The Great American Piano Giveaway

Noel Holston
ILLUMINATION
Published in
5 min readJun 20, 2024

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People are saying, “Take my piano, please!”

Free pianos are easy to come by these days. Photo by Noel Holston (Author)

My wife got herself a piano the other day, a second-hand Baldwin upright manufactured in the mid-1990s and in excellent condition. It would retail new for between $10,000 and $14,000.

The price? Zero, although we did have to pay some guys to move it to our house.

Amazing?

That’s not the half of it. The truly amazing thing is that she had her pick of dozens of pianos, even a baby grand or two, on Facebook Marketplace for pocket change or less. Many were free.

We’re in the midst of a great piano giveaway. In fact, it’s been quietly underway for at least a decade.

Never mind that piano-based music has been a beloved part of American culture from the days of Scott Joplin through Fats Waller, Ray Charles, and Dave Brubeck. Never mind that there are still big-name entertainers who tickle the keys — Alicia Keyes, John Legend, Harry Connick Jr., and Lady Gaga, just to name a few.

Acoustic pianos just aren’t in tune with the times. The piano in the parlor has gone the way of, well, the parlor.

“Pianos are much less in demand than they have ever been before,” says Tricia Tunstall,” a teacher and the author of Note By Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson. “Fewer people are…

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