• Life Style

The Kawai Piano Story

Based in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan, Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is best known for creating; grand pianos, upright pianos, electronic keyboards and electronic synthesizers.  Founded by Koichi Kawai in 1927, he originally started out creating mechanical devices and inventions such as a unique pedal-driven cart he built himself.  The son of a wagon maker, Kawai proved to be a gifted inventor who became the first to design and build a complete piano action in Japan.  Impressed with his skills, Kawai’s neighbour Torakusu Yamaha took the teenager under his wing and began nurturing his talents.  A watchmaker and reed organ builder at the time, Yamaha was struggling to build his first upright piano.  With Kawai now on board, they were quickly awarded many patents, designs and inventions.











After Yamaha’s death in 1916, new management Nippon Gakki Co. took control over the company.  They began to diversify the production line, which eventually lead to Kawai becoming frustrated with the company and subsequently leaving in 1927 and starting Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory.  He and seven friends spent the next several years developing several ideas with their passion for music and desire to produce superior pianos, clearly at the forefront of their minds.

After Koichi Kawai’s death in 1955, his son, Shigeru Kawai became the company’s president.  He shared the same passion and wanted to remain true to his father’s ideals. Over the next few decades, Shigeru Kawai expanded production and in 1980 introduced the Shigeru Kawai Grand Piano line.  He remained a key influence within the company, until his death in 2006, at this time his son Hirotaka Kawai took over the helm.

Under the guidance of Hirotaka Kawai, Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., Ltd. embarked on a program that invested millions into the manufacturing process.  This resulted in the introduction of several new series of grand, upright and digital pianos, as well as manufacturing facilities around the globe.

Today, the Kawai Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company distributes acoustic and digital pianos to over 80 countries.  Kawai is one of the most celebrated brands within the musical instrument industry and occupies the second largest share of piano sales in the world.  Countrywide Piano Centre Ltd, is proud to stock Kawai New and Secondhand Upright and Grand Pianos and we hope that you see the passion, dedication and hard work that went into every single design Kawai produces. We certainly do!









Less Pressure, More Fun

It has been recently reported that our children are under more pressure than they ever have been before.  We all worry about the social pressures our children face, with social media and online bullying, and now mounting academic pressures, from an even younger age, something, somewhere must give!  A survey conducted by The Guardian, stated that eight out of 10 primary school leaders (82%), reported an increase in mental health issues among primary school children around the time of the exams.  Children sitting national tests are showing increased signs of stress and anxiety around exam time, with some suffering sleeplessness and panic attacks, according to a survey of school leaders.  Having an outlet like playing the piano but without all the pressure to pass exams could be advantageous to our children’s mental wellbeing.  I know that a lot of music teachers may suggest taking exams to measure success but right now, with all our children face, is this the right path to take?


Firstly, we have all read and seen that the younger our children start to learn the better.  If from a young age they have already been exposed to a structed way of learning, then perhaps it would be less of a stress to them when they get to school.  On the other side of the coin our children do need some form or outlet to express themselves without the pressure of being judged.  Music and learning an instrument, especially the piano should be something our children see as fun.  Adding exams into the mix from a young age could potentially take that fun away. What is the best age to start teaching the piano?  There is a growing body of research that indicates a “window of opportunity” from birth to age nine for developing a musical sensibility within children.  With this in mind, do we intend to start testing our children this early on? These piano ‘lessons’ do not need to be formal.  The important question then is, what is the goal of music lessons, namely the piano for young children?


















Surely the goal is to have fun? If all we do is take exams and be tested and have no real outlet to express ourselves, we will burn out.  If a child sees a piano as a no pressure, fun thing we do after all our home work is done, surely, they will gravitate towards that piano more freely?  If we have already seen research that shows some children are suffering anxiety and stress from an exam situation in school, why would we apply that same pressure when they get home too.  A piano can be a sanctuary, a stress free, hobby, that in years to come when your child is older, will already have a strong foundation to take up a more formal approach if that’s what they wanted to do.

The last thing we want our children to say is that they were forced to play the piano, when they were young. They hated it then and still hate it now!  To avoid this negative attitude, parents sometimes opt to delay piano lessons until their child is older and can choose their own schedule or make the decision that they even want to play an instrument.  This no pressure, exposure to a piano is probably the best approach if you want your child to learn to play properly.  No set piano lessons, no set time, no real goal apart from enjoyment. Then when your child reaches an age they can make their own decision, do you want piano lessons?  They are more likely to say yes.

