When Should You Replace Your Piano?

When Should You Replace Your Piano?

How often should you replace your piano? Pianos are one of the most durable personal items you own. Still, they can’t last forever. What should you watch for? How will you know?

Pianos aren’t like other pieces of furniture. For many households, it’s one of their prized possessions. It may have been handed down from a favorite grandmother. They may intend to hold onto it until their children want to bring it into their own homes. 

Yet even though pianos come with the stigma of strength and longevity, they are delicate instruments that will wear down over time. Each piano is built from more than 10,000 pieces, all working together to create a classic design. Wooden parts are connected to metal wires, held together by adhesive glue. Even with proper maintenance and repair, it won’t last forever. 

Here is an example of the average lifespan. 

Year one

Your piano needs a lot of TLC during its first year. With wood and metal recently formed and fitted together, it requires consistent tunings during this time to ensure it stays in proper condition. Without these tunings, it will need more repair, including voicing and pitch correction, in the future. 

Year two to year ten

With proper care in the first year, the piano stabilizes by the second year. As long as your piano acclimates well to the surroundings, and isn’t placed in a volatile environment, (humidity swings, drafts from windows and doors, direct sunlight, etc) it should settle in and require regular tunings. The tone may change as the hammers flatten or change their shape from the constant wear of moving against the strings. Voicing is a part of a regular maintenance plan. If you work with a piano technician regularly, they will be able to offer guidance on keeping your piano in the best shape. 

Year ten to year thirty

Maintenance is critical as your piano settles in. If it’s a high-quality piano, it should wear in nicely as it’s well cared for. Hammers will continue to wear over time. The action will start to wear depending on how often it’s played. This is where well-cared-for piano ages well compared to one neglected and pushed aside. With temperature variances and humidity swings, soundboards can crack, strings and pins can rust, and the finish can dull. 

Year thirty to year fifty

This is where a piano wears down. Hammers wear down. Action starts to fail. Tonal quality disappears. Even with regular tuning, a technician may start to recommend repair and restoration. 

This is where people start to wonder if replacing your piano is better than making significant repairs. This is where it’s time to ask questions:

  • Does the piano hold significant meaning to me:
  • What does a reconditioned piano look like? Is it worth it to me?
  • Would I be better with a new piano? 

This can be a difficult decision, especially if there is an emotional attachment to the piano. 

Need help? That’s what we’re here for. 

We can help you make the right decision to suit your needs. Whether repairing the piano you have, or purchasing a new or used one to suit your needs better, we have the answers you’ve been looking for. 

Are Piano Lessons Really Worth It?

Are Piano Lessons Really Worth It?

Many of us are rethinking where we spend our time. We’re getting back to simpler times, where we spend more time at home doing things we love. 

Does that include making music? Are you contemplating bringing a piano into your home? Are piano lessons really worth the time and effort? 

Hobbies are what give us inspiration for a life well lived. From cooking to sports to making music, it can be a stress reliever as well as keep us motivated. 

Yes, you can learn piano on your own. But should you? Are piano lessons really worth it? This guide will help you evaluate your options and determine if lessons are the right avenue for you. 

Learning has changed over the years

As adults, many of us were introduced to music at a young age. Your parents may have placed you in piano lessons in grade school, or introduced you to music through your local school band. 

Do you remember playing and practicing prior to the internet? Chances are you visited a home in the neighborhood where someone provided lessons one day a week. You learned based on how well that person played. You didn’t have opportunities to “shop around” for the best instructor. Unless you thoroughly loved making music, and pursued it in school, your hopes and dreams grew or died based on how well that person performed their instruction. 

That’s no longer the case. Thanks to the internet, you have the opportunity to learn in any style that works for you. Want one-on-one instruction? Prefer video challenges? Want group format? Prefer to make a game of it? All of that is possible … and more. 

We also have YouTube. If something challenges you, with a little research, you can find videos that will describe how to overcome your questions in a matter of minutes. You can quite literally improve your playing by learning from the best of the best, all over the world. 

Piano lessons today are all about refinement. They’re about getting you the instruction you need, when you want it, in the format that works best for you. 

Today’s lessons include

Are piano lessons worth it? They are if you want to improvise. Luckily, you can find different lesson types in whatever manner works best for you. 

