||The End of an Era as Keyboard Concepts Moves Flagship Store
After 29 years in the same location, Keyboard Concepts is moving their flagship store on the corner of Van Nuys and Burbank Boulevards across the street. Owners Dennis and Bobbie Hagerty along with partners Jeff and Cheri Falgien decided to make the move earlier this year when the owners of their current location decided on a major redevelopment project. The partners were able to buy a building just up the street and have been busy preparing the new location at 5539 Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.
Keyboard Concepts, which over the years has grown to include three other Southern California locations—West LA, Agoura Hills, Tustin—has a long-established reputation as the go-to purveyor for pianos and keyboards in the entertainment industry. Dennis Hagerty recounts memories which include walking out of his office to see Marlon Brando playing a new Clavinova, Clint Eastwood selecting software for his Yamaha Disklavier piano, Paul Reiser coming in to purchase his third piano and Eric Idle shopping for a piano for his Hollywood Hills home. A definite highlight for Dennis and Jeff was hosting a gala reception for Oscar Peterson at the Four Seasons which attracted every jazz legend in LA.
Company President, Dennis Hagerty and partner, Jeff Falgien are nostalgic discussing the growth of their business and the Valley history that has passed by their doors. Jeff remembers the evening in 1984 when he played God Bless America on a Kawai organ as the Olympic torch runner passed their building on Van Nuys Boulevard. Dennis and his wife Bobbie are amazed that a business started on good credit and a shoestring budget of $9000 during the 1981-1983 economic downturn has grown to employ more than 20 staffers plus at least 10 more freelance tuners and movers. Dennis noted, “We opened in October 1983 between a liquor store and a Mexican restaurant and bar. Most people thought we were doomed, but we secured the lease on the corner and in less than a year we had moved the liquor store out and doubled the size of the store. And, in the process, the little Van Nuys store reached record sales for both Kawai and Samick.”
Hagerty and Falgien are looking forward to a store designed totally to their wish-list of specifications. The new store will have specific areas for service/rebuilding, print music, entry level pianos and keyboards, performance pianos and a “Music Den” created as an in-store performance space. Keyboard Concepts maintains relationships with a variety of wonderful musicians who from time to time will be performing at the store. Tickets to these performances are made available through the company’s eblast newsletter program. Anyone interested can sign up at KeyboardConcepts.com
Hagerty is completely optimistic on the future prospects of Keyboard Concepts. He notes that, “Despite the rotten economy, Keyboard Concepts is doing well. We will continue to evolve the company to the new reality business levels. All four of our locations have extremely dedicated professional managers and staff.”
Earlier in the summer the company initiated a major sale in order to reduce inventory before the move. The sale is in its final stages and Hagerty and Falgien hope to be into their new location and ready for business by September 1. The company will continue to offer a wide selection of new and used Yamaha, Clavinova, Disklavier,
Bosendorfer, Schimmel, Knabe and used Steinway pianos.
Music Needs More Guys Like Bernie Williams.
I love going to the Summer NAMM show in Nashville and this year was thrilled to meet Yankee great Bernie Williams. Bernie is a great guy and a great spokesman for encouraging kids to pursue music. His consistent message is that you don’t have to choose between sports and music, you can have both. The winner of four World Series rings and a five-time All-Star, Bernie has continued a dedication to guitar which began when he was seven years old. Bernie said that, “Music was always a great source of pride for my family when my brother and I would play at family gatherings. I always have my guitar with me.”
Bernie has released two CDs, performed around the world and has now released a book about the marriage of music and sports entitled
Rhythms of the Game.
Jeff meets Governor Huckabee.
I enjoyed meeting former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at the NAMM Show in January. He has just released a new benefit album called “I Wanna Play!: An Album to Put Musical Instruments into the Hands of Every Child in America.” As you may know, Dennis and I are very interested in this important effort and we were delighted to learn that so many music/entertainment industry greats are supporting this program including Gary Sinise, Jack Black, Isaac Slade, Sara Bareilles, Robert Downey, Jr., and John Legend. The NAMM Foundation’s Wanna Play Fund stems from a national public awareness campaign called Wanna Play?, created by NAMM to educate people of all ages about the many social and wellness benefits of making music.
