Get what you REALLY want

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Some things are just meant to be.

I’d like to share an inspiring story from this past week. It revolves around the piano (of course), but the experience has taught me three important lessons which I’ll share with you in the hope it will inspire you and your dreams too.

The Piano Graveyard

I’ve known for several years my piano needed to be replaced. It was a worn out 1920 Steinway “O”, which needed complete restoration. The Hammers were shot. A couple of the strings were broken. I created a neat pile for the chipped ivory key tops which were beginning to fall off and accumulate on my music desk. I got the impending sense this piano was destined for the graveyard – soon. My technician estimated repairs at $15K (this didn’t include refinishing the aligator-skinned cabinet). This also didn’t guaranty the performance or sound once the piano was finished. Hmm. tough call.

My Perfect Piano

Instead of repair, I had decided long ago to look for a new piano – literally trying hundreds of different makes, models and styles in the quest for “my perfect piano”. I spent more than a year researching and ‘kicking tires’ until I had a pretty good grasp of what was out there – and how much it would cost. And this is lesson #1 (more about this later).

I had found some pianos I really liked – like the glorious Italian Fazioli F308 and F278 Concert Grands (which sell for around $150K). There’s also the Ravenscroft 275 – a hand-crafted 9′ Beauty which will set you back over $200K. And there were lots of Steinways – particularly the Steinway model B (6’11”) – which seemed like a bargain for just over $100K.


Let’s stop right there for a sec. I’m a musician. You think I have a hundred cool G’s lying around? Yeah, right – didn’t think so.

Well, I’d have to ‘settle’, right? Maybe a different brand or model?

Well, at least that’s what I told myself for the past two years…that is, until a month ago. I was talking with my good friend and mentor Craig. He’s a brilliant musician, producer, philosopher – these days I just call him “Maestro“. Anyway, we were talking about my piano. “Gary, tell me the one piano you really want?” he inquired. “Well, with the money I’ve saved, I can buy…”.  “No!” he interrupted. “Don’t settle. Make up your mind the piano you want, and you’ll figure out a way to make it happen” (Lesson #2 – also reminds me of Yoda’s advice to Luke “Do, or do not. There is no try“).

Decision Time

It was that day I decided: I wanted a Steinway B. It was the one piano which consistently impressed me in terms of overall performance and musical color.

I put the word out to all my music industry friends (I’ve got lots of contacts in the piano business). I put an ad on Craigslist. I was looking for a Steinway B.

Remember, these pianos can sell for $100K – rebuilt ones at the local Steinway dealer fetch over $50K. I couldn’t even afford half (does Steinway make a 44-note version?). That said, let me tell you, taking action (lesson #3) is when things really began to fall into place!


Within 30 days of my decision, a phone call arrived from my friend Mark who owns a Steinway dealership in North Carolina. He had heard I was looking for a Steinway B (my piano tuner and friend Rich had told him). A unique situation was developing at a local church and I’d need to move fast if I was interested (when the call came, guess who I was eating breakfast with? That would be Yoda, er.. I mean Craig). Bizarre. Um, I better act on this.

I called the church. They had a 1995 Steinway B (great vintage, by the way). They had stopped using it the past several years to make space on their small stage for their growing number of musicians. The church was getting a smaller digital piano – which was being delivered in two days. The B was scheduled to be removed at the same time!

At this point, my heart was beginning to race. I could sense the opportunity – but I’d have to think and move quickly to make it happen. The way I saw it – it was a win-win-win: The church wasn’t looking to make huge profits, but they did want to know the piano was going to a good home. The Steinway dealer (my friend Mark) didn’t want this beautiful Steinway showing up in a competitors store. Of course, I needed a great piano! I politely explained the situation to my contact at the church, discussed a potential “sale price”, and then he said he’d call me the next morning with their response.

Heart-beats and Dreams

I’m pretty sure my heart was beating extra loud that night as I dreamt of a new piano. The next morning I received the call. We had a deal! By sheer luck (like I said, some things are meant to be!), a local piano mover was making a run from Charlotte to Boston during Easter weekend (what are the chances?). By even dumber luck, the piano restoration company which was getting my OLD Steinway Piano was using the same piano mover! The pianos would be swapped on the same day.

Turn the Page

It was sad to say goodbye to my faithful old Steinway O. We had been through a lot – the birth of Gabriel and Siena. My first four “Naked Piano” albums. Countless hours of practice and composition. So many great memories. In the final days together, I wrote a melancholy piece currently titled “Goodbyes”. My new piano – my STEINWAY B – was picked up on Good Friday and delivered on Saturday. Sunday (Easter), I wrote a beautiful new piece (currently untitled). It’s amazingly coincidental this all took place during Easter week – a period and symbol of dramatic transformation.  One chapter closes. Another opens.

Powerful Lessons Learned

The lessons I learned which I believe can be applied to anything you truly desire is #1 learn everything you possibly can about your desire, so you can #2 decide what you REALLY want. But, it’s not until you #3 take action that you set yourself up to succeed. When you’ve got these three ingredients, magical things can truly happen.

I am so thankful for my new piano – and can’t wait to share some exciting new music with you soon!


Please leave your comments – I enjoy hearing from you!

– Gary

4 Responses

  1. Dan
    | Reply

    I am a firm believer in that “things happen for a reason.” and your story is living proof of that. Congratulations. I have an old upright piano manufactured in 1908 that I play for my own entertainment. It has seen me through a lot and lifted my spirits many times, so with that being said, I can imagine a little sorrow on your part in seeing the old one go. Life is about change though. I am looking forward to hearing “Goodbyes.”

    • pianoxcape
      | Reply

      Thanks Dan – I can’t help but feel these pianos have unique personalities – it’s hard not to get attached!

  2. Lorraine Nielsen
    | Reply

    Divine intervention; it was meant to be. You have been very blessed!

    • pianoxcape
      | Reply

      Yes.. how true. I’m very thankful and blessed indeed!

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