A resource for Piano teachers, students and those who want to learn about the piano. Find piano information, piano lesson tips, piano sheet music and more.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How do I know if my piano is in tune?
I get this question quite a bit from parents of students. The easiest way to check is to play notes together in all of the octaves. For example, try a low C and the next highest C. Both notes should sound nice together, just one lower and the other one higher. However, if you start to hear a wavy sound with "beats", you are out of tune. You should check all of the notes this way before you call the piano tuner. Also, check to see that the keys don't stick after playing them...this is also something the piano tuner can fix. Sometimes the pedals also stick, so make sure your piano tuner checks everything while they are there.

Usually change in the seasons is the most common antagonist for a piano going out of tune. It is a good idea to keep them away from windows, doors, and direct heat. Piano tuners suggest placing the piano on an inside wall as well. Because this instrument is made with so much wood, any changes in temperature and humidity will swell or contract the soundboard, which in turn affects the tuning. However, sometimes it is almost impossible to abide by all of these considerations. It may mean you have to have your piano tuned twice a year instead of just once. Good luck and happy tuning!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

What's the difference between an Upright Piano and a Console Piano?

Actually, a console is a smaller type of upright piano. The soundboard on an upright and console sit vertically as opposed to a grand pianos horizontal soundboard. The upright piano itself has a larger soundboard equal to that of a grand piano and stands up to 52" tall. This allows for a much bigger and fuller sound. (The picture on the left is a Baldwin upright piano and a Baldwin console piano to it's right).

A console is usually between 44" and 45" tall. When purchasing a piano and given the choice of the two, there are several things to consider. How much space do you have? Will you be able to bring it through a doorway, up stairs, etc. Do you have neighbors in a condo or apartment building to consider? As far as the space issue goes, a console is about the same depth, just a different height. The trick is getting the upright through the door. If you have a small space, the piano mover may have to hoist it with a crane and this could cost a lot more than you will pay for the piano. However, the are great features that both pianos have that many people don't know about.

Piano manufacturers including Steinway, Baldwin, Kawai and Yamaha have a mute pedal on specific console and uprights models. This is an excellent idea for someone who must consider close neighbors and late night practicing! If you are an accomplished pianist, you may agree that the upright is the fuller sounding piano. However, sometimes we can't afford every luxury and may have to opt for the smaller of the two. My suggestion is to always take time playing and trying out a piano before you buy it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Tips on How to Prepare for Piano Recitals.

Ah, spring time, the time of year when piano teachers and students prepare for the annual piano recital. For the piano teacher, several factors come into a good preparation.

1. Reserve your recital hall in advance. I would suggest as early as possible even a week or two after the previous years recital. By reserving early you can be assured the date is saved by your students and the venue.

2. Send out a newsletter at the beginning of the year noting all of the year’s piano events and the recital.

3. Send out a reminder a few months in advance just to make sure there are no conflicts.

4. Get parents involved. Ask them to help out with the event in any way they can, bring a refreshment, help set up the room or even bring some flowers. When parents or families get involved in the process, it produces wonderful results.

5. Be available before and during the recital for all of the students and any last minute questions.

6. Prepare by updating the recital program as changes are made. Throughout the year I keep a palm pilot with me at all times and jot down the changes to download on my computer. I try to make sure everything is finalized on the program one month before the date. This gives me time to print the programs and make sure the students are completely comfortable with their piece. A good experience for the student is paramount.

7. Make everyone feel comfortable from the start of the performances. Remind the students that everyone here is family, friends and all support them in their musical endeavors. Creating a relaxed atmosphere will energize students and promote good performances.

8. Make the recital fun by presenting certificates and prizes for the "Student of the Week" winners. The students look forward to this all year long. After the last student performs I present awards and everyone can relax and socialize.

9. Thank the students and their families for their participation.

10. Recognize your accomplishments. Take pride and give yourself some credit for a job well done.

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