Unmatched value in a Steinway-designed piano.

25th Anniversary Savings

Up to $2,500 Instant Rebate
Make An Appointment Now: Kenwood  513.252.0445,  Florence 859.525.6050

The Steinway-designed Boston piano is long unrivaled in its class and unmatched in value. Employing the unique patents and expertise that have made the Steinway name synonymous with musical excellence, Boston pianos offer the pedigree of Steinway engineering with the accessibility of a mid-priced piano.

Now, for a limited time, you can save up to $2,500 with an instant rebate on any new Steinway-designed Boston upright or grand piano in stock.* It’s all part of our ongoing celebrations as we commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the first Boston piano ever manufactured.

*Not applicable with any other offer. Boston 118S PE is not eligible for this offer. Piano must be in stock and purchased by 8/31/2016.

Image of Boston Rebate Promotion

 

Willis Music Company Chosen For Top 100 Music Stores In America

How Does A Grand Piano Work?

If you’ve ever seen a world-class pianist playing a great piece of music, you might agree that they are possibly the world’s best musician.  It takes amazing physical, intellectual, and emotional brilliance to play such a complex instrument in such a captivating way, and only a small percentage of the world’s pianists are up to the job.  One of my personal favorites is Yuja Wang.

 

But it’s not just the musician who makes the music sound so fantastic: the instrument plays a huge part too.

Let’s take a closer look inside a piano and find out how it works!  How does a piano make sound?
A piano sounds quite unlike any other instrument and, if you heard it on the radio, you’d probably never guess how it was making a noise. The confusing thing about a piano is that it’s two different kinds of instrument in one: it’s a string instrument, because the sounds are made with strings, but it’s also a percussion instrument (like a drum) because the strings make sound when something hits them. Listen to the music of a composer like Bartok and you’ll often hear the piano being played percussive manner, almost beating like a drum.

So what happens when you press the key of a piano? The key is actually a wooden lever, a bit like a seesaw but much longer at one end than at the other. When you press down on a key, the opposite end of the lever (hidden inside the case) jumps up in the air, forcing a small felt-covered hammer to press against the piano strings, making a musical note. At the same time, at the extreme end of the lever behind the hammer, another mechanical part called a damper is also forced up into the air. When you release the key, the hammer and the damper fall back down again. The damper sits on top of the string, stops it vibrating, and brings the note rapidly to an end.

When the hammer strikes the strings, it vibrates, sets air molecules in motion and sends the sounds of the strings out toward your ears. To make the sounds louder, there is a large piece of wood mounted underneath them, called the soundboardWhen the strings vibrate, the soundboard also vibrates in sympathy  resonance. The soundboard effectively amplifies the strings so they are loud enough to hear.

If you’ve ever wondered why pianos are such a funny shape, that’s easy to answer.  Remember that they’re string instruments.  Lower notes need longer strings than higher notes, so the bass strings for the low notes on the left-hand side of the keyboard need to be much longer than the treble strings for the high notes on the right-hand side. That’s why the case is longer on the left than on the right and why it has that funny curved rim.  In fact, the strings on the left are so long that they cross over, on top of the middle and treble strings to save space.

Since each note can have up to three strings, it turns out that there are well over 230 strings inside a piano, each one stretched really tight. To stop the strings from collapsing the entire piano inwards, the rim and case are reinforced by a huge, heavy cast iron plate. The plate sits just above the sound board and large metal holes around its edge allow the sound to come up through it.

Take  a quick tour of how a grand piano works.  Check out the following video from the science channel.

Advice About Used Pianos and New Students.

Piano-Kid                                                                                                                       Piano purchase advice for parents of beginning piano students.

A common misconception about buying a piano for a young student, is that a suitable piano can be acquired for only a few hundred dollars.  The fact is that for a young student to progress they need a better piano, not worse.

Parents may not want to invest a lot of money in a piano.  After all, the child may lose interest and a cheaper, older piano may seem the logical choice.  However, a bad purchasing decision at this point in a student’s learning journey tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  In many cases a piano that is too old, or simply not good enough will soon become useless to the student, unbeknownst to he parent.  When a piano’s action cannot be regulated to the correct touch, or the strings tuned to proper pitch, the student, unable to duplicate what was taught in a lesson, will become frustrated, discouraged, and will lose interest.  No amount of practice on an inferior instrument can overcome its shortcomings.  And, when you add the cost of moving, tuning, repairs, lack of warranty protection, and an older piano’s shorter life span; a new or more recently made piano may start to look like a bargain in the long run.

I would encourage a family to look at quality new pianos, or better used pianos no more than 15 years old.  And a young talented student, moving up to a quality grand piano is never a mistake.  If an older piano is chosen, it should be one that was of good quality to begin with, and restored to like-new condition.

Although good and bad pianos have been made, every used piano must be evaluated on its own merit.  Certain categories of pianos in today’s market should be avoided.

