For Auld Lang Syne

With the traditions of Christmas now several days past due and the impending New Year of 2018 sitting just on the horizon, our radio stations have stopped playing the carols we can’t get out of our heads and switched to the generic playlists they were playing a month ago. But there’s one more seasonal song to be heard, and to be quite honest most of us will only hear it once….if we make it til midnight on New Years’ Eve, that is.

“Auld Lang Syne” is the kind of song that we only know in theory. I’m guessing most of us know the chorus, while many probably know the first verse….and all of us know it’s the song the saxophone plays after the ball drops and Ryan Seacrest awkwardly hugs Jenny McCarthy like they’re actually friends. But what about the origin? I find myself asking time and time again. And what does it truly mean?

Well, a quick Google search can most certainly solve that problem! And here’s the long and short of what I found:

The song is Scottish in origin, heralded as a traditional folk song dating back to some time before December 1788, when the poet Robert Burns wrote a letter to his friend, citing the tune and including the lyrics on the back of the paper. In this version, he took the original and “polished and burnished till it shone like a gem,” according to Mr. Len Murray, Dean of the Guild of Robert Burns Speakers. Burns, himself, even commented:

“Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious fragment! There is more of the fire of native genius in it than in half a dozen of modern English Bacchanalians.”

Way to live up to the stereotypical poetic drama, dude.

All attitude aside, Robert Burns went on to perfect this old folk song and sent it to his publisher, who didn’t bother to publish it until 6 months after Burns’ death in 1796. Nevertheless, he lives on through his words proclaiming “For Old Times’ Sake” and encourages us all to take a deep breath as we ease out of one year and into the other, always hoping for the best and yet never forgetting what we leave behind us. The song is about preserving old friendships and remembering where we’ve been – important things as we move away from a year of sheer turmoil.

But why do we still sing it now, on New Years’ Eve? Well apparently in 1929, Guy Lombardo took the Roosevelt Hotel stage in New York City for a NYE performance. The show was broadcast on radio before and after midnight Eastern-time, and so in a transition from CBS to NBC radio, his band played the old Scottish folk song in an opportune moment. Hollywood went on to popularize the tune in iconic scenes throughout the decades, as you can see here.

Now go ahead and delight in discovering all the verses you’ve never heard before! It’s even more fun to feign a Scottish accent as you try and pronounce the words just as they’re spelled. But truly, take some time to listen to the words. Hold a loved one tight. And try your best to love the people you’d rather forget. It’s a beautiful message.

 

(Go on, go on…No excuses! I know y’all know the melody!)

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my jo *,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Chorus

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

Chorus

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

Chorus

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught +,
For auld lang syne.

Chorus

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.

Chorus

And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago

And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.

Chorus

And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.

Chorus

*sweetheart or darling

+ “a hearty swig of ale”. Yes, friends, this is a drinking song.

 

Why Get an iPhone…When You Can Get an Education?

These days, it’s no secret that music is good for the soul AND the brain! Of course there are emotional and communal benefits to listening, but there are even more when it comes to learning how to play an instrument for yourself. So why just play piano apps on the latest iPhone and punish yourself with more screen time when you can strengthen your mind instead? Technology is great….but it’s not always the best option.

Learning to play the piano is good for people at any stage of life! While many studies emphasize the importance of teaching children from an early age and encouraging music programs in schools, we hear from customers every single day who are jumping back into the hobby of piano playing for post-retirement enjoyment. And there are plenty of reasons why!

Continue reading

Labor Day Piano Sale!

This sort of thing doesn’t happen every day! But it IS happening this Saturday, 9/2 and Monday, 9/4.

Check out our stock online, then come into the showroom to see it for yourself. Whatever price you see…cut it by 10%!

Happy Labor Day!

We hope to see you here!

Back-to-School Shopping: What to Look For in Your Child’s First Piano

 “What do I buy?”

“Do I need to get something really big or can we just get a keyboard?”

“Is it really worth the investment?”

“What’s the difference between teaching them on a digital piano versus an acoustic one?”

