My Massive Personal Physical Challenge

Next year, will bring for me a massive challenge both mentally and Physically. I am at this time, preparing for the London Marathon 2016. This is going to be my second London Marathon, and I am running in aid of a blindness charity called Metro Blind Sports. The charity helps Blind and Partially sighted people to enjoy sports and live a Healthier lifestyle, and opens sporting opportunities which may not be available to them.

I have not only been set the task of running 26 miles, but also to promote the charity and hopefully reach out to Blind and Partially sighted people across London. Bring it on!

The Race starts in Greenwich Park, and finishes in St. James's Park, with the iconic finish along the Mall heading up to Buckingham Palace. Being new to London, I really enjoy passing through the many Boroughs where I serve the public through my Piano Tuning and Piano Maintenance work.

I am planning to write Blog entries throughout my training, and also hoping to add some film clips of my training runs along the way. These would be available to watch directly from my website or through my Youtube Channel, and I will let you know on Twitter, GooglePlus and Facebook when the next clip is live.

Generally I run from my home, over the Hammersmith bridge towards Barnes, dropping down onto the river bank, heading towards Kew, and on towards Richmond Park. In addition, I will also be doing some track work at the Battersea Park running track , to build up my speed skills and general physical fitness.

As a blind runner, taking on such a challenge, is a real mountain to climb, and I hope my runs over the next few months will interest you, and offer an insight into running a marathon with severe sight loss. If you have any advice or running tips for me, please share them in the comments section below, or by sending me an email. Wish me luck!

Moving to a New City with Your Piano

Whenever it is time to move to a new city there is always excitement about the many opportunities that one is likely to encounter when moving to greener pastures. When the excitement dies down though, the worrying begins. or anyone involved in the music industry, there are the practical considerations, including the logistics around a safe relocation of the musical instrument. These are on top of the anxiety about the relocation being worth the hassle.

For pianists, who need to account for their piano, in addition to themselves in a new environment, the following factors need to be given thought.

Travel arrangements

A piano is a large, heavy and bulky instrument. The mere thought of moving it across the city could raise ample concerns. Piano removals is unlike any ordinary furniture and fittings. It requires planning, a safe pair of trusted hands, plus an assurance that the task would be carried out safely, in a prompt and expeditious manner, without damage to the instrument or the properties it is being moved to and from. For those tight corners within a house, narrow hallways, or on the rare occasions when the piano is on the top floors, special tools such as forklifts and cranes may need to be employed, and the level of noise within the surrounding neighbourhoods would need to be minimised.

Cost of moving the Instrument

Musical treasures are very personal to their owners. The process of transporting such revered, often costly gems, is not like any other weighty luggage. Instruments like the piano need to be transported in bespoke containers, with sufficient padding and insulation. When the transport is over a sizeable distance, the carriage of the instrument needs to be performed using heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Time and labour become important aspects, and associated costs need to be budgeted beforehand.


A piano needs to be regularly tuned every once in a while. Regular maintenance helps with instrumental longevity and personal creativity – a vital combination for any music lover. Therefore, post relocation, the job of finding the most qualified piano tuner technician begins. Depending on your final destination, the rates and operating hours of such personnel in the area may be significantly different, and finding the best, most qualified pair of hands, will demand time and effort to carry out research on this vital service. This requirement would most likely appear soon after your move, particularly because an instrument often needs a check up and professional clean following a move, which could cause the sound to be out of balance due to unexpected vibrations during transportation.


It is also important to consider if there will be sufficient space for you to place your piano in the residence you are moving into in the new city. You have to ensure that the building you are occupying has enough room for all your personal belongings as well as your instrument. Spacious surroundings lead to richer sounds, plus personal comfort and prevention against accidental damage.

In Summary

It is important to carry out research and ask plenty of questions about your new surroundings, particularly before finalising your relocation plans. Fortunately, with the advent of modern technology, there are a vast array of resources available online, to get you started. At AMH Pianos, we are always here to help you should you require industry leading piano removal services. For any queries you may have about transporting your piano, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

The Importance of Certification and Verification

Playing the piano is fun until it is time to have it tuned. Finding anyone in the service industry can be a very confusing frustrating experience for pianists. It is imperative that you select the best tuner for your piano. You can’t just go by appearances and if you don’t even know where to start searching, you could easily be conned by someone who doesn’t know much about pianos or even how they are tuned and maintained. Looks can be deceiving.

