If learning the piano is on your list of resolutions for 2015, you might want to get on that sooner rather than later. In a recent report from Billboard, it was revealed that piano stores across the US are closing down, due to an unsupportably decreasing number of sales.
In the past century, since piano sales peaked at around 364,500 sold, the number has been gradually decreasing to the point where now less than 40,000 pianos are finding a home each year. Reasons expressed include fewer kids taking up the instrument due to other extracurricular activities taking up their time, as well as the increasing digitalisation of music production.
"Computer technology has just changed everything about what kids are interested in," admits piano technician Larry Fine. "the idea of sitting and playing an hour a day to learn piano is not what kids want to do."
However it's safe to say that even as music becomes more electronic, the piano still has a firm place in the hearts of musicians everywhere. Dance-pop superstar Lady Gaga never shies away from the chance to turn one of her more electronic tracks into a soothing piano ballad while onstage, having been practicing the instrument since she was four. Plenty of artists still rely on the piano not just as a backing instrument for their songs, but as a learning tool; its simplistic layout is great for practicing notes, chords and scales.
In fact, in the hopes that we can inspire some more budding piano pros out there, we've put together a playlist of some of our favourite piano-driven tracks from the past few years.