 

  • Old Upright – These are usually 48″ to 60″ high and about 100 years old.  Most pianos that are a century old and have not been discarded will need extensive restoration before they are useful to the student.  Many have difficulty holding a tuning and desperately need new strings, hammers, dampers, and pedal repairs.  Parents who purchase these deteriorating instruments for beginners will probably face a constant stream of complaints.  In most cases, this category of used piano should be avoided for use in serious practice.  And contrary to popular belief, they don’t have much of an antique value either.

 

  • Small, cheap, American-made pianos from the 1960’s to 1980’s.  During this period American companies started feeling the competition from Japanese makers who undercut their prices.  The result was that the few remaining American makers of inexpensive pianos began to cut as much cost as they could from their production.  Many of these pianos were Spinets, which are 36″ to 40″ high.  Spinets have a recessed, or “drop” action that is connected to the keys in directly.  These actions are difficult and expensive to repair.  Many of these spinets are manufactured with connecting parts, called “elbow”, made of plastic which eventually deteriorate and break off.  Installing a set of replacement elbows can cost hundreds of dollars.  Spinets were usually the least expensive entry-level pianos manufactured by a piano company, and most are not worth repairing.  The first wave of pianos from this era began to enter the used piano market in the 1980’s, as the people who originally purchased them began to retire.  Many were passed on to this generation’s children, and now, as they retire, a second wave of these instruments are entering the market.  Many of these instruments are now 30 to 50 years old, and need some restoration before they will be suitable for the student.  Besides, many of these small, cheap pianos were so poorly designed and constructed that, even when new, and regulated and tuned as well as possible, they played poorly and sounded terrible.

 

  • Early offering from the Korean and Chinese makers.  Korean pianos made before 1990 and Chinese pianos from before 2000, often exhibit unpredictable problems.  Quality control was erratic, and wood was often not properly seasoned.  These pianos tend to be plagued with sticking keys that repeat too slowly due to poor action design, a problem that cannot be inexpensively corrected.

 

The used piano market also offers many well made pianos from the past, that are of potential value to a student.  But even these, including famous names, can also present pitfalls for the unwary.  Don’t buy without professional guidance, a piano that is not playable and keep a tune, with the idea that you can simply have a few repairs done once you get the piano home.  Get repair estimates before you commit to purchasing a used piano.  Finally, don’t rely on a private seller for important information about the piano you are thinking of buying.  Hire a piano technician to inspect any piano you’re seriously considering buying.

Better yet, visit a local piano store and talk to a sales associate.  The majority of them are very honest and would be happy to answer any questions.

 

Quality is like buying oats.  If you want nice, fresh, clean oats, you must pay a fair price.  However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse ………………….. that comes a little cheaper!                       ~Anonymous.

There is hardly anything in the world that some person cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and people who consider price only are this person’s lawful prey.  J Ruskin

 

Robert Falcón                                                                                                                                                                           Steinway & Sons Representative                                                                                                                                              513-252-0445

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

headshot of kevin cranley

What’s kept us going for 117 years?

Recital at MTNA Headquarters in Cincinnati

My wife Debbi and I were honored to attend a very special event this past Friday in Cincinnati.  Recently, MTNA moved into a beautiful new headquarters in Cincinnati. The offices were most recently occupied by a Cincinnati law firm and are richly decorated.  Gary Ingle (MTNA CEO) and Brian Shepard (MTNA COO) were approached by the landlord to take an additional space at an extremely attractive price.  While not in the original plans, Brian and Gary envisioned a recital hall where pianists could perform and music lovers could enjoy live piano performances.  After securing the room, they approached longtime partners Steinway and Sons, and Willis Music about securing a piano for the space.  Steinway and Sons supplied the piano and Willis took care of the delivery which was a challenge in itself.  Their offices are in the PNC tower which when built in 1913 was the fifth tallest tower in the world.  The only problem with this beautiful historic building is that it doesn’t have freight elevators and the passenger elevators are extremely small.  We carefully measured and determined that we could fit a Steinway and Sons Model S. Regardless of our careful measurement our fingers were crossed on the day of the move and it went off without a hitch.

This inaugural concert was held in conjunction with the MTNA Board of Directors Meeting with board members and friends present.  Steinway Artist and CCM Eminent Scholar, James Tocco performed and certainly showed off all this beautiful piano is capable of.  He entertained everyone in attendance with not only his music but entertaining stories about the music he chose.

Steinway and Sons and Willis Music were pleased to be asked by MTNA to partner in bringing another live music venue to MTNA members and the music community of Greater Cincinnati.

p

Pictured:  (L to R) Gary Ingle, MTNA; Rebecca Grooms Johnson, MTNA; Kevin Cranley, Willis Music; James Tocco, CCM; Sally Coveleskie, Steinway and Sons; Peter Landgren, CCM; Darren Marshall, Steinway and Sons

Unmatched Value In A Steinway-designed Piano

25th Anniversary Savings

Up to $2,500 Instant Rebate

Make an appointment or just stop in to view and play a Boston Piano:

    • Willis Music Kenwood
      8118 Montgomery Rd.
      Cincinnati, OH 45236
      513.252.0445
    • Willis Music Florence
      7567 Mall Rd.
      Florence, KY 41042
      859.525.6050

The Steinway-designed Boston piano is long unrivaled in its class and unmatched in value. Employing the unique patents and expertise that have made the Steinway name synonymous with musical excellence, Boston pianos offer the pedigree of Steinway engineering with the accessibility of a mid-priced piano.