It has been one year since I graduated from BIOLA University and I am amazed at all of the opportunities and experiences that have come my way. Returning to school as an adult learner was a daunting and frightening move but looking back now, I can honestly say the greatest lesson I learned was the success of that endeavor began with being willing to actually take that first step.
I am writing this brief note to encourage all of you to take that 1st step, no matter how scary, towards your goal, your passion, or that hobby you’ve always dreamed of. Because I know you will discover a journey that dramatically enhances your quality of life.
One of these goals, for many, is the desire to make music. To make music for fun, recreation, and social reasons not for the purpose of mastery, concertizing or passing tests. Just being able to sit down and connect with an instrument and its musical tones is stimulating to the mind and incredibly rewarding. As humans we need music because it makes for a whole person, and medical research proves this. Music makes us happier and healthier. Making music gives us the ability to escape, create and experience a calmness that is unparalleled by any other activity in life.
So, in 2011 take the first step, jump into that long desired goal, hobby or path. You won’t ever regret it! And if making music is that goal, come see us and find out about our all new Recreational Music Making classes now available at Keyboard Concepts. You’ll learn to play in a no stress environment without any tests or judgments, just an easy, proven way for you to learn how to make music, make some new friends and improve your quality of life physically, spiritually and emotionally. Call or come in today, if this is your dream, don’t delay! Start making music and see your life change.
Southern California Is A Good Place To Own A Piano.
Over the last 26 years, we’ve probably heard every possible piano related question. I’d say overall, the most frequently asked questions involve tuning and maintaining a piano in tune. It’s important to remember that your piano is extremely sensitive to climate and moisture. Being a wooden instrument, it shrinks when the air is dry and expands when the air is humid. Your piano’s overall longevity and ability to hold its tuning is based more on the stability of temperature and humidity than on any other factor.
For this reason, we’re lucky we live in California. Our weather doesn’t change drastically in humidity levels and most homes have good insulation. This means you can put your piano almost anywhere in your home where you can sit comfortably without being too hot or too cold.
Of course, you should consider details such as keeping direct or even indirect sun off your piano. Exposure to direct sunlight can alter the temperature of your piano and any sunlight can, to some extent, fade a natural wood finish.
I believe you should…above all else…enjoy your piano. It’s important to position it where you will be comfortable playing and where you and your family and admire its beauty. One extra tuning per year or a little touch up of the natural wood finish every ten years is a small price to pay for having your piano in an environment where you will enjoy it most.
Other areas of the country may require more effort in terms of maintaining an appropriate piano environment. I always suggest that piano owners who move to other parts of the country consult with a professional tuner/technician who knows the particular climate demands of the region. Here are a few considerations for those who move to areas where the temperature and humidity levels vary to greater extremes.
Begin by selecting the right location. Never place your piano next to a radiator, heating vent or fireplace. A good rule of thumb is to keep your piano at least 5 feet away from any heat source including direct sunlight, drafty windows and even un-insulated exterior walls.
There really is no perfect humidity for your piano, the goal is consistency. In order to maintain that consistency, I suggest one of the following:
• Having a humidifier built directly into your central Heating/AC system.
• Using a portable humidifier in the dry season and a dehumidifier in the humid season.
• Have a miniature climate control system installed by a piano technician directly into your piano. (My piano tech friends confirm that pianos in which they’ve installed damp chaser systems do stay in tune longer.)
Of course the skill of your tuning professional is also an important factor in maintaining the accuracy of your piano’s tuning. Tuning is one of our specialties and I look forward to discussing it further. If you have questions or would like to add comments, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Thank you for taking the time to visit with us.
All my best,