It was in light of all this certain uncertainty that I found myself musing about a most intriguing bit of information: that of all the people who buy Steinway & Sons pianos, something like 25% of them are physicians.
Consider two possibilities that may draw so many doctors to the piano in general and to Steinway in particular.
And second, physicians tend to be extraordinarily busy people entwined with the needs of their patients, research, teaching, etc. And since they are not made of stone, it isn’t always easy to let go of their day’s work. Clearly, some relax on the drive home, cocooned within a luxury automobile, while others wind down later with a cocktail before dinner or even a soothing cup of chamomile tea.
But a surprising percentage of doctors turn to the piano for relaxation. Just lifting the fallboard and placing their hands on the keys can have a cathartic effect. And then the music takes them away.
What is there about a piano … a Steinway … that can move someone so profoundly?
For the most part, it has to do with the range of touch and tone crafted into each instrument. A Steinway simply gives back more, reaches out and connects at a deeper level (people say) than can be found on other pianos that cost as much or more. Which makes what a doctor may experience while playing his Steinway at home not much different than what Lang Lang or Martha Argerich might experience onstage. A concert performer’s experience may occur at a more rarified level, but may be no less heartfelt.
“It’s great therapy,” one Steinway-playing physician told me. “It’s immersive -- and good, clean fun!”
Where does this highly personal resonance between player and piano come from?
There are, of course, many design and manufacturing variables to consider in the creation of a Steinway. But what it comes down to most is … wood … the care with which the wood is selected and the manner in which each of 12-thousand or so endlessly fussed over parts connect with one another and collectively speak to the individual player. The most shaded nuances, the most passionate fortissimos are given birth in the strike of the hammer, then amplified in the piano’s soundboard heart and shaped by the massive maple rim that helps enrich every note.
But it is here we must stop and return to the world and its worries. For it is in that context that a Steinway rewards most eloquently, whether doctor, lawyer, corporate chief -- or even a blog writer. It’s a great escape for busy minds and weary bodies … and so peaceful.
Expensive? Yes. But for those who can afford it, worth every dime.
As a physician friend says, “Such good therapy.”
TakeAway: If your product touches the heart there always will be demand for it.
© 2016 by Brian E. Faulkner. All rights reserved.