Friday, October 23, 2009

Future Hailun Pianos...

After my visit to the Yamaha shop on their Hybrid Pianos, I was just thinking, it would be great if Hailun pianos have silent versions as well.

Ok, because my baby will be coming out soon, so we have shifted our dear Hailun piano to the living room to make space for more kids to come. Our dear Hailun used to have a room by itself, called our "Music Room". And we have emptied the room. So now, I have a corner of my living room, called my "Piano Corner".

And because now that it is in the living room. It means it will be closer to our neighbours. And because I am still at quite an initial stage of my piano learning, I always worry that I will "disturb" my neighbours too much. So, I usually practise and learn by depressing the "mute pedal", and only when I have mastered the piece, that I will play without the "mute pedal". So suddenly, I thought to myself, how I wish this can be converted to become a silent piano. Haha. But of coz, it will cost about a few thousands to convert this into a silent piano. But I always feel that a silent piano is better than a digital piano (in terms of touch and feel).

After about a year of owning the Hailun HL125, I went back to try their Hailun pianos. What used to be "HL125" is now replaced by "Crescendo HL125", which is suppose to be an improved version of "HL125". I tried, the keys are lighter than the older generation of Hailun, which is more similar to that of the Japanese brand pianos. But the sound is not as thick as it used to be, but personally, I still prefer the Hailun's sound compared to Yamaha's, even when the sound is not as thick as it used to be. The keys are smoother and much easier to play.

Glad to see that Hailun have been making improvements. And hopefully as time passes, more improvements will come along... =)

Hehe, I always feel the Hailun pianos has so much resemblence to the Kia Cerato I bought. Slowly gaining more and more recognition, better design (like the Kia Cerato Forte) and gaining confidence! =)

Hybrid Pianos by Yamaha

One of the past weekends, I passed by the Yamaha shop at Plaza Singapura, and went in to try out their new Hybrid Pianos - AvantGrand N2 and AvantGrand N3.

Hybrid Pianos are like Digital Pianos, in that it is run by electricity, and they are very expensive. AvantGrand N2 is S$19k and AvantGrand N3 is S$25k. They promise that the Hybrid Pianos has a much more authentic sound reproduction, plus a grand-type action in a smaller space, as well as tricked out pedaling, which means that the technology is superior to the silent pianos. Also, Yamaha claims to reproduce the CFIIIS concert grand in a 4 foot package, which is quite useful for people short of space.

I must say it is a great jump in terms of touch, feel and sound from their other Digital Pianos, and also much better touch compared to the CVP-409GP which cost about S$13k.

But when I test the Hybrid Pianos against the Yamaha U1 Silent Piano which is about $11k. Frankly speaking, I don't feel any very big difference. But according to one of my forum friend (who is more expert in pianos), she feels that N3 feels and sounds better than both the silent U1 and U3, though it would be a far far cry from a Steinway & Sons Grand Piano. But a conclusion is that it is priced too high. If it were around the $12k mark, they might persuade those who buy the silent U1 to step up for the Avantgrand, but $25k for the N3 is hard to justify for a digital.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Grade 2 Piano Exams

My teacher is planning to register me for the Grade 2 Piano exams. Initially she was aiming for the March piano practical exams. But because I will be giving birth soon (in Nov), which means I will stop lessons for 2 months in Nov and Dec during my confinement. Hence, she is looking at the July to September exams instead. I intend to resume my piano lessons from Jan 2010.

If I take all the 16 weeks of maternity leave continuously, my maternity leave will end on about 20 Mar 2010. So, I plan to take my theory exams on Sat 13 Mar 2010. I should have more than enough time to prepare for this, since I should be able to complete the syllabus by the end of Oct 09. And Nov 09 to Dec 09 to revise and study while getting used to a new member to my family, and Jan to mid Mar to try past year exams papers, before I go back to work.

But for practical exams, should I try for the March 2010 one? Or should I wait for the July to September 2010 one? As of now, I have yet started on the exam pieces. I have started on the "Keys to Stylistic Mastery Book 2" for 2 months, going on to 3 months. Will be completing the Baroque pieces soon, and moving on to Classical period in Oct. And I will be midway through the Classical period when I go on my maternity break. And assuming if my teacher buys me the Grade 2 exam pieces book, I can at least start trying on it during the Nov and Dec break, and start preparing exams under her guidance starting from 1 Jan 2010.

Advantages of taking Practical Exams in March 2010:-
1. It will still be during my maternity leave period. I will have more time to prepare.
2. Less stress coz I am not working yet. I will only need to cope with baby and piano exams.
3. Can move on to Grade 3 faster, since I have completed both theory and practical exams.

Disadvantages of taking Practical Exams in March 2010:-
1. I will need to prepare the exams over a period of 3 months. A bit rush.
2. Might be a bit stress, coz I need to get ready for work life after maternity leave.

Advantages of taking Practical Exams in July 2010:-
1. More time to prepare for the practical exams (over 7 months).
2. Can adjust to working mother life first, before preparing for the piano exams.

Disadvantages of taking Practical Exams in July 2010:-
1. Will need to stay in Grade 2 for a longer period.
2. Might end up not taking any exams if I cannot cope with work, baby and piano learning.

Should I insist to take my exams in March 2010? If pass, good, else, at least I tried, coz I might not have the chance to take the Practical exams anyway, if I cannot cope with work and baby.