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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

January 9, 2010

Getting rid of a new electronic piano

evelyn @ 7:08 pm

New electronic pianos! Oh, how good they look, with their handsome wooden cases, seven-and-a-half gleaming octaves and a rich organ sound when you activate the single organ voice! This is what will have fooled the non-organist (probably non-musician) who went out and bought the thing in the first place. All the problems are still there: touch sensitivity, hand-operated volume slider control, lack of variety in the organ sound, etc. etc. This piano is as hopeless for accompanying church singing as the older ones, but can it be at all possible to get such a beautiful-looking new instrument, still under guarantee, out of the church and replaced with a real organ? The answer is YES!

First, you have to persuade the powers-that-be (by which I mean clergy and parish council) that this purchase has been a mistake. Their ears may already have told them this, but if not, you will need to exert all the tact and diplomacy you are capable of until you get a grudging ‘Well, maybe we could look into it – not promising anything, mind’.

Then have a look at these three possibilities:

SELL IT and buy an organ. Offer the electronic piano for sale to any parishioner wishing to learn to play the piano. Find out who the local piano teachers are, and see if they know anyone who might buy it. Upmarket care homes might be interested. Try not to sell it to another church.

SWAP IT Suggest trading it in. If the original supplier also sells electronic organs, a straight exchange might be possible. Make sure you get to choose, or at least advise on, the replacement.

KEEP IT but get it out of the church. This is the best solution, if financially viable. Every church should ideally have an organ and a piano. As I’ve said before, an electronic piano can be good with instrumental groups and children, and for social occasions. Interestingly, a piano is also needed if an organist takes an Associated Board grade examination on the organ. The Board insists on a piano for its examiner to conduct the aural part of the exam. The little Roland in my church has been hauled out to do this duty on several occasions.

All this usefulness makes the original purchaser of the piano feel less guilty (assuming your persuasion has worked and guilt has set in). He will realise that the piano is a really good parish asset after all and that the organ he is now going to buy will be another.

Good luck!


  1. Elvira has just put a comment on the Bridal Chit-chat (2) post which is relevant to any discussion of electronic pianos.

    Comment by Evelyn — January 9, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  2. Another use for a church piano. In a warm room, it is really good for choir practices, especially in this weather.

    Comment by Flora B — January 11, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

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