VIDEO: Luca Music adjusts with the times, goes high-tech

VIDEO: Luca Music adjusts with the times, goes high-tech

The Yamaha Disklavier Piano represents all the latest technology in pianos and is a big part of the expansion of the piano department at Luca Music in North Providence. (Breeze photos by Ethan Shorey)
Owner adding new and improved piano division

NORTH PROVIDENCE - John Luca started this place before Yamaha pianos ever made their debut in the United States.

Plenty of old-time music stores have shuttered their doors in this ever-evolving age of technology and innovation, but the new owners of the famed Luca Music, at 1530 Mineral Spring Ave., say this store won't be one of them.

In fact, they're expanding.

Larry Brown, the "piano guy" who purchased the Luca Music franchise from John Luca back in 2008, is in the process of bringing "a huge piano and keyboard department," with "a much bigger selection" than in the past, to the North Providence store.

The technology involved with the newest musical instruments, especially Yamaha pianos, is "incredible," said Brown, and the "re-grand opening" of "Luca Music and Piano Gallery" is putting that technology on full display.

Like John Luca, who founded Luca Music in 1960 and was always one of the first to adapt with the times, Brown says he wants to be a leader in today's world of music. Yamaha "is bringing out some incredible technology," and North Providence is now the place to find it, he said.

It is remarkable what pianos in the new and improved Luca showroom can do, said Brown. With a Yamaha Disklavier, for example, an owner has the ability to tap into an Elton John concert anywhere in the world and it will sound just like the famous musician is playing in the living room, as the keys play on their own.

"If Elton John makes a mistake, it makes a mistake," said Brown.

Watch the Disklavier in action:

With a Disklavier, a student could take a remote lesson from an elite instructor at the Moscow Conservatory and that instructor could show the student, from the other side of the world, how a song should be played. Insert a compatible disk with one's favorite classical or jazz music, and the piano will play along without missing a beat.

The only Rhode Island supplier and dealer for Yamaha pianos, keyboards, digital pianos and hybrid pianos, Luca Music and Piano Gallery offers "modern technology that can be used with all the modern devices," said Brown, and "keeps piano playing fun."

Young people today are just as into music as ever, maybe even more so with how easily they can find and imitate their favorite artist on YouTube, said Brown. Music stores like Luca Music have a real opportunity to capitalize on the excitement for music, he said, by first providing the instruments and then the knowledge of how to play them.

Luca Music and Piano Gallery, along with the adjoining Musician's Corner, owned and run by "guitar guy" Art Boffi, are inviting all musicians and aspiring musicians to come see their expansion in progress. Luca Music and Musician's Corner, "two businesses under one roof," pair up for one of the few full-line music stores in New England, said Boffi and Brown, offering everything from the top-of-the-line pianos to keyboards and guitars, from music lessons to service, parts, and repair of instruments.

"Basically they can come into this building and find anything they need now," said Brown. "Everything is under one roof."

Plenty of music stores claim to be full-line businesses, Luca told The Breeze, but Luca Music remains one of the few to actually back it up. You cannot be a full-line store and be missing key components of the music business, he said.

"If you use the words 'full-line music store' it has to complement the entire spectrum of the pianos we have here and the keyboards and the music department we have for the professional teachers that come in," said Luca.

Luca still owns the building at 1530 Mineral Spring Ave., a facility that houses a number of other businesses downstairs, and Brown and Boffi say they often lean on him for advice on the music business.

To this point, said Brown, his heaviest volume of piano business has been in Middletown, at his Piano Gallery of Rhode Island, but that balance will soon shift, with the greatest emphasis and selection of pianos to be found in North Providence.

Brown said he's come to the realization that North Providence and Mineral Spring Avenue need to be the central focus of his piano business. This is the more central location for music, with a greater number of residents within easy travel distance, and the reputation of the Luca name is too great not to take advantage of, he said.

"The name is as well known as coffee milk or Del's Lemonade," said Brown. "It's one of the longest-running institutions and John Luca is one of the best-known people in Rhode Island. Everyone's heard of Luca Music."

For more on Luca Music, visit www.lucamusic.com .

Legendary North Providence music man John Luca, center, still helps out with business at Luca Music, which is now owned by Larry Brown, left. Art Boffi, right, owns the corresponding guitar store at Luca called Musician's Corner.