Do you have a piano?
Wonderful! You do!
You are a very lucky person to have a piano. Now that you've wrestled this beautiful beast into your home, it's time to take care of it. Here are some questions and answers to think about.
Q: Why should I tune my piano? It sounds pretty much kind of okay.
A. You should keep your piano properly tuned because it will sound more beautiful this way, you will enjoy playing it more and likely play more beautifully, and because regular tunings will increase your chances of keeping your piano in great playing shape when maintenance issues arise. Besides, why have such a wonderful instrument in your home and not take care of it properly?
Q: How often should I tune my piano?
A: About twice a year. The drastic changes in humidity that we experience in Maine as winter comes and goes affect the soundboard and all the wooden parts (there are lots of them) in your piano. So once the dry winter weather settles in, you should tune your piano; and once we're back to hot and sticky, you should tune your piano.
Q: Who should I have tune it?
A: There are lots of wonderful and highly qualified piano tuners out there. Some people prefer to opt for a piano technician - someone who can not only tune but offer a range of services from fixing that sticky A-flat key to rebuilding the entire action of your piano. Some people recommend selecting a piano technician from those who are members of the Piano Technician's Guild whose website you can search for a local piano technician (I only found four technicians listed within 35 miles of Westbrook, so the list is far from complete). As with many things, personal recommendations from those in the know may be your best bet. I have personally enjoyed working with Matt Guggenheim and have been grateful for helpful conversations with Joe Bacica and also Paul Rice. I also have a family who adores the work of Alexander Peppe, and I'm sure there are other great technicians and tuners out there in the Greater Portland area.
Q: How much will it cost?
A. If your piano has been well-maintained, a tuning will cost around a hundred dollars. I've paid as little as $80 and as much as $145. This may seem expensive but if you've already invested in a piano and are paying for piano lessons it's really a very reasonable amount to invest twice a year to ensure you are getting the most out of your instrument - and your time! Besides, compare it to what you're paying for your smartphone or cable TV on an annual basis... yes, I'm a bit biased, but just sayin'!
Q. Still have questions?
A. Just try calling a few piano technicians and asking - about price, about how often and when to tune, about that sticky A-flat key. In my experience piano technicians are very happy to share their knowledge and will be happy to chat with you. Besides, pianos are truly mysterious instruments to most of us and it's simply a pleasure to talk to someone who knows so much about these complex and wonderful creatures!