piano

Taking care of your piano is something that goes beyond lessons but teachers would do well to remind their students how to maintain their piano, keep it clean, in tune and in the best condition possible.

Before the actual playing, a piano beginner should learn a few basic needs for every pianist.

Teachers need to remind students that the place where you play your piano matters, that keeping it in tune is a must, dealing with rust, dust as well as knowing what things to avoid.

Here are a few tips on how to keep that piano in perfect condition for playing.

Piano Placement

This is something every pianist needs to consider, not just to play comfortably, but to avoid anything that may affect a piano in a negative way.

There are a few things that cannot be close to a piano:

  • Fireplaces
  • Radiators
  • Air vents
  • Heaters
  • Air conditioners
  • Gas Heaters
  • Stoves

Remember that a piano is mainly made up of metal and wood so it needs the right type of care to avoid the wood from swelling from humidity.

Swelling can cause the wood to press against the metal parts which is not good for the instrument.

If there is no way to avoid these issues, there is the possibility of having a humidity control system which regulates any changes in humidity with a built-in humidifier and dehumidifier, keeping the humidity level controlled.

Maintain Piano in Tune

The most common concern is, how often should I tune my piano? Well this depends on a few things but the general rule is a minimum of 2 times per year.

However this can change for a number of reasons, the first one was already mentioned and that is humidity and temperature.

A common misconception is that playing a piano frequently is what makes it go out of tune, but it’s not.

Still even if the piano is in perfect temperature conditions, it will most likely go out of tune as the strings stretch.

It’s really easy to know when it needs a tune, just noticing changes in the usual sound is enough, from buzzing and twanging, to changes in pitch or tone.

Another big reason for a piano to go out of tune is when it is moved from one place to another, which makes sense and happens to most string instruments.

Always keep your instruments in tune, otherwise you won’t be able to play it properly.

Also, the more time you let your piano be out of tune, the worse it’s going to get, and you need every key to play the note it’s supposed to

How to Maintain Your Piano Clean 

maintain

Of course part of the maintenance is to keep it clean by removing any rust, dust or anything that shouldn’t be there.

First of all, something that is very important to everyone these days is disinfecting, so how do you disinfect your piano keys?

Well according to steinway.com these are the right steps:

  • To disinfect your piano — the keys are the most important part. Over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide available from any pharmacy, is safe for piano keys.
  • Dampen a cotton pad with hydrogen peroxide and use the pad to wipe down the piano keytops (back to front) between players.
  • Use diluted alcohol-based disinfectants, do not use bleach-based disinfectants or any product containing citrus.
  • If using a spray or liquid bottle, use disposable pads or soft cloths. Put the disinfectant on the towel and not the piano.
  • Always follow up with a dry towel and never leave any liquids on the piano or keys.

Then comes the general cleaning part.

Voicing and Regulation

Regulation is approximately 37 adjustments per key of the pianos action mechanism to enable it to play as it should, this is without any noticeable change in sound quality.. 

This fixes many issues such as wear and tear to the action, excessive expansion and contraction of the wooden parts, loss of strength in the steel springs, normal felt compression, damage from moths or just general neglect.

Voicing on the other hand is an altering of the tone quality within each note throughout the piano by adjusting the tension of the hammer felt. 

That said, voicing is something that may give different results depending on the pianist’s preference, but it is a much needed part of piano maintenance nonetheless.

Things to Avoid!

Some of these above  warnings may be a little obvious but it doesn’t hurt to include the obvious, and there is no such thing as caring too much about your piano.

Once your piano is clean, in tune and ready to go.

Also, avoid this becoming lost in time, don’t forget your piano maintenance as well as teaching your students about it. 

With MTH you can easily get reminded about it as a calendar event, even if your week is full with lessons!

 

 

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The piano is one of the most popular instruments in the world for many reasons, from its sound to its welcoming nature to beginners, however there are a lot of exercises to be done before fully learning the instrument.

While it can be easy to play at first, there is a lot to learn and a very high skill ceiling when it comes to the piano.

In order to continue developing piano skills, teachers need to remind their students the importance of practice and exercises.

Warm Up Exercises

Just like any sport, you need to be in control of your body and muscles by having warm ups and exercises to avoid injuries and improve your performance.

This applies to a pianist’s fingers, so remember to stretch your fingers, your arms and get ready to start playing piano.

The Hanon Exercises

The Hanon exercises for piano were created by French piano pedagogue and composer Charles Louis-Hanon, these exercises consist of independent finger practice. The main goal consists of training the pianist in speed, agility, strength and precision of fingers, as well as training wrist flexibility and endurance. There are 60 finger exercises that were made into a book called The Virtuoso Pianist which was first published in 1873. The exercises include beginner level, moderate and advanced level of training.

There are three main areas that you can improve with the hanon exercises, these are:

  • Finger strength and independence
  • Overall endurance
  • Strength in the wrist and the forearm

These are two of the most effective exercises:

This one improves finger strength and independence, as well as wrist and forearm strength.

This one helps with wrist and forearm strength and endurance.

There are many many more but this is just a taste of what these wonderful exercises offer.

Exercises for Children

Exercises may not be as fun as playing a complete piece, this is specially true to younger piano players.

