Ownership of a piano is a major investment choice. Like all investments, it should be taken care of to ensure that it thrives and is worthy of the investment that was put into it. Taking care of a piano greatly involves tuning and maintenance. Every now and again it is important to tune your piano to ensure the immeasurable joy and melody that the instrument brings into your home and life is maintained. When it goes for a while without tuning, the grand instrument loses the tonal melody it produces and the melody quality that it produces is compromised.
Many people keep asking how often they should have their pianos tuned but that answer depends on a number of variables. This servicing time range is not the same for all kinds of piano. It is therefore very important to work in close contact with an expert to tell you when your piano is due for tuning. The longer you postpone your appointment with a tuner, the direr the situation your piano is in becomes. With time the bill increases exponentially. The quality of your instrument into which you invested so much reduces.
It is good to have your piano tuned at least every six months even if you do not use it much or at all. This allows it to remain in good condition when you come to use it again. If you use it regularly you should also have it tuned just as often. It is very important to take care of your assets and investments so that you get value for your money. The same is true in the maintenance of pianos.
Make sure to have your piano tuned frequently by a qualified service provider so that you can enjoy quality melodies for longer. If you wish to get in touch with such an expert, visit http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk/. Why wait, do it now.
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.
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.
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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Having moved to London not so long ago, I have noticed a definite surge in my energy. The crowds and the hustle and bustle, coupled with the relentless pace of life, are all definitely a shock to anyone’s system, especially if the person has not been accustomed to living in big cities. Now that I am settled and gradually becoming more established, I can certainly appreciate the whole spectrum of activity and opportunities that this world-renowned capital of ours has to offer… and I love it more every day.
Having lived in Bristol and Bath for a considerable chunk of my life, I was fortunate enough to attend plenty of events that featured some of the best music I have ever heard. Whilst Bristol may be renowned for its music scene, there is certainly no place like London when it comes to the Arts. Having just attended an Ed Sheeran gig last week, it got me thinking: does London’s music tempo match its lifestyle?
Comparing the size, population and average distance travelled per week, the pace of London completely dwarfs that of Bristol. I now find myself walking and talking faster and I certainly want to achieve a lot more in the smallest possible timeframe. Assuming that this phenomenon applies to every Londoner, does it mean that I am now listening to more up-tempo music to match my energetic lifestyle? London has certainly given rise to many musical genres including Drum and Bass and more recently Dubstep – both being a somewhat up-tempo take on the world famous West Indian influences of Reggae, Calypso and Steel Band. I have not conducted formal scientific research. However, I do wonder whether or not my music loving customers expect their pianos to be prepared differently to produce more up-tempo and louder sounds so that they can play at top-notch speed. Given that a piano is always a piano and serviced in exactly the same way to produce the best quality of music regardless of location, are there underlying factors expected by the piano player to aid their composition that matches the pace of their lifestyle. It goes without saying that with each passing day I seem to be working faster and more efficiently in line with the London way of life.
Humans have a tendency to naturally increase their rhythm over time once they have mastered a particular pattern – a psychological phenomenon known as forward telescoping. It is therefore imperative that strict discipline is required to counteract this tendency if one intends to produce top quality music. The question still remains: Does the pace of London, or for that matter any city, impact the rate of playing or producing music? I would certainly love to hear from my readers purely to generate interesting ideas on the subject that I could one day turn into academic research.
My name is Andy Howard. As an experienced and fully qualified piano tuner and technician I’m often astounded when people ask me the following question: ‘If a smartphone app is able to determine an instrument’s perfect pitch, then why would anyone require a human expert to look after their piano?’
Sure, an app can gauge pitch, and if you’re into DIY, then you might be able to fiddle around to achieve the desired effect. However, there is so much more to having a good working instrument than just the mechanics of the strings and keys. If you have paid good money for an instrument, and created a large amount of room in your personal or professional space to satisfy your love for music, then I strongly feel that regular maintenance of your pride and joy would give you a longer life for your piano. Not only would it enhance the quality of your music, you will also benefit from a well serviced and tuned piano.
I strongly feel that as beneficial and accurate technology might be, the human element still remains a vital part of insuring that you get the most amount of pleasure for your long-term investment. Make sure that you show your piano some love. It will ensure that your love for music is maintained and constantly enhanced with time.