Archive for the ‘General Posts’ Category

Piano Trends in Crystal Lake, IL Shares Part Two

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

As we learned in the last post by Tim Paul of Piano Trends in Crystal Lake, IL, Tim has built a business that gets the word out and brands his business by careful use of Social Media.  In Part Two we will see some examples of his success and learn more about how he is successfully using all of the tools he has at hand AND able to do that in just a few minutes of his time for FREE:

 

Piano Trends piano 1

 

Recently, one of our Facebook followers who has posted comments and likes on our page contacted me through Facebook messenger. It started out with just general questions. We found out that he was the keyboard man for a world famous rock and roll band that is playing small concerts from time to time. After some conversations back and forth he wound up buying a grand piano from us. He said he was thrilled with the value and was happy because he felt like he was supporting someone he had known for a long time. Now we service the piano for him and our follow through with the things that we have promised him over the Facebook posts he had become familiar with. I’m sure you can understand what I mean by earning trust.

 

blue piano

Piano Trends piano 2Piano Trends piano 3

Never second guess the need for Social Media to your small business and especially with regards to your music business. Be ready to take advantage of new technology and realize that the “old fashioned way” is not necessarily the best way to promote your business.

I would be more than happy to discuss or help you develop a strategy to brand your business regardless of you position. If you are a musician, teacher, salesman or some other part of the music business, the same ideas work and you can become proficient enough to take the next step in a very easy and concise way. Over 40 years in the music business has helped me understand how to adapt and continue in business. If you keep your customers as the center and always know how to understand their needs you are on the right track.

Please feel free to email me at Tim@PianoTrends.com anytime or visit our consulting site at www.OldDogsConsulting.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tim Paul
President, Piano Trends

35 Berkshire Dr, 
Crystal Lake, IL. 60014
(815) 564-2773

Thank you, Tim for your contribution.  Coming soon we will read a great article by another friend of mine that has gained much success in the music business and an explanation of what Music has meant in his life.

 

Piano Trends in Crystal Lake, IL Shares

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Tim Paul, the President of Piano Trends Music and Band, shares some successes of his business in this two part article.  Although Tim wrote this article in one edition, I am breaking it into two shorter posts because the value of the information requires it.  I hope you enjoy.  Most importantly, I hope there is some information here that will help you with your business and marketing.

The Music Business That Makes Social Media Work For Them

 

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Tim Paul, Owner Piano Trends Music and President of Old Dogs Consulting

Every aspect of the music business requires a close eye on staying relevant and up-to-date. You have to know your customer and what their needs are. It doesn’t matter if you are in the musical instrument side, teaching or have a tuning business, relevance is the key. You may even have a full line music store that has a multi use service business and studios like Piano Trends Music and Band.

Many years ago newspaper advertising was the only way to realize any kind of growth for your venture. Then, as now, word of mouth was really still the key. When happy customers are talking about you nothing is better. Today customers are using Social Media to discuss good experiences or perhaps bad. When your customers are talking to each other, very simply put, you need to be right in the middle of their conversation. Where possible, pictures and videos so people begin to get comfortable with you and recognize you. It doesn’t really matter if your customers find you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other venues. You need to be there. It literally only takes a few minutes a day to post and keep people aware of your presence. The music business is the only business in the world that will constantly change and events that are interesting to others. Hard selling and pushy salesmen have to realize that Social Media is not the place. Have a good time. In time you will see peoples confidence in you and your opinion and you will see an increase in your business because people feel comfortable with you. It only takes a moment to realize why this is so important when you see the parents of those kids come in and buy that first clarinet or saxophone for school band. Your plan should be to see little Steve or little Carol become a musician and not revel in another sale.

Social media allows us the chance to explain how much we care and how dedicated we are to our customers. The beautiful thing about Social Media is that it takes very little money out of pocket to actually communicate with your customers .   It takes effort but it costs you none to little money out of pocket to be engaged with your customers. Up until now it took the use of flyers, and a lot of effort making phone calls, touch base on a personal basis and a lot of personal time and effort. Now you can make friends that you never had before. The great thing about this level of communication means that you actually get to know your customers better, understand their needs more and can detect trends quicker. One fringe benefit is your repeat business will grow as a result of people getting to know you better. They will begin to treat you like one of the family and you will be their confidant in the music business. When you are reaching out through Social Media it is important to stay consistent with your message and frequently posting the same pictures. This is an excellent way to brand yourself AND you business. Repetition becomes the key. For example our blue piano is our constant message of who we are and helps get attention all over the area.