Now, for a limited time, you can save up to $2,500 with an instant rebate on any new Steinway-designed Boston upright or grand piano in stock.* It’s all part of the celebration as we kick off Boston’s 25th Anniversary Year.

*Not applicable with any other offer. Piano must be in stock and purchased by 11/30/2015.

<

Features of the Boston Piano – Designed by Steinway & Sons

UC Blue Ash College Songwriting Contest Sponsored By Willis Music

Contest Requirements and Other Information

  • Open to college and high school students in the Greater
    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.
  • Any theme, subject, or style is acceptable*
    Participants may submit up to three songs, performed by the songwriter or another group.
  • Songs must be submitted in both recorded form (.mp3, etc.) and typewritten form (lyrics only). On a separate page, type your song(s) title(s), your name, address, phone number, email address, and school or university affiliation. Name the performer(s) if other than you.
  • Deadline: December 7, 2015. Winners will be announced in March and will be invited to perform their work in March as a part of the UC Blue Ash Poetry Cafe. Winning lyrics will be published in the Blue Ash Review, the college literary magazine.
  • Submit entries online at: ucblueash.edu/songwritingcontest
    Questions: rhonda.pettit@uc.edu

*Note Well:
Songs will be judged anonymously by UC Blue Ash faculty for quality of lyrics, music, and the interplay between the two. Judges are not obligated to select winners if none are forthcoming. Judges’ decisions are final. Song submission materials will not be returned. Submissions not following the contestant requirements will not be considered. We cannot accommodate large and excessively loud bands at the Poetry Café. If you submit a non-acoustic song (heavy metal, garage, indie, punk, etc.), plan on performing an acoustic version of your song. Contestant participation grants UC Blue Ash the right to publish work in the Blue Ash Review (print and online editions; all rights revert to authors) and use contestant names and work to promote Poetry Month events.

Randall Faber Concert

Concert Details


Bio

Randall Faber has appeared at the Gilmore Festival, the Wasserman
Festival, the Portland International Piano Festival, the Korean Piano
Adventures Convention in Seoul, and has toured Taiwan, Southeast Asia,
England and Australia. While in Korea, Faber appeared on the popular
television show Heart-to-Heart, which is broadcast in 188 countries, and his
solo recital in Chicago was broadcast live on WFMT public radio.

In recent seasons, Faber toured Southeast Asia, Taiwan, North
America, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. He was
a Convention Artist for the Music Teachers National Association
Conference and master teacher for the World Conference on Piano
Pedagogy, National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and the National
Piano Teachers Institute. He gave recent recitals in Denver, Kansas City,
Chicago, Austin, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Alberta, Seoul, and Jakarta.
Faber is a Steinway Artist.

Randall Faber holds three degrees from the University of Michigan
and a Ph.D. in Education and Human Development from Vanderbilt
University. In 2005, he presented his scholarly research at the 9th
International Conference on Motivation in Lisbon, Portugal.
Dr. Faber is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Seoul Arts
College in Korea. He has presented as Visiting Artist at universities
throughout North America and Asia.

Randall and his wife Nancy are well known as authors of the bestselling
Piano Adventures® teaching method and their many publications for
the piano. They are co-founders of the Faber Piano Institute.

Throw Another Book on the Barbie

One of the most interesting trips my wife and I have been on was to Australia, although it was too short. If you schedule a trip, plan for at least a 2 week adventure. It was 3 years ago and we learned so much about the country even though we were there for only 6 days. I had the honor of speaking to 3 groups of music retailers and manufacturers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We even had the opportunity to be close enough to pet some kangaroos. One of the highlights of our visit was a hike on top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. You can see the hikers on the right side of the bridge dressed in blue from one of the lookouts. And of course, what would a visit to Sydney be without a tour of the famous Sydney Opera House.

As many of you know, Willis Music publications are used and produced all over the world. One of my projects this year was to secure the future of Willis Publications in Australia and New Zealand for years to come. One of the great models I inherited from my father was to find a very capable partner in other countries and let them market for the company. The reason I mention this is that being a smaller company there is no way I can effectively learn the intricacies of each market and sell our product efficiently or effectively without the help of that capable partner. This year I had the difficult decision on deciding which company would represent Willis for the next few years. I’m pleased to say that Hal Leonard Australia will accept that responsibility and I’m very excited. We have always been represented in these important markets very effectively and I believe Hal Leonard is the right choice to carry on. As in other parts of the world, the Willis piano methods are the bestselling methods in their market – names like John Thompson, Edna Mae Burnam and many others. Hal Leonard also represents Willis in North and South America and many other parts of the world and I look forward to using that collaboration to fully serve the Australian/NZ market.

