My grandmother’s old Collard and Collard grand is about to passed down to me, much anticipated by my son who is about to take his Grade 6 exams. I had intended buying a decent piano but now I’m not sure which to go for – much loved old or good quality new. Help!
Collard & Collard were a well respected make of piano many years ago and your grandmother’s grand piano is likely to be a rather elderly example which has rather outlived its sell by date. It is common for piano owners to become very attached to their old family piano and allow sentimental value to cloud their judgement when assessing the condition and quality of the instrument. Very occasionally it has been maintained admirably well and is worth the effort in preserving it for another few years of happy service to the family. More often than not, the passing of the years will have seen the tone fade and the action deteriorate to the point where it is positively difficult to play with expression or enjoyment. No matter how loved the piano is, how many happy memories are associated with it or how beautifully the casework has aged, it is time for a new piano. If in doubt, why not ask a reputable tuner (preferably PTA qualified) to give you his honest opinion before you tell him your attachment to the piano? Grade 6 level piano deserves the very best you can provide if you are not to hinder your son’s musical progress. Hanging on to an old, unsatisfactory piano might just prevent him from reaching the finals of the Pianist piano competition, where, centre stage, you will not see an old Collard & Collard.