Finding the Right Spot for Your Piano
Whether you bought a piano or an electric keyboard, the first thing to do when you get your new baby home is to find a spot for it to live. This spot doesn't have to be a permanent resting place — pianos and keyboards adapt well to future changes in their lives. But some spots are better than others in terms of keeping your keyboard humming along and in good health for the duration of its life. Your ideal spot has all the following characteristics:
- No direct sunlight: Even through a window, over-exposure to sunlight can damage your keyboard over time. The wood can warp or dry out, affecting both the sound and overall appearance. A faded keyboard doesn't sell well (if necessary) down the road.
- Controlled climate: Don't expose your keyboard to violent temperature swings. For example, don't leave it on a porch that gets really hot in the summer and dreadfully cold in the winter. To avoid fickle weather changes, try to place your keyboard near an interior wall rather than an exterior wall.
- Good ventilation: For acoustic pianos, good ventilation reduces the buildup of excess moisture. For electric keyboards, ventilation keeps the "engine" cooled when the power is on. You don't have to put your keyboard right under an air conditioning unit or right over a heating duct. Just make sure that the room has good airflow through it.
- Safety: Don't set your expensive keyboard under a bookshelf or suspended refrigerator that may soon fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men can't put your Humpty . . .
Of course, you also want your keyboard in a spot that encourages you to play. Try to find a place for your instrument that also has the following characteristics:
- Elbow room: When you feel cramped or uncomfortable, you are more likely to avoid practicing. Lack of practice leads to poor playing, so give yourself ample space for stretching out when you play.
- Convenience: Don't confine your keyboard to an area that's hard to reach. When inspiration hits, you want the keys close at hand. And speaking of convenience, make sure your room has plenty of electrical outlets. Using miles and miles of extension cords is expensive, irritating, and just plain ugly.
- Lighting: Until you're in a dark, smoke-filled bar, in front of hundreds of adoring fans, always play with good lighting. Not only is it easier to see the non-colorful black and white keys, but reading music is next to impossible in the dark. You can set a lamp on or near your keyboard, but don't use the clip-on kind — they can damage the keyboard's finish.
- Neighbors: Consider how the location of your piano or keyboard might affect your relationship with your neighbors. For example, don't put your keyboard in the room right over your downstairs neighbor's bedroom. All those late-night practice sessions will soon be history.