Sunday, June 23, 2013

Steinway Factory Tour, Astoria, Queens

The Steinway Factory in Astoria, Queens offers tours by schedule.  This weekend they opened their doors to the public for a 160th Anniversary Celebration.  

If you have a child interested in math, science, technology or engineering, this is a tour you may want to schedule, although I would recommend a nice fall day when the temps are below 70!  The fifth floor of a factory gets mighty hot on a 85 degree day....

We met engineers who determine if the wood is the right dryness and quality.  The grain is laid at specific angles to achieve optimum sounds. Coders input custom codes that guide massive drills to cut the most intricate details.  Strings are laid at precise tensions.  Keys are weighted.  Wood is bent, shaped and treated. I would like to schedule another tour in the fall after the information we absorbed is processed and we can better understand the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into the making of one piano.  

Now I understand that the cost of these instruments is indeed justified.

The coolest part of our tour was seeing the new piano ordered by Lang Lang packed and ready for shipment!  Coincidence?  Serendipity?  I think it is a sign that we are doing okay, and our learning is all intertwined with wonder and awe.


  1. This looks like an amazing experience! I'm going to share this with my girls :)

    1. I think I took in the most, asked the most questions and marveled at the level of precision that goes into the making of a grand piano. I was not sure the girls were that into it - it was super hot, pass out kind of hot, but they both said they loved it and would like to go back for another tour , when it is cooler, to learn more.

    2. UGH, that kind of hot is no good! The heat really affects me badly, and I know I wouldn't have done well with that!
      There have been plenty of times when I feel like I got more out of a field trip than my girls did, but regardless, I always know that they've taken something away from it. As adults, we simply have a different perspective and appreciation. I think our job is to expose them to lots of things, share our own enthusiasm, and see where it takes us. I'm sure your girls gained from your interest and attention to the details :)

  2. This looks like a very interesting field trip. You guys see so many great things in your neck of the woods.

    1. I am on so many mailing is a pain to deal with spam but I find some gems too. I learned about this from being on the Steinway Gallery's email list -- why we are on this I don't know. We could never afford a retail priced Steinway! But it does provide information about piano concerts and events like this!

  3. What a wonderful trip! I know Grace LOVED it. All the pictures are wonderful. You DO have so many great opportunities to explore and visit great places.


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