10 Tips to Make Learning Piano Fun Again

The mesmerizing world of learning piano is like embarking on a soulful adventure, one that spans across generations. With each touch on the keys, a unique narrative unfolds, intertwining personal stories with age-old musical tales. Just as any profound journey, learning piano has hurdles. Yet, the true essence of mastering the piano doesn't lie in producing great music, but in immersing yourself in the learning process. Here’s 10 tips on how to make learning piano even more fun and rewarding.

Listen to More Music That Involves Piano

The piano, throughout history, has manifested in many forms across many genres. Classical symphonies, jazz improvisations, rock anthems, and even electronic beats - all have shown the piano's versatility. Delving deep into music involving piano will spark inspiration. By widening your music taste, you acquaint yourself with diverse playing techniques and styles that could show up in your own playing.

Consider dedicating a portion of your day to active listening. As you absorb each note, visualize the keys dancing under your touch. By doing so, you're not just listening; you're immersing, understanding, and internalizing. This can become an intro to your playing sessions, setting the stage for a more passionate time.

Play the Music You Listen To

Recreating a beloved melody is akin to reliving a cherished memory. The beauty lies in the details, the nuances, and the emotions that surge with each note. But how does one transition from active listening to playing? Begin by understanding the composition's structure and emotion. Approach it with curiosity. Play along with the track, allowing your fingers to synchronize with the rhythm. Gradually, wean off the guide track and venture solo.

Document your attempts, perhaps through recordings. Over time, this archive will narrate your journey, each recording a chapter, illustrating your growth. Such tangible evidence of progress not only motivates but also serves as a reminder of the passion that ignited your musical voyage.

Reward Yourself with Being Able to Play

Music, in its essence, transcends mere auditory pleasure; it's therapeutic, transformative, and deeply personal. Let your piano sessions be more than just practice—let them be your refuge. After days mired in stress, let the keys be your escape. However, to sustain motivation, introduce rewards. These don’t need to be extravagant. Perhaps a new sheet music of a favorite song after mastering a challenging piece or a special dessert after a dedicated practice week.

Such rewards, while seemingly simple, serve a dual purpose. They offer immediate pleasure, yes, but they also embed the association of joy with piano playing. Over time, this association strengthens, ensuring that you anticipate each practice session with eagerness.

Create a Good Playing Environment

As any piano player will attest, the environment around your piano is paramount. It can either stifle creativity or nurture it. Therefore, curate your piano space with thought and love. Ensure your instrument is in prime condition, regularly tuned, and positioned to catch the best natural light. Personalize this space. Add plants for a touch of nature, inspirational quotes to motivate, or even souvenirs that resonate with personal musical memories.

Consider the acoustics too. Soft drapes or carpets can enhance the sound quality. Importantly, ensure comfort. An ergonomic bench and optimal lighting reduce strain, allowing for longer, more enjoyable sessions. This space, over time, becomes more than just a practice area. It evolves into a sanctuary, reflecting your musical spirit and aspirations.

Learn Entire Songs, Not Just a Section

In the vast array of musical compositions, each piece is a well-crafted narrative. And just as skimming through a book robs one of its essence, playing mere sections of a song does it injustice. Engage with a song in its entirety. Understand its ebbs and flows, its crescendos and silences. While the allure of mastering just the climax or the most recognized part is strong, resist.

Dive deeper. In the lesser-known sections, you might discover intricate techniques or emotive notes that become your favorite. As you play the complete piece, accompanied by other instruments or vocals, the song's true depth emerges, offering unparalleled satisfaction.

Create Your Own Music

Beyond replication lies the realm of creation. Here, you're not just a pianist; you're a composer. As you grow familiar with the keys and techniques, there will be moments when emotions demand expression. Seize them immediately. Even if you're not formally trained in composition, let instinct guide. Simple tunes, basic improvisations, or even random key presses can lead to serendipitous discoveries.

Technology can also aid in this journey. Numerous apps and software offer easy notation and editing tools. As you craft your melodies, share them. Feedback, whether it’s from a teacher, peer, or online community, can provide valuable insights. Embrace this phase of your piano journey. It's raw, vulnerable, but deeply rewarding. Through your compositions, you offer the world a piece of your soul, immortalized in melody.

Be Very Casual About It

While structured learning has its merits, unbridled, casual playing has its own charm. Break away from the regimen occasionally. Let your sessions be devoid of goals, targets, or perfection. Play what you feel, how you feel. These sessions, while seemingly chaotic, often lead to profound realizations and progress. They offer a platform to experiment, make mistakes, and learn without the looming shadow of judgment.

Host casual jam sessions with friends. These gatherings, brimming with shared melodies, laughter, and perhaps some off-tune renditions, infuse fun into learning. They remind you that at the heart of this intricate journey of piano mastery lies a simple truth: the joy of music. Embrace this truth, let it guide your casual sessions, and rediscover your pure, unadulterated love for the piano.

Don’t Get Mad at Yourself

Every journey has its pitfalls. In the world of piano learning, these manifest as missed notes, challenging techniques, or even plateaus in progress. It's crucial, during these phases, to practice self-compassion. Understand that mastery is a mosaic of failures, learnings, and small victories. Instead of berating yourself, reflect. Analyze the challenges, seek guidance, but most importantly, remember the passion that propelled you on this journey.

To aid in this reflection, maintain a journal. Document not just your progress, but your emotions, doubts, and aspirations. This journal becomes more than a record; it's a mirror reflecting your growth, resilience, and commitment. During moments of self-doubt, peruse its pages. Let the documented journey, with its highs and lows, remind you of your capability and the joy inherent in learning.