  • Individual instruction
  • Group format
  • Video lessons
  • In person classes

You can find instruction for free on sites like YouTube. Or you can receive master coaching from some of the best piano players in the world. 

Your first step is deciding now is the time to take up the piano, and make piano playing a bigger part of your life. 

Should I Refinish My Piano Myself?

Should I Refinish My Piano Myself?

Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Do you enjoy little projects around the home? 

The piano you brought home from your grandmother’s house may be the perfect thing to tinker with on the weekends. 

Or is it? 

If you’ve been asking, “should I refinish my piano myself,” we have a few thoughts to help you along. Restoring an old piano may seem like an easy thing to do. We have a few words of advice. 

Pianos are complex instruments with over 10,000 pieces in place. While you may see hardwood, keys, and pedals on the outside, inside is an intricate array of wires, bolts, wood, and other components all linked together to create an instrument. 

On the outside, you may notice dingy wood, dusty keys, and maybe a cabinet waiting for a new coat of paint or stain. That seems easy enough. 

But stripping it down takes a lot of work. It means stripping off all the lacquer finish, and sanding it down. Will the keys be protected while you do that? What about the strings?

To restore a piano the right way means taking every piece apart and ensuring its quality.

  • The action frame
  • The keyboard
  • Hammers
  • Soundboard
  • Dampers
  • Pins
  • Treble strings
  • Bass strings
  • Legs
  • Wheels

Do you wish to restore your piano to its original condition? That can involve hunting for the right parts, finding as close to the original as possible. 

Do you understand the nuances of ensuring the soundboard is installed correctly? Are the strings adequately tightened? Are the hammers properly adjusted? 

Most people don’t have the necessary skills to ensure every piece of the piano remains in good working condition. 

Should you refinish your piano yourself? Only you can decide. 

If you want to leave it to a professional, we can help you restore it to its original glory, and make it an instrument you’ll be proud to display for years to come. 

Piano or Technology? Which Offers Your Child More Benefits?

Piano or Technology? Which Offers Your Child More Benefits?

You don’t have to look very far to determine how we’re incorporating technology into children’s lives. From birth on, we focus on technology. Ever seen a child under one with a smartphone in hand? Whether they’re watching videos or listening to sounds, they’re already enthralled with these handheld devices. 

But is that for the best? There’s no denying our culture pushes STEM on kids from the time they can walk. But are they missing out on something greater? 

Can music still benefit humans? Is piano still a skill set that benefits a child’s life? Should you bring piano or technology into their daily activities? Are there enough reasons to bring both to life? 

Today’s kids will pick up digital skills; it’s required in the classroom. They get it whether you introduce it or not. 

But piano brings a lot of other benefits to a child’s life, all of which can help them for a lifetime.

Piano playing helps develop intellect

The mere act of learning music, understanding how notes come together to create sound, can help develop and improve a child’s IQ. They become better at focusing, which means they focus better at school and work activities. 

Piano playing improves listening

There’s a lot that goes into playing the piano: hand-eye coordination, music reading, and listening to name just a few. They also have to listen to the instructor and put new skills into play. If you teach piano early in life, it’s a skill that will help them for a lifetime. 

Piano playing provides stress relief

Unlike sports, piano is a skill that can last a lifetime. There’s something calming about sitting down at the keyboard and losing yourself in a song. You can’t do that kicking or throwing a ball in your seventies or eighties. Plus, there is significant evidence that music theory helps with memory as you age. 

Piano playing boosts self esteem

Whether they showcase their work individually, or join a band and create music together, this is one way children can express themselves creatively, and enjoy the process. It’s a great way to teach kids that if they set goals, they can accomplish anything. And hear the outcome after a little hard work. 

There’s no question technology will be a part of your child’s life. It’s the way of the world. 

Music offers additional benefits you can’t find in a computer keyboard. Whether they’re dreaming of starring in the next pop band, or you simply want to instill a lifelong love of music, piano may be the perfect way to achieve your goals. 

It Doesn’t Take Natural Talent To Be a Great Piano Player

It Doesn’t Take Natural Talent To Be a Great Piano Player

Too often, we associate creative hobbies and artistic endeavors to be associated with natural talent. You’ve either got it or you don’t. 

