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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.