The Speed of No Mistakes



Piano practice. The one thing every piano teacher wishes their students would do, and the one thing that every piano student doesn’t want to do. But practice is important and necessary. After all, practice makes perfect, right? Well, I am here to tell you that practice does NOT make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

“Sloppy practice ingrains mistakes that are seriously hard to get rid of later . . .It’s a bit like careless eating when you end up wearing your food – I don’t wish to contradict the detergent commercials, but those stubborn stains aren’t always so easy to shift." – Graham Fitch, Practising the Piano
If you continually practice something wrong, what are the chances that when you go to perform it you will magically play it right? I’ll tell you now, the odds are slim to none. “But what else can I do?” you might think. “I’m playing the piece at performance speed and trying my best! What else is there?” As any good piano teacher will tell you, you should NOT practice at performance speed UNLESS you can do it with NO MISTAKES. If you continually practice a mistake, you will make it when you go to perform. So how do you get rid of these mistakes? How do you get rid of your practice “stains”?

“The pianistic equivalent of baking soda to remove practice stains is slow, conscious work; but it is far better to avoid errors in the first place by spending some quality time during the note-learning stage at The Speed of No Mistakes. . . .I wish I had come up with this term, but it was in fact coined by my colleague Lucinda Mackworth-Young.  . . . 
Before I go on, I want to distinguish between accidental mistakes that happen in performance (and that might include a performance in a lesson situation), and mistakes that arise in our practice room from a careless and sloppy attitude. We are all human and therefore fallible, and because we are not robots errors are part of our story. Mistakes that happen when we perform or when we’re in the process of playing should not derail us . . . The kind of mistakes I am talking about may be unrecognized ones (we’re going so fast we can’t see, hear or feel them), or persistent errors where we haven’t bothered to stop to really figure out the notes in that chord – or to work out that awkward rhythm, or the passage where deep-down we know we have never really organized a workable fingering". - Graham Fitch, Practising the Piano
So what exactly counts as a mistake?

Some obvious answers:
-      Wrong notes
-      Wrong rhythms

If you aren’t playing the right notes, and you aren’t playing them to the correct rhythms, then are you even playing the song written? The obvious answer here is “no”. As one of the cardinal rules of piano playing at the very least you must get the correct notes and the correct rhythms.

However, there is much more to music than just correct notes and correct rhythms. A pianist who only gets correct notes and rhythms but doesn’t add any artistry or flare will be told they have “good technique”. And, just like in the fine art world, that isn’t a good thing. It is what is said when there is nothing else to compliment.

In order to make music that people call “moving”, “grand”, or “touching” there are several other things that need to be correct. Articulation, dynamics, and correct pedaling must also be added to correct notes and correct rhythm in order to make music “move”: in order to make music beautiful.

“So how does The Speed of No Mistakes work in our practice? Very simple! Choose a practice speed where it is not possible to make any errors at all (in a word, S – L – O – W – L – Y). We compute what we have to do before we do it, and focus all our attention on the task. We do it slowly enough that we can be fully confident that what we are going to play is going to be correct. If we can’t be sure, we don’t play it!  
The first phrase is taken by itself (or, if the work is especially difficult, even less than a complete phrase) and played so slowly that approximately three seconds might be counted between each successive note or chord… Students who have the necessary knowledge should reflect on the tonality and harmonic structure of the passage, noting modulations or characteristic features. Students who have not had an all-round musical education and lack of knowledge of harmony… can reflect on the chords and progressions even if they are not able to analyse their nature. At the same time one should watch every movement involved… (Tradition and Craft in Piano Playing by Tilly Fleischmann, p 21-22).
- Graham Fitch, Practising the Piano
 Three seconds per note is an awfully long time, but it is simply meant to make a point. This diagram from Practising the Piano is very helpful.
  


If you can work through that entire diagram for each note in less than three seconds, then, by all means, play faster! If you find that you are struggling at a certain speed, slow it down until things become easy for you.

