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Replace that 19th Century Piano! By Alice Tillman

Growing up I took lessons on my great-grandmother’s piano that was largely unresponsive to musical nuance. When I left for college, I began working on Steinway and Kawai pianos and was shocked, yet pleasantly delighted, with the action and beauty of these instruments.

My first experience with an Institutional Piano Program was at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. In the early 90s Northwestern converted their piano studios to all Steinway Pianos and we had the opportunity to witness the delivery of all these pianos. One would think this process would be quick and easy, but it took over a week to place the new instruments because the piano studios were on the 4th floor of Willard Hall (aka Music Administration Building). Take the elevator? No. That stopped working sometime in the 70s, but the rope pulleys were still intact albeit a bit worn. Each piano had to be carried up the stairs by four men, one painful step at a time. While walking to class we would observe them and wince at the excruciating work they were putting in. Secretly, though, we couldn’t wait for them to “hurry upland get finished” because… NEW PIANOS!

I was fortunate to attend Northwestern and to be able to work on such fine instruments. I imagine it’s every director or student’s wish to play on an excellent piano to better improve their skills and enjoyment of playing.

“At Schmitt Music we try to make this dream a reality. Schmitt Music is dedicated to helping both institutions and houses of worship acquire and maintain the best instruments the world has to offer.” – Alice Tillman

Our institutional opportunities include technical services, inventory analyses, educational programs, piano replacement, concert & artist services and more. By partnering with Schmitt Music you are also introduced to unique and customized resources for managing your piano inventory. Our Institutional Sales department has developed these inventory management programs:

The Inventory Analysis Program is designed to create a roadmap that allows you to properly plan for maintenance or replacement of your pianos. This necessary first step is done in conjunction with the institution’s piano technician and includes an inspection and evaluation of each piano that documents condition, market value, and recommendations for repair or replacement. This analysis is available to all institutions at no cost or obligation.

The Keys to Sound Success Fundraising Guide is a guide to help you cultivate donors and acquire the necessary funds to purchase Steinway-designed pianos. Schmitt Music fundraising offerings include an exclusive “88 Keys” website that is custom made for the needs of your organization.

The Steinway Institutional Ownership Plan is a logical 5-year inventory plan that helps institutions deal with the most stringent capital and operational budgets in order to afford the Steinway pianos that are essential to their music programs. It includes a comprehensive appraisal of your current inventory along with a blueprint for the most cost-effective replacements. All Steinway-designed Boston models may be acquired under this program.

Maintenance, Rebuilding and Restoration Services are offered utilizing the information documented in the Inventory Analysis. An ongoing maintenance program is designed that can extend the useful life of your pianos along with allowing you to preserve your financial resources. If a complete Steinway piano rebuild is recommended, Schmitt Music Brooklyn Center boasts a complete shop staffed with factory-trained technicians and outfitted with Steinway parts. The Steinway Restoration Center in New York is also available.

Piano Replacement may be required as determined by your inventory evaluation. After we determine needs and priorities, you will be provided a multi-year plan for piano replacement. Steinway pianos have a history of financial appreciation and long life as well as established professional acceptance. The Boston piano, designed by Steinway, is a product that meets many institutional needs but is more modestly priced. With a combination of quality pianos, quantity institutional pricing, trade-in options, and a new institutional lease program, you can greatly improve your inventory economically, in both the immediate and more distant future.

Alice Tillman, our Schmitt Music Institutional Piano Sales Rep for the upper Midwest, states: “Schmitt Music has an exceptional line of digital pianos and keyboards from Roland, Kawai, and Casio. These “state of the art” pianos are available in grand, upright, stage, hybrid, and specialty models – complete with 88-note, weighted action keyboards with the highest sound quality and latest technology. Schmitt Music has been the exclusive home of Steinway & Sons pianos in the upper Midwest since 1961. We are also the exclusive dealer of Steinway-designed Boston and Essex pianos, Kawai pianos, as well as Paul A. Schmitt pianos – our own design and brand of pianos.”
For more information about Schmitt Music’s Institutional Piano Program, please contact Alice Tillman at