Piano Buyers, Get Ready to Be Wowed

New initiatives underway to rally piano buyers at The NAMM Show

Dana Matas

The NAMM Show will highlight the piano's rich history and bright future in a dedicated piano and organ gallery that will host daily performances, education, museum installations and more.

The piano holds a special place in the heart of NAMM members and exhibitors. It was the piano that inspired fifty-two piano manufacturers to form the National Association of Piano Dealers of America in 1901, which later became the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).

Who could have predicted that this fledgling of an association would one day support an entire industry of music, sound and event technology?

It is this rich history and solid musical foundation that The NAMM Show will highlight at this year’s show in the dedicated piano showcase, called Lounge 88, which will host daily performances, education, museum installations as well as a cocktail hour, perfect for networking.

Across the NAMM Campus, buyers will be able to see the latest in pianos, organs, digital pianos and accessories from leading brands, such as Carl Sauter, Casio, Baldwin, Fazioli, Grotrian, Hailun, Kawai, Mason & Hamlin, Pearl River, Petrof, Schimmel, Steinway, Yamaha, Young Chang, among many others, with the  largest concentration of pianos within Lounge 88. 

Following are just a few of the activities planned that are sure to generate traffic to Lounge 88 and ignite an appreciation for the instrument’s impressive past and bright future.

Roomful of Pianos

One of the country’s greatest musical possibilities will be hidden in plain sight in Lounge 88—over 60 pianos on display, polished, tuned and ready to play in unison. This ‘Roomful of Pianos’ will be the site of a new annual event at The NAMM Show, showcasing pianists from all over the country, performing symphonic arrangements, jazz explorations and original pieces together as one. This spectacular music-making event will attract a small army of music educators, pianists, and students, raising the excitement and visibility of this powerful, subtle and versatile instrument–a staple of The NAMM Show.

Piano Retail Education

Roomful of Pianos will also feature educational workshops and career development sessions throughout each day of the show, presented by the Piano Technicians Guild, Music Teachers National Association and National Piano Foundation with several special workshops presented by NAMM. All events will be open to all NAMM members and Roomful of Pianos participants.

Scheduled sessions include:

Where Are Your New Piano Customers Coming From?

THURS., JAN. 25, 1–2 p.m.

Bob Popyk, Music Trades Magazine Columnist, and Panel

It’s a different world today for piano retailers. Competition is no longer just other businesses; it’s school sports, video games, iPhones and a firehose of other activities in kids’ lives. Piano customers are out there, but you have to go after them! This panel discussion, moderated by Bob Popyk, Music Trades magazine columnist, will explore big ideas for getting new piano customers. Bob and his team of experts will look at the benefits of learning to play the piano, working with teachers and tuners, the value of holding group lessons, going after the senior market, coming up with creative in-store and outside promotions, and much more.

The Secrets to Selling Pianos in an Online World

FRI., JAN. 26, 1–2 p.m.

Tom Folenta, Website Wizard, and Bob Popyk, Music Trades Magazine Columnist

Bob Popyk, Music Trades magazine columnist, returns for an in-depth interview with Tom Folenta, piano industry website wizard. Together, they’ll tackle one of the most critical topics today: selling pianos in an online world. In this special session, Folenta will share unique ideas for creating more online piano sales and expanding your piano customer base. Find out what’s working today, and discover new (and interesting) ways to make your website more effective.

The Future of Digital Keyboards for Full-Line Music Retailers

SAT., JAN. 27, 1–2 p.m.

Bob Popyk, Music Trades Magazine Columnist, and Panel

Digital keyboards are changing the scope of the piano business in full-line, combo and piano-only stores. Are you making the most of this business-enhancing and traffic-generating product category, which has the potential for strong profits? Moderated by Bob Popyk, columnist for Music Trades magazine, this panel discussion will dive into ideas you may not have thought of for bringing new customers through the door by selling more digital keyboards, whether you’re a full-line, combo or niche music retailer.

Museum Installation

In coordination with the Piano Technicians Guild, the NAMM Museum of Making Music will celebrate the often unknown and misunderstood art of the piano technician. A unique and engaging display, The Unseen Artist: Sights and Insights from the Piano Technicians Guild will be located just outside Lounge 88 and feature three historic pianos:

  • A Gabriel Buntebart square piano from the 18th century
  • A revolutionary Soufléto upright piano from the 19th century
  • A historic Chickering that belonged to the famous actress Laura Keene and was present in the Ford Theater the night President Lincoln was assassinated

Also featured will be vintage and modern tools, photographs and several piano action models that are sure to pique the interest of show attendees and increase their knowledge of the piano.

These are just a few of the initiatives being made by The NAMM Show to ensure piano buyers are fully educated and inspired regarding their purchasing decisions and piano exhibitors have a successful show. To see what else is in store for the piano community at The NAMM Show, click here.