 

 

Part 2 will come in the next few days.  Feel free to comment

A Look At Pianos In The Chicago Area

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Crystal Lake, IL. is the home of our good friend Tim Paul at Piano Trends Music and Band.  Just a couple hours drive outside of Chicago is the place to be when it comes to pianos, band and other musical instruments.

tim paul image

Several years when I first became acquainted with Piano Trends I was pleasantly surprised by how well prepared and organized these guys were.  They have been the leaders in Social Media with the ability to reach out to their customer base and keeping people engaged in music.

chicago-crystal-lake-map

Tim’s Blue Baldwin piano has become a mainstay in the areas in and around Crystal Lake.  I always smile to see just how many places this famous piano has gotten.  On stages and venues everywhere in the Chicago and Crystal Lake area, I believe people actually look for it now.  blue piano

Tims work on Facebook has drawn the attention of many customers for Piano Trends.  A few days ago I asked Tim if he would be willing to write an article about the affect Facebook has had on his business.  I appreciate him taking the time to indulge me with an interesting article regarding Social Media, it’s place in the music industry and the effect it has had on his business.

Coming up next…………

China

Friday, April 8th, 2016

The first pianos coming out of China were…..well in a word……rough. The interesting thing is that the Chinese invasion was only a few years ago.

In a very short time, China has managed to dominate the piano industry because the product they are turning out is extremely well done.  They are using quality parts, quality manufacturing and done with quality workmanship.

Some people get very caught up where a product comes from.  In what country  was the piano made? Are any of the parts from China?  What part of the piano was made where, etc.  We tend to think that China makes everything substandard.  We expect any product that comes out of China to be sub-standard.  The truth is that China has surpassed all of the expectations in manufacturing.  Their workmanship is generally very good.

You can find all types of products in every category.  Pianos will range in price from very inexpensive to very expensive.  They go from mass produced to handmade.  It’s actually quite interesting to take a look at the evolution of the Chinese pianos and how they have arrived at their present day status as quickly as they have.  Not to mention that they are building piano parts in varying degrees for many (if not most) of the pianos on the market today.

What is the difference?  There are quite a few differences.  One thing is that the machinery and technology they are using is brand new and is state of the art in every way. The same tools that are historically used to make pianos are being utilized with some small changes.  The tools are brand new.  For example: at one well known mfg. they pride themselves because their rim presses are 40 years old, while, the Chinese mfg are using brand new technology with the latest in tools and technology.

Who cares? Well, actually, you should.  Here’s why.  The latest information regarding Asian manufacturing.

China as well as Korea and Japan use the very latest in technology.  They do not wait until the future has passed, they reach out to modern technology as soon as it is certain to be reliable and useful.  The ease of integration of new technology is very similar to updating your computer.  Pass on all of those updates and when your computer doesn’t work any longer it takes FOREVER to update and sometimes it’s impossible to do so.

Are these pianos as good or reliable as European or American pianos?  Well, that could be debated.  However, they are not in the category that so many people try to place them.  The new pianos that arriving from China are good, solid, reliable pianos.  They are work horses with very, very few issues.  The service is impeccable and is getting better.

Today the most important thing in piano buying is to fall in love with the instrument.  For me personally it is all about what I hear and what I experience when playing.  For the next person, its all in the look.  It all depends on what you are looking for in your next piano purchase, but, as a general rule I tell people to fall in love with the instrument and if you aren’t happy – don’t buy it.

Ric Overton

What’s With The Whole Asian Thing?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

I have to tell you that I have been in the piano industry on some level for over 30 years.  Having said that you will have to also realize I have seen the coming and going of a lot of piano companies and manufacturing facilities.  I have seen them go out of business in the U.S. only to  reappear in China.  I have seen them rise to the top and then be mismanaged right back down again.

The-1970s

In the 70’s and into the 80’s a piano company named Yamaha came into most of the United States without a great deal of fanfare.  They created a great brand name and then supported their emerging company with enough information about their company to get attention.  Naturally, at that time there was some significant push back from some people because they were not from the U.S.

From the 70’s and 80’s they began to emerge as a company that was obviously going to demand some attention.  At that point they were creating decent pianos.  Yes, there was some important changes that were going to need to be made in order to turn these Japanese pianos into “World Class Pianos”.

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Apparently, Yamaha along with Kawai, were up to the challenge.  In the 90’s they began producing better and better pianos.  Being satisfied with their position in the marketplace they were also challenged to bring their company into the forefront of the American Piano market.

Leaving almost 30 years of experience, some successes, some failures but armed with the knowledge they had garnered after their years in the business, they became the “Elephant in the Room” that had to be acknowledged and dealt with.

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Thier powerful marketing machine along with many other financial influences left many American companies wondering what to do next.  They tried to manufacture in the U.S. but economic situations made them turn that American manufacturing back to Asia where it still is to this day.  Exiting the U.S. manufacturing also left a gaping hole in the U.S. for many manufacturers.  The business models of that era were beginning to weaken and by 2005 many, many manufacturers were left in shambles.

This has been the case with many other types of manufacturing that have exited the U.S. market.  Companies want to continue to grow financially while expenses are going up and profits are dwindling they find themselves looking for alternatives.  Yamaha and Kawai have for many years filled that niche’.