Stop Playing When You Want to Stop

While dedication and discipline are pillars of mastery, so is the recognition of one's limits. Continuous playing, especially when not in the right frame of mind, can lead to fatigue, both mental and physical. Learn to recognize these signs. If a particular piece becomes overwhelmingly challenging, step away. Engage in a different activity. Perhaps listen to a completely different genre, dance, or even take a walk.

This break, though it might seem counterproductive, often acts as a reset, clearing mental blocks and rejuvenating the spirit. Upon return, you'll find a renewed desire to tackle challenges. Remember, the piano is not just an instrument; it's a partner in your musical journey. It requires understanding, respect, and space.

Remember: Without Struggle, There is No Progress

Music history is full of tales of maestros who, despite their innate talent, faced immense challenges. Beethoven's deafness, Chopin's frail health, or even Rachmaninoff's bouts of depression—they all had their struggles. Yet, their legacies shine bright, not just because of their genius, but their indomitable spirit.

Embrace your challenges, for they are the crucibles refining your skills. As days turn into months and months into years, the way you sound will bear testament to your dedication, progress, and the transformative power of challenges.

Final Notes

It's imperative to remember that the piano's world, with its myriad notes and techniques, is a reflection of life itself. It offers joy, challenges, moments of self-doubt, but most importantly, it offers growth. With each key you press, you're not just playing a note; you're weaving a narrative, echoing sentiments, and leaving a mark on the vast canvas of music.

As you progress on this enchanting voyage, let the guiding force be love—love for music, for self-growth, and for the timeless tales that the piano narrates. Let each session, be it a structured learning hour or casual fun with the keys, resonate with passion, dedication, and the undying quest for excellence.

How to Check Out a Pre-Owned Piano Before Buying: Part Two

Equipping yourself with essential basic knowledge of piano parts, their function, and critical problems to look for will undoubtedly prove helpful while shopping for a pre-owned piano.

As we discussed in the previous article, you will likely make an initial assessment of a piano on your own while searching for the ideal instrument to purchase. This article continues the highlights of checking out a piano and gathering vital information to discuss with a professional technician before buying it.

Evaluate the Condition of the Action

Getting an overall view of the action is a crucial step to include in any piano evaluation. The action consists of numerous working parts within the mechanical assembly needed to make a piano playable, and these parts should appear evenly spaced and uniform.

The action parts of a vertical piano tend to be easily seen and inspected by looking inside. However, a grand piano’s action is more difficult to view without removing it, and we recommend leaving that to a professional. Once again, taking careful notes and discussing troubling issues with your chosen technician is best.

Test each key to ensure that it works without sticking and that each damper properly functions as it returns to the string. Moth damage, brittleness, broken parts, and signs of deterioration are all conditions that should flag your attention as possible problems. In some instances, action parts are easily replaceable and not costly. In contrast, if the action appears to be in deplorable condition with extensive breakage, it may not be worth repairing.

piano keys close up photo

Scan the Keys for Appearance and Irregularities

Examining the keys is a relatively straightforward part of checking out any piano. Identifying any missing, chipped, or damaged keys is essential, regardless of whether they might be plastic or ivory. Replacing keys is generally easy and relatively inexpensive if you are contemplating buying a piano that needs new ones.

Next, take time to press each key at its front and try to move it gently left and right, checking for looseness and odd noises. The key bushings, which are pieces of cloth that buffer the key wood from the guide pins, sustain the most wear in the center part of the keyboard. If they are excessively worn, repair work in this area is usually a moderate cost but creates a smoother and quieter key action.

Scrutinize the Hammers for Grooves and Alignment

The hammers are undoubtedly the most crucial part of a piano’s action mechanism since they directly strike the strings which create the sound. Looking closely at the surface of the hammer at the point it hits the strings will allow you to see any noticeable grooves. Deep grooves likely suggest the piano has seen tremendous use throughout the years and may need the hammer heads replaced to improve the piano’s tone quality. This decision could be somewhat dictated by who will be playing the piano, whether that is a beginner student or an advanced musician.

You can also check the alignment of the hammers by observing the appearance of three well-defined grooves that line up precisely with the three strings it strikes. View the hammers’ position by pushing them toward the strings to see if they move to the correct point. If numerous hammers are badly out of alignment, potential problems with breakage become a concern.

Another necessary inspection of the hammers includes checking for looseness. Poorly defined grooves or a broad, flat spot where the hammers strike indicates excessive side-to-side motion. A quick check you can do is to gently glide your fingers over the tops of the hammers, noting any that have unusual movement. In a final review of the hammers, be sure to test if any or all hammers respond sluggishly or make clicking noises.

If you observe problems, it is best to let your technician know and allow them to examine it more closely to determine the cost and scope of needed repairs.

piano action with hammers and wooden keys

Ensure that the Dampers Operate Correctly

The dampers in a piano are the recognizable wedges and felt pads that rest against the strings, preventing sound production until pressing a key. Dampers can be tested by playing each key on the piano and releasing it to ensure that the tone and string vibration immediately stop. Remember that the top portion of the treble side does not have dampers, and the strings will continue to ring until the sound disappears.

Try listening for buzzing sounds as the dampers return to the strings since that could indicate a need for new felts. You will also want to press the right-hand pedal to slowly lift the dampers and check for precision as they rise from the strings. Although problems with dampers can sometimes be tricky to solve, they are often not severe or too costly and likely will not sway your decision to buy a piano.

Inspect and Test Each Pedal

Assessing the condition of the pedals is another fundamental part of your piano inspection. The main observation will simply be to find out if they work and how they function. Vertical pianos possess a more straightforward pedal system and may have two or three pedals. However, if there is a middle pedal, it will likely not be a true sostenuto pedal as found on quality grand pianos. Check for cracking, bending, or disrepair in the board where the pedals attach.

Grand pianos have a more complicated pedal system, with some parts located behind the action mechanism. Once again, examine the points of attachment to ensure nothing is loose or falling apart. Be sure to test the middle pedal to see if it is a functioning sostenuto pedal if you desire this feature.

