Accessible London

Having travelled all over the UK, I often think to myself: is London the most accessible city in the country? We are seeing a really integrated transport system in the Capital, with great transport networks, both above and below ground and having step free access becoming more and more the norm for the commuters of London. As a Blind Piano Tuner, I can travel, using this amazing public transport system, carrying out my work and indulge in social activities. Having a smart phone, using GPS and route mapping, I don’t think I could do as well anywhere else in the UK. Transport for London, TFL, should be really proud of the network, and I would like to give thanks for the skills and insights of the city planners.




Audio announcements on trains and buses are helpful to so many people whether you are new to the city or travelling to other areas outside of your daily commute. These audio systems help along all stages of ones travel. Many accessibility advancements, I feel, have been a direct result of the Paralympic Games 2012, which as one of my passions, finds great coverage across London, providing all the more reason to fall in love with this beautiful capital of ours.

In praise of Greenwich

Thought I would offer a little insight into some of the areas in which I tune pianos throughout London.

One of the Boroughs I enjoy working in is Greenwich. I love the history of the place, and the mix of districts within Greenwich: Abbey Wood, Blackheath, Charlton, Eltham, North Greenwich, Thamesmead, Westcombe Park, to name but a few!

Each of these areas has its own personality, offering great diversity and a colourful mix throughout the Borough of Greenwich.

I really enjoy the history of Eltham, what with the quintessentially English royal Palace, and I wish so much that I could travel back in time and see what life was like there in the Fifteenth Century!

Having moved to London recently, I make the most of what the city has on offer, and you will see me going to concerts at the 02. I have also been fortunate enough to have walked over the top of the Dome, and taken the cable car across the Thames.

I really enjoy the trip aboard the Thames Clipper along the riverbank into Westminster. I especially love this trip at night time, marvelling at all the amazing buildings and bridges lit up as you make your way to Westminster Palace.

My favourite sights include St Paul’s cathedral, the amazing Shard at London Bridge, and Tower Bridge at night time. It was fascinating to discover that Tower Bridge is classed as a ship, and has a captain manning the helm at all times.

The reason I’m writing this blog about Greenwich is chiefly the result of my time spent exploring the Borough following my recent relocation to London.

Time is such an interesting concept, and I guess the Borough of Greenwich is the modern day focal point of time, “the Prime Meridian Line”.

I have so much more to say about the Borough, what with music and entertainment over the years, but for now, it is time for me to go!

What makes for the best piano tuning in Kensington & Chelsea?

The art of Piano tuning requires an expert. Such a person is not only qualified, they additionally possess the experience to work with all makes and models of pianos. We provide the most wide ranging piano tuning service in Kensington and Chelsea. If your piano sounds underwhelming or out of pitch, then it needs to be tuned, no doubt. In fact, the sooner, the better, since timely maintenance would allow the instrument to last longer, preventing damage due to wear and tear, whilst also saving you spending more cash long term.

Whilst we strive to provide a great experience, locally, to our friends in Kensington and Chelsea, let’s talk about what makes for a great service experience.

Tools

The most important consideration, in tuning your piano, is a no brainer. The importance of the right tools used for the job is self-explanatory. A range of mechanical implements make up our working gear. Owing to the varied tastes in piano models in Kensington and Chelsea, a good tool bag must be able to tackle all kinds of pianos, especially if the service provider does not know the instrument type beforehand. Therefore, be it a grand piano, an upright piano used at home for the family, or a rare square piano used for some of those Bach concertos. A competent service provider must have the common tools such as tuning hammer and lever, a variety of mutes, and a tuning fork or electronic tuning device. Furthermore, in case of a complicated job, one must be able to source the appropriate tools quickly, and preferably, locally within Chelsea and Kensington.

Honesty

Honesty is perhaps the most important virtue in every successful business. A good piano tuning service provider should employ honest technicians, who tend to look after your piano as if it was their own property. Success boils down to delivering on promises, and value for money. Honest communication becomes paramount in this industry, given that one of us would normally be working inside your premises.

Pre-Assessment

The best piano tuning service providers operating within Kensington and Chelsea will always assess the condition of your piano before even beginning the tuning process.We at AMH Pianos offer this free of charge, and the appraisal determines the nature of the work to be carried out, along with any additional costs to be incurred in the event of substantial work being required. A technician finds the strings that need to be tuned and using dampers, the healthy and loose strings are temporarily muted and secured. This assessment also determines the condition of the wood holding the strings. Poorly presented wood may demand that the instrument would first need to be repaired before tuning may commence. Always remember to ask your piano tuner for a full breakdown of their diagnosis. This ultimately determines the cost and time for the work to be completed.