Exciting news for Italy:

Music Sales Corporation has represented Willis for many years in the European Union and recently they have been extremely active in developing new products and translations. The bestselling piano method book in Europe has for years been the Easiest Piano Course by John Thompson. It is printed in many languages and just this summer Italy is getting their own translation.

One of the most interesting aspects between books in America and Europe is the different notation. Music is the universal language yet in Europe they have different names for some common notations.

Here are a few that you might find interesting:

  • U.S Note Name
  • Whole Note
  • Half Note
  • Quarter Note
  • Eighth Note
  • Sixteenth Note
  • Thirty-Second Note
  • British Note Name
  • Semibreve
  • Minim
  • Crotchet
  • Quaver
  • Semiquaver
  • Demisemiquaver

Kevin

Willis Goes to Washington

From the second my plane touched down at Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, DC, it was a whirlwind of activity. The National Retail Federation sponsored the trip and I was honored to be one of 51 Retailers from around the country to receive the distinction of America’s Retail Champions 2015. My focus was with a group from Kentucky who I worked with on the Retail Across America Project.

I arrived on Monday evening, July 27th, and Tuesday morning we began a day of education. We began with a talk presented by Ohio Representative Steve Chabot. I have met with the Congressman in the past and have always found him to be receptive to small business concerns. Throughout the day we learned some interesting facts such as:

  • Retailers directly provide 29 million American jobs.
  • Retail generates 2.59 Trillion in total GDP. 1/6 of the US total.
  • 98.6% of Retailers in the US employ fewer than 50 people.
  • 95% of all Retailers operate 1 location.
  • Retail includes at least 20% of the jobs in each state.
    1. Kentucky is 23%
    2. Ohio is 24%

After all the education, we headed to dinner at the Newseum which is a museum dedicated to news and headlines over the years. When you visit Washington, DC, I would recommend a trip to the Newseum.  Just be aware that it’s one of the few attractions that require payment for admission.

Wednesday was the reason we were all there and we anxiously approached the Hill with visits to a variety of offices. We spoke about concerns we have as retailers and spoke directly to our representatives. Since I was there with a group of Kentucky retailers we focused on the southern side of the river. I appreciated the active participation each member of Congress and their openness in sharing. I will follow up with each of them and continue the dialogue about our industry.

Although I have done similar trips with NAMM over the past 10 years, this was my first time with the National Retail Federation. The NRF had a tremendous program and I want to thank them for their outstanding hospitality.

Now for the fun part – when your state holds the office of majority leader and you have a meeting with him you are escorted into the Capitol and into some pretty famous offices. While we were waiting, the receptionist told me that we were in the very room where Thomas Jefferson was sworn in. She also added that the floor was new because of the fire set by the British in 1814. I have to admit just sitting there looking around and realizing someone like Thomas Jefferson stood there and was sworn in as our 3rd President was pretty amazing.

Regardless of your political feelings or party affiliations, I encourage you to visit our nation’s capital if you have a chance and take a walk back in time.

Kevin Cranley

Baseball time in Cincinnati

This is an exciting time for baseball in Cincinnati and Willis Music is proud to be associated with the Reds. Our connection with the Reds lives on in several fronts and I want to tell you about a few.

John Schutte, organist extraordinaire for the Reds used to work at Willis Music and in fact directly with me. John used his varied musical talents to organize and develop our in-house music typesetting department. John later left to pursue a career in firefighting where he continues today in Saint Bernard. Back in 2010 John and his band, The Rusty Griswolds were playing at the stadium and he questioned if they still had an organ. They did, although it had not been played in a few years. He mentioned that if they ever needed someone, to give him a call. To that they responded, “What are you doing Sunday?” John has been playing with the Reds ever since.

Through our association with John and the Reds we became aware that they needed better equipment for John to play on in the booth. We contacted Yamaha and began working on a solution. Before long John was playing on a brand new Tyros 4 all donated by Yamaha and Willis Music.

But probably the most interesting project we did with the Reds was with the Cincinnati Reds logo organ Willis donated and decorated. We had an organ in stock that we decorated for use around the park. It was an interesting project and involved a wrap like you might see on a car. I think it turned out great and you might see John before a Saturday afternoon game playing in front of the stadium on the Red’s organ. Make sure to stop by and listen.

Baseball is a great tradition in our hometown and has always been a big part of my life. I was fortunate to be in high school during the 70’s and the glory days of the Big Red Machine. If you were there you know how special that was. But my father, who grew up in Boston, played for the Red Sox farm team after the war. He decided the major leagues were not in his future and turned to the music business. Unfortunately I didn’t pick up his baseball ability but I wouldn’t trade the joy and fulfillment the music industry has brought me for anything.

Go Reds

Kevin Cranley

Magical Moments

I’ve met some interesting and famous people in my life and this one for me was truly magical. Henry Z. Steinway represented to me one of the most honored and outstanding brands the world has ever known. He carried the family name of a product that is universally recognized as the finest, period.

