by Willem van Suijdam, owner of, Manila Pianos Inc, Philippine’s Piano Superstore.

How often this question has been asked to me in the last 25 years, I can only take a wild guess: thousands of times.

Parents come in to a piano store to purchase a piano for their child, because the child has expressed some interest in piano lessons. Maybe because his/her friend is taken up piano, or maybe because they some someone cool playing piano on TV.

Whatever the cause is, there is this sudden interest from this child to play. The parents, and this phenomena happened in my stores in Canada as well as here in the Philippines, think a piano cost $ 500 or P 20000 or whatever very low number.

Now it is up to me, the ”salesman”, to tell them a good piano cost a lot more.  I now also sometimes feel I have to protect the child from his/her parents!

It really doesn’t matter how smooth I am approaching the subject, telling them about the 10,000 or so parts and how great it is that this piano can even be made for only $3000, it almost always results in the statement: Oh, but my child may not keep playing the piano, my child might quit soon and then I have paid all this money and now what am I going to do?

Now I, as a salesman I can make a choice:  sell them a cheap keyboard or a junk piano with a cracked sound board, lose tuning pins and/or an action that doesn’t work right or explain to the parents the following:

There are 4 things your child needs in order to become a successful piano player namely

  1. A reasonable set of brains
  2. A parent or parents that put on gentle pressure to practice when needed,
  3. A good teacher and
  4. A good instrument to practice on.

It is my opinion, based on the fact that I am not only a salesman but have also been teaching, educating and concertizing as well as now have a long experience that these 4 factors make up 100% success rate and if any of these four criteria are not met, the chance of success drops by 25% each.

Of course, a good teacher is probably most important but arguably a good instrument will also be high on the list.

Now, if the parents do have the funding to get a good instrument and a good teacher, the success rate is very high. This also means that, as a rule, the child will get around 12% higher marks in high school as compared to his/her friend that doesn’t play the piano. This is due to the higher development of a certain part of the brain. Who doesn’t want that?

Then I also tell the parents that a piano is a reasonable investment. Look at a car. People have no problem spending $ 5,000.00 on a car that 5 years later has almost no more value. Those same people sometimes have a problem spending 1 10th of that on a piano that 5 years later is still worth $ 2000 or so.

Just saying, don’t buy junk pianos or electronic pianos if you don’t have to, I tell people the truth and sometimes they listen……..