Your Piano

Do I need to have a piano at home?

Yes! It is important to be able to practice nearly every day, and having a piano at home makes that possible.

What kind of piano do we need to begin lessons?

The better quality of piano, the more enjoyable it will be to play and the easier it will be to learn proper technique. Beginning students may start lessons with an upright piano (smaller uprights are often called spinet pianos) or a grand piano of any size as long as the keys all work well, the pedals function properly, and the piano is tuned and maintained. An electric keyboard is never ideal, but it can be used temporarily for a beginner if it has 88 weighted keys, a functional music rack, and a pedal. More advanced students will progress much more quickly with a suitable instrument, and it is essential for those who wish to pursue competitions or evaluations, college studies, or a career in music.

How do we go about purchasing a piano?

The best approach is to have your piano teacher shop with you. You may also consider having a piano technician evaluate a potential purchase. I have helped dozens of students obtain pianos ranging in price from free to a lovely new grand piano. It is important to know what can be repaired and what is overpriced. Different brands of pianos have their own sound quality, and some brands are known for their excellent quality of construction. A high quality upright may be a far better piano than a small or heavily used grand piano. Piano teachers and piano technicians often know of individuals who are looking to sell a piano and can suggest other resources such as online advertisements and local stores.

Where should the piano be placed?

It is best to place a piano on an inside wall away from heating/ac ducts to minimize temperature and humidity changes. That will help the piano stay in tune. Sometimes people ask me about placing a portable keyboard in a child’s room. That is fine for recreational playing, but a parent needs to be able to hear whether a child is practicing what is on their assignment and be available to help when needed. When a student is practicing, the practice area needs to be kept free of distraction.

What else do we need?

A light for the music rack is essential. A piano lamp can be placed on top of the piano, or a floor lamp with an arm can be used. Indirect light is rarely adequate.
A bench of proper height is also needed. If the family is using a standard piano bench, young students need to add a large pillow or stack of books to reach the appropriate height. Special piano benches are also available for young students.
A bookshelf or designated place next to the piano is needed for music.
A sharpened pencil with an eraser needs to be kept at the piano.

How much maintenance does a piano need?

Tuning once or twice a year is required, and some adjustments will need to be made along the way by a qualified piano technician. Please do not place plants, water glasses, or anything involving liquid near your piano to minimize the possibility of expensive spills. Since the piano is a functional instrument, also keep it free of knickknacks so the lid can easily be opened.

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