Is Your Piano in Tune?
Unless you had your piano tuned recently, chances are it needs tuning. For one, humidity puts your piano through changes. We are also having our most dramatic change in seasons … and pianos really don’t like change.
If your child is taking piano lessons, it’s even more important that you keep it in tune. Some adults think it must not matter since their children can’t pinpoint the difference between a piano that’s in tune and one that’s not. But we beg to differ.
Children can indeed hear the difference. While they probably couldn’t explain why (and may not even be conscious of it), their ear hears the difference. This means they will have more enjoyment (and ability) playing a tuned piano. You might think of tuning the piano as one of those ways you can support your child in her lessons.
Setup for success
Just think about how important good equipment is to you. Consider this scenario, for example. You decide to get in better shape and sign up for a gym membership. Just like your child starting her lessons, you’re psyched and determined to do your best.
But when you enter the gym (in your new workout clothes) you notice that the equipment looks ancient. Hmm. You decide to give it a try anyway, but when you begin using the rowing machine it squeaks … loudly. That doesn’t exactly set you up for success, does it!
Just so, your child has committed to lessons and wants to succeed, so she needs the best chance of success … she needs good equipment that’s well maintained. For a piano, this includes a recent tuning, all of the keys working correctly (not missing or sticking), and the pedals functioning well.
Why is tuning so important?
If you are investing in your child’s future by giving her the gift of piano lessons, you’ll want to do everything you can to help her enjoy them and succeed. But there are practical reasons as well:
- Playing a tuned piano will ensure correct ear tuning. As important as it is to be able to read and play music correctly, a good musician needs a well-developed ear.
- Tuning your piano regularly will guarantee its workability for years to come. In fact, not tuning your piano can actually ruin its potential to ever be properly tuned.
Why does a piano go out of tune?
Several factors cause a piano to go out of tune, and humidity change is a primary reason. The soundboard expands against the strings and then contracts as moisture in the air fluctuates. This movement changes string tension, which alters string pitch … and voila, an out-of-tune piano.
How often should I tune my piano?
How often a piano should be tuned depends on its age. Brand new pianos should be tuned four times the first year due to string stretch and settling. Twice a year thereafter is minimum in this climate for tuning stability and good sound. Remember, pianos go out tune whether used or not, so one that is idle should still be serviced at least once a year.
Keep your piano in optimum condition!
A piano is a sophisticated (and complicated) instrument with many moving parts. If not regularly tuned, a piano will never give you its full sound potential and will inhibit your child’s ear training. If it’s not tuned for an extended period, stretching strings and soundboard movement will gradually lower your piano’s pitch and cause a tension imbalance. Several tunings and additional maintenance may be necessary to restore the pitch and stability of the instrument.
So, there are many good reasons to keep your piano in tune. Consider it a gift to your musical child, and let them know that it’s just another way you take good care of them.
Want to learn more about piano lessons? Check us out here.
Author Cecilia Rowe is the director of Courtnay and Rowe and founder/director of the Music Studio Atlanta. She has over 25 years in music education as an instructor and local business owner.