“[We should] always keep checked in with our body. If we have played our phrase perfectly by all these criteria and yet our arms have been locked in tension, then perhaps we have made the biggest “mistake” of them all" - Graham Fitch, Practising the Piano

Playing the piano is so much more than just playing correct notes. There are so many things that need to work together simultaneously in order to produce beautiful and moving music. So the next time you are practicing the piano and find it a litter harder than you can handle, remember to slow it down and practice at the Speed of No Mistakes!

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How to be a Versatile Piano Parent

So, you've decided to have your child learn the piano? Congratulations! And good choice (I may be a little biased). We've discussed some things you can do to help your child in A Parent's Guide to Piano Practice, but there is much more to being a Piano Parent than you'd think.

Effective and supportive parental involvement in instrumental learning requires parents to be versatile (ibid. p. 21)

Okay, so we need to be versatile. But what does that mean in the context of your child learning an instrument? This article had some great points that I would love to discuss.



7 Ways to be a Versatile Piano Parent

Be a good Time Manager


This is especially true if you have a younger child.
Children have little sense of time so it is up to you to be in charge of when practice takes place.
As your child gets older, let them be involved with deciding when to practice. Look at their schedule and see what would work best. Does practicing before school seem to be a better solution? After School? Should they have a 30-minute break between school and piano practice?  Once you decide on the proper location in your child's schedule for their piano practice, keep it consistent. The more steady and consistent your child's schedule is, the more likely they are to practice.

Be Enabling (but in a good way)


Is it easy for your child to practice? Is the piano located in a room where the child wants to be, or is it located in the back corner of the house? Is the room well lit? Can your child easily find their music and see their music? Is the practice room quiet and free of distractions?

As a Versatile Piano Parent, it is your job to make sure that your child has what they need in order to complete their assignments and put in quality practice time. After all, you are paying for these lessons, don't you want good results?

Enable your child to practice. Make the piano easily accessible, preferably in the main part of the house (solitary practice is no fun). Keep the piano well maintained and in tune (see our post on Piano Maintenance). Keep the music in your home well organized and easy to find. Keep all the books that your child needs to bring to lessons in one place. Make your music/piano room a room that your child WANTS to be in.

Be a Cheerleader

Practice is just that. Practice. This means that your child will NOT be playing beautifully polished pieces at home. They will be playing a few measures here, a musical phrase there, and polishing up small sections that have been hard for them. They will be working on their technique, on their counting, and will not (and should not) be playing their pieces at performance speed (see our post on The Speed of No Mistakes).

No matter what your child's practice sounds like, find something positive to say that will make them want to keep trying and keep learning. Every day find something, even if it is small, that you noticed an improvement in. 

"You've worked really hard today."
"You are getting really good at counting!"
"It sounds so much better than last week."
"You are getting better."
"Your hard work is paying off!"
"Your dynamics are improving!"

These are just a few ideas of some things you can say to encourage your child. If you need more specific phrases, talk to your child's teacher and see what they are focusing on so you can direct your comments that way.

Be Flexible

As your child gets older and advances through the world of music, your role will change. When you have a brand new piano student they need much more care, time, and attention. In fact, during these early stages, it is recommended that you sit in on your child's lessons so you know what their assignments are.


 Beginners need a lot of help and ideally, you should sit in on early lessons so that you can see and hear what the teacher does. Back at home lots of guidance from you will be needed, reading through the notes from the teacher together and giving guidance, but, whenever possible, get your child to explain what he/she has to do. As their expertise grows so should independence and the type of support required. Maybe you could ask your teenage child to teach you something they are learning?
The older your child gets, the less and less guidance they will need from you, and the more responsibility they can, and should, take upon themselves.



Be a good Communicator

To provide the best environment for your child, you will need to be an expert communicator. You will need to ensure that you are communicating with your child's teacher and that you understand your child's assignments. How will you know if they are practicing what they are supposed to if you don't know their assignments? Additionally, you will need to be able to communicate any issues relating to piano practice back to your child's piano teacher. Are you currently moving? Did you go on vacation where there wasn't a piano? Did you lose a piano book?

