Do you need to get your piano tuned?
If your child is going to take piano lessons, you know it’s going to cost some money. You’ll need to pay for the lessons, of course, and all of their piano books. You may even have to pay for their recitals, and if they’re taking piano seriously, you might want to sign them up for exams or competitions.
Well, alright. That’s not so bad.
Hold up. You forgot one very important thing!
The answer is yes – you need to get your piano tuned!
If you own a piano, it’s important to get it tuned regularly.
This can be hard for a lot of people to swallow, especially if you’ve had limited musical training. After all, if you can’t really tell the difference and your child isn’t complaining about it, it doesn’t matter — right?
Why it’s so important
It actually really does matter, whether you think you can tell the difference or not! It’s been said that even bad music can sound good when it’s in tune, and your child will subconsciously gravitate toward practicing when your piano is tuned.
You may not be able to pinpoint why it sounds better, but even if you think you’re tone deaf (and there’s really no such thing), the in-tune piano will sound much better to you.
Keeping your piano in tune will help develop your child’s ear for music, and as I mentioned, make them want to practice more. I’ve seen a great deal of people skip out on this very important part of owning a piano because it just didn’t seem that important to them, and in almost every case, their child just didn’t seem to want to practice.
On the other hand, I’ve seen people get their piano tuned when it started to sound twangy, and all of a sudden their kids couldn’t seem to keep their hands off of it!
Should you just buy a keyboard?
Opting to remain with a keyboard and avoid buying a piano altogether is not a good option, because a keyboard is not a substitute for a piano, and that is especially the case as your child advances in skill. Read this article more information on the differences between a piano and a keyboard.
How can you know it’s time to get your piano tuned?
A good rule of thumb is to get your piano tuned every six months.
If your piano is played a lot, it may even need it more than that (I like to get my own pianos tuned every 4 months or more).
If your piano isn’t played a ton, it still needs to be tuned regularly if you want to use it, for a couple of reasons:
1. The changing of weather throws your piano out of tune
You know how doors close differently in an old house when the seasons change? When I was a kid, I always hated when summer came and I could no longer close and lock my bedroom door! We also had a dining room table with cracks in it. The cracks got really wide in the winter, but closed up again in the summer.
Imagine the effect those weather changes are making on the 200+ tuning pins in your piano!
The best times of year to get your piano tuned (at least in New England!) are after the shift to warm weather in spring (May), and after the shift to colder weather in winter (usually November).
2. A piano that’s not maintained will require expensive repairs
Not keeping your piano in tune will cause your piano to drop in pitch over time, making it more difficult to get it back in tune when the tuner comes. It also presents a higher risk for breaking strings and will make it impossible to get the piano properly back in tune in one visit. For this reason, all piano manufacturers recommend tuning your piano at least once a year.
If you live in New Hampshire or northern Massachussetts I highly recommend you get in touch with my dad. He’s an excellent piano tuner and rebuilder. I’ve had many trained musicians tell me he’s the best piano tuner/technician they’ve ever had.
His name is Keith Comparetto and you can get in touch with him through his website, allegropianoworks.com.
If you want to learn more about caring for your piano, you might enjoy this article from Allegro Piano Works on Care and Maintenance of Your Piano.