The first thing you must determine in order to make a wise decision is what you want the piano for. That decision will have a bearing on the price and quality of the piano you eventually buy. By knowing what to look for, you will be able to determine the best value for the dollars you are going to spend. The U.S. piano market typically comprises seven different groups of buyers with the following general characteristics.

1. Beginning piano students.-- Most buyers in this group are parents of children in the 5-14 year age group. They are interested in good starter pianos that will also serve as furniture to enhance the household’s prestige. Given the buyer’s level of income and access to credit, the amount spent depends on the student’s perceived commitment to learning to play .

2. Advanced piano students. - -This group is smaller and, subject to the buyer’s income level and access to credit, its primary criterion is the quality of sound. Although the grand piano is the ideal instrument for this type of buyer, it may not be a viable choice for reasons of space or financial constraints.

3. Married young professionals and childless, two-income families.-- This group focuses on style and quality of sound. At least one member of the household plays the instrument and is committed to continue playing. The choice is a studio or a low-priced grand piano, depending only on available space. Access to credit is usually not a problem for this group.

4. Middle- and high-income purchasers of electronically augmented pianos for a combination of home entertainment, learning, and display. -- This group, which emerged in the 1990s, typically consists of individuals who like both piano music and gadgets. Some people in this group like piano music, but have neither the training nor commitment to play the instrument. The availability of computer-based sound reproducing components often justifies the purchase. Most acoustic pianos containing electronic complements are grand pianos.

5. Adult piano students. -- This group comprises individuals who later in life have acquired the financial means and the time to learn the piano or who wish to continue piano studies that they began in their youth. This group has become larger as living standards have increased and as baby boomers have become prosperous middle-aged consumers. Middle- and upper-income-level customers are typical in this market segment. These buyers cannot be associated with a particular size grouping of pianos.

6. Educational and cultural institutions and the hospitality industry. - -Recommendations made by music instructors at educational institutions and by performing artists at cultural institutions play a vital role in determining consumer choices of brand and style. In addition to budget constraints, the size of the stage at cultural institutions and the space available for the piano at hospitality industry establishments, such as bars, restaurants, and hotel lobbies, are often considerations in the purchase. Sales often involve competitive bidding. The availability of electronically augmented pianos has sparked additional sales to the hospitality industry.

7. Professional musicians. -- Grand pianos are the first choice for this relatively narrow, but highly selective market segment. Nonetheless, piano producers are aware of the marketing benefits of major artists playing their pianos in public and often maintain direct contact with them and lend them pianos for various performances. An aspiring artist or a professional musician, you should buy the finest piano built in your own estimation. That piano should have nothing less than complete artistic capabilities. The extra cost will not amount to much, and you will receive the extra benefit of owning and playing a piano of superior quality.

Based on an analysis of the consumer, his characteristics, motivations, and demand for an inexpensive and convenient method of learning to play the piano or provide his family with a musical education at an affordable cost.  The American Music Conference, the non-profit public relations arm of the music industry has consistently estimated that over 80% of the pianos sold in the United States are sold used.

The majority of the piano buying public expects to spend, on the average, of about $1,000.00 to "find out if the family will stick to the lessons," before making an investment of several thousand dollars only to discover that no one really plays the piano. On the other hand,  Bank and  Finance company documents show that at least 75% of new pianos rented are sold within six months. In addition the following statistics regarding new vs. used. And:

The Success Ratio of Students Practicing On Used Pianos
Based on a study of 200 students with 100 practicing on new pianos and 100 studying on used pianos after six months.

Students with New Pianos
80 Still taking lessons
20 Dropped Out

Students with Used Pianos
20 Still taking lessons
80 Dropped Out

For the more than 23 million amateur pianists and the six million children now taking piano lessons in this country, you can choose a piano of reasonably lower cost and still get an instrument of excellent quality which you can learn to play and enjoy, and which you can afford.

Most piano rental companies provide only used pianos in questionable condition or low priced (and low quality) "starter" pianos for rentals. They require you to return the piano (or buy it) at the end of the rental period. Sometimes they may give you one extension, but sooner or later they will insist that you make up your mind to buy or return the piano.

They fail to provide proper maintenance while your piano is in your home. This results in poor performance or problems, and the piano student's progress suffers. They will apply only the first three or six months fees toward a purchase. This puts pressure on you to make a buying decision when you before you are ready.

Most piano rental companies charge rental customers MORE than regular cash customers if they decide to buy after renting. The claim that they are having their rental cost applied to the purchase price is really a myth.

Know who you are doing business with the same way you want to know about any major purchase you make. Remember that a piano usually has a ten year warranty, and if you decide to buy, you want good service over a long period.

"Buy new,  Buy the largest piano you have space for, Buy the best piano built in your own opinion that you can afford. Quality is not about price. It will never be it will never be as inexpensive as it is  today.




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