Piano pedals are sometimes noisy, loose, or missing a dowel, but overall, many issues can be fixed or adjusted at a relatively inexpensive cost. 

Gauge the Need for Regulation Service

All pianos suffer the effects of normal wear, humidity, and temperature changes impacting the wood and cloth parts of the action. Restoring the precision of the piano’s action to its original specifications is known as regulation. This maintenance expense can fluctuate widely and ultimately requires a professional evaluation to determine if it is necessary. Even so, as you check out a piano, you may try a couple of tests that indicate a potential need for this service.

Evaluating the keyboard’s repetitive ability is an excellent first assessment, helping discern if there is excess friction in the action parts. Press and hold the right pedal, then use alternating hands to repeat a single key observing how it responds and returns to its resting position. Make sure to try this on multiple keys across the keyboard. Secondly, try playing numerous keys as softly as possible. Irregularities, such as skips or misses in the sound, suggest that the piano might need regulating.

black and white close up photo of a piano hammer and stings

Find the Serial Number and Write it Down

Your piano inspection should include locating its serial number, generally found somewhere in the interior. This number usually contains four to eight digits and can be used to determine the piano’s manufacture date. Serial numbers are often printed near the tuning pins or on the plate or soundboard. Vertical pianos sometimes have serial numbers engraved on the top or back, while a grand piano might have its number on the front edge of its keyframe.

Try finding an online piano blue book source, enter the serial number, and discover the manufacture date of any instrument you consider purchasing. You can also consult with your preferred technician, who may have a printed guidebook of piano manufacturer information. Without the serial number, a piano’s case styling or unique technical details will likely help a technician determine its age.

Close the Piano Lid and Complete Your Assessment

With your examination of the piano’s interior now complete, close the lid in reverse order from previously opening it. Be sure to return the music stand and fallboard to their initial positions.

Take this last opportunity to play the piano again, carefully listening to its tonal quality, brightness, and volume. Pay attention to the transition of sound as you play the keyboard from its lowest to the highest end, recognizing anything muffled, significantly out of tune, or odd.

Remember that other factors, such as room acoustics or needed maintenance, might affect the sound but note anything unusual to discuss with your piano technician.

Final Reflections

We hope this brief guide provides helpful insights into examining the components of a piano and how to relay pertinent information to a professional piano technician. Feeling equipped with vital piano knowledge will inspire confidence in searching for and choosing a used piano.

The trained staff at Hulme and Sweeney are always ready to assist families as they explore options for an excellent piano and answer any questions about the instrument that best suits their needs.

How to Find a Used Piano

A quality used piano can be an excellent choice for beginning your child’s piano lessons or for your personal enjoyment. A used piano tends to be more affordable than a new one and often offers superb value for your budget. Knowing exactly how or where to find an excellent used instrument, however, can be a challenge.
You may count yourself lucky to be offered a free piano as a gift or find one cheaply through a garage sale or classified ad, hoping it will be a good starter instrument. Although these scenarios may be ideal for your budget, they seldom lead you to a quality piano in good working condition.
This article will discuss people, places, and opportunities to help you find a quality used piano that suits your needs. Of course, we encourage you to thoroughly research all options before you begin shopping to ensure confidence in choosing the best financial value.

Talk to Experts in the Piano Industry

Tuners and Technicians

A first great option to begin your search for a used piano is to seek a local piano tuner or technician. These individuals are often available for a quick chat on the phone, an email, or a brief meeting. They can provide crucial information regarding what to look for in a used piano. More importantly, these piano experts spend many hours traveling to homes, churches, universities, and other locations to tune and repair pianos. They often know of pianos available for sale and their current condition and approximate value. Tuners and technicians can be vital liaisons between a potential buyer and seller looking for a piano. At least several of these experts in your area will have a website with contact information where you can begin your conversation with them.

Piano Service Companies

Perhaps the ideal place to find a high-quality used piano is a piano service company in your area. In addition to tuning, these small businesses often specialize in refurbishing, restoring, and rebuilding pianos and usually offer them for sale in their own shop. These expert craftsmen take the time to make sure each instrument they sell is properly working, tuned, and refurbished to be ready for delivery and use. Many of these same shops will also restore and rebuild pianos if that is what you desire. Purchasing a piano through one of these small businesses provides significant assurance that you will not encounter necessary repairs once the piano is in your home.

At Hulme and Sweeney Piano Service, we can provide complete assistance in your search and purchase of a used piano. We will answer all your technical questions and invite you to our showroom of available used pianos. A visit to our store is a great place to find an excellent used piano in proper working condition that provides the most value for your budget.

Visit Piano Dealer Showrooms and Walk-In Retail Stores

New Piano Dealer Showrooms

If you are interested in browsing for used pianos in person, you can consider visiting a new piano dealer showroom. Many dealers will accept trade-in pianos from individuals upgrading to a new instrument. These trade-in pianos are often available for sale somewhere on the showroom floor. It is essential to ask questions about the condition and value of these pianos to learn if they have been refurbished, tuned, or have a maintenance history.
Remember, the goal of a piano dealership is to sell new pianos, not to refurbish and restore older pianos. Therefore, it is wise to have any piano you consider purchasing thoroughly checked by an independent technician. Sales associates may try to convince you that a new piano is a better deal than a used one, but that is not always the case. Getting a good used piano at a retail store is possible, but it will likely cost more than buying from a private seller or service shop.