It is a fair to say that many people feel as if Japan is superior in manufacturing than any of the other Asian countries. However, It took Yamaha and Kawai many years to garner not only a good reputation but being able to create a piano that was worth what they have turned them into today.

While most of those pianos are not to be compared with fine American manufacturing such as Mason and Hamlin and Steinway or European manufacturing, these Japanese pianos are considered to be very well made.  Of course, like anything in you need to play these pianos for yourself.

Then came China.

 

 

A Few of My Favorite Things……

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Okay, so I am totally aware that was a tacky subject line but, I used it anyway……

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MY OPINION

I have been asked by several readers to review some of my favorite pianos.  After all these years of writing blogs, I have finally decided to have a real opinion about pianos and what I like or dislike about them.  In all of these articles, please remember that this is ONLY MY OPINION.  Some of this will be factual and some will be opinion.  I will do my best to separate that when writing.  Here is a small list of what I am going to cover and if you have specific questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to ask away.

There is no doubt that some are going to disagree.  There is no doubt that some will agree.

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It’s important to understand that when you are comparing pianos you MUST take everything into consideration.  One thing to consider in fairly comparing pianos is to only compare apples to apples.  For example, if you are comparing entry level pianos you have to look at entry level pianos only.  In other words, you can’t compare a finely handcrafted German/European piano with an entry-level Chinese piano.

In each category of piano there are still considerations to look at.  Not all Chinese pianos are created equal, not all European pianos are created equal, etc.  This has to be one of the key issues in comparing pianos.

With the way we manufacture pianos today I think anyone who is involved with the industry would agree that there aren’t really BAD pianos based on the dollars spent.  When someone starts to buy a new piano today they should be informed that $5,000.00 doesn’t buy a $10,000.00 piano.  Of course, there are rare opportunities but in general “you get what you pay for”.

mason hamlin

My intentions are to introduce several pianos to you and explain their lines.  Among my very favorite acoustic pianos are Mason and Hamlin, Brodmann, Wilhelm Steinberg and on the digital side, Dynatone.

In the following posts I will discuss each of these brands and why I have chosen them as my favorites.

I look forward to sharing with you.

From Burbank, CA – Ric Overton

 

Song I played this past Sunday

Friday, December 28th, 2012

I was asked to play a special in church on Sunday so I asked Rosemary Bailey www.RosemaryBaileyMusic.com to play a soundtrack to Good King Wenceslas and Joy To The World.  Hope you like, please remember this is a live recording.

http://podcasts.blog.pianosd.com/2012/12/28/ricks-christmas-special-on-piano-12.23.12.mp3

Merry Christmas

Ric

The Piano Was Not The Original Keyboard (Part 3)

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The Virginal

 

The Virginal

The Virginal

 

The precursor to the harpsichord came in the 1400’s known as the Virginal or Virginals.  The logic behind the first virginals came in 1460 when a writer described it in a letter from Paulus Paulirinus of Praguein relation to the clavichord.  History books can differ in their opinions or ideas of its origin.

Quite a bit of music was written on a virginal because of its size and ease of transport.  This is a larger model of a virginal.  Some were quite decorative like this one while others were quite simple in their design and much smaller.

The tone quality or the virginal as compared to the clavichord was/is quite different.  While the clavichord struck the strings the virginal was closer in tone to the harpsichord.  Later as people began to want more sound we started making the harpsichord with longer strings and a larger soundboard with more depth of sound.

The virginal was identical to the harpsichord in the way it was made with the plucking of the strings rather than the clavichord mechanism which struck the strings like the piano.

A Smaller Virginal

A Smaller Virginal

The virginal was very popular during the early Baroque period although like the clavichord and by a large part the harpsichord the tone was to light to be heard with the other instruments and even more difficult in larger public performances.

If you do a quick search on the virginal you will quickly see many different variations of this cool instrument.  It is difficult to imagine that once this was cutting edge technology and this was a privilege to own.  The tone quality of this instrument was among the best available in a keyboard instrument at this point in the 1400’s.

 

Art in a VirginalArt in a Virginal

However, music for the virginal and the clavichord would be written for many years to come BECAUSE of the tone.  You may also note that many, MANY works of art show a young lady sitting in front of an instrument that most people assume is a harpsichord or clavichord but, as it turns out is actually a virginal.

Ric Overton

http://PianoSD.com

Mozart Piano Returns Home

Friday, November 9th, 2012

This could not have been better planned.  It is amazing to see and potentially emotional.  This piano was the last piano that Mozart owned.  Of course most people do not realize that one of the most prolific composers of all times actually died at a rather early age but left behind a legacy that few would ever be able to overshadow.

The following clip is from ABC news and it briefly describes the return of Mozart’s last piano to his childhood home.  Click on the link below to see the amazing story which is done in three parts.  The commercials are bothersome but, try to be patient.

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/mozarts-piano-returns-home-applause/story?id=17674906#.UJ1NguTLTOM

What a fascinating story.

Ric Overton

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