Life happens and piano teachers understand that. However, it is best to communicate with them before your child's next lesson so that they can adapt what they teach to what your child needs that week.

Be a Diplomat


Let's face it, there will be fights over piano practicing. It's just the way it is. However, do your best to make sure that these fights over piano practice don't actually happen at the piano. If you fight about the piano, around the piano, the piano will become associated with fights, arguments and tension. By simply moving to another room, the piano can remain either a neutral object or (hopefully), a positive object in your child's life.


Arguments at the piano should be avoided at all costs. The instrument should not become a battleground and the piano stool should remain a positive place to sit. Even just moving away from the piano to another part of the room to negotiate can make a difference.


Be Patient


Learning an instrument means learning lots of life skills – children ‘enjoy’ playing when they feel they are great at it. Being great at it takes time, focus, persistence and resilience. Support them unconditionally when the going gets tough and celebrate when they achieve the weekly targets! [A member of the Curious Piano Teachers Community]
Practice does not sound great, but that is what should be happening in your home. Songs should be played slowly, sometimes one hand at a time. You will hear mistakes and mixups and will listen to the same three measures in a row a million times while they polish it up. And, after a song is "passed off" you'll hear your child play that a million times too.

Practice should sound just like that. Practise. If you hear your child playing lots of "polished" pieces at home, chances are they are just playing their "fun" songs and not actually practicing their assignments.

Scales, chords, and technical work do NOT sound pretty. They are not meant to. They are there to teach skills that are necessary to learn pretty pieces. So, in the midst of all the practicing in your home, be patient with your child. Be positive. Learning music is hard! But, it is the most rewarding and long lasting thing you can do.

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A Parent's Guide to Piano Practice

Any dedicated parent who has put their child in music lessons wonders how they can help. It's only natural after all! We all want the best for our children. But what really can you do? What is the most important?

Over the years I have developed this Parent's Guide to Piano Practice. This article also has some great ideas (excerpts below)!

If you follow the guidelines and tips below, your child will make great progress and feel comfortable and confident playing the piano!



The Parent's Guide to Piano Practice:


Lori's Tip:  Set regular practice times and remind yourself or your child to practice

ColorfulKey's tip: 
Practise should Happen at the Same time Every DayChoose a time that you are able to stick to. This could be before school in the morning, after school, after homework is finished, just before dinner; any time that you can be consistent about.
Lori's Tip: Keep the piano in good working order and in tune.

"The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colors in your mind." - Maria Cristina Mena

Don't let the "colors" that you hear from your piano turn everything a yucky muddy brown! Make sure your piano produces beautiful music by keeping it regularly tuned and maintained. (If you need the name and number of a piano technician please let me know.) It is hard to know if you are playing a song right if your piano isn't making the right sounds.



Lori's Tip: Provide a practice environment free from distraction (no TV or iPod music playing
during practice time).

To ensure QUALITY practice, you need to make sure that there are no distractions during practice time. Practice does NOT make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. If your child practices distractedly, they will play distractedly. If your child practices in a focused environment, they will learn to play beautifully.


Lori's Tip: Make sure friends and family respect practice times.

This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. It will be VERY hard for your child to focus on practicing if a friend comes over and wants to play. Or, if other family members keep distracting them. Make practice time your quiet time.


Lori's Tip: Listen to your child play. Keep your comments positive and encouraging.


ColorfulKey's Tip:
Be their CheerleaderMost importantly, let your child know how much you love hearing them play! This is by far the best way to encourage long term practise. (If they’re doing really well with a piece, it’s a great idea to arrange a mini-concert, gather round the family so they can show off all their hard work!)

Lori's Tip: Know that there will be times when your student will resist practicing. There are some age groups that are more difficult to motivate to practice than others. This is NORMAL. Be
understanding of occasional lapses, but stress the need for regularity.