I think the upshot of it all is, yes, we want the very best for our children.  We want them to not only succeed academically, we want them to shine creatively too.  We just need to realise that, they are children!  This is the time they should be having fun.  School is school, and we work hard, but home is home, and this is a safe environment that is stress free.  A piano is something we play for fun, there’s no exams no pressure to perform.  This easy does it attitude will encourage, not dissuade and eventually when your child is ready, they are much more likely to actively seek out a piano teacher.  Forcing your child into piano lessons from the start, is going to cause negativity. Why would they want to work hard at school, come home and do the same?  Let them have fun.  With all the pressures on our kids, they deserve it after all!

If you are looking for a piano for your child, we have helpful tips on which instrument would be best.  We are a well-established, family run business. We know how important your family is to you, as ours is to us and we are here to help, anytime you need us!


It’s never too late to learn to play the piano!

It’s true, it is much easier to learn a new skill when you are younger.  That’s not to say it can’t be done as an adult.  Learning a new skill, like playing the piano, as a child is much easier to achieve.  At that age, your mind is like a sponge, absorbing all and any information that’s thrown at you.  When you get older, you seem to lose the ability to do this as quickly as you once did. It could be for several reasons that cause this, most likely there isn’t just one, it is an accumulation of factors that have an impact on your learning.  We intend to explore these factors and hopefully shed some light on things, this, we hope will encourage not deter you to roll up your sleeves, pull up a stool and get tinkling, however old you are!

Playing the piano is such a rewarding skill to possess, even when you are young it still takes time and dedication. Just because it comes more naturally when you are younger, doesn’t take anything away from how much hard work goes into learning the piano.  Having said that, one thing we seem to lose as we get older, which can impact our learning ability is self-confidence.  Once upon a time, you felt like you could achieve anything, the sky was the limit and anything and everything was possible.  With this kind of attitude learning to play the piano is nothing! We all know as you get older and wiser and life knocks us down from time to time, it does cause us to doubt ourselves. The fear of failing is very much a reality that creeps in.  What will she or he say if I fail?  What if I go to a piano teacher and they think I’m rubbish or silly and too old?? Let me tell you, EVERYONE has doubts! Everyone worries of what others think, even if its just a fleeting thought, at some point in our lives we have all had these same worries.  It’s time my friends to LET GO!  However embarrassing or ‘rubbish’ you think you are, let me tell you.  It will be so worth it when you get behind that piano and play your first piece of music all the way through for the very first time! All that worry, will be forgotten, trust me!

Age is just a number baby!  What is reallyholding you back?  Children are fearless, they see something, reach out and grab it.  I get it, as we grow up we all see the challenges that stop us from achieving what we want and set out to do.  When we self-doubt we seem to put obstacles in our path.  Oh, I’d love to play the piano, but I just don’t have time.  I don’t really have the money to buy a piano, right now.  Stop!  I know family/work life is tough, but you know deep down you could spare an hour a day. Maybe after you have put the kids to bed, instead of watching that extra hour of TV, get yourself in front of the piano. You’d be surprised what you can achieve with an hour a day!  There are also so many reasonably priced second-hand pianos out there.  You don’t always have to buy brand new!  Put a couple of pounds away a month, you’ll never miss it and you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up!  No excuses now!

Lastly, something that we do have over our younger self, patience!  This most certainly comes with age.  With patience, even if it is a struggle, at least we have it to apply it to this challenge! Something else to consider, when you were younger, perhaps the piano was something forced upon you.  Maybe you weren’t really that bothered but you did it for your parents or extra credits at school.  If you have decided now is the time to learn the piano, you are the one whose decided, no one else.  This gives you a determination that perhaps you didn’t have as a kid.  Patience and determination are the best tools I know to learn the piano!  After all, if something you want is hard to achieve, it normally worth having!


For advice, help, support, brand new and second-hand pianos, Countrywide Piano Centre is your one stop shop for all your musical needs.  Contact us, we’d love to help you on your journey…




Piano Care

Buying a piano is a large investment, one that if cared for properly can last a life time and be passed on to others to enjoy for years to come.  If you’ve decided to make that investment or perhaps you already own a piano, we have the ultimate guide to caring for your instrument.  We can help you preserve and enjoy your piano, so it not only sounds great, but looks the part too.