The year was 2007 and while attending the NAMM convention in Anaheim, I had the opportunity to travel to Carlsbad, CA to attend the dedication of the Steinway Gallery at the NAMM Museum of Making Music. (If you are ever in the area, Carlsbad is just north of San Diego and it’s a wonderful museum.) At that meeting I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Henry Z. Steinway. We had a chance to discuss his early days in the business and what being a ‘Steinway’ meant to him. Henry was born in New York in 1915 and while he was the great-grandson of the founder Henry Engelhard Steinway he didn’t necessarily have an interest or desire to enter the family business. He graduated from Harvard College and thought ‘maybe I’ll give this piano thing a try’. As he spoke about this time in his life I was reminded of my growing up in the family business (Willis) yet not really sure what I wanted to do with my life. He started on the shop floor doing whatever needed to be done and ended up working in various departments. As he worked, his passion developed all the way to the recognition he received in 2007. In November of 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts presented by President George W. Bush. Henry credited his time with the Steinway skilled craftsman in his early years as more valuable than any amount of study he would have done.

I think one of the more interesting periods in his life was during WWII. As the war broke out, Henry became a factory manager. In 1942, his career was paused as he was drafted and assigned to work on Governor’s Island at the Army’s Counter-Intelligence Corps headquarters. That’s when he met his wife Polly. After the war, he returned to Steinway and Sons and became president in 1955.

As I sat and listened to Henry, I felt like I was experiencing a slice of American/World history first hand. I sensed a wisdom that comes from years of experiences, both good and bad. He was gracious and although there were many people at the opening, when he spoke with me he was totally tuned into our conversation, which I greatly admired. Henry Z. Steinway is missed but his spirit and passion live with me.

One interesting side note is that we were in the museum that Henry was a founding member of and served as its first president. See and hear Henry in a clip from his historical interview at the museum. Notice his extreme humility. Click here to see information about Henry Steinway on the NAMM page.

I do remember telling him as we finished that Willis would one day represent Steinway with great honor. Happily, we were able to reach that goal three years ago. Steinway and Sons is a valued partner and we look forward to representing them in this region for many years to come.

Kevin Cranley

The History of the Willis Music Company

Beginning in 1899 through today, Willis Music’s focus has always been on music education. From their internationally known educational piano catalog to one of the top retail music chains in America this focus on education has always remained. Here’s how it began…

On April 1, 1899, Charles H. Willis, a veteran of the sheet music industry, founded a small business at 41 East 4th Street in downtown Cincinnati. For the next 20 years Mr. Willis and his son William grew the business through hard work and a keen focus on the needs of music educators. During that time the company acquired several music publishers such as The John Church Company and George B. Jennings and Company. In 1919, Gustave Schirmer bought the Willis Music Company, making it a branch of G. Schirmer of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1923 John J. Cranley, a fiery, redheaded Irishman from the Boston Music Company, became general manager of the Willis subsidiary. John began as a stockboy at Boston Music and now was leading Willis Music with his hard work and love for the music business. He turned this small organization into a major corporation in very quick order. Little by little, he acquired more than 50% ownership in the company through stock options and then purchased all the remaining stock. John continued running Boston Music, Schirmer Music and Willis Music. Under his leadership, Willis Music became “The Publisher” for teaching methods and solo pieces. The John Thompson method, “Modern Course for the Piano” was added to the catalog in 1936 and quickly became, and still is today, the most widely used piano method in the world, published in 17 languages. He then added names like Edna Mae Burnam and her prolific “Dozen a Day” series as well as William Gillock.

John’s son, Edward, became president of the Willis Music Company in 1965. Like his father he grew up in the business at Boston Music. After serving in the Navy during WWII and Korea he moved his Family to Cincinnati to join Willis in 1955. He worked all departments, sharing his Dad’s enthusiasm while continuing the success and growth of the organization. In 1969 the Company’s headquarters and publishing operation moved to Florence, Kentucky.

After graduating from Xavier University in 1980, Kevin Cranley, Ed’s son, joined the company full time. In 1990, Kevin succeeded his father as President and continues in that role today. Kevin also served as the Chairman of NAMM, the industry’s International Trade Association from 2011-2013.

In the past 10 years Willis has gone through tremendous positive change. In 2005 Willis partnered with the Hal Leonard Corporation who now handles product development, production and distribution for the Willis catalog in the Americas and beyond. Hal Leonard provides an unmatched stable of popular songs and talent that have enhanced the iconic Willis Piano Methods.


In 2012 Willis became the exclusive representative for Steinway and Sons Pianos in the Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton markets. Willis services university music departments, local symphonies and music enthusiasts with the world’s finest pianos.

With the 2013 acquisition of Moeller Music, Willis strengthened its commitment and dedication to school music programs in all markets. At the same time Willis began representing the renowned Yamaha Band and Orchestra line of instruments.

Today Willis Music stores provide everything musicians of all levels need and desire. With performance spaces in several stores Willis is frequently the venue for beginners, rising stars and Steinway Artists.

