtle.

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FREE Sight Reading Workshop for Piano Teachers!

FREE Sight Reading Workshop for Piano Teachers!

Join us Friday, August 9 (10am – 12:30pm) at Riverton Piano Company Peoria for a life-changing workshop with Sean Slade from Piano Marvel.  Sean will help you discover a technological tool that will not only help to quantify your students’ sight reading skills, but help IMPROVE them as they practice with interactive software over time.  Piano Marvel is an APP for iOS, MacOS and Windows that uses advanced MIDI technology to compare a student’s performance with the notes and rhythms of a given piece.  In short, this is the world’s first interactive, standardized sight reading assessment tool!  …and that’s not all!  Piano Marvel includes pop music with full band accompaniment, standard classical repertoire and the entire Alfred Basic Piano library!  There’s so much to unpack and – in this hands-on workshop – you’ll learn how to:

  • Clearly Define Your Students’ Sight Reading Levels
  • Motive Your Students to Practice Sight Reading at Home
  • Create Fun Challenges That Reward Improvement
  • Track Your Students’ Progress Throughout the Week
  • Quickly Build Skilled Sight Readers WITHOUT Sacrificing a Ton of Lesson Time!
  • Make Sight Reading FUN!

Even better, this program will also function as the World-wide debut of Piano Marvel’s NEW Bluetooth APP!  Now, you can quickly and easily connect the software to your Bluetooth MIDI piano without all the mess and setup of a wired connection.  It’s quick, it’s clean and it’s easier than ever!

Come explore this innovative approach to sight reading with us and you WILL marvel at how fun learning to sight read can be!  …and – if that’s not enough – come hungry because we’re having a (free) light lunch after the program!

R.S.V.P. before August 1 by calling (480) 905-8888 or email Gary Gordon at garyg@rivertonpiano.com.  We look forward to seeing you in Peoria!

How Did the Piano Get Its Name?

Though the piano is one of the most popular instruments ever invented, few people actually know the name of the man who invented it. Everybody knows the name Henry Ford and even school kids know what Thomas Edison invented, but it’s puzzling why so few have ever heard of the man whose invention inspired such iconic composers as Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt (to name a few).  The man whose invention would change the world forever was an Italian harpsichord maker named Bartolomeo Cristofori.

early piano

The first pianos looked very different from modern pianos. They had no pedals, no cast iron plate and their keyboards were much shorter. These early pianos produced a narrow dynamic range and a much subdued “harpsichord-like” tone.

Bartolomeo was born in Padua, Italy in 1655. There is little record of him until, in 1688, when he began working for Prince Ferdinando de Medici, one of the most important and influential families in Tuscany. By then, Cristofori was already an experienced musical instrument maker and technician.  By the late 1680s, Cristofori’s job was to care for Ferdinando’s large (and ever-growing) collection of musical instruments.  Some historians point out that Ferdinando passed over a variety of other (very skilled) instrument makers and offered Cristofori a higher than usual salary because he wanted Cristofori to develop something special for his instrument collection. This may indicate that Cristofori was already an experienced inventor by the time the two men met.

History’s first reference of a piano is listed in the inventory of Ferdinando’s instruments collection from the year 1700. In Italian the entry reads as follows:

Un Arpicembalo di Bartolomeo Cristofori di nuova inventione, che fa’ il piano, e il forte, a due registri principali unisoni, con fondo di cipresso senza rosa…

Translated into English: An “Arpicembalo” by Bartolomeo Cristofori, of new invention that produces soft and loud, with two sets of strings at unison pitch, with soundboard of cypress without rose…”

Interestingly enough, the term “Arpicembalo” is an unusual term for the era that strictly translates to “harp-harpsichord” and may have indicated Cristofori’s chosen name for his invention.  …but, as with many things, the name changed over time due to subtle (and often lazy) changes in usage.  Initially, the phrase “che fa’ il piano, e il forte” (“produces soft and loud”) became the popular name for Cristofori’s instrument mostly likely due to the instrument’s unique ability to play both “piano” (soft) and “forte” (loud) – a feature that differentiated it from its harpsichord cousins.  For awhile, the instrument was called a “pianoforte” or “fortepiano” (terms that are still in use today to reference early ancestors of the modern piano) until, eventually, the word “forte” fell out of use and the instrument became widely known simply as “the piano.”