Piano Tuning

One of the most common practises when it comes to taking care of your piano, is to have it regularly tuned. Just how many times a year to have this done depends on a few factors; atmospheric changes, continuous and heavy playing and the age of your piano.  Pianos are very sensitive to atmospheric changes, in the summer months when there is more humidity, your piano will absorb this moisture.  This causes the piano to swell, the strings to tighten, which causes the pitch to raise and the piano is then out of tune.  In the winter months when you switch on the heating, it causes moisture to evaporate, this causes shrinkage and the strings slacken and the pitch drops.

If you are playing your piano everyday for several hours, this is going to cause your piano to require tuning more often.  The age will also play a factor.  If you have a newer piano, for example, this could cause tuning instability due to the strings stretching and needing to settle in.  It’s always best to have your piano tuned at least twice a year to keep it sounding its best.


Moving your Piano

Moving your piano is sometimes unavoidable.  Moving home, having work done to your home, carpets being fitted or simply deciding your piano would be better suited in another room!  This could have a big impact on not just the sound of your instrument but could cause serious cosmetic damage too.  I know, I know, it seems very tempting to do this yourself. Don’t!  When you have invested so much into your piano, why take the risk of damaging it.  Employ a specialist company that has the equipment and know how to move your piano with ease.  This is going to reduce the risk of anything happening, after all they are the professionals, let them take all the stress away for you!


With more than 70% of all new pianos being presented in a polyester high-gloss cabinet, it worth while finding a company that has the expertise to deal with this and understand the skills required to conduct such repairs when needed.  Repolishing pianos is very specialist, if you intend to play and display your piano for years to come, this is necessary work that should be carried out.  Seek advice if you think your piano is in need of extensive restoration, this will ensure your piano not only looks amazing, but sounds it too!

We really hope this guide has been useful, whether you already own a piano, or you intend to invest in one. Old or new, keeping your piano in tip top shape is the most important thing if you want to use and enjoy it for many years to come.  Keeping your piano sounding and looking great, is Countrywide Piano Centre’s passion, we can guide you through any issue you may face with over 30 years of knowledge and experience, we have got you covered!


Home Décor

A Grand Piano is a substantial piece of furniture, and normally we would picture such a luxury in a lavish estate, surrounded by opulence.  This doesn’t have to be the case!  A Grand Piano can also be made to look right at home in a more modest setting too. Many home decorators have found wonderful ways to incorporate Grand and Baby Grand Pianos into normal size rooms. Making this classic and timeless instrument part of your home décor and turning it into a statement piece of furniture is becoming more and more popular.

Choosing furniture that is scaled and in proportion to the room is the key to accomplishing your goal.  By choosing the correct size for your room, it will ensure your home does not look cluttered or turn a decent sized room into a small one.  A Baby Grand Piano would work perfectly in this scenario, it adds an element of comfort to the room and has a similar effect as an open fire.  A cosy, homely feel.  It really is a beautiful focal point that can be enjoyed even if you don’t know how to play!


Business Style

A Grand Piano’s aesthetic use doesn’t have to end in the home.  Perhaps you own a business, a restaurant being a good example.  Maybe you want to add a touch of elegance to the space. Consider a Grand Piano in this instance. You are likely to have more space and can really showcase this kind of piece to its full potential.  A piece like this could literally fit into any existing décor, a refurb isn’t always necessary!

Choosing the correct colour to compliment and existing colour scheme is the best place to start.  Grand Pianos come in a range of finishes, so you will almost certainly find one that matches your needs.  Where to place is often another factor that can have a huge impact. Near the entry would be one good place, this is going to help draw patrons into your business.  Its give them a taste of what to expect when they come inside.  If you intend to have a pianist play too, this would be a lovely first impression as they walk inside, especially if they have to wait for a table!


Rental Potential

Buying a Piano isn’t always right for everyone.  Maybe you just simply don’t have the space no matter how hard you’ve tried moving things around!  It could be something that just isn’t in your budget to do right now.  Don’t fret!  Just because you can’t buy one right now doesn’t mean you can’t rent one!  No one should lose out and miss the experience a Grand or Baby Grand Piano can bring.  It can turn an event into something magical.  There is no better time to consider a Grand Piano rental than for a wedding.

It can turn a simple wedding into something extra special.  Not only could it be used for your ceremony, which in itself, is a wonderful thing, it can also be used as part of your wedding theme.  If you have a grand venue, embrace this.  There is no better place for a Grand Piano than in an old house, it’s a perfect setting.  Somehow, it adds a level of intimacy even if it’s a large room and you have lots of guests. We’re thinking; family and friends gathered together, great food, a glass of champagne and the light tinkling of a Grand Piano in the background.  What more could you ask for?


For more information about how we can help you achieve your décor needs, contact us now.