Cleaning

Your piano is a delicate instrument and dust can hinder the performance of the keys. When you hire a professional piano tuner in Kensington and Chelsea, please request for the piano to be professionally cleaned at the same time. Avoid cleaning inside parts of your piano yourself;the internal mechanism is delicate and susceptible to irreversible damage if not handled correctly. However, cleaning the outside of the instrument is perfectly fine – in fact, highly recommended.

Conclusion

When you need your piano tuned, please avoid tackling the task yourself. Tuning a piano is markedly different from tuning a guitar, and professionals like ourselves have spent years perfecting our expertise for your convenience. Additionally, we are also able to assess and advise on the most efficient and cost-effective solutions in case there is such a need. Besides, such piano tuners have the right tools.

Visit AMH Pianos if you want to know more about the best piano tuning service in Kensington and Chelsea. Alternatively, why not look at our coverage checker to see if you are covered.

Best Piano Service Provider in Harley Street W1

Choosing the best piano service provider can be quite difficult especially if you haven’t used one before. In Harley Street W1 it isn’t any different but you can find the best piano service provider by looking at track records and asking people who have had their piano tuned for help. Whether you want your piano tuned, moved, repaired or restored it is important to choose a service provider you know will handle your treasured instrument with care. If your piano is carelessly handled, it can be damaged for good. Therefore it is imperative to find the best piano service provider in Harley Street W1 and the surrounding area to rise to the challenge.

Here are some ways to find the best piano service providers in your chosen area.

Experience

If you want your piano tuned, looking for an experienced service provider is highly advised. Look for a service provider using a professional body such as the
Association of Blind Piano Tuners
. Comb through the list of piano service providers and hire the one with the most experience. Compromise on experience at your own peril.

Insurance

A competent service provider would have surely taken out cover for all eventualities and for compliance. This includes public liability and professional indemnity. Of particular importance, perhaps, is the requisite piano removals insurance necessary to perform safe, hassle free relocation of your instrument.

Quality

Moving your piano can be a fraught and arduous experience. It is easy to accidentally scratch or damage the delicate mechanism if the instrument is not adequately shielded. In Harley Street W1 this problem is solved very easily by contacting us. We will help you with the padding of your piano and carrying it into the vehicle for transportation, even through tight spaces and around awkward corners, whilst minimising disruption.

We care more about your piano than the money you pay us for our services. We handle your piano with the utmost care through each element of the service that we provide. Get experienced, trusted, and qualified piano service providers to handle your musical equipment.

Conclusion

If you want more information about the best piano service provider in Harley Street W1 go to http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk. You will find everything you need to know about piano services.

London and the Arts

London is the ultimate land of art and performance. It is especially so when you consider the presence of the west end theatre, which has been considered by many to be the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking nations and fraternity.

It is a common occurrence for tourists to flock to watch and enjoy the art on display at west end theatres wherever. The attendance of people to these events has been hitting the roof for the last couple of years. This could also be due to the fact that some famous faces often star in the productions.

It is here that some of the most famous productions in this lifetime have been unveiled to the world. It also here that some of the longest standing productions have been made and released to the world. You cannot help but get amazed by the greatness that this industry has led to not only in London, but to the world at large.

Map of London Theathres
image courtesy: ArthurLloyd

Imagine the opportunities that it presents to many artistes as well as service providers like the piano tuners. Everywhere art is being made, you will find pianos in great use because pianos are a grand symbol of the past that music and art have come from. It is an instrument that has been there since time immemorial.

In a place like this where pianos are in great and frequent use, it would be a great opportunity for piano tuners to make really booming business. We all know that pianos need to be serviced every now and again to ensure they produce the melodic sounds they are meant to make.

London is providing opportunity for growth of the piano tuning business. It is an open market for those in the industry to transact up to their ability.

If you wish to know more about art in London, you can log on to http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk/.

Have Electronic Keyboards been the Death Knell for Pianos?

The modern music industry has seen a huge revolution whereby electronic keyboards have dealt a death blow to pianos. A few years back, there used to be a certain enjoyment that came with a musician stringing together the strings of a piano to bring together the song’s message. Playing piano in those days was an art that could only be learnt by the best and most talented.

