The dying art of playing the piano

Trust me, kids. You’re going to regret giving up the piano lessons.

You’ll spend much of your adult life lamenting that you gave up your one chance to be the next Pinetop Perkins.

How are we to keep a culture alive if people aren’t learning how to play the piano? And people aren’t, according to a story today from the Associated Press.

The best year in piano sales was 1909, and it’s plunged every year since.

“Computer technology has just changed everything about what kids are interested in,” said Larry Fine, who publishes a website offering consumer information on new and used pianos. “People are interested in things that don’t take much effort, so the idea of sitting and playing an hour a day to learn piano is not what kids want to do.”

Youth sports are also being blamed for the decline.

“Children these days are being recruited for so many other activities, whether it’s soccer, gymnastics, or swimming,” said Robin Walenta, CEO of West Music, a music retailer with a chain of stores in Iowa and Illinois.

It probably doesn’t help that a new grand piano costs around $16,000.

Related: At a Manhattan Soup Kitchen, Food on the Table and Chops on the Piano (New York Times).

  • Tyler

    There’s also the fact that pianos last ~75 years, so perhaps part of the issue is that we’ve simply saturated the market.

  • Jeff

    And there is the fact that pianos take up a lot of space in a home, are really hard to move into the home and aren’t portable. Plus you generally can’t get piano lessons at school like you can get violin or trumpet lessons. You can’t play piano with the high school marching band. And even if you get a cheap piano you have to spend money to keep it in tune. Let’s face it, pianos have a lot of things going against them.