Consignment and Resale Stores

If you consider yourself a bargain hunter who wants an extremely inexpensive piano, check the local consignment and resale stores. In some situations, people just need to unload a piano quickly, and donating it to a charity shop or resale store provides an easy solution for them. On rare occasions, you can find a decent piano that is just in need of basic repairs and tuning. Still, you will likely have to arrange for transportation and incur the costs of needed maintenance work. It is always best to have a piano thoroughly inspected by a trusted technician before making any decisions. In the end, most pianos at these stores are in very poor condition and will likely cost more money to restore than just purchasing from a reputable used piano shop.

Explore Online Piano Shopping

Great for Browsing!

With the help of the internet, piano shoppers have access to many choices of used instruments sold by private sellers rather than in local businesses. Even if you do not purchase a piano through a website marketplace, online browsing can still help provide general comparative information. Online marketplaces allow you to see pictures of models in different conditions for an array of prices. In some instances, comparison shopping online could lead you to a unique local piano shop or piano service business that could provide an excellent instrument.
Online shopping seems convenient, but any piano you are considering should be seen in person, inspected, and played before buying. Unfortunately, not every posted classified ad is legitimate, and buyers should use caution when a deal seems too good to be true.

Online Classified Sites

Most people are familiar with popular online sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, but there are also piano-specific sites that may offer better options. These include www.pianomart.com and www.pianobuyer.com, which offer pianos throughout the country. Most of these sites have search features that allow you to find pianos nearby. Remember, moving and maintenance costs associated with an online purchase will generally be up to the buyer. It is also essential to determine if a warranty is included with any piano you wish to buy online and to verify its playing condition.

Utilize Personal Networking Opportunities to Find a Piano

Most of us visit with friends, family, and nearby acquaintances regularly, which leads to another option for finding a used piano. Talking to people within your circle remains an easy way to see if someone you know is trying to sell a piano they no longer use. Caution is still needed if anyone wants to gift you a free piano. As mentioned before, these instruments may often be in very poor condition and require numerous, costly repairs.
Other people to contact about a possible used piano may include piano faculty at a local university, Music Teacher Association members, or even a church that might be upgrading their pianos.
Private piano teachers in your area will sometimes have students graduate high school and move on, leaving their parents desiring to sell the piano. Another option is to visit estate sales where a family might be downsizing or relocating and cannot take a piano with them.
Finding a piano through any of these means could be a great deal, but we highly recommend contacting a skilled technician to evaluate the piano before purchasing.

Final Thoughts

Searching for a good used piano takes patience and perseverance as there are numerous places where they might be available. We recommend exploring several options presented in this article and stress the importance of a professional assessment before choosing an instrument.
One of the best options for purchasing a used piano is to check with a local piano service shop that refurbishes and restores pianos and offers them for sale. You will likely get a quality, working instrument approved by a skilled craftsman and accompanied by a warranty.
Whether you decide to purchase an instrument online, from a private seller, or consider accepting a gifted piano, feel free to contact Hulme and Sweeney Piano Service to help guide you through the process and answer your questions.

How to Sell Your Piano

Selling your piano is a challenge as it is a large investment of time for any buyer to make. As a seller, you will have to compete for the buyer’s attention by creating an image that your piano is better than other sellers’ listings. If you’ve decided that selling your piano is the right step to take, there is a lot to know about it before starting the process. For instance, do you know what information to list when selling? Do you know what online platforms you can sell it on easily? How about the process of determining a fair price? Or maybe you don’t want to deal with the process of selling and looking for external help? All of these questions will be answered in this article so that you can have the best possible experience selling your piano.

Before Deciding on Selling

Consider if you want to save the hassle of taking on the whole process yourself. It’s possible to sell your piano to a shop that will in turn sell it to a buyer. This guarantees you money for your instrument, which is not always the case if you choose to sell it privately. Consult a good technician, who will evaluate your piano and give you information on how to proceed. As a part of Hulme and Sweeney services, we offer piano evaluation and can take the hassle of selling the piano off of your hands.

However, it’s possible for your piano to be turned down by a shop for either being too old and unmaintained or simply not fit for sale. In that case, look into selling it privately, which will be detailed below.

What to Consider Before Selling

Selling a used piano is definitely a challenge in this era. Some new digital pianos can replicate the feel of an acoustic piano but do not have to be maintained. Naturally, acoustic pianos are becoming a rarer choice for the typical buyer. Used ones, at that, need to sufficiently sway the buyer away from buying a new piano, either acoustic or digital. So, there are a few things you must consider before deciding on selling your piano:


First, the brand of the piano. As goes for any product, well-known brands sell easier. A buyer who recognizes your piano’s brand will be more likely to look into it. On the other hand, lesser-known brands receive less attention from the typical buyer and more from a niche group of piano enthusiasts. 


The piano’s age is another important factor as to whether your piano will sell or not. Contrary to popular belief, older pianos are simply not worth more. With age, a piano progressively breaks down, its wood becoming more brittle and its strings falling out of tune. Typically, a piano can last 20 to 30 years, and even more if it’s maintained properly, reconditioned, or restored. If you have a very old piano, it’s best to still try to sell it, but do not count on the fact that it will sell, for it’s very unlikely.


Next comes the appearance of the piano. Since the majority of people shop on the internet, a piano that looks good will obviously sell quicker than a damaged piano. If you want your piano to sell fast, then repairing any major damages to the case or the keys is a must-do. Such damages will turn down potential buyers very often.

Maintenance record

Last, a record of the piano’s maintenance should be included in the sale. A buyer could find a well-known brand of piano that looks to be in good condition, but not follow through with the sale because of a clear lack of maintenance of the piano. It is crucial that you maintain your piano so that the buyer knows that they are purchasing a functioning instrument.