ColorfulKey's Tip: 
Encourage Slow Practice: Whenever possible, and especially in the beginning few weeks, try to sit with your child and encourage them not to rush. You could also try tapping or clapping a steady beat while you’re child is playing to help them hear the pulse.

Lori's Tip: Don’t allow your student to skip a lesson because he or she has not practiced. The
student who hasn’t practiced is the most in need of a lesson.

ColorfulKey's Tip: 
Be their Student: Get them to explain to you what they’re working on, how they know what to play etc. Try pointing to symbols and asking them what they mean. This will not only help you to know what’s going on, but will reinforce their knowledge.

Lori's Tip: Don’t emphasize how long the practice time is, but how much has been accomplished.
ColorfulKey's Tip:
Follow the Assignment Sheet: Setting a certain amount of time for practice is not ideal, try to follow the assignment sheet. Make sure the student practices all the assignments, as the teacher specified. If this takes only 5 minutes that’s fine, if it takes 20 minutes that’s fine too.



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The Benefits of Music


Did you know there are many benefits to listening to music? Crank up the tunes and blast those beats, because the results are in — music is good for you.
Listening to music has been shown to improve memory functioning, increase the rate of healing, improve your workouts and more.
And now… a crazy science fact:




#1 Music Improves Memory

Patients with memory loss can often remember songs and specific song lyrics. Doctors will often use music and lyric recall to help individuals retrieve lost memories. Certain music can trigger particularly unique memories- music from a specific time period will trigger memories from that time period. Want to remember something from the past? Listen to songs you listened to during that time!
Music's effect on memory has been a heated debate in the scientific world, but researchers now have evidence that the processing of music and language, specifically memorizing information, rely on some of the same brain systems. Researchers have also uncovered evidence that suggests the music we heard as teenagers has a greater emotional bond to our brain than anything we’ll listen to as adults. This idea of musical nostalgia is a fun exercise for anyone but is most impactful for people suffering from memory loss, including those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Here’s a story about the transformative power of music from one man whose father has Alzheimer’s:
“As a family, we didn’t know what to do when our father was diagnosed with this Alzheimer’s disease. We have been through so many stages and now he seems to just be deteriorating to nothing. However, the music seems to have brought back some of his brain to him!”
Music and musical training have also been shown to protect the aging brain and keep it healthy.
University of Kansas Medical Center researchers conducted an experiment where they divided 70 healthy adults, ages 60 to 83, into three groups based on their amount of musical experience: no musical training, one to nine years of music lessons and at least 10 years of musical study.
The participants, who had similar fitness and education levels and were free of Alzheimer’s disease, were given several cognitive tests:
  • Those with the greatest amount of musical experience did best on these tests of mental acuity, followed by those with less musical study followed by those who never took music lessons.
  •  Compared to non-musicians, the individuals with a high degree of musical experience had much higher scores on the cognitive tests, including those related to visual and spatial memory, naming objects and the brain’s ability to adapt to new information
The really cool part? The benefits of musical study and training were still apparent even in participants who no longer played an instrument.
Bottom Line: You can now tell your mom that those hours of trombone practice for high school band were totally worth it.

#2 Music Improves Workouts

Do you hate working out? Dread going to the gym? Well grab your earbuds and head out!
Not only can music distract you from “bodily awareness” aka the aches and pains of working out, but it also has a health benefit too.
Listening to music releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins give us a heightened feeling of excitement. In addition to feeling euphoric, endorphins quell anxiety, ease pain and stabilize the immune system. With high endorphin levels, we have fewer negative effects of stress.
Turning up your tunes can also up the effort you exert during exercise. In one study, researchers found that cyclists worked harder and biked a further distance when listening to faster music as compared to music with a slower tempo. When the tempo slowed, so did their pedaling and their entire affect. Their heart rates fell and their mileage dropped. 
For pace-based exercises like running or weight-lifting, music can help regulate rhythm and signal to the brain when the body should move. This signal helps us to use our energy more efficiently, so we’re not exhausting ourselves too soon.
Bottom Line: Make a playlist just for the gym or for working out. Need some ideas? Check out this list of the 100 best workout songs from FITNESS.