Child prodigies only make this belief even stronger. When children become known around the world for their talents before they are even in their teens, we ask ourselves: Should I even pursue my love of making music?

In short, yes. 

Sure, prodigies will always continue to amaze us. That’s the definition of being a prodigy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your love and do amazing things with it. You can play for enjoyment, or pursue it further and make it your career. There is more than enough room for everyone that chooses to bring music into their lives. 

You don’t need natural talent to be a great piano player. 

What you need is the mindset to become a great piano player. 

If you set your mind on becoming the best piano player you can be, you’ll have what it takes to put it in your life, for life, and do what it takes to get there. 

Do you think Warren Buffet had a knack for investing? Or Elon Musk had a talent for building better cars? Or the Beatles just knew how to create great songs?

Nope. How each and every one of them got there was with practice. And patience. And the ability to never give up. 

How much practice do you need to be great at playing the piano?

The answer is: Is there a time when you don’t have to practice to be at the top of your game?

The true leaders in every industry, every niche, understands that to be great, you have to work at it. Again and again. 

When you stop, you start losing your skill. You start seeing your talent fade. 

So the only question you need to ask now is: How great of a piano player do you want to be? 

Should I Let My Child Quit Piano Lessons?

Should I Let My Child Quit Piano Lessons?

Starting your child on piano lessons is often the easy part. You invest in a piano, you buy a few music books, you hire a piano teacher. 

But months or even years in, your child isn’t thriving. She doesn’t enjoy it, and it’s more of a chore than a fun activity. You’re tired of forcing the issue. Should you let your child quit piano lessons?

That’s a top many parents struggle with each year. After all, with dozens of activities to choose fro, and an increasingly rigorous school day, is piano worth it? 

Should you let your child quit piano lessons?

Here are a few things to consider as you’re making your decision. 

What is she really learning?

If you talk regularly with her piano teacher, has she noticed a change in behavior? Can they help to change what she’s learning? 

Many kids start out with specific goals in mind. Maybe they want to play the piano like their favorite musician. But when they get into the everyday learning that starts at the beginning, it can be boring and humdrum. 

Talk with the instructor. Would she benefit from changing to a different class? Maybe group lessons would get her excited again. Maybe switching out the songs that she’s playing. 

Especially at the beginning, it’s important to investigate different ways of accomplishing the goal. Is there a way to entice learning in a new way?

Evaluate goals

Sometimes kids get too busy, and they grow tired of having an overstuffed calendar. This may be time to sit down with her and discuss what’s really important. 

Some kids love music. They want to explore it from different angles. But because they are over-scheduled, they lose interest and grow weary. Find out what your child really loves and put other things aside. It may also be time to add other fun activities that surround her interests. 

If she truly does love music, how can you get her involved in other ways? Can she play the piano with a band? Or how about joining a local musical – it’s a great way to show off her talents. Kids often don’t know how they can use their skills. It’s up to you to give them options. 

Talent

This often has to do with self-doubt. If your child wants to quit because she thinks she doesn’t have talent, it might be time to consider what’s going on. Is she a perfectionist? Is she scared of playing in front of people? 

Most musicians aren’t born with talent. Talent comes from years of practice and determination. 

Talent can also be determined by goals. Do you want to be professional? Or do you just want to play music for your own enjoyment? Two different paths. 

For most, the concept of playing the piano is all about self enjoyment. And if you enjoy what you’re doing, what else matters? 

Can A Grand Piano Be Stored On Its Side?

Can A Grand Piano Be Stored On Its Side?

People invest in grand pianos for a variety of reasons. The sound and quality. The beauty of the instrument. For the way it looks in your home. 

You can’t walk into a room with a grand piano and not be aware of its presence. It commands attention. 

Yet for as much as you love your piano, there are times when you’ll have to move it. 

Maybe you’re having new flooring installed, are renovating your home. 

Or maybe you’re moving to a new home, but it will be weeks or months before your piano has a new home. Storing it is the only option. 

But storing a grand piano isn’t an easy task. If only you could prop it up on its side. It would take far less room. 

Can you store a grand piano on its side? 