Distinguished musicians made a career statement by choosing the piano as their instrument of choice. They learnt how to play it at the feet of the best teachers in the world and then translated this knowledge into powerful musical notes that were known to resonate in the hearts of their listeners.

evolving into a piano player

Today however, the industry has seen the advent of electronic keyboards. These keyboards have diminished pianos completely because of many reasons. One of these reasons is that electronic keyboards are easy to learn about. There isn’t much for musicians to learn because some even guide him/her on where to press to make the kind of sound they want.

Electronic keyboards can also accommodate a memory card. Musicians have turned to this method largely. They acquire pre-recorded material from somewhere else and insert it into its slot. When they are performing they only pretend to be playing the notes.

electronic keyboard

They are very user friendly because you do not need a teacher to guide you. There are many applications on the internet that have been made to teach first-timers how to play the keyboard. It isn’t hard to follow the simple instructions they give though.

Electronic keyboards have really done a number on pianos. They would need a lot of effort to catch up if they ever will.

If you would like to know more about this topic or talk to musical experts, log on to http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk. This is the chance of your lifetime.

I am a piano tuner in Hammersmith & Fulham, a local London business working throughout London and based in the west of the city. Having moved to Hammersmith two years ago, it is wonderful, getting to know the city and supporting clients in all settings. please take a look at the Areas Covered Page and see if you can find your location.
http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk/coverage.html
Thanks for reading the post.
Many thanks
Andy

Blind Piano Tuner Takes on London

Meet the overly optimistic visually challenged man who has taken life head-on literally. Many people would consider moving into a large city to start a new job daunting and probably even cower from it but that was not so for an overly determined Andy Howard from Sulgrave Road, Hammersmith.

Andy moved a year ago from Bath his hometown and into the large city London to start a job as a piano tuner. As a child, he was diagnosed with clinical blindness and has lived with the condition all his life. Navigating London at times is frustrating for people with sight but Andy claims that he enjoys the remarkable transport system in London. He says that travelling by train is very easy for him and it is the means of transport that he uses to move around the city when he is going to work on people’s pianos.

He only sings unending praises for the transport system that he says is well coordinated and the staff who work for it. He says the trains are very well placed to accommodate the needs for visually impaired individuals. This is due to the audio messages announcing every stop or any other important announcement. He gladly tells of how the attendants on the train help him up the platform and into the train and help him alight when he gets to his destination.

Andy Howard tuning a piano

The 46 year old says that another thing that aids his movement from one place to another is his smartphone. He tells us of the audio setup that he uses to set up his GPS to guide him to and from the places he has to work. The device reads out messages, emails and calls to him and he can send them in the same way.

Andy is a man determined to make a living despite the challenges that plague his efforts on a daily basis. He is happy with what he does and hopes to get more in the future.

If you want to know more about this wonderful man or have a piano that needs some care, visit http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk. Hurry today.

The Importance of being Techy

It is remarkable to see how technology has transformed the lives of disabled people over the past few years. As a piano tuner technician relocating to London, I find the use of modern IT both challenging and exciting at the same time; more importantly the mixing of information propagation and communication coupled with my company’s service offerings as if to say that the old world has met the new. The contrast between using an ipad sending and receiving emails to arrange and confirm the servicing or tuning of a concert grand or an upright piano seems incredibly fascinating. The fact that I would use my conventional musical training and a tuning fork to calibrate the sound of a musical instrument back to concert levels, traveling to an area of London on the underground, when somebody has probably used their smart phone to contact me via my website, really brings together several centuries of human evolution as a single activity.

Owing to the use of technology, I am now able to actively engage with my social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, or writing my blog, or even uploading videos to my YouTube channel. With the use of assistive technology, it is now easier than ever to find my way around all the areas covered by AMH Pianos using a GPS that can verbally explain turn-by-turn directions to any address or post code – something that was not available to blind travelers right up to the turn of the century. Now, it only seems sensible and logical for disabled people to expect so much more from life with the use of technology to compensate for their physical or sensory limitation. Having an attractive website that explains my work, actively engaging with other disability organisations in the industry like The Association of Blind Piano Tuners, planning and researching new opportunities and business ideas, and even participating in professional organisations like the Institute of Musical Instrument Technology (IMIT), can all be put down to my fascination and sheer curiosity for the way things work online. Being able to fundraise for RP Fighting Blindness by running the London Marathon, receiving valuable feedback from the reviews and comments written by my valued customers, plus planning my social and recreational activities is now much easier than it was for my peers in the past few decades. I would go as far as saying that the presence of adaptive technology makes it possible for me to live an active and independent life, and establish and expand my work, whilst constantly increasingly my productivity even in the busy and relatively new location that is London. I can only hope for it to improve with the passage of time and sincerely hope that all possible measures are taken by the Government, businesses and technology companies to allow more disabled people to become self-reliant and greater contributors in our society.

