The Big Decision: Choosing our Steinway Piano

Posted: 14th November 2023

A special treat awaited some of our music students on their return to school on Monday, when they visited Steinway Hall in London with the aim of picking out our new Model B Grand Piano as part of our new partnership with Steinway & Sons. They certainly managed to do this… and much more.

On arrival at Steinway Hall, they were greeted by Keith Glazebrook, the manager and creator of the Steinway educational programme. Keith spent some time explaining to students how to listen to the pianos, pick out the various qualities of each piano, and think about how each piano affected their own playing. Students were then immediately introduced to the three Model B pianos that they were going to choose from. Every student sat down and played the pianos (with Dr Drumm, Mr Scarff and Mr Williams also eagerly joining in). They then explained their thoughts about each piano and expressed which one they liked best.

After this, students were whisked away to see the workshop side, where the pianos are individually crafted by hand. As a special surprise, it had been organised for us to have a chance to play the special Concert Grand Piano used for the BBC Proms. Students and staff were blown away by the power of the magnificent instrument. The day was rounded off with a visit from international Steinway Artist, Martin Roscoe. Martin gave some good advice about the Model B pianos and played them for the students.

“It is possible,” he said, “to have a Steinway in the wrong place. That is why it is key to try them all.” After trying all three pianos, Martin spoke highly about the third: “From my initial reaction, this one requires control, and can be played any way you require with the appropriate training.”

Following that, three of our students received a special 45-minute masterclass from Martin himself. Exyn (Year 11), Yannes (Year 12) and Emilia (Year 11) received specialist advice from Martin as he guided and instructed them through their chosen pieces. After this unique opportunity, Martin addressed all the students and gave them helpful advice about practising, about dealing with nerves and anxieties, as well as how to enjoy your instrument.

To round off the day, the students went back and voted on which Model B they would like to have housed in the Gilt Hall. The result was unanimous with all students agreeing on which one they loved the most.

Both Martin and Keith agreed that the characteristics of the chosen piano combined with the unique elements of the Gilt Hall to create an excellent match. Our new Model B, along with seven other Steinway-made pianos, will be delivered to School on November 28th, and you are all invited to  hear the Model B in action on Friday 1st December for our Carols by Candlelight concert.

To keep up to date with all things within our Music Department, follow our brand-new music Instagram account @cobhamhallmusic.