Stephen Merriman plays one of the many pianos in his shop, Merriman's Piano, on March 27, 2020. (Annacaroline Caruso/WVPE)
Indiana residents, and others across the country, are staying home because of a shelter-in-place order meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. What better time to pick up a new hobby? A music shop in South Bend is encouraging people to learn piano.
Stephen Merriman is the owner of Merriman’s Complete Piano Service. His shop is closed to walk-ins but he’s still taking appointments and making home visits to tune pianos for customers, while following CDC guidelines of course.
Merriman doesn’t just work on pianos, he sells them too. He estimates that he’s collected about 300 old pianos over the years. Most of them need some work whether that be a tune up or glueing some pieces together.
“Now I’m at this point where I have many, many pianos that I have to find homes for this year, now, this day.”
So now, Merriman is giving the pianos away. But there’s still a cost to moving it and any work that needs to be done. Still, it’s cheaper than buying a new piano.
He said it’s the perfect time to learn and the music itself can be healing.
“There’s so much in our lives that’s difficult and complex and we’re navigating and we’re always struggling with something. Music for me has been this unbelievable life saver.”
Merriman said his business is struggling right now, but he’s happy to still be getting some calls for piano repair. That means people are turning to music.