As an instrument, the piano has not changed much in the last 300 years, right?
Well, sort of.
These days, the essentials are pretty much the same as they always have been: eighty-eight keys attached to actions and hammers which, when played, strike a series of strings of differing lengths, creating sounds and notes. Play the right combinations of keys and you get chords. Play the right chords in the right order at the right tempo, you make music.
It is a simple and elegant formula that has not changed much in hundreds of years, and likely will not change much for hundreds of years to come.
But, as with most things, the passage of time brings about innovation: different piano shapes, sizes, materials, and construction. You’ll find digital pianos and piano desks, light-up LED pianos and toy pianos, red pianos, blue pianos, handcrafted pianos and factory-produced pianos. And although almost all of these instruments maintain the same core qualities of the traditional instrument, the greatest and most exciting innovation is surely the player piano.
Different from a digital piano or keyboard, the player piano is the same instrument you know and love, with the addition of a (usually unseen) player system that allows the piano to play, record, teach, and entertain with the push of a few buttons. This addition allows the piano to physically play, complete with key motion and hammer action, without the need for a pianist to actually sit at the instrument.
First invented around 1901, the player piano saw an advent of popularity in the early 1900’s, then a decline, and a new resurgence in popularity into the 21st century. Today, player systems such as QRS-Connect, PNOmation OT, PNOScan, and more can be installed on almost any piano in the world, can link to your phones and mobile devices, and can play from a catalog of countless songs, concerts, and films. These systems provide a wealth of innovation and a breath of fresh air to a classic, timeless instrument.
And so, without further ado, whether you are an experienced musician or searching for your first piano for your family, here are eight reasons you need a player piano for your home:
- You Will Play the Piano More with a Player System
Does your piano sit for weeks or months on end without playing? Are you still waiting for the right time to sit down and finally learn that piece you’ve always wanted to learn? Do you still have an interest but just don’t have the time or motivation? A piano player system will help you get past those barriers.
Time and time again, we come across musicians young and old, new and experienced, from all walks of life, who have just… lost motivation. It’s very common, and we understand. Between work and family, schoolwork and household chores, activities, events, and a never-ending to do list, playing the piano can get lost in the shuffle.
See, a piano is a static instrument. If you don’t play the piano, the piano won’t play, of course. And oftentimes, the more a piano sits unplayed, the less likely it is to be played. But with a player system, this all changes. It can play every day, with or without you sitting at the keys.
Click a few buttons and let Rachmaninoff play with your morning coffee, or let Sinatra croon as you prepare dinner, and you will remember why you fell in love with the instrument in the first place. We’ve discovered that just hearing your own instrument make music is often all that is needed to encourage you to play.
- Billy Joel and Lady Gaga Will Play Your Piano
Remember when Lady Gaga performed live at the Oscars, and Bradley Cooper joined her onstage as they sang the theme from A Star is Born? Of course you do. Well, that particular piano had a QRS recording strip beneath the keys (installed by one of our PianoNation technicians, in fact). The entire performance was recorded, including every keystroke of the Steinway that Lady Gaga played.
Afterwards, the digital imprint of the performance was uploaded to the QRS system, allowing anyone with a player piano and access to the QRS system to play the performance from their own instrument! You’ll hear Bradley and Gaga singing and your keys will play exactly as they were played that night.
This is much different from simply hearing a recording of the piece played through a speaker. It’s more realistic. It’s better. It’s truly a performance.
Want to hear Billy Joel play live from New York, Adele live at Wembley, or a smoky Norah Jones studio session, all from the comfort of your own living room? Want to hear these performances played directly on your own piano, played the way it is supposed to be played by the artist herself? With a player system, you can do exactly that.
- You Can Record Your Entire Album on a Player Piano
Just like the artists and musicians we have recorded to play on your piano, you can record your own pieces on a player piano and play them back at any time. You’ll see the keys move, you’ll hear the piano play, and you’ll have a lasting and durable record of your performance for as long as you like.
There’s a major difference between hearing a recording of a piece and actually hearing it played back to you on an instrument, but with a player system, you can do exactly that!
That amazing song you created while just tinkering around? Now you can actually go back and remember exactly how you played it. You can create your own songs and play them back for practice or improvement, auto-record, auto-save, layer sounds, or even compose and record an entire album!
