The Black and White of Owning a Piano
Buying a piano isn’t something to be undertaken lightly. Unlike a guitar or a violin, it can’t be consigned to gather dust in the attic; buy a piano and it’ll have a conspicuous position in your furnishings. But a piano is arguably the most versatile and rewarding instrument to own. With the possible exception of a guitar, nothing else can stand alone, without support or additional backing instruments, like a piano.
Today we’ll look at some common-sense tips to consider, both in how to buy your piano, and how to make sure you have the right musical instrument insurance.
If you’re just starting out, or you’re buying a piano so that your child can learn to play, there’s one very simple rule: buy the best you can afford. And however much you’ve decided to spend, consider how you could increase it. Cheap or worn-out instruments can actually be more difficult to play, and will certainly disappoint with their sound. Few learners will persevere with a bad piano, and even if they do, you’ll be buying a replacement as soon as they start to become competent.
Grand or Upright?
A grand or baby-grand piano looks magnificent, shining among the aspidistras in a Palm Court lounge. But the amount of space it consumes puts it out of the question for most homes. More importantly though, a grand piano is usually far more expensive than an upright one. This means you’ll often get a better piano for your money if you opt for the more compact, though admittedly less impressive, instrument.
While we’re considering the size of the instrument, it’s worth mentioning weight. Pianos are heavy; very heavy indeed. If you’re thinking of installing it in an upstairs room or a flat, check the floor loading. Most modern buildings shouldn’t have a problem, but in an older one it’s inconvenient if your piano ends up in a downstairs living room!
Will It Fit?
The size and weight can bring challenges when it comes to getting the piano into its new setting. Take a measuring tape with you, and think about steps and corridor corners that could get in your way.
Protecting Your Investment
Pianos are expensive and delicate. Unlike most other things in your house, they lose very little value over their long lifetime. If you’ve struck lucky with a second-hand bargain, it could even increase. So think carefully about musical instrument insurance. It’s not enough simply to hope that your household insurance will cope if something happens; the piano could easily exceed the individual item value on your policy. And if you have managed to scoop a bargain, you’ll recoup only a fraction of your pianos value. It’s best to deal with a specialist company that offers specific musical instrument insurance.
We’ve not touched here on how to choose a good piano; that’s a job for an expert on the spot. If you’re just learning, then ask around your friends to find the most accomplished pianist you know, and take them with you when you go shopping.
You’re starting a big musical adventure. Good luck; you’ll enjoy every minute of it!