The idea is that exercises should be fun for children, it needs to feel like a game, for example, teachpianotoday.com has a few good ideas like:

Have your student place their hand on a table top with their wrist resting on the surface and their fingers nicely curved.  This is the “spider”.  He needs to stretch each of his legs.  Have your student reach one finger at a time starting with their thumb and reaching in an upward motion while keeping their other fingertips touching the table top and without allowing their knuckles to collapse.  You can hold something for the spider legs to reach  up to touch, giving them something to aim for.

Once your student has mastered this, this you can give the spider specific exercises for his legs.  Write out finger numbers in random order and have the spider’s legs lift accordingly (ie. 1-3-5-2-4).

So the main thing should be to find fun little twists in order to make it feel like a game.

Mikael Pettersson Tips

Exercises

Mikael Petterson is Swedish concert pianist. He obtained a B Mus (Hons) degree at Birmingham Conservatoire the year 2000 and also attended  Masterclasses with Prof. Hans Leygraf and Prof. Peter Feuchtwanger.

After that he became inspired during his time at the Birmingham Conservatoire, he began teaching piano at various levels which eventually took him to become the Head of Keyboard Studies for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students completing a Music Degree at the University of Wolverhampton.

In an interview with crosseyedpianist.com he talks

I wanted to pass on my ideas on the physical approach to piano playing.  Following my studies with Peter Feuchtwanger, I teach my students various exercises where the focus is on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’.  So the movements, relaxation of certain muscles and tension of others are all important, while the notes in this case are almost incidental. I therefore  encourage the students not to be overly concerned with accuracy but instead to learn a new movement and degree of relaxation that can then be incorporated into the repertoire.  There is a great advantage to having this one aspect in isolation since when performing a piano work there are so many musical elements to consider.  Technique and teaching of movements at the keyboard is often neglected until the teaching becomes quite involved, by which stage bad habits have often set in and are hard to correct.  The DVD may be used to learn the exercises from scratch in which case it is paramount to try copying the movements demonstrated as closely as possible.  In the case of my own students the DVD is used as a reminder of the exercises and to support the information I give in the lessons.  Closely related to these exercises are fingerings which are chosen to encourage a particular movement when working on repertoire.  The traditional ‘five finger position’ is not present; in fact there is rarely a position but always a movement which gives much more suppleness and freedom at the keyboard.

There are always new techniques and discoveries in order to make learning piano a lot easier so be on the lookout for new ideas to improve your piano lessons.

 

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When we think about pianos and keyboards there is one thing that always comes to mind one way or the other, and that is size and a lack of portable capabilities.

When it comes to size, or even shape, this instruments are defnitely not the most comfortables to take with you anywhere.

That is why a great solution has come in the form of a portable keyboard, which is both very convenient and useful for people that are usually traveling or just moving instruments from one place to another very often, which is the undeniable fate of musicians.

Piano De Voyage had its debut at Namm in 2019 and received very good feedback. The idea behind this special keyboard is that it is a USB controller with all the qualities of a full sized keyboard but, with the useful fact that you can fold it and pack it wherever you want. It has a USB connection and sustain pedal socket. Right off the bat this is  an incredible idea for anyone who wants to keep playing without any concern of “where” and how.

Carry it Anywhere

Everyone that is devoted to their pianos and keyboards often finds dissapointment when having to play an instrument that isn’t theirs.

Everyone loves their own instruments and whit Piano de Voyage that is something that can be accomplished but is it reliable in terms of quality? Well it is, and it can give you the choice to bring up to 8 octaves in your backpack, which seems like a crazy idea.

Its creator Olivier, did not have to think about something too crazy to come up with the idea of the portable piano, it was just the desire to practice when being out on a vacation or a business trip.

Portable Quality

If you are worried about the quality of this new invention as a keyboard, there is no need to worry.

There is a great focus on quality when it comes to bringing a good sound, and overall experience with this portable instrument.

Before being a good portable keyboard, it has to be a good keyboard, and this one is indeed a very great choice, even if you had to take away its portable capabilities.

The components themselves come from China but the instrument is built in France, which could be a selling point for many people.

There is one aspect of this keyboard that is actually a very welcome thing, which is how little noisy the keys are.

It can be a little annoying when you’re playing a keyboard and you hear the keys making other sounds than the ones it should be making, this is very present when you decide to play with headphones, and you fail to keep your surroundings silent because of this.

Other than the key noise dampening, they feel great to play and it’s one of the most important aspects of a keyboard when you’re looking to buy.

Connectivity

Of course, it also has all that you would expect from an instrument these days, it can easily be connected through USB to your phone or your laptop.

This gives you access to different apps and DAWs to explore new sounds while traveling.

A Portable Future

Keep in mind that this is still a very new keyboard, and while it offers so much in its early stages, there is still so much to be done from this succesful start.

One of the things to be excited about is that while it works as a controller for now, the idea is that this year a new version will be released, and will feature a battery-powered sound.

It is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to portability without dropping the level of quality.

Piano de Voyage is definitely an easier way to play anywhere anytime.

MTH Special Offer

Piano de Voyage offers four different options with different range of keys and prices.

25 keys pack: €419.00

49 keys pack: €629.00

73 keys pack: €839.00

97 keys pack: €1,049.00

And if you are interested, you can get 10% off as an MTH special offer.

Go to shop.pianodevoyage.com and don’t miss out on the coupon code: MTHRP10

Valid for orders shipping to only US or Canada and until January 31st 2021.

 

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