Cick here to read what else happened the day of our inception!

Kevin Cranley

An Insider’s Account of This Year’s NAMM Show

winter namm 2015I just attended my 35th January NAMM show. Yes, my first one was at 21 years old. For those of you who are unaware of NAMM, it’s the trade association of the $17 billion dollar music products industry. NAMM began in 1901 making it 2 years younger than Willis Music.

Our yearly pilgrimage to NAMM is always a welcome retreat from our cold winters. We go to sunny Anaheim and this year the weather was fantastic. I travel with 3 buyers from Willis (Paul, Bill and Mike) and my wife Debbi. Our buyers spend most of their time visiting vendors like Yamaha, Fender, Steinway, Hal Leonard and hundreds more; placing orders and learning about new products. My time at NAMM is involved with meetings with some of our larger vendors along with meetings with each of our foreign sub-publishers. As many of you know Willis owns a catalog of educational piano music with names like John Thompson, Edna Mae Burnam and William Gillock. Those publications and more are in great demand in other countries so I use the NAMM show to meet with our partners representing the countries of Japan, China, England, Australia, South Africa and other parts of Europe. In some cases working with translators which I always find interesting. Our John Thompson Piano Course is now printed in 17 languages.

That’s a bit about our main jobs at the show but there is much more. For me, the show is a reunion of some of my best friends. I was fortunate to be asked to serve on the executive committee of NAMM for 8 years which ended in 2013. My final 2 years I was the Chairman of NAMM and traveled around the world meeting so many great people. I love reconnecting with all of them each year at the NAMM show. In a later edition I’ll write about some of our most memorable experiences during that time. For me, this year’s highlight was the annual Yamaha concert. They hold a concert every other year or so in DisneyLand at the Hyperion Theater. The artists are unbelievable. This year’s highlight for Debbi and me was Jamie Cullum. If you don’t know Jamie, do yourself a favor and check him out. Also performing were The Piano Guys, James Blunt, Jonathan Butler, Bob James, Colbie Caillat, Nathan East and others. The MC was Sinbad and he was a riot. The show was 3 1/2 hours long and was amazing. Jonathan Butler was the surprise for us; such an amazing voice. And Colbie Caillat has such a clear distinctive voice, she was really good too.

One last thing, check out this video of The Piano Guys at a retirement home. Watch the change in the residents as the Piano Guys perform, it’s amazing. The benefits of music in action.

Paul (one of the Willis buyers) attended a concert put on by Vandoren called VandoJam. Several Grammy winning Jazz artists really killed it. It featured Paquito D’Rivera, Eric Marienthal, and Jerry Vivino, with special guests Felix Peikli and Farnell Newton. That is one of the most exciting things about the show. Artists are everywhere and each company tries to provide the best performances you will ever hear. You can be walking the halls and see Jason Mraz, John Mayer or even Stevie Wonder. I was fortunate enough to meet Stevie last year. I remember one year when Stevie Wonder just started playing in the Yamaha booth; not planned… just spontaneous artistry at it’s best.

Make today a musical day.

Kevin Cranley

You Received A Musical Instrument For Christmas…

Now What?

Congratulations!!! If you received a musical instrument for Christmas, someone really cares about you. You now have in your possession the gift that keeps on giving. The gift that does not care about your age, sex, race, religion, class and so one. Although you may go through many instruments, the music itself will last most of your lifetime.

Learn…

It’s never too late to learn! This is one of our mantras. Watch these videos, get inspired, then read further.

Now that you’ve seen the videos, it’s time for you to start your journey of making music.

Look…

Whether you opened up a humanatone or a Steinway Grand Piano from under the tree, the instrument is only the facilitator of your music making process. YOU are the music.

With that being said, do you have everything you need to play, maintain, clean and store your instrument? Over the next few days we will feature different articles pertaining to your instrument. Check back often for your instrument category.

  • There was a guitar under the tree just for me! COMING SOON
  • I got a drumset for Christmas! COMING SOON
  • I opened a violin from under the tree! COMING SOON
  • There was a woodwind instrument under the tree! COMING SOON
  • There was a brass instrument under the tree! COMING SOON
  • I got a keyboard for Christmas! COMING SOON

Please note if you received an instrument for Christmas that is not listed above, comment on this blog or send us an email and we will reply with a personalized list just for you!

Listen…

If you are not doing it already, we encourage you to do lots of “listening.” Always be listening and never stop listening. Are you listening? If you are, your next question might be, “What should I listen to?” As stated by one of the greatest american composers, Duke Ellington:

There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.

We highly suggest listening to “Good Music.” You should try and listen to music that features your instrument but you should at least start with what your “ear” tells you.

Remember when we said “anyone can listen to music?” We really meant it. Here is an example.

Bottom line, think about this: If you don’t listen to music, how do you know what you want to sound like?

Lessons…

How do you learn something new? Do you research on the internet? Do you just hope and guess? Whether you are a “self-taught” type of person or not, EVERYONE must practice in order to learn/improve upon a skill. “Talent” only gets you so far.