Your piano is your instrument to keep, and with a player system, everything you play on the piano will be yours to keep forever as well!
- A Player Piano Provides Classy Entertainment for Parties
A player piano banging out tunes as guests arrive at a party is the closest you can get to a live performance without actually having a musician performing live in your living room. Hearing music actually being played is different from hearing a recording played over a speaker. And with thousands and thousands of songs and artists to choose from, you can bring a whole new level of entertainment to any party or gathering you might have.
A player piano is a conversation piece, and it’s a hit at almost every party and event.
Just hand the iPad to any one of your guests and have them pick out their favorite songs, then watch as they all gather around the piano to watch it play all by itself! Karaoke, duets, live performances, anything you like. It’s a guaranteed hit!
- Your Kids Will Learn More Today With a Player Piano
Just as party guests are forever entertained by the magical self-playing piano, so too are children. Anyone who has ever attempted to get a child to practice the piano more knows that if the child does not have an interest in the piano, he or she is not going to play without a lot of encouragement.
A player piano offers just the encouragement that a child needs. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s familiar. Yes, many of us would love for our children to be excited to practice Chopin’s Spring Waltz for hours on end, but they often aren’t. Sometimes, kids would rather hear Panic! At The Disco or the theme from Game of Thrones. And sometimes, this is all that is needed to keep them interested. The piano changes from an obligation to something that is fun and exciting. It is no longer a static instrument, but rather an interactive one.
A player system encourages learning. It even allows for virtual lessons and remote learning, with a teacher offering guidance from a completely different location, but playing directly on your very own piano using the player system!
Let your kids play around with it. Let them find the songs that truly interest them, and let them truly learn to love the instrument. It’s difficult to learn to love the piano without feeling a connection to it, and a player system is often the very connection that is needed.
- Hear Your Kids Play the Piano Even When They Are Not There
Ask any empty-nester what he or she misses most after the kids move out, and invariably it is the quiet that is most noticeable. With a player system, you can remember and relive any moment from your children’s piano playing days.
You can record their first concerts, the silly songs they made up while playing around, or the brilliant creations they composed as they became more and more skilled. You can record and keep these recordings for as long as you like, and play them back whenever you wish.
Pianos are durable, long-lasting instruments, often passed down from generation to generation. In fact, on our floor here at PianoNation, we have several pianos that are well over 100 years old that still play beautifully! Pianos (especially the best brands) are built to last for a long time. Unfortunately, the music does not always last as long as the instrument. With a player system, however, the music that you, your family, and your loved ones play can be recorded and replayed for generations to come.
Imagine hearing your grandmother or great-grandfather playing the piano years and years after they passed, on the same instrument that has been in your family for generations. Well, with a player piano, your kids and grandkids and their kids will be able to do just that!
- Player Pianos Can Sync to Your Favorite Movies
Just as a player piano can play your favorite artists live in your own living room, they can also sync up and play along with some of your favorite movies! Phantom of the Opera? Turn it on and watch your piano accompany the musical numbers. La La Land? Your piano can play Someone in the Crowd at full blast while Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dance around on your television!
With a large and ever-growing list of movies to sync to, piano player systems like QRS can also accompany some of your favorite onscreen concerts as well. You can play along with Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr. and many more!
- Player Pianos Can be Played Silently, With Headphones!
Last but certainly not least on the list of reasons you need a player piano for your home is the ability to play the instrument without disturbing anyone else. It’s no secret that the piano is a vibrant instrument. And in order to play the piano well, you need to play the piano. A lot. A really lot. And while hearing your partner or child’s first concert on stage is a beautiful thing, hearing Flight of the Bumblebee for the 1000th time this month can be tiresome.
With headphones, you can choose to play without disturbing anyone else! With a player system, just plug in your headphones and activate the stop-rail and you can play all day and all night without your spouse, children, dog, or neighbors ever having to hear!
Why You Need a Player Piano System for Your Home – Final Thoughts
A piano is one of the most timeless and durable investments you will ever own. It’s a classic and elegant addition to any family, and may even outlive you. With such a brilliant and enduring instrument, you deserve to get everything you can from it, and a piano player system will help you do just that!
Whether it’s private composing or family karaoke, holiday entertaining, or simply creating a lasting legacy of your childrens’ music, a player system is a must-have for anyone with a piano in their home.
With all of the options and benefits that a player system offers, why would anyone get a piano without one?