Benefits of music participation
- Problem Solving
- Goal Setting
- Memory Skills
- Self-Confidence & Esteem
Always encourage and compliment music students. Expose music students to a wide variety of music. Do not use practice as punishment or force students to play or perform for others if they do not want to. Do not start a student on a poor quality instrument that is in poor working order. Do not expect rapid progress in the beginning. Encouragement, increased enthusiasm and support are always best.
We found this small brochure in an older piano we salvaged and there were no markings of its origin but thought that it gave some valuable insight for the benefits of music lessons.
Ricca, or Ricca & Son was established in 1891 by H.F. Ricca and E.I. Ricca, at 604 East 132 St. and 884 East 134th St., New York. By the mid 20′s the offices and factory was located at 97-99 Southern Blvd., New York. They bought the Ludwig PIano Company around 1933.
Leg from an 1897 Ricca Upright
The latest Clavinova digital pianos from Yamaha are able to reproduce the feeling of playing a grand piano better than ever before. Here are some of the many features offered on these fabulous instruments:
- 88 full sized keys – some are even made of real wood
- 3 completely functional pedals
- Full size cabinet with key covers and large selection of finish choices
- Tone of a real 9-foot Yamaha concert grand
- Touch and feel of an acoustic grand piano with the same repetition capabilities
- Easy to move
- No maintenance
- Many play along and recording capabilities built in
- Internet Direct Connection
- 5 year warranty
These are just a few of the many features these wonderful instruments have to offer. If you have ever thought about owning a piano and were short on space or wanted more than just an acoustic piano these finely crafted instruments are the perfect choice for many musicians.
One of the first things to consider about any used piano is tuning stability. Ask these questions; Can the piano be tuned? Will the piano hold its tune?
One major factor in the answer is the Pinblock.
• A pinblock is the part of the piano that holds the tuning pins. It must:
1. Exert pressure on the tuning pin to keep it from slipping.
2. Allow the tuning pin to be rotated smoothly during the tuning process.
3. The best material for pinblock construction is a very dense hardwood (ex. maple, beech).
4. The pinblock must be constructed with multiple layers of hardwood, bonded together at cross-grains to hold the pin. This process is called lamination.
5. To hold the tuning pin tightly over the years, the block must also be protected from the problems caused by daily humidity changes.
Many antique piano pinblock’s have “lost their grip” on the tuning pin and can no longer hold the tension created when the string is pulled up to pitch. This is caused by the constant pressure always being pulled against it and the changes in humidity that have occurred over the years on the wood. The problem of lost tuning stability can be repaired on most older antique pianos by replacing the pinblock altogether or in some cases by replacing the tuning pins with a larger diameter tuning pin. The second option is more common with upright pianos where the cost of replacing the pinblock is not always cost effective. Either way, the piano can be repaired, and be able to hold its tuning again.
Polyester is the most recent material to be used on pianos. It is a product of modern chemical technology that provides the highest degree of beauty and protection available. Polyester is a very stable product and weather changes have no effect on its size. Therefore, applying a stable finish to a constantly changing surface invites trouble. When the wood changes in response to humidity, the polyester can crack or lose adhesion with the wood. Yamaha utilizes a special resin and wood pulp formula to create a sheet of material that provides a stable surface for the polyester application.
This resin sheet is applied directly to the wood and makes the wood under the finish virtually impervious to atmospheric changes. The integrity of the polyester finish is not subjected to changes that could otherwise take place in the wood beneath the finish. Virtually indestructible, polyester protects against sun, heat, spilled liquids and most other substances that tend to destroy a piano’s finish. It is about ten times thicker and up to seven times harder than lacquer. The extra thickness and strength of polyester not only beautifies and protects the wood from scratches, but also seals the wood to protect it from humidity fluctuation.
We now have a piano tuning in Asheville service listing on Thumbtack. I’m always looking for ways to help market my piano moving, repair and tuning services. Thumbtack is a good way for me to help me show off my expertise in providing professional, very affordable piano moving, repair and tuning services. Check out my listing to learn even more about what we do!”
Voicing is an altering of the tone quality within each note throughout the piano by adjusting the tension of the hammer felt. This is achieved by using needles to make the felt more pliable or tense depending on the desired result. Other means of changing the tonal response of a hammer include adding chemicals to the felt to achieve similar effects. Before any voicing can be successfully done, the piano needs to be in good regulation, in good tune and the hammers need to have a good shape especially at the striking point. Piano hammers should not be to worn. Preserving good tone within the piano requires a good quality hammer felt that has been maintained properly with correct reshaping and realignment on older worn hammers. On new pianos, voicing is sometimes needed and the final voicing should be done in the final location where the piano will be located so that room acoustics can be factored in to the equation. Musical tastes vary, and no one style or shade of voicing is right for each pianist. Thoroughly discuss the needs of each piano and its owner prior to having the piano-voicing job completed. It is best to have a good idea of what the end result will be after the voicing has been completed.
1. Try all the pedals. Listen for squeaks and noises.
2. Play all notes throughout the keyboard. Make sure they sound and return correctly.
3. Look inside the piano. Look for worn or broken parts. Ask questions about the history of the piano and whether or not is has been maintained regularly.