#3 Music Helps You Heal

study from Austria’s General Hospital of Salzburg found that patients recovering from back surgery had increased rates of healing and reported less pain when music was incorporated into the standard rehabilitation process.
“Music is an important part of our physical and emotional well-being, ever since we were babies in our mother’s womb listening to her heartbeat and breathing rhythms.” – Lead clinical psychologist of Austria General, Franz Wendtner.
When slow music is played, the body slows down too– the heart blow slows down and blood pressure drops. This causes the breath to slow, which helps release tension in the neck, shoulders, stomach, and back. Listening to slow or calming music on a regular basis can help our bodies relax, which over time, means less pain and faster recovery time. And better yet, less stress.
These findings have led to a clinical recommendation for stroke patients: everyday music listening during early stroke recovery offers a valuable addition to the patients’ care by providing an “individually targeted, easy-to-conduct and inexpensive means to facilitate cognitive and emotional recovery,” says Teppo Särkämö, author of the study.
Bottom Line: Adding music to a standard rehabilitative process helps patients heal.

#4 Music Reduces Stress and Eases Anxiety

Music has a unique link to our emotions, and research has found that it can be used as an extremely effective stress management tool.
Just like listening to slow music to calm the body, music can also have a relaxing effect on the mind. Researchers at Stanford University found that listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Since music is so widely available and inexpensive, it’s an easy stress reduction option.
So, what type of music reduces stress best? Here’s what we found:
  • Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums and flutes
  • sounds of rain, thunder and nature sounds
  • light jazz, classical and easy listening music
You must be the ultimate judge, however, of “relaxing music.” If Mozart isn’t quite doing it for you, explore other options that help you naturally relax.
Just like junk food increases stress in our system, a poor sonic or listening diet can do the same. Choose quieter environments and settings to prime your body to relax and recharge.
Making music can also release tension and relieve stress. 
Research has shown that casual music-making can short-circuit the stress response system and keep it from recurring or becoming chronic. WebMD tells us that “stress starts in the brain and then kicks off a chain reaction that switches on the stress response in every cell of our bodies. Over time, these cellular switches can get stuck in the ‘on’ position, leading to feelings of burnout, anger, or depression as well as a host of physical ailments.”
Bottom line: Both listening to and making/playing music can alleviate mild and chronic stress.

#5 Music Improves Sleep Quality

Insomnia and other sleep deprivation issues can wreak havoc on our lives. What if music could help?
According to one study conducted by Harmat, Takács, and Bódizs, 94 students (ages 19 to 28) with sleep complaints were brought into the lab. Participants were split into 3 groups. The first group listened to classical music at bedtime for 45 minutes for 3 weeks. The second group listened to an audiobook at bedtime for 45 minutes for 3 weeks. The control group received no intervention.
Sleep quality and depressive symptoms were measured using the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index and the Beck Depression Inventory respectively. The results?
The participants who listened to music showed statistically significant improvements in sleep quality and a decrease in depressive symptoms. There were no statistically significant results found for the audiobook or control group.
Bottom Line: Sleep better, longer and with fewer disturbances by listening to music at bedtime.
The next time you crank up the music in an impromptu dance party, remember all of the health benefits too. Music has been proven to help our bodies heal, improve memory, alleviate stress and more. And that is most certainly, music to my ears.
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Piano Maintenance Guide





PIANO MAINTENANCE AND CARE: CLEANING

 Keys


There are many types of piano key covering materials that have been used over the years:
·         Ivory
·         Celluloid
·         Plastic
·         Walrus
·         Even wooly mammoth!