Advertising on Online Platforms

Again, since it’s easier for buyers to look at pianos on the internet, you will want to advertise yours there. Some common platforms include Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. Additionally, there are some more niche platforms specifically for pianos. These include PianoMart, PianoBuyer, Klaviano, and more. Now, to get the most out of your advertisement that you will publish, it’s important for you to do the following:

Take Good Pictures

More often than not, good photos of your piano will sway the buyer to look in further. Make sure to clean up the background and clean the piano itself. Take close-up pictures of the keys, case, and the inside of the piano. Be sure to include a good photo of the entire piano that will be suitable for a cover photo. The more appealing and eye-catching it is, the more likely that a buyer will look into purchasing it. Additionally, if there are any damages that you were unable to repair, make sure to take pictures of them. The more pictures you include in your advertisement, the more accurate and honest of an image you will create for your buyer. 

List out Information

The first thing that potential buyers will read in the listing is the title of the product. A good format to follow for the title is the following: Year, Make, and Model.

Next, after looking at the cover photo, name, and price (which we will get to shortly), the buyer will move on to looking at the description. In the description of your item, list as much information about the piano as possible. This information should again include make, model, and year. Some additional facts that you should include are the piano’s serial number, its playing condition, any known damages (along with photos), the date of its last service, and the reason as to why you are selling it.

Again, the more information you provide about your listing, the more likely it is that a buyer will look into it. Selling a used piano is tough; you are competing with other sellers, after all. By placing yourself ahead of these sellers by providing information, you are increasing the likelihood of someone purchasing your piano.

Determine a Reasonable Price

The price of the piano is the deciding factor on whether potential buyers will look further into a sale. Of course, if the price is astronomically high, then most buyers will be turned away. However, the closer the listed price is to the piano’s fair market value (FMV), then buyers will be more likely to purchase it or negotiate a price. 

So, how do you determine your piano’s FMV? The first thing to do would be to speak to a piano technician, preferably the one who has been servicing your piano. They will know its ins and outs and will be able to give a price close to the FMV. 

Next, you should look at the listing prices of other pianos similar to yours on these online platforms. A competitive price will make potential buyers look more into your piano than other ones that are similar. Then, combining the two sources, determine a FMV for your piano. 

However, you should not list the piano for this price. By listing the piano for a price about 12% higher than the FMV, then negotiating a lower price (that is close to the FMW) with your buyer will make them feel as though they are getting a good deal. Both you and the buyer will be happy because you sold your piano for its FMV and the buyer got the piano for a “deal”. 

Movement and Shipping Costs

A price completely separate from the piano itself, which you should list in the description and/or total price, is the movement cost of the piano. Since pianos are such large and fragile objects, the cost of shipping them increases exponentially with distance. Additionally, moving the piano to a tough location in the house, such as up flights of stairs, can tack on a price that is important to display so that it does not sneak up on the buyer and turn them away from the sale.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot more that goes with selling your piano than just a picture and some text. The whole process of selling your piano is a battle to capture the attention of potential buyers. You may find that after some time, interest in your piano has died down. This is simply because your listing has fallen behind those of other sellers. Your information may be inadequate or your pictures and price may be unappealing. 

All of the factors discussed earlier in the article have a substantial impact on whether your piano will sell. Oftentimes, you might even have to decrease the price of your piano for it to gain more attention from potential buyers.

That being said, there are other options to selling your piano. For instance, you could sell it to a piano shop, who will then sell it to a customer. Hulme and Sweeney Pianos can assist you with any questions regarding selling and can appraise your piano so you can determine its FMV. Feel free to visit us or give us a call!

Benefits of Buying a Used Piano

Most of us love the thrill and excitement we experience from purchasing a brand new luxury item. That same feeling entices people when they walk into a showroom filled with beautiful, new pianos and envision one in their home. However, just because a piano is new, does that mean it’s the best option for beginning music lessons?

New pianos offer peace of mind when you shop, assuming they are free of defects and come with a manufacturer’s warranty. However, used pianos already have depreciation factored in, usually have a more mellow tone, and are considerably less expensive. Let’s look at how choosing a used or even rebuilt piano might be an ideal investment as you select a piano for yourself or contemplate lessons for your child.

Refurbished Pianos are More Affordable

Purchasing a used piano can stretch your budget for a better brand and maybe longer soundboard, rather than settling for a smaller, entry-level new piano. In addition to less depreciation, a first-rate used piano brings an opportunity to find unique older styles and wood finishes, plus the possibility of a richer, warmer tone. Ultimately, a good refurbished piano might allow you to get the best piano possible for your price range.

Used Pianos Have Less Value Depreciation

In glancing at a few retailer websites or showrooms, you find that many new pianos made by the top brands start at around $10,000 for consoles and reach considerable amounts for grand pianos. Not only can these instruments be out of budget, but their potential resell price also substantially drops when it reaches your home.

Depreciation is a significant factor when purchasing a new piano, unlike a used one. A new instrument will lose approximately 20% of its value by the end of the first year, then roughly 5% each year after for the next ten years. This aspect of a piano purchase is one of the overriding reasons many people choose a used piano. A refurbished, well-maintained used instrument will retain a more significant portion of its value if you decide to resell it in the future.

Reputable Piano Rebuilders offer Warranties

Quality refurbished pianos often come with a warranty on parts and labor from a reputable technician, making them a trustworthy purchase. Used pianos are also much less affected by depreciation should you or your child discontinue lessons.

Buying a used piano with a warranty, plus knowing its value will not be entirely lost if you sell your piano, provides a level of confidence in your decision. 

At Hulme and Sweeney, our pianos always come with the assurance of a 5-year warranty on parts and labor.

Used Pianos Present a Variety of Styles

Shopping for a used piano adds a potential element of fun if you like searching for something unique. Good used pianos can offer a greater variety of styles and finishes from years past that may not be found in today’s newest models.

Options and colors of wood finish, such as lacquer, satin, high-gloss, or something natural-looking, might be essential to you as you consider the room’s color schemes, furniture, and the piano you choose. Older pianos may have more exciting cabinet design features, enabling you to find something to match your home furnishings. Some pianos have beautifully carved music stands with ornate legs. In contrast, others offer efficient, industrial-style looks or even smooth, streamlined curves.