How do I know if I am getting the most efficient results from my practice time? Wait, what is “practicing?” I don’t own a “woodshed,” what does it mean to go there? I was progressing really quickly but then one day it just stopped; what happened? If you have asked any of these questions, then Music Lessons are definitely for you.

If you are a beginner and have never asked any of the above questions, Music Lessons are also for you. Did you know that it is impossible to break a habit? You can only form a new habit that hopefully supersedes the bad one. Start with good habits. Start with music lessons.

For information about our Lesson Programs, click HERE.

Combine…

Add listening to music and playing a musical instrument together, and the result is described in this video:

Recapitulation (ask your new lessons teacher about this word)…

Music is a combined effort of your learning, listening and lessons. You may catch on to this whole music thing real quick or real slow. The truth is, it does not make a difference. The amount of fun and enjoyment you will experience when you play your instrument should be the same for the beginner as it is for the professional. In fact, it gets better the more proficient you get at your instrument.

Before you click on the sign to the right and schedule your lessons and start practicing, we will leave you with another quote by T.S. Elliot:

You are the music while the music lasts.


Follow us on Twitter for exclusive offers, promos, pictures, and just all-around information!


Music Educator’s Partnership

Imagine and Envision…

Music Educator's Partnership Brochure Cover - Willis Music Company

Imagine a collaboration between Willis Music and region’s music educators offering the resources to take the students’ educations to the next level. Welcome the Music Educator’s Partnership (MEP). This program of unique benefits offers recital space access, marketing tools, ongoing education opportunities, among other professional resources.

We envision a partnership that will enhance and maintain the superior standards of excellence that set you apart in your field. We believe that we can be your ideal partner. Willis Music has been a trusted name in business since our founding in 1899. This family owned business joined forces with one of the strongest names in music, Steinway. Steinway and Sons (c. 1853) has long been synonymous with excellence. We know this uncompromising standard to quality and excellence works in harmony with your philosophy of teaching. Together we represent the highest level of quality and value.

The Music Educator’s Partnership is a philosophy, process and mechanism to inspire interaction and to offer ideal professional resources for you and your students.

Collaborate Today

Click the following link to find out the details of the program.

www.willismusic.com/mep

Written by Seth Parshall, Steinway Piano Consultant at Willis Music

Horowitz Piano Lecture Recital

Horowitz Lecture Recital

Sergei Polusmiak at the piano

Featuring: Sergei Polusmiak

What: Horowitz Lecture Recital featuring Sergei Polusmiak, concert pianist, performing on the world-famous Horowitz Steinway that was personally owned by Vladimir. This is the very piano that Vladimir Horowitz performed on during his victorious 1986 recitals in Moscow and Leningrad, USSR.

Where: Willis Music Performing Arts Center: 7567 Mall Rd, Florence, KY 41042


View Larger Map

When: Sunday, August 4th at 2PM (reception to follow)

Who: Sergei Polusmiak
Sergei Polusmiak is an Honored Artist Ukraine and a graduate of Kharkiv Conservatory where he studied with Vladimir Horowitz’s sister, Regina Horowitz. Please see his bio below for more information.

Horowitz Lecture Recital program to include works by: Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Shchedrin.

RSVP Today! Limited Seating!

Contact: Stella Fukumura – 859-525-6050 x5 or StellaF@willismusic.com

Sergei Polusmiak Bio

Sergei Polusmiak

Sergei Polusmiak, “Honored Artist of Ukraine”, was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Sergei Polusmiak graduated from Kharkiv Conservatory where he studied with Regina Horowitz, sister of Vladimir Horowitz.. After receiving the Post Graduate Diploma from Kyiv Conservatory and undergoing professional training at Moscow State Conservatory Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, he became the youngest Professor of Piano at the Kharkiv Conservatory and started his professional career as a pianist and a music educator.

Since 1974 Sergei Polusmiak as a Performing Artist has toured Russia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Taiwan and the United States.

In 1998 Sergei moved to America and became the Artist-in-Residence and the recipient of the Tom and Christine Neyer Family Endowed Professorship of Music at Northern Kentucky University. As an influential pianist and educator, Professor Polusmiak has been a jury member of major International Piano Competitions including Competition for Young Pianist in memory of Vladimir Horowitz, Kyiv, Ukraine; Lysenko International Piano Competition, Kyiv, Ukraine; Vladimir Krainev Young Pianist International Piano Competition, Kharkiv, Ukraine; Svyato Muz, Lugansk, Ukraine; Milosz Magin International Piano Competition, Paris, France; Rameau au Chateau International Piano Competition, Cosne sur Loire, France; Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, Palm Desert, California; World Piano Competition, Cincinnati, USA and George Gershwin International Piano Competition, Philadelphia, USA.

