Should You Tip a Piano Tuner?

The issue of whether or not it is good manners and proper etiquette to tip piano tuners, is very controversial. No one seems to agree on how the issue should be handled. There is no “one size fits all” here. Some feel that the tuner should be rewarded for his/her effort while others believe it is too much for them to expect gratuities; and there is another group that does not lean either way.

People usually have no reservations tipping other service providers, like valets, butlers, concierge staff or even hairdressers. Yet they seem to have a particular hangup when it comes to people within my industry. I wonder what difference there is between these individuals except their professions of course. Be that as it may, they are still service providers, and if it is right to tip some, then I think it is right to tip them all.

Due to the heated exchanges that ensue whenever this controversial topic is discussed, many have learned to resort to diplomacy when the subject is too much for them to handle. It is then you will hear them concur, saying that the choice should belong to the individual receiving the service, to decide whether to tip or not.

Gratuity Jar

For most service users, it appears that there is an unwritten rule: it’s ok to tip the tuner if they are self-employed but not if they are working for a large agency. It is not understood where these sentiments originated but since these make people feel better about not tipping piano tuners, there is nothing more that can be said. After all, the customer is always right. However, to reward good service, is an age-old incentive for even better receipt of provisions in the future.

Summary

If you have contracted the services of a piano tuner, it is up to you to decide whether the work they have done for you deserves a tip or not. If it does, tip them graciously, and you can expect your reward in return.

Conclusion

Remember to tip service providers if they have delivered satisfactory services for you. If you wish to know more about this and more, please log on to http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk/blog/, or get in touch. And finally, remember that you can always expect outstanding services from us on every occasion.

How to Help the Piano Tuner When They Come to Your Home

When a piano tuner comes into your home to tune your piano, it is essential that you provide a conducive environment for him/her to do their work in peace. If you distract or fail to support them you will have failed yourself greatly, with your instrument and your pocket bearing the most damage. There are many things that you can do for them. They don’t necessarily have to be huge tasks. After all, it is the small things that matter. These things include;

 No noise

When piano tuners come to your home to work for you, it is vital that you provide a serene environment for them. This kind of atmosphere will enable them to concentrate on the task they are carrying out. If there is noise they will keep on getting distracted and this loss of concentration could have serious implications on the task at hand.

 Hospitality

When service people are within the confine of your home, they are like guests. It is therefore polite for you to cater to their needs. If they need a glass of water give them one and if it’s meal time give them food although it is not expected or required of you. It is all just a matter of common courtesy.

 Distractions

Ensure that there are no distractions during the period that the tuner is doing work on the piano. Dust it for him/her beforehand and make sure there are no objects placed on top of it. Also restrict your activities to other rooms in the house, and away from the piano’s proximity to accord the tuner time to work in peace.

Summary

It is important to support tuners when they come to your home to work on your piano. It helps to make their work easier to some extent.

Conclusion

Visit http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk/faq.html to find out more ways to help piano tuners in your home, and read more helpful advice. And if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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

The Christmas-filled Winter Tones

It’s the run up to Christmas and the streets of London have a busy feel around them. Everywhere you see happy shoppers, excited kids and equally excited grown men dressed up as Santa Claus. Whilst each year a slew of new artists and albums are released, one can’t help but wonder why the same old Christmas pop music plays everywhere year after year, with countless remakes reaching the summit of the UK Top 40 Musical Charts. Certainly the style of music has evolved over the last few decades, with the classically themed 1930’s Christmas tunes giving way to Jazz in the 1950’s, Swing and Big Band in the 1960’s, which led to Rock & Roll, finally culminating in Electronic Techno by the mid to late 80’s. A simple question: what next?

Whilst one cannot criticise shifting tastes and human creativity, I feel somewhat aggrieved that the simple magical stylings, so rich in creativity appear largely absent from the Christmas soundscape as happy shoppers surround me with their shopping bags and festive mood. Whilst new and innovative styles of music, such as Rap, R & B, DubStep and Drum & Bass, make up our yearlong listening, why do they remain largely absent from our Christmas music? More pertinently, why have recording artists not been capitalising on this rather glaring omission?

Call me old-fashioned, or perhaps not quite down with the kids, but I was rather excited when in 2003, the Darkness released a brilliant Christmas tune that nearly made the Christmas Number One. I’m certainly not criticising any of the 80’s music either, since those artists did an amazing job back at the time that has stood the test of nearly two decades and still going strong. I am just trying to make a simple point about the perennial lack of new music and innovation around this joyous and festive time. Furthermore, it feels like there is a dilution and loss of the wonderful values and traditions that make Christmas a time for peace, love and togetherness. It’s the good values that create a great society and wonderful people. Whilst the underlying Christian traditions behind Christmas have been largely replaced with our society’s overemphasis on commercialisation, is there a direct correlation between the simple creativity of the seasoned professional musicians and its replacement with ‘X Factor’ like instant gratification of novices craving 15 minutes of fame? Perhaps I love a good simple melody which despite its simplicity, oozes style, warmth and creativity, and can be easily hammered out on a lovely grand piano.

Have you listened to a good Christmas tune lately? What are your favourite Christmas memories or melodies? Please share your views and opinions in the Comments. And from everyone at AMH Piano Tuning have a great Christmas and very best wishes for the Holiday.

http://www.itv.com/xfactor
Merry Christmas from AMH Pianos

The Musical Fireworks!

It is the season for pyrotechnics across Britain. It normally begins with Halloween & gathers momentum, culminating with the new year with a bang. Fire has fascinated man since the dawn of time; the ancient  Greeks regarded it as one of the primary elements, & the Zoroastrians even worship it. The old traditions of history, like the Hindu wedding ceremony & the Olympic torch, all depict a harmonious relation between fire & musical accompaniment. So as I wander across the busy streets of London, I can just imagine a time when the historical grandure of London would have consisted of gaslights, architecture & beautiful music – perhaps some of the finest works ever created.

Music through Europe’s  history has been created to grip the listener, captivate the imagination & provoke thought. There were no editing tools, no recording studios & tracks did not end after four minutes. We of course now have more types of instruments at our disposal than ever before. It makes me wonder that if people have still maintained the love for fireworks- simple yet spectacular in appearance- then what has happened to our oratory tonal sense? Classical music was simple in execution & creation, despite the complex  layers of stories & human emotions conveyed. What has happened to us that our musical concentration has waned in spite of easier access to sound, whilst simultaneously, our fascination with fire has heightened as we find it possible to create & enjoy newer ways of enjoying bigger & better fire based displays, even in the face of fire safety legislation & our unpredictable weather?

London fireworks
London fireworks – courtesy: thetimes.co.uk

Could our changes in perception be explained by events that are evolutionary, or are these events revolutionary? And I wonder if there was an event that marked the turnaround for us humans to develop our appreciation of light at the expense of our appreciation for good sound? Are our combined senses now drawn to entirely different types of rhythms, that the transverse light waves resonate more with our consciousness, compared to the longitudinally generated sound waves? Most important of all, are these trends reversible, and if so, then what would be the catalyst to tip the balance to a more stable equilibrium? I wish to leave my readers with these thought provoking questions. Meanwhile, I am hoping for a new, more fulfilling sound amidst the fireworks leading up to Christmas & beyond.

Have a melodious week ahead, from everyone at AMH Piano Tuning.