Ultimately, the decision is going to be up to you. But for starters, we’re here to help navigate through just a few of your options and understand what you’re looking for. If you’re going to drop some dollars on an instrument, you at least want it to be a good investment that’s going to enhance your child’s musical experience – not hinder it. Here are a few of the details to look for:

  • Full Size: Whether it’s a baby grand or a digital piano, it will be best to make sure it comes with a full 88 keys (rather than a discounted 61). As your child hopefully continues playing and growing in their skill, you don’t want to have to upgrade your instrument simply because they can’t access all of the notes.
  • Weighted Keys: If you get a chance to stop by a piano showroom (which we highly recommend before purchasing anything), plunk your finger down on a keyboard…and then on an acoustic. You will feel a noticeable difference – the acoustic requires more pressure as you hit the key to transfer that pressure to the hammer and then the string. On a keyboard…it’s all just electricity. No real power is required aside from the power button! And why does this matter? Again, it’s a longevity of playing issue. One: it builds finger strength necessary to create a noticeable sound and Two: if your child only ever learns on a small keyboard, they’ll struggle once they transition to a larger instrument requiring more force.
  • Acoustic vs. Digital: This is really all up to you. Some players go their whole lives only ever playing a digital piano. And that’s fine! Most digital pianos have increased their technology to a point where their quality is much in line with that of an acoustic instrument. However, the best and fullest sound is always going to come from an acoustic – a spinet, an upright, a baby grand – you choose the size! Plus, that wooden piano will look a whole lot prettier and more elegant in your home – not to mention it will provide a better playing position. If you go the electronic route, make sure you add a bench and a keyboard stand to your purchase. Setting the keyboard on a table or a lap will disrupt the posture of the player and make it both uncomfortable and more difficult to play.
  • Find the Right Fit: Again, whenever you’re in the market for something as grand (no pun intended) as a piano, make sure you come into a showroom and give several different styles a test run. You don’t want to buy an instrument that’s so large your child can’t reach the pedals! Ultimately, there’s a decent chance that whatever piano you choose could alter your child’s learning experience and their musical future. And if the piano doesn’t sound good or is difficult to physically play, then the experience will be diminished and your child may walk away with only negative connotations. Learning to play the piano isn’t going to be easy – but it also shouldn’t be miserable. We want both you and your child to enjoy it!!

General opinions seem to be in agreement that the better a piano sounds, the more likely a student will continue to play, thus making the investment “worth it”. However, keep in mind that digital and electronic options won’t require any tuning, or as much special and financial investment. At the same time, investing in an acoustic style could be the first step towards a lifetime of beautiful playing. You’ll pay for it, but you’ll have it forever if you choose. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you want and need.

Okay, okay…so that’s all good and great. But maybe you just want some suggestions. Maybe you just want us to tell you exactly what to buy. Well, we can’t exactly do that, but we can offer some popular options. Here goes:  Continue reading

Summer Lovin’….Ways to a Happy + Healthy Piano

 

Summer: a time of relaxation, good food, bikini bodies and hot temperatures. We all have a strong sense of keeping ourselves healthy during these few months of the year, but what about other things? Like say, our pianos?

Yes, you heard it right – there’s a special set of rules that come into play when it comes to keeping YOUR piano healthy. And for the most part, it’s pretty easy. Like any health-driven decisions, you just have to stay mindful. Keeping your piano in good shape is the best thing you can do for it in the long run. And the more you can do “in the moment,” the less repairs you’ll have to face later.

Here Are Our Top Tips:

  1. Avoid Direct Sunlight: We’ve all been there. Sitting in the sun feels good for a little while, but too much exposure can easily lead to burning headaches and reddened skin. Eventually, the effect of the heat on your body becomes too much handle, and it’s no longer enjoyable – in fact, it gets a little miserable! The same goes for your piano. Too much sun not only bleaches the finish, but lends to overheating and drastic changes in temperature – none of which is good for it.

 

  1. Defend Against Humidity: One of the biggest complaints we get between the seasons is the quick and drastic switch from perfectly tuned to perfectly OUT of tune. And the biggest cause? Humidity. Here in Tennessee, our springs and summers experience that perfect blend of rain showers and rapidly changing temperatures – and it’s not very good for your instrument. If your home experiences high humidity, a dehumidifier can actually be installed within the piano that will activate when it encounters too much moisture in the vicinity.  And if low humidity is your problem, a humidifier will do just the opposite. Either one will help keep your piano in its sweet spot.

 

(See Here for more information and come to us if you’re interested!)

 

  1. Move It, Move It: If your piano is sitting against an outside wall, move it! The closer it is to the outdoors, the more easily affected it will be by changes in temperature that are out of your control. Even the subtle change between night and day is enough to leave it just a little too uncomfortable, at any time of year. So move it towards an interior wall, or at least a couple feet out from that exterior wall if you can.

 

  1. Keep It Constant: Maintaining as constant a temperature as you can in your home is always a good idea for your piano. Sure, it’s nice to turn off the AC and let in the natural air (or vice versa), but doing this will affect temperature and humidity levels and leave your piano sounding a little wonky after a while.