The students of Sergei Polusmiak have won numerous prizes at international piano competitions and performed with orchestras such as The Kyiv State Symphony Orchestra, Kharkiv Philharmonic; Lugansk Philharmonic; The Moscow Philharmonic, The St. Petersburg Philharmonic, The Moscow Virtuosi, The Israel Philharmonic, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Netherland Symphony Orchestra; Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra; Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra; Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Russian Chamber Orchestra of San Francisco; Minnesota Sinfonia; Jefferson Symphony Orchestra; Shanghai Philharmonic; The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Sergei Polusmiak has conducted master classes in colleges and universities all over the world. Among those were the Moscow Music College; Russia, Kyiv Music College, Ukraine; Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, USA; College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, USA; Joanna Hodges International Symposium, Vancouver , USA; “Musicalia”, Toulouse, France; “Encuentro International de Pianistas” , Argentina; Oriental Arts Center, Shanghai, China and others.

Sergei Polusmiak is the founder and artistic director of the Ukrainian-France Summer Music Festival, the founder and director of the Ukrainian Children’s Music Theater of Kharkiv (which performed in 1992 and 1994 with Cincinnati’s May Festival Chorus), the founder and director of Russian Summer Piano Institute. He also founded his own private school – Sergei Polusmiak’s Russian School of Music – to provide professional trainings for young pianists from countries around the world.

Upcoming concerts of Sergei Polusmiak include performing Rachmaninoff 2ndConcerto with Shanghai Philharmonic under direction of 88 years old Maestro Cao Peng, one of China’s most distinguished conductors at Shanghai Music Hall with live radio broadcast in the fall of 2013. Another venue is Solo Piano Recital at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center which is often called “The Carnegie Hall of China” in the spring 2014.

Sergei Polusmiak has recorded 5 compact discs including “Sergei plays Sergei” (piano works by Rachmaninoff and Scriabin);“Hommage a Shostakovich” (music for two pianos, with French pianist Therese Dussaut); “Music for Clarinet and Piano” (with Ukrainian prodigy Alexander Bedenko); “Beautiful Music For Friends” (music by Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninoff); “Therese Dussaut, Sergei Polusmiak, Piano 4 hands” (music by Tchaikovsky and Dvorak).

Piano News April 2013

Steinway & Sons just recently celebrated it’s the 160th Anniversary of its founding in 1853. To commemorate this milestone, the company will hold celebrations during the month of March at dealer locations throughout the United States as well as other special events over the course of the year. The dealer events will include performances by Steinway Artists, cocktail receptions, screenings of the award-winning Steinway documentary Note by Note and special “Secrets of Steinway” presentations, where guests will learn about the incredible craftsmanship and artistry that has made Steinway & Sons well known as the maker of the world’s finest pianos for 160 years.

“Year after year, the Steinway & Sons brand continues to represent superior quality and craftsmanship,” said Ron Losby, President of Steinway & Sons-Americas. “The 160th Anniversary is an opportunity for us to celebrate a milestone and to reflect on our history. We look forward to sharing the Steinway story at special events around the world.”

If you live in Dayton, Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, Willis Music is your OFFICIAL Steinway & Sons Piano Dealer.  Click HERE to speak with a Specialist or to find a location nearest you.

www.steinwaycincinnati.com

For more information and a full listing of planned Steinway events, visit www.steinway.com/160

Piano News March 2013

How can you inspire young piano students to continue lessons and achieve the most?

FREE CLINIC

Willis Music would like to invite you to a very special event…
Michael Chertock, Assistant Professor of Piano at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, will give a presentation entitled, “How to Inspire Young Piano Students.” This one time event will be held on Saturday, March 30th at 10:30 a.m. in the Steinway Piano Gallery within the Willis Music Kenwood store. Reservations can be made by calling or emailing Lauren Wallace, Piano Selection Executive for Willis Music (513 374-2440) llwallace@fuse.net.

Seating is limited.
Reservations will be taken in the order they are received.

Pianist Michael Chertock has fashioned a successful career as an orchestral soloist, collaborating with conductors such as Keith Lockhart, Jack Everly, Robert Bernhardt, Thomas Wilkins, Carmen DeLeone, and the late Erich Kunzel. His many orchestral appearances include solo performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, l’Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal, the Toronto Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony, the Chattanooga Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra and the Dayton Philharmonic. Chertock made his debut at the age of 17, performing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with Andrew Litton conducting.
In June of 2004, Chertock was appointed Assistant Professor of piano at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, where he received his Master’s Degree as a student of Frank Weinstock. He has garnered numerous awards at major competitions, among them the top prize in the 1989 Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition (Brahms Division,) and the grand prize in the 1993 St. Charles International Piano Competition. He also shared the silver medal in the 1991 World Piano Competition of the American Music Scholarship Association. He received the Rildia B. O’Bryon Cliburn Scholarship in 1986.

OUTREACH: Mr. Chertock is Artistic Director of Cincinnati’s Peanut Butter and Jam Series performing programs for young children ages 2 to 5. He also is founder of a local prison outreach performance series in Cincinnati.

Willis Music Kenwood Steinway Piano Gallery


View Larger Map

www.steinwaycincinnati.com