It is important therefore to do your research on the person that turns up to tune your piano. Check that they can provide documentation proving that they are certified to do the work. That way you will be assured of quality service. There are many reasons why you should verify the qualifications of your tuner. They include the following.

Ensures quality service

If a tuner is a certified practitioner then he/she has been vetted to take care of your piano. Such measures include a criminal records (DBS) check, as well as membership of industry organisations. Professional bodies include The Association of Blind Piano Tuners and the Institute of Musical Instrument Technology.

Ensures value for your money

Once you have ensured that your tuner is bona fide, you can relax in the knowledge that you are putting your piano into capable hands. Entrusting your priceless instrument into the wrong hands would be a waste of money; it would also put your initial investment at risk. You need to rest assured that the expert will do what he/she is trained to do, to give you the best tunes on your piano, which may be worth just about anything in the whole wide world.

Security purposes

It is always good to verify the qualifications and identities of service providers that we allow into our homes. For reasons of personal safety and security verifying the identity and credibility of the individual or organisation is even more important in a large city like London. Top rated professionals, as a matter of pride, would always aim to provide you with value for money. They will also ensure that work is carried out in a safe and expeditious manner with the personnel having the appropriate insurance cover.


In 2015 it is remarkably easy to ascertain information about the person you wish to employ for tuning or repairing your piano. In fact, a growing number of people are beginning to provide reviews and comments to assist you to make the right choice. A few minutes of research can save you time, money and hassle in the future.

Having Your Piano Tuned Twice a Year

You may already be familiar with the importance of having your piano tuned regularly. However, one common question is always directed towards me: How often should I have my piano tuned? Conventional wisdom, as well as textbook training generally gears men and women within our profession to give a piano a bi-annual once over. However, this figure is only a theoretical guide, and not the be all and end all. Real world factors, the environment, and even your level of interaction with the instrument, all play important part in determining the level of care that is essential for your piano’s optimum health.

Your piano is made of different materials, both metallic and non-metallic that contract and expand according to seasonal variations. Changes in weather impact each material differently, and the difference in thermal expansion/contraction values, heat absorption, and consequently the continuous effect of climate change on the inter-connected instrument components,, inevitably takes its toll on the overall sound and tonality of your piano. Couple this with the often unavoidable presence of thermostats, central heating systems, air conditioners and coolers, and night storage heaters within our homes, schools and other buildings housing the piano. The perfect pitch cannot be maintained ad infinitum, unless of course, one was to simulate something akin to a temperature controlled lab surrounding the piano.

Perhaps however, the most important factor within the whole equation carries more weight than any other points discussed above: Humidity! Not only does the presence of high humidity causes the instrument to lose its level of sound, the exposure of your instrument to high humidity and moisture can cause ever lasting damage to the instrument.

Below are some of the factors that will ensure you only need to have your piano tuned twice a year.

• Location

Finding the perfect and stable environment for your piano will ensure that you only have it tuned twice a year. Look for a location where there is no air conditioning, fire place, radiator, direct sunlight or any type of heating devices. Place your piano away from outside walls and in a place where the humidity doesn’t change all the time.

• Material and humidity

The primary material of your piano is wood: one that is highly affected by small seasonal changes in humidity. Humidity change also contributes somewhat to the natural heat related material expansion and contraction. This swelling and shrinking can cause cracks within the wood and affects the tuning stability of your piano. Placing your piano in a location where humidity is stable, and minimal, will ensure that the tuning of your piano lasts longer and on the whole, stays relatively close to the twice yearly tuning cycle, whilst curtailing the need for full scale restoration.

• Professional piano tuner

Finding a good, capable professional to tune your piano is another way of avoiding unexpected tuning. A qualified piano tuner will tune your piano and let you play for at least two hours straight or even more. If the sound quality stays constant after this initial test, as long as other factors are stable and you do not carry out a move of the instrument, you will only need to have a professional tune it twice a year to preserve its tune.

Even though a piano that is well maintained and kept under favourable, stable climates, may demo good sound over a calendar year without being tuned, it is advisable to have a professional tune it twice a year. The good quality of the keys will be maintained and your piano will remain well preserved; besides you will avoid repair costs in the future.

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


If you want more information about the best piano service provider in Harley Street W1 go to You will find everything you need to know about piano services.

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.


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.


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, or get in touch. And finally, remember that you can always expect outstanding services from us on every occasion.

More than just the mechanics!

Andy tuning a piano

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.