 

assistive technology and piano tuning

Within the general public there is often a fear associated with new technology. This is mainly due to a lack of understanding of how new systems work and how to best take advantage of the new possibilities on offer. I truly believe that by constantly improving our understanding of what’s out there, not only can we eliminate our fear, but we can also become better human beings and contribute more to the best of our abilities to the things that we do best. On that note, if you would like the best, high quality maintenance, repair or safe transportation of your piano, please do not hesitate to contact me, either via the new world method of email on your smart phone, tablet or laptop, or the old fashioned dog and bone on 07500 661581. Whatever your preference you can always expect friendly and professional service for which there is no technological substitute anywhere in the world.

 

Continental Variations

The cosmopolitan metropolis, our capital, has spawned many talented artists across all creative disciplines. As our population diversifies post world war II, we continue to embrace the fusion of styles, creating something entirely new representing the globalising, hybridising melting pot that is London. Extending our geographical reach across Europe, and further widening the net to the Middle East and North Africa, is it possible to separate London’s modern style, whose boundaries have been blurred into one another throughout history?

I notice an interesting modern musical phenomenon with a clear north-south divide. Music in southern Europe appears to have more of a pop variety, whilst the northerners lean towards heavier beats, culminating in the Scandinavian heavy metal craze. I can extend my argument by pointing to the boundaries of Europe where the style, to this day, retains its old world musical roots. One only needs to take southern Spain, where the music has Flamenco overtones (itself originating from the migrant Indian Gypsies), and Arabic and Hebrew styles due to the Muslim and Jewish communities respectively. Similarly Greek and Turkish music maintain their links to medieval classical music, as does the music of the Balkans and other southern European states. Note that Middle Eastern and North African music still sound similar to Klasma and Raga, that continue to be popular and prevalent long after their creation close to 1000 years earlier.

Now observe how Germanic, Celtic and similar northern European music has a more rock influence, with heavier, louder beats and a slightly classical melodic overlay. Additionally, notice how central European music appears to blur the boundaries between northern and southern styles, both in composition and performance. Interestingly, Scandinavian music continually produces heavy metal musicians in the modern charts, with acts like Lordi, even winning the Eurovision Song Contest.

Lordi winning Eurovision
Lordi winning Eurovision

Why this divide? Music is after all still performed using familiar instruments and mainly composed and taught in our curriculum using the piano, an instrument that has stood the test of time and heavily influences music across Europe and its surroundings regardless of genre. Certainly the northern regions experience extreme cold, whilst southern Europe and the Middle East can get temperatures in excess of 40c. Let’s also examine the more fast-paced, task-oriented life-style of the North, compared to the South’s relaxed, more leisurely approach. Surely these factors would affect the artists and adoring public alike. Factor in the industrial revolution, resulting in some of the most advanced infrastructure and social reforms on the planet in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. In contrast Southern Europe is presently experiencing a recession and a consequent drop in living standards. Returning to the arts, notice the linguistic precision English, German, Danish and Swedish and contrast this to the expressive richness of Italian, Greek, Turkish, and even Arabic and Hebrew. There is a musical connection, surely!

The Middle Ages had a more expressive way of doing things, longer attention spans and a depth of perception, since there were less things to do and even fewer advancements to compensate for human error. Hence the greatest classical musicians can be linked to this era. If these observations were to continue, would sound bytes replace symphonies? And does this mean that the next wave of musical geniuses will come from Southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa? Finally, what conclusions can be drawn about the emerging culture of London as the population continues to rise and diversify and styles and roots constantly merge into each other?

Whatever your style and preference, talk to AMH Pianos about how we can help you get the most out of your piano. Also, the opinions and views of my readers are always highly appreciated. Have a great and  wonderful 2015.

Happy New Year 2015
Happy New Year from AMH Pianos