As we move into another period of lockdown I continue to stay at home to support the national effort and to keep myself and my customers safe. The nature of my work means I work in customers homes and travel between households and unfortunately it cannot be considered an emergency repair (although our ears may sometimes feel that way!). Don’t worry about it going out of tune. It can be put right once it’s safe to work again. If you anticipate it needing a tuning asap you can contact me and I can put you on my waiting list.
In the meantime here’s some tips to getting the most out of your piano during this time!
1. Ideally your piano should be in a consistent environment of about 21°c and a relative humidity of between 45 and 70%. Big fluctuations in temperature and humidity will negatively affect the tuning and mechanism. A simple hygrometer can help you monitor the environment.
2. Look at where your piano is situated. It won’t like underfloor heating, radiators, conservatories, damp, constant direct sunlight. Consider keeping heating around the piano low and consistent, find a curtain for the window, use a dehumidifier for a damp room. Please DO NOT attempt to move your piano yourself right now. You need specialist equipment and experience and you risk causing injury to yourself, others and your floorboards! (not to mention moving it can destabilise the tuning!)
3. While this may seem the perfect time to learn a new skill, please don’t buy a tuning kit off amazon and try to do it yourself. It takes years and years to learn the techniques and skills and at the moment I can’t come and put it right if it goes wrong. You also risk permanently damaging the integrity of the tuning. If you are genuinely interested in how it works and have time on your hands consider instead wrapping your head around the science and history behind it.
5. If you wish to clean your keys use a solution of 30% denatured alcohol and 70% water. Add to a cloth and wipe the keys gently. Wipe keys down after with a dry cloth. Do this one octave at a time. Be careful with wooden black keys – don’t scrub hard or you’ll damage the polish. Don’t be tempted to use sprays and water all over the place, if water gets into the wood the keys will swell and stick..
6. Play lots!
Play in every spare moment. Get creative, practice scales, attempt that piece you’ve been putting off, start learning. Now is great time to enjoy your piano with no expectation, whether it is in tune or not. We don’t need perfection to be able to get something from these wonderful instruments. Since the 1700’s pianos have survived through some of the worst periods of recent human history including pandemics and war. I doubt they were very regularly tuned then but they were still regularly played and brought joy and escapism during difficult times.
If you have any questions or need further advice, or you wish to be put on a waiting list for a tuning please get in touch.
Stay Safe Stay Home