There are also many types of glue used in adhesion. These glues can be unpredictable when used with chemical cleaners. It is best to stay clear of using any type of chemical cleaner to clean piano keys. To be safe use a damp white cloth followed by a dry cloth. Pay special attention to not allow moisture to penetrate into the wood. If necessary, use a gentle soap added to the water solution. Another safe product for cleaning piano keys is Cory Key-Brite which cleans, brightens, and preserves all plastic, ivory, ivorite, and wood instrument keys. Cory’s instructions for spraying directly onto the keys should be avoided. Spray onto a clean cloth and then gently rub onto the key top surface.

Case

 
Cleaning Inside and Underneath Strings

The inside of your piano and underneath the strings are areas that should be cleaned occasionally. Vacuum the action cavity and internal areas of the piano to get rid of unwanted dust and to keep the piano free of foreign objects. There are inexpensive specialty tools available for the cleaning of the soundboard underneath the strings and a couple that we recommend are pictured below.
A flexible soundboard duster with handle.

PIANO MAINTENANCE AND CARE: FINISH CARE

·         Keep it clean
·         Avoid direct sunlight and environmental extremes
·         Thwart abrasion



Out of all musical instruments, the piano is unique in that it also serves as a furniture piece for the room in which it sits. It is more than just a fine musical instrument. The piano is such a prominent feature amongst western culture specifically, that the term “piano finish” has been universally adopted to describe the highest quality in wood finishes. Being attentive to the finish of your piano can not only help maintain the value of the instrument if you ever decide to sell it, but it also adds to the overall décor of the house. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your piano’s finish looking its best:
·    Taking care of the finish of your piano can help maintain the value of the instrument. A piano finish is best maintained by simply keeping it clean, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight and extremes of temperature and humidity, and abrasion.
·    Your piano’s cabinet, like all woodwork, is subject to expansion and contraction with humidity changes. Excessive wood movement can eventually cause the finish to develop tiny cracks and even separate from the wood. Moderating the temperature and humidity swings around the piano will help preserve its finish as well as its overall structure and tuning stability.
·    Locate the piano in a room with a fairly even temperature, away from drafts, dampness, and heat sources. Always avoid direct sunlight – it will age the finish prematurely and cause color fading.
·    To prevent scratches, never set objects on your piano without a soft cloth or a felt pad. NEVER place drinks or plants as spillage and condensation can cause major damage.
·     Dust is very abrasive and can scratch the finish if wiped off with a dry cloth. Always use a feather duster or a damp (but not wet) soft- fiber cloth – as coarser fibers can leave scratch marks.
·    Before using polish on your piano, be sure it is actually necessary and beneficial. Common household products such as “lemon oil” or inexpensive “furniture polish” should be AVOIDED. Avoid aerosol products altogether as the over-spray can contaminate piano strings, tuning pins and action parts.


It is often difficult for the average piano owner to determine what type of wood finish was originally applied to his or her own piano. Many types of varnish, lacquer & other material have been used in the past. Setting up definitive rules in cleaning and polishing of all types pianos would be difficult. 

However, there are some helpful ideas about the care of your pianos finish that we can suggest:

·         Avoid silicates
·         Avoid polish not designated for pianos
·         Avoid direct sunlight

First, avoid anything that contains silicone. Silicone will be absorbed by the finish and can cause the wood to become saturated and difficult to repair or refinish in the future. Second, when cleaning modern high polish and high gloss piano finishes using a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth is acceptable. There are also polishes made especially for these polyester finishes available from most piano technicians and piano stores. 

We have had good results using Cory piano finish products on all types of piano finishes including polyester as well as lacquer finishes.

When locating your piano in your home try to keep it away from direct sunlight. It will cause the finish to deteriorate; fade and will eventually damage the wood. Direct sunlight can also affect tunings, moving action parts, the pianos pin block and the piano soundboard causing tuning stability issues, cracking, warping and pulling loose from the ribs or case. This damage is sometimes not as noticeable as the color difference in the finish of this grand piano after just a few years of direct sunlight exposure but is just as serious and actually more damaging to the piano’s longevity.
 
