Every January, for the past 6 years, Keith and I have flown to Anaheim, California for a week. Obviously, it would be a great vacation opportunity to visit Disneyland or the beautiful Pacific Ocean, but we make the trip to work at the annual three-day National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Convention. More than a hundred thousand music merchants from around the world gather for education, hands-on experimentation with every instrument imaginable, and fantastic concerts which run nearly non-stop every day.
Because Keith and I are privileged to be part of the Perzina Pianos America team, we arrive in L.A. several days early. Keith spends those early days preparing and tuning all the pianos in the Perzina booth which two other team members and I set up. This year there were eight pianos but, in years past, there have been as many as eighteen! Keith is truly an artist who is committed to preparing each piano with excellent, something Perzina greatly appreciates. Those of you who are reading this blog will be the first to know that we are putting Hendersonville and Western North Carolina on the piano map! Freeburg Pianos now provides, along with all our other great pianos, the largest inventory and selection of Perzina Pianos in the USA!
On Wednesday before the show opened, I attended an intense all-day workshop for retailers. There were many excellent points made which I appreciated concerning education and preparation for the future. I spent most of my time, as I’m sure you can imagine, greeting old friends and making new ones. As I walked among the hundreds of piano booths and piano rooms, I was amazed how often people recognized me – must be the hair. I truly enjoy networking and introducing various international piano manufacturers, dealers and artists to one another, especially intergenerationally. I’m excited about the future of acoustic pianos as well as digitals.
By the way, I get a lot of exercise walking from the hotel to the convention center enjoying the warm sunshine, beautiful palm trees and the Birds of Paradise. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator, I choose to do the six-flight convention center “stair-stepper” several times a day. Attending NAMM is a great way to keep in shape.
The last day of the convention is open to the public. Some say it is a good thing that Keith and I are visiting my cousins in Laguna Woods that day. Apparently, the thousands of people who invade on the last day are a bit overwhelming.
In Part 2 of my NAMM blog, I’ll tell you about the four very different concerts I intentionally attended and at least one of the artists I look forward to seeing every year. I’ve got some great photos.
~ Joann Freeburg
Joann – I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs. When reading this one (and about how Freeburg Pianos is putting Hendersonville on the map), as a former teacher and avid NPR listener, it brought something else to mind, and that is music education – specifically regarding playing the piano. On “Weekend Edition” one Sunday morning several weeks ago, they had a report about the shortage of people who play the piano or organ, especially in smaller towns. They were talkng about how in many rural towns throughout America many churches are having to rely on “canned” music for their services. As I thought about it (and the report continued), I realized that in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century, a very high percentage of homes (rich or poor) had a piano, and this was often the center of entertainment. Family members or family and friends would often gather around the piano after a big dinner and sing various popular or religious songs. Back then if the regular pianist or organist could not be there at the last minute, there were always many people in the congregation who could sit in. They gave a percentage (which I don’t remember) of homes that now have pianos, and the number has decreased tremendously over the last century.
So to you and everyone who attends NAMM, continue promoting instruments to ALL, as it’s something that can be enjoyed throughout life. I don’t know if you know Wendy Jones, a local vocalist and voice teacher, but she has many younger vocal students, and not only teaches them how to use and train their voice but teaches stage presences, etc. Often when I’ve had the privilege of hearing 12-15 year olds singing with such a clear voice and with such poise and confidence, I try to talk with them after their performance. I tell them that while soccer, basketball, swimming, (and yes boys or girls) are so important in their minds and lives right now – and it’s good to have those activities, to KEEP UP WITH THEIR MUSIC. I then tell them my age, and tell them that while at 77 I can’t play soccer or basketball or run marathons, I can still play (albeit badly, which I don’t necessarily mention) the piano daily which I’ve been doing since I was about 10 years old, and enjoy it just as much as I did 67 years ago. May you and Keith (and every member of NAMM) continue promoting something that is so important. (Sometime, but not in a response to your blog, I’ll go into another belief that I have about music!)
So much enjoy these posts; hope more young people play piano, and that parents will come to understand all the benefits (and joys) of a musical education, part of a well-rounded education. Bought a wonderful piano from Freeburg and it was sledged up a hill to get into my house! The installers were indefatigable and would not be conquered by difficult terrain!
Having just purchased a Restored/Rebuilt Steinway A I want you to know how impressed I am by several things at Freeburg’s.
#1 Levi is a fantastic person to be dealing with. I hate to call him my ‘sales associate’ because now a days it stirs up visions of ‘used car salesman’ – nothing could be further from that with Freeburg. From my 1st contact with Levi, months ago, he did nothing but supply me with information, advice, etc – even when he knew I was visiting other showrooms.
It seems I saved the best for last.
#2 The Showroom, is warm, inviting, comforting and Pianos are not just strewn all over, as I have seen in other showrooms. The feeling from You and Levi while I played piano after piano was wonderful. He even moved a pre-set piano bench all over the showroom for me because of my back issues. 😉
#3 The Sale: Levi & Keith are working with us on financial aspects with our special circumstances.
Being from Philadelphia area, I have dealt with one of the better dealerships in the US (Cunningham Piano Co) and Freeburg’s is definitely up there with them. I even cancelled my appt with Cunningham because of the great piano I found.
I hope others will read this message.
You will not be sorry visiting Freeburg’s searching for your Piano.