4. Have the owner/salesman play the piano for you or play the piano yourself to determine whether you like the tone quality and the feel of the pianos action.
5. Be willing to learn and take advice of knowledgeable piano people but inevitably make your own decision about the piano and your purchase.
*These are just some quick checks that can be made by the average piano shopper. It is always advised to have a qualified technician evaluate the piano thoroughly prior to purchase.
Piano soundboards are thin boards commonly made of spruce approximately 3/8″ thick glued together and extend from the bottom of the piano on a vertical, and tail of the piano on a grand, to the pin-block and then across the full width of the piano. The soundboard has a crown which is very important to the tone and resonance of the piano. The back of the soundboard has ribs made of wood that are glued to the soundboard to strengthen and support the crown. Wood for soundboards, usually spruce, needs to be light and elastic. The best results are obtained when the grain of the soundboard runs parallel to the bridges. The bridges are usually made from maple and their primary function is to transfer the string vibration to the soundboard. Older piano soundboards often form cracks especially where the thin boards are glued together. This is not detrimental or life ending for the piano. However, it can cause buzzing from certain frequencies. It can be repaired with re-gluing or even shimming. Soundboards that have several cracks, mostly due to age and/or large fluctuations in humidity over the life of the board, can loose crown which would result in a dull lifeless tone quality. If crown is lost, soundboard replacement maybe necessary to obtain good power and tone. It is best to have a used piano checked by a qualified piano technician to fully evaluate the piano soundboard and its condition.
A player piano is a regular upright or grand that plays itself but can also be played normally by any individual. On uprights, the case is usually larger to accommodate the player mechanism. Older player pianos are controlled by pneumatics and newer player pianos are controlled by electronics.
A reproducing piano has an additional element of being able to add musical expression to the performance. These reproducers playback the artists full interpretation of the music when it was originally recorded.
There are 4-5 thousand parts in a player mechanism. This is in addition to the approximately 8 thousand parts in the ordinary piano.
Piano size greatly influences the musical tone and potential of the piano. The larger area for soundboard and string length the better. Lengths, for grands, and heights, for uprights, in general are:
Concert grand 8′-9′
Medium grand 6′-8′
Small grand 4.5′ – 6′
Full size upright 49″ or more
Studio 45″ – 48″
Console 41″ – 44″
Spinet 36″ – 40″
Grand pianos are constructed on a horizontal plane and vertical pianos (uprights, studios, consoles, & spinets) are constructed on a vertical plane. Older uprights that have been named “upright grand” or “cabinet grand” are misleading and incorrect. These were poor attempts at marketing by the manufacturers to increase sales. Likewise, some spinet pianos are labeled consoles to aide in sales.
There are many types of piano key covering materials that have been used through the years. Ivory, celluloid, plastic, walrus and even wooly mammoth to name a few. There are also many glues 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.
Many potential piano buyers believe they can obtain good quality used pianos for little or nothing. Most often they are very misinformed. Be cautious of free or almost free pianos. There is almost always repair work that needs to be done. There is high demand for good used pianos and many pianos are for sale by private parties. Most of the time, the owner’s idea of quality and value are misinformed and much higher than practical. Before purchasing any used piano from an individual it would be wise to have the piano inspected and evaluated by a quality piano technician. If the current owner is reluctant, find another piano.
Purchasing a piano from a full service professional piano shop can be a good source for quality used pianos. Repairs are made and reconditioning is completed by expert piano technicians. The buyer will get more for their money when purchasing used pianos from a reputable piano shop. Many times warranty, delivery and even tunings are included with a piano purchase from well equipped piano specialty shops.
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, suggestions and warnings about the care of your pianos finish that we can suggest.
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 pianos longevity.
Worked on a Grand Piano Company console today. The company was established in 1961 at Morganton, NC. The piano was a console but seemed very much like a spinet. The difference was that the action dropped below the main level of the key bed like a spinet but the keys were angled to drop below the action as well. There was no drop lifter or extension lever with this type action configuration. The action was made by Wood – Brooks in Rockford, IL. The pitch was 115 cents flat but was tunable and able to be brought up to A440. These pianos were originally low cost and easily available to most households. Many times we have had calls from some folks stating they had a “grand” piano but in actuality it was a vertical piano made by the Grand Piano Company.
The piano plate, sometimes called the frame or harp, is typically made from cast iron due to its high compression strength. The strings of the piano are attached to the plate in conjunction with the wooden frame and soundboard, and which the tension of the strings are supported. Many piano manufacturer’s use the O.S. Kelly company to supply them with piano plates. The company is based in Springfield, Ohio.
The cast iron is acoustically inert and is not readily reactive with other elements so it does not contribute to the sound production of the piano.
A crack or break in the pianos plate is a serious problem and requires special skills to repair, if even possible. A crack in the plate can greatly effect the tuning stability of the piano and could render it useless until a repair is attempted.
When restoring or rebuilding a piano getting correct plate position back into the instrument is crucial. Careful measurements are required before removing the plate from the piano so that proper installation back into the piano can be made.