Example of Sun Damage on Piano Finish
.
 HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY PIANO TUNED?

This is a common question and optimally for regular home use, your piano should be tuned twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall, or optionally, summer then winter. This is not an arbitrary suggestion. It’s based on the fact that the changes in weather, especially humidity, heavily affect the inside of your piano.

If you just purchased a new piano, it is recommended that you have it tuned four times in the first year, once with each change of season. 

This helps the piano settle and stretch the strings. This will help your piano hold its tune well for subsequent future tunings. At a minimum, you should tune the piano no less than once a year. 

Our recommendation is that you should have your piano tuned twice a year. Not only will this help your piano sound better, but it helps extend the life of the piano.

PIANO MAINTENANCE AND CARE: HUMIDITY CONTROL

Pianos don’t like extremes. Much like Goldilocks (of the three bears fame) pianos prefer temperatures not too hot, not too cold – and they need the humidity to be just right.
Pianos are made of wood, which is great for sound production. Unfortunately, wood is also very responsive to changes in the environment. Water in the air can cause the wood to expand and contract. Why is this a bad thing?

Just some of the problems humidity can cause in your piano:
·         Keys and action parts can swell, resulting in sticking and sluggish notes.
·         Felts can become hard
·         Tuning pins can loosen
·         Steel strings can become rusty
·         Tuning becomes unstable

In winter, the problem tends to be a sudden lack of humidity. We turn on the heater to chase the cold away, and in doing so, we also remove moisture from the air. If your skin feels dry, then chances are your piano is feeling the effects of the low-moisture air too. So, what’s a conscientious piano owner to do?

Do not place your piano near:
·         Heating vents
·         Stoves
·         Fireplaces
·         Radiators
·         Drafty windows
·         Gas heaters or space heaters

Also, be aware of how sunlight ‘travels’ over the course of a day in your home. If possible, your piano should not be placed in direct sunlight.

Why am I telling you this? Because there is something you can do about it. You may not be able to control the absorptive properties of wood, but you can do something about the humidity inside your piano. Oftentimes, people think controlling the climate in the house is enough. But as I mentioned before, no house is a perfect vacuum. There are places – like near doorways, windows, and air ducts – that fluctuate in humidity, no matter how powerful a house-wide climate control system is. In fact, areas near AC ventilation tend to dry out the wood inside your piano, even if it is during the hottest, most humid part of the year.

Humidity Control System: A Solution for Your Piano


A humidity control system designed specifically for your piano is the ideal solution.
So, what is the solution? A humidity control system designed specifically for the piano. These systems will regulate any changes in humidity with a built-in humidifier and dehumidifier, keeping the humidity level constant. Thus, there is virtually no swelling or shrinking of the wood, no pressing and receding against metal tuning pins, and no bending and cracking of the soundboard. They also greatly increase the longevity of tunings, meaning you will not have to deal with painfully sharp/flat notes in between regular tunings. And they greatly reduce issues with the action – like stuck keys, which are a result of the wooden parts swelling with humidity.

·         Humidity Control Systems increase the life of your piano
·         Humidity Control Systems make your tuning last longer
·         Humidity Control Systems protect your investment

Humidity systems also have many other benefits:

·         They help protect the piano’s finish.
·         They greatly decrease the chance of glue failure throughout the piano. When something like a hammer, or pieces of felt around the keys, or dampers come loose, they are very time-consuming to fix and can run up steep repair costs.
·         The system also keeps the strings and other metallic parts from developing rust – rusted strings being much more likely to break and rusted tuning pins more difficult to turn during tunings.
·         Regulating the humidity within the piano keeps the hammers from becoming too firm (in low humidity periods), which generates a harsh and overly bright tone.
·         And keeping humidity levels constant keeps the hammers from softening too much as well (in high humidity periods), which will make the piano sound muffled.

For a small upfront cost, a humidity control system can actually save you a lot of money in the long run and make your playing experience much more enjoyable.

To view the full guide, please visit The Piano Emporium 
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