Caring for Your Keyboard or Piano

If you’re planning to buy a piano or keyboard, then you’re going to want to know how to care for it. 

After all, if you’re going to invest in such a large instrument you want it to last. For the best chances of getting longevity for your new instrument you need to care for it. 

At first glance a keyboard is just a bunch of black and white keys on a frame, but they’re a little more complicated than that. They’re not too complicated though, they’re a great beginner instrument and fairly easy to care for. 

The following tips should help you give your piano the proper care and attention.

Clean the keys

The first and most important thing you can do to maintain your piano or keyboard is to keep the keys clean. This will ensure your keyboard always looks and feels great. 

Whenever you play the piano or keyboard you’re transferring the dirt and oil from your hands to the keys. Also, whether or not you use a dust cover, dust always finds a way to accumulate quickly.

This is easy to manage though, just wipe down your piano keys regularly with a soft cloth. If your piano has plastic keys you can also use a damp cloth with a solution of filtered water and white vinegar to keep your keys sparkling like new. Alternatively, if your piano has ivory keys it’s best to use a solution of warm water and dish soap. 

To avoid moisture seeping between the keys it’s also best to wipe in vertical motions, from top to bottom. 

Keep it Tuned

Regular tuning is another essential step of piano care. Your piano should be tuned at least twice a year, the best way to keep track of this is to tune it at the change of seasons. 

Regular tuning ensures your piano will always sound great and play at the correct pitch. 

Self tuning is not recommended, the process is more complicated and is better left to the professionals. Piano technicians have years of experience and know how to keep your piano in top shape. 

Regulate Your Instrument

Regulating your piano is not required as often as the previous steps, this is recommended every 5 to 10 years based on the brand of your instrument. 

You can complete inspections monthly to monitor for any signs of damage, generally if no damage is evident then your piano is working properly. However, if something sounds off, it is best to call a professional to check it out, and replace any parts if necessary. 

In most cases, regulation repairs should be an issue for the long term and not something you need to stress about. 

Voice Your Piano Regularly

The voice of your piano refers to the tone that your keys make, unlike tuning that focuses on the pitch. Shifts in your piano’s voice can be easy to miss when you’re playing, especially since it's highly subjective. 

You will be able to tell that your piano needs revoicing if it’s sounding too tinny, soft or harsh for your ears. It really depends on what you like to hear from your instrument. 

As with the previous maintenance tips, voicing is best left to the professionals, to ensure the best outcomes for your piano.

As well as these maintenance tips, there are a few storage tips to remember to protect your piano or keyboard from avoidable damage, unrelated to use. 

Protect it From Extreme Temperatures and Humidity 

High and low temperatures and humidity levels can damage the look of your piano’s finish. This is especially crucial for wooden framed pianos. 

If the humidity is too high it can cause the wood to swell and put stress on the delicate internal parts of the piano, such as the soundboard. Similarly, if it gets too hot and dry it will shrink and put the same pressure on the internals. 

Your piano is best to be stored in a room with approximately 40-50% humidity. For the same reasons, it is also best to store your piano out of direct sunlight. 

Let it Breathe

Much like anything else, Pianos also like to have room to breathe. So, when deciding where to set up your piano, it’s important to ideally factor in ventilation space to all sides. 

To ensure good ventilation, it is ideal to place your piano in the centre of a room. If possible, avoid placing it next to or against an exterior wall or window as natural ventilation is unpredictable. 

Don’t Use it as a Shelf

This should be obvious, but it is too often disregarded. While your piano top may seem like a nice place for a flower vase, the risks are too high. 

Similarly, heavy objects like large books or bags should never be stored on top of your piano, as this puts unnecessary stress on the internals and will affect the sound quality over time. 

The only things that you should ever store on your piano is sheet music and maybe a metronome.

Get Your Piano or Keyboard Today

To learn more about caring for your piano or keyboard and choosing the right fit for you, visit our musical experts at our store in Nambour.