AP NEWS

Potting bench not good use for piano

August 9, 2018

We all have special pianos in our lives. I grew up with an old upright black piano with ivory keys that my sister played when we stood around and sang Christmas carols.

It was a special piano even when that same sister decided to paint it a bright yellow. I’m not sure where this piano is now, but I loved it.

We currently have a spinet piano in our basement that all six of our children learned to pluck the keys on. I’ll always love this piano, too.

I’m thinking of special pianos as I read about the current trend of “repurposing pianos,” which means they’re gutting all the insides out of them so they can be used for other non-music uses.

I don’t like it. A piano should be a piano, and when it’s done being a piano it should be put to rest in a church basement. People are having other ideas.

I’ve seen a photo of an old piano made into a bookshelf. The books aren’t just on top of the piano. All the strings and hammers that strike them are pulled out and replaced with shelves. The board below the keys is taken off and shelves with books are placed above the pedals. I like books, and I like pianos, but I don’t want books inside the pianos.

Another “repurposed” piano I saw had been turned from a music maker into a glorified potting shelf. Where sheet music should be placed, there were potted plants. I think music lovers everywhere would agree with me that succulents were not meant to be growing out of a piano bench.

Old pianos are being turned into wine racks and china cabinets, but the worst thing I’ve seen that people have done with old pianos is to use them as water fountains. Yes, they will put the piano in their backyard with water flooding over the keyboards and into a pond. It’s painful to see.

Recycling is all good and well, but there are some things that are not meant to be anything different than what they were made to be, and that would include pianos. A piano should not end up in someone’s living room as an aquarium.

I love the sound of pianos. Even when no one’s playing them, I like to look at pianos. If you’re going to gut your piano and turn it into a computer desk, don’t tell me about it. I’d rather think about your piano as its former self.

At this rate I think I’ll need to start a Group for the Preservation of Old Pianos.

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