Buying a piano, for some, means an instrument to enjoy for a lifetime, to pass on to future generations. For others, a piano can be a stepping stone to increasing skills and performance, and eventually to the purchase of their ‘dream piano’.
Either way, proper love and care of your piano will achieve those goals, by ensuring a beautiful instrument remains in peak condition or maintaining the value of an asset for future growth as a pianist.
Here’s a few tips to assist you in keeping your piano in prime condition for as long as possible, to ensure a long and happy life together for you and your piano.
For most of us, a piano is an asset purchased for the benefit of ourselves or our children, albeit a very enjoyable one. To maintain both the value of the piano and to improve your performance as a musician, it is vitally important to have your piano tuned and serviced at least every 12 months, or sometimes more often.
For a young pianist (or beginner – not necessarily the same thing!) one of the most important parts of your training is to teach the ear to recognise accurate pitch. If your piano is not tuned to concert pitch, being A440, it will increase the difficulty of learning this skill and may slow your progress.
Every piano has approximately 20 tonne of pressure exerted on it by the strings. No matter the age of the piano, this tension causes the instrument’s pitch to lower over time. If a piano is left untuned for a significant period of time, the instrument may struggle to maintain correct pitch even after tuning or may require additional tunings to re-stabilise concert pitch.
During a visit, your technician will tune your piano and perform any basic repairs to ensure your piano is playing at its finest. By having regular visits, your technician can also trouble-shoot any issues that may compound if left unattended, and recommend a plan of action for future maintenance.
Pianos by nature dislike extremes of temperature, so avoid placing your piano in direct sunlight or in a room that varies in temperature significantly throughout the day. You also need to avoid high humidity areas, as the moisture can make the tuning in your piano unstable and shorten the lifespan of its internal workings. If humidity is a particular problem for you, you could consider the installation of a de-humidifier in your piano, which will maintain a more constant environment.
Of course, you must keep food and drinks away from the piano, and it should be encouraged not to use the top of the piano as a place to display things, especially not vases of flowers!!
The Piano Finish:
The main point to remember when cleaning your piano is to be gentle and treat the piano as you would any other piece of much-loved timber furniture. We have found that the most effective method of cleaning your polyurethane-finish piano regularly is to use a car chamois lightly moistened with water only and buff the piano gently to remove dust and fingerprints etc.
For older timber-finish pianos, it is best to dust with a feather duster or soft, dry cloth, and to restore some of the finish, a non-silicone car polish or furniture oil may be used.
The chamois yet again provides the perfect method for removing dust and grime from the key tops. Do be careful however, to make sure the chamois is only lightly moistened, so that no water drips between the keys. Dry the keytops with a soft cloth.
Pianos are happier when used regularly, but will be even happier if cleaned regularly as well!