 

  1. Maintain: Overall, the best thing that you can do for your piano is to simply make sure that it’s being properly maintained by a professional. We’re not just pushing our business on you – but annual tunings work miracles! Depending on how often you play, we recommend having someone out to properly tune the piano at least once every year or two, along with a good checkup on the key components that keep it working. Neglect your piano, and it will neglect you – or at least leave you with more than a few problems to deal with in the future.

 

  1. Show It Some Love: Along with regular tunings, just try and make sure your piano is being loved on – if you play yourself, practice. If you’re hosting a party, invite someone to tickle those ivories. And if the kids are out of school, give them some homework! Keeping the piano keys moving will help prevent stickiness and dullness – and will help keep it happy inside and out. Plus, you’ll be much more apt to realize when something isn’t right so the piano isn’t stuck sitting around and enhancing the problem any longer than necessary.

 

Yes, it may seem like a lot – but really, it’s not! Just follow these easy tips and your piano will not only survive – but  flourish – throughout your summer. And if you can’t remember your last service, schedule a tuning with us this summer to make sure your piano is feeling right and get it ready for the start of the school year. We’re offering a 10% discount to all customers who book before July 28th!

 

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: DALE WHITEHEAD

IMG_0119

Dale Whitehead was brought on as our Acoustic Shop Manager in 2010, just before Nashville’s great flood left countless pianos soggy and damaged. You could say we put him to work rather quickly.

Since Dale joined the Seale Keyworks team, he has proven his talents time and time again. He is the man we trust to complete the majority of repairs in our acoustic workshop, including key installations, restringing, and even complete piano rebuilds.

Dale began working with pianos in the seventies. His first apprenticeship was in Virginia under an elder piano tuner that used to maintain Dale’s childhood piano. Dale then joined Richmond Piano Rebuilders, where he honed his craft for 10 years. He has since brought his talents to Seale Keyworks and has remained at the helm of our acoustic shop for 6 years.

We asked him a few questions for this week’s Employee Spotlight.

What made you decide that you wanted to work with pianos for the rest of your life?

“Well, a piano is a machine that makes music. I had learned most of what I know about from music from my mother, who was a musician. And I had learned most of what I know about mechanics from my father, who was a machinist and welder. So the piano was a natural fit for me.”

How did you end up working at Seale Keyworks?

“I had known Damon for a long time– since first coming to town. I approached Damon in 2010  about working for his company and he was happy to bring me on board. It worked out quite nicely.”

What do you enjoy about playing the piano?

“I enjoy working with pianos, but I actually play guitar much more than the piano. I find it more fun to play.”

What is your favorite place to play in the Nashville area?

“My house.” (laughs) “I actually live on a blackberry farm in Franklin, where I host an annual music festival called The Blackberry Jam. We’ve hosted big artists like Michael McDonald, Delbert McClinton, and even groups from Canada like Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.”

jamshirts-14

If you want to know more about The Blackberry Jam Music Festival (and possibly attend the next one!), you can visit their website.

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: LARRY MITCHELL

Employee feature - Larry

 

Larry Mitchell is the Lead Piano Technician at Seale Keyworks. He has been an employee of the company for about 15 years, but interestingly enough, his foray into the piano world began much, much earlier.

He secured his first job at a music store when he was just 14 years old. Although he was drawn to the music store to look at guitars, the store primarily featured pianos, and Larry was offered a job dusting pianos, cleaning windows, sweeping and mopping floors.

Fast forward 10 years, and Larry began moving pianos part-time for Otey Chrisman Music in Selma, AL. Here, he had several mentors in piano technology, including Earnest Harris, Elmer Guy, and Carl Pogue. Larry soon began tuning pianos at Otey Chrismas Music and worked with E. E. Forbes Piano Company and Ellis Piano Company in Birmingham.

When Larry made it to Tennessee, he was affiliated with Shuff’s Music in Franklin before landing at Seale Keyworks. He was also a Piano Technician at Samford University and Middle Tennesee State University, as well as the Production Supervisor for William Knabe Piano Assembly at Samick Music Corporation.

Next time Larry comes out to tune your piano, don’t be afraid to ask him a little about his experience in the piano industry. Clearly, there is a lot of wisdom behind his steady hands and knack for the keys.

 

Employee feature - Larry Working

Holiday Early Bird Special: $99 Basic Piano Tunings!

The holidays are around the corner…

Be prepared for all of your upcoming family-and-friend-filled events!

Call now to book your tuning between the dates of November 30th and December 11th, and we’ll give you a discounted rate of $99*.

SKI Holiday Tuning Special

*Offer includes up to 30 round trip miles from Seale Keyworks. This special is only valid for pianos that have been tuned within the last 3 years.