Moving a piano

Grand pianos are one of the largest items you will ever bring into your home. The only way to get it into your home is to prop it up on its side – it’s the only way it will ever make it through a door. 

What’s more important than turning it onto its side is to ensure it’s safe during the process. 

  • Ensure nothing is inside that could damage the inner workings of the piano – pens, bobby pins, pencils, small toys. Anything that could damage the strings, soundboard, or other equipment. 
  • Protect all edges of the piano during movement. Use blankets and bubble wrap to ensure all edges are safe. 
  • Never roll a piano on rollers. Instead, make sure you have the appropriate workforce available to safely lift the piano throughout the moving process. 

Storing a piano

While it’s okay to move a grand piano on its side, storing it is another manner. When you tip a grand piano sideways, it puts pressure on the inner workings of the piano in a way that isn’t intended. For a short time – while moving it – your piano will adjust and be okay. But for an extended time period, it can start to cause damage. 

Your piano should be stored the right way, and that includes upright instead of on its side. It should also be placed in a temperature controlled space, rather than in a garage or storage unit without heat or air conditioning. It should also be covered to prevent a layer of dust.

And unless you have experience moving a piano, rely on the professionals instead. It’s one of the heaviest and bulkiest pieces inside your home. Despite its size, it’s also one of the most delicate. Leave it to the professionals to ensure your piano is ready to play when you move it back into place.

Why Is A Grand Piano Lid Open?

Why Is A Grand Piano Lid Open?

Grand pianos have a distinct look to them. Picture it now, sitting in the middle of a stage. Long and graceful, the lid propped up, the tonal quality deep and rich. 

That’s what comes to mind in the center of a concert hall. But what if you own a grand piano? Is it wise to keep the lid open all the time? What’s the purpose? 

On top of a grand piano is a wooden cover called the lid. It’s hinged at the spine, and has the ability to raise and lower depending on the discretion of the piano player. 

In order to raise the lid, a grand piano has a wooden stick called a lid prop. Most pianos also come with a smaller stick called a half prop. These sticks give you the ability to control the way your piano sounds as you play. 

A raised lid serves as a reflecting device for the way sound waves move from the depth of the piano outward into the room. The waves come off the internal soundboard and are reflected outward to the audience. 

Lid props also have the important job of being able to hold the weight of the piano lid. The larger the piano, the heavier the lid, the more weight the lid prop will have to take. 

While most grand pianos have two lid props, you will find some even have three. The different sizes will each have an appropriate cup holder on the underside of the lid. It’s essential to use the right cup with each lid prop, as the lid won’t be properly supported otherwise, and could lead to a dangerous situation. If it falls, it can severely damage the inner working of your piano. And if you or a family member is anywhere near, it can cause severe injury. 

Should I Buy a Piano or a Keyboard?

Keyword: piano or keyboard

Summary: If your child has expressed an interest in learning to play the piano, the first place to start is by investing in a new instrument. Piano or keyboard, which should you choose? 

As a parent, you want your kids to try many things. And it doesn’t take a lot of looking to realize you can quickly fill up their days with plenty of things for them to do. Sports? A painting class? Music?

While sports keep their bodies physically active and helps build team spirit, music builds self esteem and improves everything from coordination to comprehension. If you want them to perform better in their STEM classes, music is the way to go. 

Once you decide to enroll your child in music, piano lessons are one of the best instruments they can learn to play. No other instrument is as versatile as a piano. Melody or harmony, playing alone or with a group, there’s something for everyone when learning to play the piano. 

But if you’re ready to enroll your child in piano lessons, they have to have a piano to practice. Piano or keyboard? Which should you invest in if you don’t already own one? 

What’s your price range?

For an acoustic piano, you have lots of options. You can select a good used piano, or go with a new piano if you know it’s going to be in your life for years to come. Acoustic gives you the ability for classic training, while keyboards offer extras to help budding artists digitize their work. With both pianos and keyboards, there is something for everyone. Consider your choices wisely. 

How mobile do you want to be?

With an acoustic piano, your practice will be limited to the location of your instrument. With a keyboard, you can pack it up and take it with you. Mobility can be especially good for teens that wish to be part of a band, or take their instruments to college. But for classic training, having a great acoustic piano to play will give them added benefits to their play. 

