Popular piano play bucks British trend
TUNED IN: Tony Magee, manager of DW Music's piano showroom in Fyshwick, says that their acoustic pianos still outsell the digital. Photo: Melissa Adams
Canberrans are tuning in and paying thousands of dollars for pianos while those in Britain are trashing rather than tickling the ivories.
DW Music sells more than 175 acoustic pianos from its Fyshwick showroom every year whereas, on average, only 4000 pianos are sold throughout the whole of Britain.
According to music industry experts in Britain, demand for piano removal and scrapping services have been rapidly outweighing sales due to the expensive maintenance involved in owning pianos.
"Canberra is not typical of international trends. We are quite the opposite, and have always enjoyed healthy sales," DW Music piano manager Tony Magee said.
According to Yamaha statistics, the store has sold more pianos than any other retailer in Australia since 2010.
In 2012, grand pianos, which can cost up to $200,000, accounted for 20 per cent of DW Music's sales.
"We are the last piano shop in Australia where acoustic pianos still outsell digital.
''You can put that down to the middle class affluence of Canberra but also the highly educated population here," Mr Magee, who is also an accomplished pianist and performer, said.
"There are hundreds of piano teachers in Canberra and they have all pretty much got full books as well, and the tuners are all busy, and these are all signs that this is a pretty healthy piano industry."
He added that retirees rediscovering or taking up the art and families of young children learning how to play form the largest customer base. Customers such as these spend between $6000 and $8000 for a brand new upright model.
Second-hand sales in the capital are also doing well, according to Chris Leslie, who operates an online classified advertisement service dedicated to buying and selling pre-loved pianos.
"Listings for those selling and those looking to buy are constant and are about equal," he said.
Mr Leslie also works as a piano tuner in Canberra. Three years ago, reconditioning and tuning were his passions, passions which have now turned into his full-time day job.