Tone: Older Pianos vs Newer Pianos

One other reason to consider purchasing a used piano is the appeal of its tone, which could significantly differ from newly made pianos. Warmer, more mellow tones were popular in early 20th-century pianos. Instruments built in recent years tend to have an overall brighter tone, as this seems to be what is currently in demand.

You may prefer one type of tone over another, but this is certainly something you should think about before investing in a piano. We suggest playing as many instruments as you can find to understand which one sounds best for your ear.

The Restored Piano Option

A similar but more costly option to a refurbished piano is that of a restored piano. The advantage of a fully restored or rebuilt piano is that a trained technician can take an older, high-quality brand piano and recreate the interior with new, modern mechanical parts.

Technology that exists today was not available 100 years ago when piano makers were crafting their premiere instruments. Thanks to innovations in carbon fiber action parts, carbon steel strings, and computer aid to correct design flaws, a skilled technician can bring an old piano to new performance levels. This means if you like the qualities of an older model Steinway, for example, but would like to customize certain features such as tone and action, this option allows you to modify the piano to your preferences.

Advantages of a Rebuilt Piano

Rebuilding a premium grand piano, such as Steinway, with all authentic parts in their New York location will cost around 80% of a new Steinway. A more reasonably priced alternative is to choose a skilled, professional independent piano builder who can use premium brand parts to rebuild an exceptional piano for a lower cost. A rebuilt piano from a trusted restoration company also provides protection from hidden defects and unexpected maintenance and will likely come with a warranty on the work.

All Students Need Good Pianos

Learning to play the piano is still essential to many children and adult students and finding a suitable piano within your budget is a vital part of this process. Parents often believe in the approach of buying the cheapest piano they find to see if their child is genuinely interested before investing in a better instrument.

The dilemma with this approach is a piano that has broken parts, fails to hold its tuning, or has terrible action will likely discourage a new student from continuing. Students become frustrated when they cannot duplicate melodies, harmonies, or technical passages they hear from a teacher during lessons. They may blame themselves for lack of progress rather than realizing it could be the piano’s poor condition.

Refurbished Pianos Offer Quality

Students learning to play the piano progress more quickly on a quality instrument. A properly working refurbished piano with unchipped keys and uniform action develops better finger strength and dexterity. A piano that stays in tune improves aural skills, while fully working pedals are essential for advancing students. Purchasing an antique instrument or accepting something for free in deplorable conditions will not provide these much-needed features for a student of any level.

Keep in mind certain piano manufacturers and models from particular decades should be avoided in your search. Many old, low-quality spinet and upright pianos are sold or given away by individuals in deteriorated conditions, and we do not recommend purchasing or accepting these instruments.

Finding a vertical console or small grand that was initially built with excellent craftsmanship is a good candidate for refurbishing to like-new conditions. We are happy to discuss the best brands of pianos at Hulme and Sweeney that we feel make excellent used instruments.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a piano for your child’s music education or your home encompasses a thoughtful search for an instrument that suits your needs and budget.

New pianos are easy to shop for at showrooms and come with the manufacturer’s warranty and no anticipated problems. However, the depreciation factor and immediate loss of financial value spur many piano shoppers to consider a high-quality, affordable, refurbished piano instead.

A restored or rebuilt piano might be an ideal option if you are looking for customized features. A rebuilt instrument is a great way to acquire a premium brand piano at a reduced cost with improvements that could possibly surpass its original condition.

Working with a knowledgeable, capable rebuilder offers a distinct advantage in being able to find or refurbish a piano to fantastic working conditions at a much more affordable price. As you begin your search, we invite you to Hulme and Sweeney Piano Service to discuss our selection of used pianos and restoration services.

Piano Care and Maintenance

Now that you have invested in a beautiful piano and had it delivered, it is time to think about how to care for it through the years. Proper piano care ensures the instrument’s best playing condition and durability, providing enjoyment for yourself and the aspiring musicians of your family. You are probably familiar with standard maintenance like tuning and cleaning, but other services like voicing and regulation also aid in prolonging your piano’s use. 

Piano maintenance encompasses all work on the mechanical parts, guaranteeing that everything functions correctly. As a piano owner, you will want to consider the best way to clean and polish it, choose a prime location in your home for it, and create an environment that protects the integrity of the wood.


Consistent tuning is essential to your piano’s yearly care and is necessary to ensure tonal precision. Regular tuning keeps all strings matching their respective pitch with adjustments of the tension of each string through its corresponding pin.

The soundboard and other various piano parts expand and shrink with seasonal humidity changes, leading to one or more tunings needed per year. Optimal tuning times are best before long, stable weather trends when the moisture in the air reaches a point of little change.

New, newly restored, and used pianos have different tuning needs regardless of their model, price, or quality. Three to four tunings are generally required for new and newly restored pianos, as their strings are still stabilizing. Used and older pianos function best with at least two tunings yearly, but frequency depends on factors such as climate and use. We recommend tuning every six months, but consulting with a qualified technician, such as Hulme and Sweeney, is the best approach to determine a schedule for your piano.


A piano’s cloth and felt parts settle and compact over time, requiring adjustment to bring the action of the key and hammer mechanisms back to prime condition. Without regulation services, you may notice a loss of responsiveness in the keys and an increased delay between the keypress and tone production.

The need for periodic regulation depends on the use and playing demands of the piano and humidity changes of the seasons. An initial regulation should be performed sometime during the first six months up to two years of a new piano. Afterward, a trained technician can advise on the frequency required for your piano’s particular use, generally every four to five years or as needed.


