Around the piano

Presentation of the system for disabled (paralyzed) pianists

Several years ago I developed this system for people who cannot use their right pedal when playing the piano. This may be because of physical limitations such as a paralysed leg, a spinal cord injury or ALS. The system is built into their own instrument and adapted to their specific needs and abilities. The system consists of a solenoid (electromagnet), a control unit for setting the correct forces and sizes depending on the type and brand of the instrument, a 24 volt DC power supply, and a cable set. The aim is to enable the player to use the dampers with another part of the body than the right foot. How this is done varies. The dampers can be used for example by with the knee.
Squeezing a small ball with the mouth. That is, the lips squeeze a small, flexible plastic ball (pipette balloon of 10 mm). Then, through a tube, a pressure-sensitive switch is activated (0.006 amperes, 0.1 volts) which controls the system.
A tipping switch in a headband.
The photo shows a solenoid built into an upright piano. If this electromagnet is activated, the core moves upwards and the pedal rod is pressed upward, just as a regular pedal would do. Because instruments are constructed differently, the methods of fixing varies also. With grand pianos, for instance, the solenoid presses against a lever which is located on the underside of the grand piano.
In all cases, the dampers can still be controlled with the foot.
The system can be built into all kind of upright pianos and grand pianos.

Michiel van Loon was born in 1947 in The Hague. After 17 years in various positions at construction companies, he temporarily stopped working in 1982 to take care of his 3 children. His wife then provided the income. During that time he was busy with the restoration of a few player pianos and he studied piano technique. He has been a certified piano technician since 1991. In 2002 he was asked to help a disabled pianist to use the damper pedal again. With the help of various people, he has developed a system through which the damping can be operated with parts of the body other than the foot. Initially with parts from PianoDisc from the United States, later with parts from Laukhuff from Germany, among others. 12 pianists with disabilities in the Netherlands, 2 in the US and 1 in Italy can now operate the dampers with a small movement of the knee or by squeezing a pipette balloon with their lips. The system can be built into almost any upright piano or grand piano. There is also a stand-alone demonstration version that can be placed under a grand piano or in front of an upright piano.

Event organised by the Association of Polish Piano Tuners

Seminar: 3 September (Saturday), 2.45 pm, Room Pine

Sketches from the history of the Polish piano industry of the 20th century

The talk will be about Polish piano and upright piano manufacturers after the Second World War, but also about some factories from an earlier period. How the Polish piano industry was organised in the inter-war period, how the music industry was reborn after 1945, how the taken-over post-German property in the Recovered Territories was managed, how the production of new pianos and grand pianos was started, how I have arranged a chronology of Legnica and Calisia pianos and Defil mechanisms.

Janusz Starzyk is been professionally involved in piano tuning and repairing since 1985. He received his master’s diploma in 2002. Currently he takes care of instruments in several music schools in the Lubelskie and Podkarpackie Voivodeship (e.g. in Zamość, Krosno, Szczebrzeszyn, Tomaszów Lubelski, Rymanów). I also cooperate with cultural institutions in the region. I am interested in the history of pianos and grand pianos.

Seminar: 3 September (Saturday), 2.45 pm, Room Pine

Practical Harpsichord Service

There is certainly a close relationship between pianoforte and harpsichord technology. In Germany the official denomination for our profession is “Klavier und Cembalobauer” (piano and harpsichord builder), but honestly: who is really familiar with harpsichords, pinets and perhaps also clavichords? Nowadays harpsichords are less common than some decades ago, when this line of business was added to our job description. Only rarely is a harpsichord found in a piano shop, while it was a regular item in the days when I was an apprentice. Today harpsichord players are often do-it yourselves out of necessity. But still piano technicians are faced with such requests, and for example in the opera piano technicians normally have to tune and repair harpsichords.

This class will cover the normal service work that is frequently asked for: Tuning, regulating, replacing single strings and plectra and so on.

Jan Grossbach is a professional piano technician (Klavier- und Cembalobauer in Germany), trained at the Neupert factory in Bamberg in the 1970s. He has been the editor of the Europiano magazine since 1996. Jan also does many other activities, like riding horses.

Seminar: 4 September (Sunday), 2.45 pm, Room Hazel

Promoting a piano showroom on the Internet – an invention or a necessity?

She will share our knowledge about the trends currently prevailing among customers looking for pianos for sale. She will also explain what impact promoting a piano showroom on Klaviano, on the Internet and customer response time has on sales.

Anna Grochowicka – manager of Klaviano.com portal, associated with the project from almost the very beginning, i.e. for eight years. She works mainly on the portal’s development strategy and focuses on actively assisting piano showrooms from all over the world looking for new opportunities to promote their showrooms and pianos online, in order to gain new customers. She has business contacts all over the world, thanks to her openness to hearing from people in the industry and being able to speak in German, English and Polish.

Event partner

Seminar: 4 September (Sunday), 5.15 pm, Room Pine

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