How will you play? 

Keyboards offer the ability to plugin and play without anyone having to hear it. But don’t discount acoustics if you desire this feature – many can have this ability implemented, making it easier to practice in busy households. 

Are you prepared for upkeep? 

With an acoustic piano, it will need tuning regularly. And depending on where you purchase it from, it might need repair work. Keyboards don’t require the same upkeep with tunings, but they can require upgrades as your child grows and changes in ability. 

No matter what your preference is for selecting the right equipment for your needs, the best place to start is with learning about your options. We’re happy to share our knowledge and love of pianos with you anytime. Just stop by. 

A Guide To The Different Types Of Pianos

A Guide To The Different Types Of Pianos

Pianos come in many different styles, designs, shapes, and sizes. How do you know which one is best for you?

Start right here with our guide to the different types of pianos. It depends on many things, like:

  • Size of your home
  • How often you play
  • Your decor taste
  • How much you choose to invest

Overall, acoustic pianos fall into one of two categories: vertical or horizontal. Verticals are uprights. Horizontals are grands.  

You’ll find verticals or uprights are the most popular category as they fit into many different spaces. It’s also one of the most affordable instruments you can purchase. 

The soundboard is vertical, so the strings and dampers run downward across the board. As a note is played, the hammers strike outward, and take a bit longer to return to resting position. That causes a slight delay. 

But don’t think every grand is superior in performance to an upright; it isn’t true. Both verticals and horizontals can be high quality investments that will provide you with years of enjoyment. 

In each category, you might run across different names. 

Vertical:

Spinet – 33 to 35 inches high, the smallest of the pianos. It’s a popular choice for small spaces, but will have less power and accuracy than other models. 

Console – 40 to 43 inches high, it produces a more enhanced tonal quality, and comes in a variety of styles and finishes. 

Studio – 45 to 48 inches high, you’ll find this in schools and training center. It’s durable and has a high quality sound. 

Full – 48 to 60 inches high, this is the tallest of the uprights. You’ll probably find this in your grandparents’ home, and maintains its sound over time. 

Grand:

Petite – 4’ 5” to 4’11” is the smallest of the grands. 

Baby – 4’11” to 5’6” is one of the most popular because of its aesthetics, sound, and affordability.

Parlor – 5’7” to 6’4”

Ballroom – 6’5” to 7’5”

Concert – 7’6” and above

The largest of pianos you’ll find in the best music halls around the world. Why? Because they create the best music. 

There are many different types of pianos – how do you know which is best for you? Stop by today and let’s consider your options. We’ll help you find the right piano for your needs. 

Why Every Note On Your Piano Uses Multiple Strings

Why Every Note On Your Piano Uses Multiple Strings

f you’ve ever looked inside your acoustic piano, you’ve noticed a plethora of strings attached to tiny hammers that move every time you press down on a key. 

While it might seem like a piano would have one string attached to every note, that isn’t the case. Depending on the key you strike, the note will be produced with one, two, or even three strings. 

The higher notes on the piano will use three strings to produce a sound. 

The lower notes will use two strings. 

The lowest notes will have a single string. Why Every Note On Your Piano Uses Multiple Strings

What’s more, if you use the damper pedal to create a quieter sound, the strings are impacted by the action as well. When you press the damper pedal, the action is shifted inside the piano so that the hammer strikes fewer strings – it moves down to one or two. 

Head back in time; the piano was originally called piano-forte. Loosely translated, forte means strong, or loud. That’s because when striking the keys, you can produce a loud, full-bodied sound like no other instrument. The strings allow this transfer of energy to occur. 

If you had just one string attached to every key, the higher notes would produce a smaller sound. Those upper notes wouldn’t have the same high-quality tone and volume that you get from the lower notes. Multiple strings provide more tension. Multiple strings give you a more robust sound. 

Multiple strings also provide a tuner a greater chance of producing a quality sound. As a tuner is working to bring each note into tune, she can actually detune the string combinations to change the timbre. As she compares note to note, her goal is to produce a rich, warmer sound. 

The strings on your piano are vitally important to the sound of your piano. If they are out of tune, you’ll hear it every time you press down on a key. 

When was the last time you had your piano tuned?