Some owners choose to adjust the voicing of their piano for a warm, mellow tone and subdue any harsh brightness. The voicing process allows technicians to harden or soften the hammer felts within limited parameters to adjust the tone. Upon consultation, a trained technician can determine which specific method of altering the density of the felt tips is best for your piano. These can include sanding the felts, ironing them, using a chemical treatment, or pricking them.

Voicing is a personal preference and is generally needed when the sound has fluctuated in a way that is not pleasing to your ear. Professional performers, for example, might choose to improve their piano’s voicing as they strive to achieve the best sound for rehearsals or a performance. Factors such as the environment, the piano’s placement, and usage may also prompt a desire to improve voicing. Tuning generally resolves many tonal issues that concern piano owners. Still, light voicing can be included every six months along with tuning. 

Cleaning and Polishing

Piano care includes cleaning the keys, polishing the exterior, and vacuuming dust from the inside. A slightly dampened, lintless microfiber cloth or cheesecloth serves to clean and polish.

Simply wipe piano keys with plain water or a mild soap solution making sure excess water is wrung out of the cloth. Thoroughly dry the keys to avoid damage to their sides. Use a separate cloth for wood black keys to avoid smearing any stain onto the white keys.

Keeping your piano’s exterior free of fingerprints and scratchy dust maintains its beauty. The piano’s finish can be rubbed lightly with the same type of cloth as its keys, using long, straight strokes in the same direction of the wood grain. Piano manufacturers can recommend polish if available, ensuring that it is specifically for your piano’s finish. Do not apply household furniture polish or wax since these are not made for pianos.

Dust collects throughout the interior of pianos, regardless of your housekeeping skills. Ask your technician about removing the dust safely with a vacuum or other tools at your next tuning. Piano covers are available and can be an excellent option for your piano needs to prevent dust buildup. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to order, and come in numerous sizes.

Humidity Control

A piano’s stability is greatly affected by humidity since the instrument is made primarily of wood. The optimal relative humidity for a piano is between 40%-45% to maintain its intonation and overall lifespan. However, keeping the level moderate and consistent is equally beneficial. Various helpful measures are available that can offer protection for your piano.

One accessible solution for most piano owners is maintaining a consistent temperature in their piano room through air-conditioning and heating. Preventing extreme changes during the hot and cold seasons helps stabilize your instrument.

Other options include using a room humidifier if your piano is in an arid climate or installing a climate-control system directly onto the piano. Another humidity control idea is to use non-toxic silica gel pouches, which attract or release moisture depending on the room’s humidity level.

Where to Place the Piano

In addition to humidity, direct heat and cold affect pianos of all makes and models. Assessing the room space and placing your piano strategically away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, and windows will aid in preserving your instrument.

Intense heat can come from radiators and fireplaces, making it essential to avoid having your piano too close to these elements. Direct heat and sunlight also come from windows and cause damage and fading to the piano’s exterior. Along with solar screens for windows that provide UV protection and heat blockage, heavy curtains or blinds will also offer a certain level of protection.

If placement near a window is the only option, strive to create a space between it and the piano. Old or broken windows could allow excess moisture, heat, or cold to seep in and cause damage.

Final Thoughts 

Caring, protecting, and maintaining your piano is essential to preserving its playability and financial value. Yearly tunings, plus periodic services such as regulation and voicing, add many years of functionality and tonal quality to your instrument.

Care and maintenance of your piano

When purchasing a piano, be aware of the piano care and maintenance challenges if you live in an area of extreme humidity changes and the solutions available to help. As you consider purchasing a piano, remember the importance of where you will be placing it in your home or studio. The room location you choose may adversely affect the instrument due to excessive temperatures or direct sunlight.

Hulme and Sweeney desire each customer to enjoy their piano for a lifetime and to help keep it in excellent working condition. Each piano purchased from our showroom comes with a free first tuning and a 5-year warranty on parts and labor. We look forward to answering your piano care questions and providing any maintenance your piano needs.

9 Tips for Learning Piano as An Adult

According to experts, learning an instrument is highly beneficial for children, and it helps them develop their reflexes and makes them more creative. Among all of the instruments, the piano is one of the most beautiful ones and as you hit the keys, you can make amazing music. However, some people think that they can only learn the piano as a child, and they have missed out on their chance.
Although adults may not have the same level of attention or reflexes as children, it is never too late for them to pick up the piano and learn how to play it. In fact, they have a different way of learning. In this article, we will discuss 9 tips for learning pianos as an adult, so you can also reignite your passion.

Buying an Affordable Piano

The best way to learn is to play a real instrument. The weight and the resistance of the keys and make your hands stronger and build up your hand muscles. You don’t need to invest in Steinway grand right away, you can make do with a good student grade upright. Pre-owned pianos from a reputable piano shop can serve you for the first 2 to 4 years. Try to find good brands, like Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin, Young Chang.

Finding a Teacher

You may think about learning the piano on your own or through tutorials, but playing it involves advanced techniques and motor skills, and you can easily develop the wrong position or habit. This is why you need a good teacher who can help you learn the correct techniques and finger placements.

Practicing Daily

The hard truth is that learning to play any instrument well requires daily practice; 10 to 15 minutes every day is much more effective than an hour once a week. The physical stamina comes when you keep at it when you keep practicing.

Sticking to the Fundamentals

Focus on fundamental techniques. Sometimes it means playing classics and pieces that you don’t feel passionate about, but which build your motor skills and turn you into a better pianist each month. Sometimes playing the piano is about discipline as much as it is about fun.

Developing Sight Reading

Sight-reading is a complex skill that is essential to developing a wide repertoire of music. Learning sight-reading ability will help you become a better pianist. Start off with simple pieces and slowly work your way up.

