Our son or daughter is interested in starting piano. Should we buy a piano now?
There are several excellent reasons why practicing on an acoustic piano is strongly recommended, especially for beginners. One’s progress with a musical instrument is directly proportional to the quantity and quality of the student’s practice. No matter how good the teacher, if the student doesn’t have an instrument at home, they simply won’t progress and the student will quit. So you absolutely need to have either a keyboard or an acoustic piano in your house if your student is to have any chance at succeeding with piano.

Learning on a keyboard can be problematic, according to nearly all experts (see next question), but we understand the allure of a less expensive instrument. To help young families start off on the right foot with something they can easily afford, we offer an attractive Family Piano Co.  Benefits Package. Essentially, you can get a high-quality refurbished piano in your home for $295 – including professional move and set up – plus monthly rent-to-own payments often only $49 – for the remainder of the balance. With our exclusive Parent Protection Plan, not only do you get a comprehensive full 3 year warranty, . You receive $10 off all future tunings done through Family Piano Co., and up to four adults in your family each receive two semesters of FREE group adult piano class!

What’s wrong with learning on a keyboard?
Except for those at the very high-end level, keyboards are VERY limited dynamically – your touch doesn’t determine whether a note is played loudly or softly, and they can’t simply can’t respond quickly enough to play advanced pieces. There are roughly 100 moving pieces per note on an acoustic piano, which allows for a full range of expression and motion, instead of the “on-off” feel of a digital. Similarly, most pedals on a keyboard don’t perform the same as on an acoustic piano and can cause technique problems down the line. Unweighted keyboards have actions that are too light and don’t develop the necessary muscle strength and “muscle memory” needed for playing smoothly on an acoustic piano. We’d be delighted to demonstrate this when you visit.

Beginners are much more likely to “connect” with an acoustic piano and succeed with it. The vast majority of players who only play on a keyboard never progress beyond Book 1 before quitting. These are a few of the reasons why, if you ask almost any piano teacher, they will strongly recommend an acoustic piano rather than a keyboard.

Why would anyone buy a keyboard then?
Keyboards are more portable and are thus more convenient for gigging musicians. Although keyboards aren’t typically as pleasant to play as an acoustic piano, an experienced musician can overcome that.

Keyboards are also useful for composing music, because they can be hooked up to computers that can transcribe what is being played into sheet music. While a recording artist may incorporate non-piano samples into their work, students are generally distracted by the array of funky sound effects, often using the keyboard as a noisy toy rather than a real instrument.

I’ve been playing piano for several years now. Do I need to upgrade to a better piano?
Perhaps. A better piano offers a more dynamic and enjoyable experience – you can play soft notes softer, loud notes louder, and quick passages quicker. The tone is more beautiful, which because it makes you sound better, is highly motivating and can encourage to practice more and became a better pianist. Most pianists upgrade their piano, however, because they fall in love with how a particular piano plays and how much more beautiful it sounds.

I saw this very cheap or free piano on Craigslist/eBay/at a moving sale/etc. Should I snag it?
We’d recommend against it unless you’ve had it examined by an experienced piano technician who agrees that this is a good piano for your needs. The piano COULD be in workable shape, but everything wears out eventually, and unfortunately much of the time, it’s not worth the time and money to fix it up. Many require hundreds of dollars in unexpected repair costs. Pianos are expensive to move and to dispose of if you get a lemon.

How often should I tune my piano?
Generally once or twice a year (performance instruments more often). A family of typical needs and usage, who has regularly used a capable technician in the past and keeps the instrument in a dry, temperature-controlled environment can sometimes up to 2 years without noticing too many problems. If it’s been more than two years, we strongly recommend you tune your piano soon, to keep it in good condition.

Are you interested in buying my piano?
Perhaps. Check out “Selling Us Your Piano” page.

How hard can it be to move a piano?
Experience is necessary when moving pianos, and one can suddenly do a lot of damage to the piano, property, or worse yet people if anything goes awry. This is why we trust all of our local moves to Kevin’s Piano Moving 847-395-7048 He is careful, trustworthy, and affordable. For long-distance moves, give us a call.

Why don’t you guys advertise?
We try to keep our marketing expenses low, to pass those savings onto our customers. We do some advertising, but in more community-oriented ways, like in school programs, sponsorships to concert series, etc. We try to build one-to-one relationships with customers, usually via word-of-mouth, and that takes time. We’re sorry to hear that you haven’t heard of us, but eventually, all of Lake County will know that we can help them with their piano- and music-related needs.

How much does it cost to get a piano tuned?
For anywhere within Lake County, we typically charge $95 for a regular tuning. The closer to in-tune a piano is before we start, the more precise and stable a tuning we can do. If the piano hasn’t been tuned in several years, it will usually also require a pitch raise (a full “rough” tuning before we can start the “fine” tuning). An in-tune piano has around 20 tons of string tension, so any major correction to the overall pitch will drift out of tune soon after the tuner leaves. The total cost for a pitch raise and fine tuning is $150. All prices include a “well-baby checkup” and minor adjustment.

How hard can it be to tune a piano? I tune my guitar….
Tuning a piano is a skill that takes years to execute well, and many more years to master. Each note has 2-3 strings that all have to be at exactly the correct pitch, as measured by vibrations per second (usually A=440Hz). With over 40,000 pounds of string tension, getting the frequencies to stay exactly right is an art in itself.  Although most tuners use electronic devices to aid the tuning process, there is much more to it than a iPhone App suggests. Similarly, a great snowboarder makes snowboarding look easy, but we wouldn’t recommend a total novice start on the double black-diamond hills. Generally, amateurs at best end up with a bad sounding instrument, and often actually damage the piano / break strings.

How much does a good piano cost?
That all depends on your definition of “good.” Some people will only accept grand pianos from well-recognized brand-names and those can easily cost $40,000 or more. We have great new pianos that start at under $3,000 and most of our refurbished upright pianos typically sell for around $1,000 to $2000, all of which come with great benefits. Friendly financing is available – just ask.

What is my piano worth?
See Selling Your Piano — Other Options

Do you buy/sell/fix organs?
No, that’s outside of our range of expertise. If you’re interested, we recommend WHO????

What is your relationship with Joplin’s Java?
Joplin’s Java used to be a part of the Family Piano Co company. Family Piano Co. expanded in the fall of 2007 to include lesson rooms, and a large event space, that when it wasn’t used for events, had doubled as the seating area for Joplin’s Java. Joplin’s Java closed in May 2013 to accommodate for more music-related events and to expand our show room.

Leave a Reply