Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Move A Piano Until You Read This

How do you move a piano? Very carefully.

Okay, I'm being a little sarcastic, but moving a piano is a serious endeavor.

I'm a big advocate of hiring a professional mover to move a piano. Pianos are heavy and it's easy to damage a piano while moving it. I'm speaking from experience. I own a Kimball piano my parents bought brand new for me when I was a child. That piano was a big deal to me after having played on an old "clunker" of a piano for several years. I played that new piano every day.

When I got married it was time to move the piano to my own home. My husband and his brothers moved it themselves. It wasn't an easy job even with the moving dolly they used (pianos weigh several hundred pounds - grand pianos can weigh 1,500 pounds). The amateur move of my piano resulted in both of the piano legs being damaged (a common occurrence when people move a piano themselves) and some unplanned internal work (some pins needed repair and a string broke). I should have hired a piano mover. Then I wouldn't have had those problems, but my husband and I thought we would save money by doing it ourselves. It was a lesson I should have remembered, but I was foolish a second time.

A few years ago my husband and I built a new house. When it came time to move the piano again, my husband was reluctant to hire someone to move it professionally because our pocketbook was already feeling empty from the expense of building the house (he called our new house a "money-sucking black hole.") In his mind, moving it wasn't a big deal. Our new house was less than two miles from our old one; and he had a dolly, a trailer, and a brother who was willing to help him.

Everything went okay until my husband turned into the driveway of our new home. The sharpness of the turn strained the ropes holding the piano on the trailer and they broke. The piano tipped over and sustained a lot of damage (the entire "guts" of the piano are ruined and the case is chipped and scratched). I haven't had it fixed yet, but I have gotten an estimate. It's going to take a lot of time and money to fix the piano. It needs to be totally rebuilt. Because of the labor involved, it would be cheaper to buy a new piano than have it fixed, but the piano has a lot of sentimental value to me so I will have it fixed. This is why I say, "Hire a professional!"

What does a professional piano mover do to ensure a safe and successful move? With upright pianos, they almost always strap the piano on a skid called a piano board. They also cover the piano with blankets to help protect it. The entire bundle is then typically put on a dolly and taken to its destination. If steps are involved, the piano is taken off the dolly and slid up or down the steps on the piano board.

Moving a grand piano is a little more involved. The lid, lid hinges, pedal lyre, and leg on the straight side of the piano are usually all removed. The piano is then put on the piano board, on its side, with the straight side down. The other legs of the piano are then removed. The piano is then covered with blankets, strapped to the board, and put on a dolly.

Some movers don't like to move a piano up or down stairs. If it's feasible, they prefer to hoist it to the appropriate floor via a window that's big enough to accommodate the piano.

So what do you do if you just want to move your piano from one part of a room to another? First, decide if it's really important to move it because there's always the risk of damaging a piano even with a short move. Piano legs are the most likely thing to get damaged or broken.

Be very careful to avoid putting too much weight on the legs. Get a few strong people to help if the piano is an upright; and get at least 5 people if it's a grand piano. With an upright or spinet, tilt the piano back a little to take the pressure off the front legs, but be careful not to tip it back too far and tip it over. With a grand piano, lift the piano up enough to get the pressure off the legs before you try to move it. It's not necessary (and not recommended) to lift the piano off the floor entirely.

If you're going to move a piano often, consider having it fitted with special casters that will allow you to move the piano fairly easily. Or, have the piano placed on a piano truck.

How you do you find a good piano mover if you've decided to not try and move it yourself? My suggestion is that you call your local piano store and ask them for recommendations. They should be able to give you the name or names of reputable movers in your area.

Okay, so you've decided you are definitely going to move your piano and you've decided on a method. Now you have to figure out where you're going to put the piano. Where should it go?

Try to put your piano in an area of a room where there are little or no drafts, where it's out of direct sunlight, and where the temperature and humidity are stable. This is because pianos are sensitive to humidity and temperature. Lots of temperature and humidity swings cause a piano to go out of tune faster than normal, can damage the wood case, and if they are severe they can even eventually cause structural failure.

Don't place your piano over or next to a heat vent and avoid putting it close to a fireplace. Don't put in front of a window because that's typically a drafty place as well as one with direct sunlight. Try to find a room in your home or apartment that has consistently stable temperature and humidity. That is the best room for your piano.

If you can't find a place in your apartment or home that is out of direct sunlight, free of drafts, and doesn't have big temperature swings, you may want to consider having a climate control system installed in your piano.

Moving and placing your piano correctly will help ensure you have a lovely instrument to play for a long time rather than having what I now own - an oversized paperweight that needs to be dusted.

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Challenges in Learning the Saxophone and How to Overcome It

A saxophone or "sax" is a musical instrument which is commonly used in playing jazz, classical and reggae music. Learning how to play the saxophone may be a bit difficult because of the complications on the part of the instrument itself and in the techniques that is used on how to properly play the sax.

The difficulties that may be encountered especially for someone new to playing this instrument are:


Knowing the proper way to assemble the saxophone. Assembling the sax may be a bit difficult for someone new to the instrument.

Parts of the saxophone are the main body, the neck the mouth piece, reed, and the ligature. There are many types of saxes that are available and steps in assembling them may not be the same. The following are the common steps in assembling the saxophone:

1. First, take the body and hold it in a secure manner, connect the neck of the sax to the body by applying a little pressure, remember to loosen first the screws (usually 2) on top of the body to be able to properly fit the neck to the body then tighten the screws.

2. Connect the mouth piece on the neck of the saxophone. If the mouth piece doesn't easily slide in, then put a little cork grease on it to do the trick. Don't force the mouth piece in or you'll be damaging the sax.

3. Placing the reed and the ligature will be more specific because any miss calculations may damage the mouth piece and replacing it may be expensive.

Place the reed first, make sure the flat side of the reed is facing the flat side of the mouth piece, and then slowly slide in the then ligature until the reed is already holding up. Tighten it then your ready to play.


Learning how to do the embouchure. The embouchure is a technique required to play the sax. It is done by rolling the lower lip in a manner that the teeth below are covered by the lip.

Imagine that you are going to whistle, that is the closes situation that could be seen when doing the embouchure. Doing this technique will enhance the sound on the sax and less spit will be flowing in the sax.


Proper breathing and blowing of the saxophone. Inasmuch as the saxophone is an instrument played by blowing, adequate lung and diaphragm power is a must. Breathing by the diaphragm is what helps you play the saxophone better.

The stronger the breath is held, the longer a tone can be played. Long or extended tones demand good breathing technique when playing the saxophone. Although there is a technique called the circular breathing which is particularly for playing long tones.

This technique lets you play a long or extended tone without the need to pause for breath. Learning this technique will be difficult for beginners, but taking music lessons particularly saxophone lessons may help a beginner learn this technique that if the teacher will teach it.

Sax lessons may help a beginner learn fast in playing the saxophone but learning how to play it on your own is easy if a saxophone instructions manual on playing it is obtained.


Fingering techniques and note reading. The best part in having a saxophone is when it is played. But playing the sax does not mean just pressing the keys, learning the notes on how to play it may help you improve fast in playing this instrument.

It may be possible to learn the basics of playing the instrument and some of the more basic notes with just one or two lessons, followed by continuous and dedicated practice and experimental exploration. Notes that are played randomly may create a good music that depends on how artistic someone having this wonderful instrument is.

Mastering on how to play the saxophone takes time and a lot of effort, but once learned and became good at it, everything will be worth it.


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