Thus, after over 300 years of development, the world’s most beloved instrument is called “the soft.”

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Your Child a Portable Keyboard

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Your Child a Portable Keyboard

I’ve seen it time and time again: cautious – yet well-meaning – parents purchasing portable keyboards as “starter” practice instruments for students whose musical interest may or may not be long-term. Meant to be temporary until they determine whether or not their student is going to “stick with” piano lessons, these portable keyboards prevent any real development and – inevitably – cause a majority of students to lose interest in playing altogether. …and I can understand why. Most kids aren’t aware enough to point out the practice instrument as the source of their troubles. …but they see that the songs they can play perfectly well at home fall apart completely on their teacher’s piano. They simply attribute their failure to a lack of aptitude on their part (a notion that, sadly, many of their parents will readily accept) and leave traditional piano lessons behind in favor of “YouTube shortcuts” or other “easy play” technology.

The worst part is all of this could have been avoided. Most parents are willing to support their child’s musical hobby as long as they have some indication that said hobby is more than a mere passing fancy. …and, since pianos (especially good ones) are expensive, most parents look for another solution.

That is where most parents go wrong.

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New App Makes Roland Pianos Even Better!

Piano Every Day app for Roland pianos

Are you an adult who plays piano a little bit and wants to get better, but doesn’t have time for formal lessons? Perhaps you have a child who plays but is getting bored with turning pages in a lesson book. Or maybe you both just want to learn to play your favorite songs as easily as possible. Well, Roland has come up with the solution…

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Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys?

Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Piano

Some Bosendorfer pianos have 97 note keyboards.

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is how many keys a piano has.  …and, though most of today’s pianos have 88 keys (52 white keys and 36 black keys), it wasn’t always this way.  The first pianos had 49 keys or 4 “octaves” (An “octave” is a group of 8 notes between and including two notes of the same name such as “Middle C” and “The C above Middle C”, etc.). As the instrument’s popularity grew, however, composers quickly found themselves limited by the 49 key keyboard.  So, to increase the piano’s appeal for composers like Hayden and Mozart (who were writing primarily for the 60 note harpsichord), piano builders developed new 61 note or 5 “octave” pianos.  By the mid 1800s, composers like Chopin and Liszt were writing for pianos with 85 notes or 7 “octaves.”  Finally, in the late 1880s, Steinway & Sons created an 88 note or 7 1/3 octave piano and – due to Steinway’s popularity at the time – other manufacturers quickly followed suit.  Today, the 88 note piano is still considered standard, but not all piano builders follow this standard.  Bosendorfer, for example, offers two models with more than 88 keys.  The Model 225 Bosendorfer piano has 92 keys and the Model 290 “Imperial” grand piano has a full 8 octaves or 97 keys.  This choice was made to better support piano transcriptions of J.S. Bach’s famous organ works.  Other compositions by Busoni, Bartók, and Ravel, can only be performed on these larger instruments.

…but why did the piano industry decide on 88 notes as the standard?

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Let Your Talent Bloom!

Spring is here and cacti aren’t the only things blooming in the Valley of the Sun!  Students all over Phoenix are discovering the magic of making music with Yamaha pianos.  Why not join them?

THE most recognized piano brand in the World, Yamaha pianos are built with unparalleled craftsmanship and precision.  With models to suit every price range (from Clavinova up to the famous S-Series), Yamaha has the perfect instrument for your budget.  …and now – with Yamaha’s Spring Bloom Event – you can purchase a new, in-stock Yamaha piano and take advantage of INCREDIBLE financing offers like 0% APR for 18 months or 7.99% APR for 60 months with your approved credit!

There will never be a better time to select your new Yamaha piano.  Stop by your nearest Riverton Piano Company for details on this rare offer.

We look forward to helping you grow your love of music this Spring!

 

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. On purchases of new and in-stock qualifying Yamaha pianos from May 1, 2019, to May 31, 2019. Subject to credit approval. Minimum monthly payments required. 0% Annual Percentage Rate if paid in full within 12- or 18-month period. Interest accrues throughout the life of the loan at 12.99% APR.