Starting with Easier Pieces

If you start with complex melodies and symphonies, you will be discouraged quickly. Rather, you should start with easier pieces and let your teacher guide you. To make this process less overwhelming, it is best to focus on one piece at a time.

Learning Your Favorite Piece

Another key method of learning piano as an adult is to try playing pieces that you actually like, as they will provide you with a higher sense of accomplishment. Whether your favorite piece is a sonata by Mozart, a Beethoven symphony, a song by The Beatles, or a Coldplay ballad, the desire to learn it will be stronger if it is something you enjoy. When you enjoy the music, you are playing, working on any areas of difficulty will be more rewarding and enjoyable.

Listening to Music

Listening to music is always a rewarding experience. When you hear a piece of music performed on a piano, you are hearing it performed at its best. To be inspired and learn the capabilities of the instrument, listen to performers and composers, visit concerts in your city. Learn and observe what pieces you are drawn to.

Having Realistic Expectations

Last but not least, the key to learning piano as an adult is to be patient and set realistic expectations for yourself. For some people, it can take weeks and for others, it may even take years. All you need is to persevere and stay encouraged in your learning journey.

These are all the tips that you can apply as an adult to learn the piano and fulfill your passion. Not only will it reward you by releasing your stress and help you become calmer, but it will also make you creative and expressive.

Humidity Regulation and Your Piano

As discussed in our previous article, humidity is by far the most important factor in a piano’s tuning changes throughout the year. This guide will help you understand the effects of humidity on your instrument and what you can do to monitor or change the environment near your piano. 

Humidity’s Effect on your Piano

To begin, let’s discuss why humidity plays such a big role in the tuning of your piano.

When the piano's wood bridges are raised or lowered, they change the tension of the strings. Seasonal changes in humidity either expand or contract the wood in a piano, changing its tuning as well.

Humidity is measured in percentages. These show the amount of water vapor in the air compared to water vapor capacity of the air. The name for this is “relative humidity". The optimal location to place a piano is where the relative humidity is 40-50 percent.

This means that picking a good location for your piano would require some effort; you can’t just place your instrument anywhere.

Proper Piano Placement

Any piano, cheap or expensive, can be ruined by improper placement. Stay away from placing your piano anywhere near radiators or vents; drastic changes in humidity may occur at these locations and could continue to destabilize your instrument until it is unable to be tuned.

Some other places, although not as extreme, include windows, doorways, and outside walls; all three of these can supply small breezes of air to the piano and destabilize it. If you cannot find a suitable place for your piano, don’t be afraid to place it near these. Make sure, however, to leave a gap between the wall, window, or door, to provide your piano with as much insulation as possible.

Another aspect you should take into account is sunlight. Sunbeams can heat up a piano during the day, affecting its finish and even its tuning. If any sun shines onto your piano, it would be best to cover it with blinds or curtains.

The last factor you should consider is temperature. Especially during the winter, this certainly affects your piano’s tuning. A small difference in temperature, even five degrees, can play a role in the humidity of your home and your piano. 

Climate Control

Since each piano demands a proper climate to be the most effective, trying to maintain a good climate around it is essential.

Humidifiers are effective in doing this, whether you connect them to your heating system set up a portable one. Set up your humidifier so that it maintains proper humidity throughout your home and where the piano is located. If you are not comfortable with the humidity level your piano needs, portable humidifiers are great: they can maintain the space your instrument is in without compromising the rest of your household.

Additionally, you may purchase climate control systems for your piano specifically; they are placed directly inside. They only require intermittent filling, an annual cleaning, and do a good job in keeping the piano in a regulated climate.

Piano Tuning: What You Need to Know About it

Pianos are very complex instruments and must be cared for year-round. For a piano to stay in its best shape, it must be tuned several times each year.

The best possible approach to this would be to request service for your piano. It is important to understand a few key details about your piano. This includes what conditions may be influencing the tuning of it.

This guide answers commonly-asked questions regarding the tuning of your piano.

What is Piano Tuning?

Piano tuning is the process of adjusting every string to its correct pitch by turning a pin.

This process, similar to any other string instrument, will either increase or decrease tension in each individual string to make the whole length of the keyboard sound correct. It is important that you tune your piano so that it sounds great no matter when you play it.

Why do Pianos Go Out of Tune?

The most influential factor in the tuning of pianos is seasonal humidity changes that occur throughout each year.

These changes affect every piano, regardless of its price, quality, or its location.

The moisture level brought about by that season will lead to the bridges that the strings rest on to expand in the summer and contract in the winter. This change will bring a difference in the tension of the strings and will put them out of tune.

Other factors, although not as prevalent, include playing the piano and the quality and construction of the piano. Pianos constructed with cheaper parts will, inevitably, have lesser tuning stability than ones with quality parts. So it is vital that you should take into consideration the quality of your piano prior to tuning it.

How Often and When Should I Have My Piano Tuned?

Pianos follow a yearly pattern that affects their tuning. So, several specific months are the best times to tune. These months are February and September - it would be best to tune later in the month.

Although a biannual tuning would be suitable for most pianos, it is even better to tune every 3 months. That way, the piano would remain in near-perfect pitch year-round.

Other tuning schedules are options, including every 4 months, which is similar to a 3-month schedule. A once-per-year schedule would maintain the instrument but keep it very badly out-of-tune in the off-season.

In summary, you should avoid tuning your piano during times when the humidity will change drastically. Instead, tune your piano before long periods of relative stability in the climate.

Summarizing What you Should Know

Although straightforward, the aspects of piano tuning are misunderstood. Humidity is the deciding factor in a piano’s tuning stability, but it is important to determine the quality of your piano’s parts as well.

A piano tuning schedule should suit you but also keep the piano sounding excellent.

Since each piano varies, there is no one schedule that suits everyone. Our next article will discuss the impact of humidity on pianos in greater depth and will include methods of monitoring your instrument.