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Piano Study Dramatically Enhances Children's Reasoning Skills; Here's What to Look for in Purchasing a Piano for Your Child

If you are a parent, you may have heard about recent research at the University of California, Irvine, showing that piano instruction is far superior to computer instruction in enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills. After six month, children who received piano training performed 34 percent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than those children who received computer training or no special training.

Parents who want their children to benefit from piano study might want to consider buying a piano in the New Year. Here are a few things you need to know as you approach this investment decision.

According to Bill Huesman, RPT, president of the Central North Carolina Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild, buying a piano is much like buying anything else - you get as much or as little as you pay for. "As a rule, people should buy the best piano they can afford. A quality instrument is a good investment, is often less expensive to maintain, and is a good way to stay interested in music."

The Piano Technicians Guild offers the following points to consider in purchasing a piano:

  1. Consider the space you have available. Vertical or upright pianos start at about 36 inches in height. All uprights require about the same amount of space. Grand pianos come in varying lengths from under five feet to about nine feet. Generally, taller upright pianos and longer grand pianos have longer strings and use higher quality materials. The quality of the piano's construction is directly related to the way it sounds and plays.
  2. Understand your warranty. Most new pianos have a warranty from the manufacturer for as long as ten years. In some cases a warranty is issued by the dealership and is only as good as the dealership's reputation. Used pianos that are purchased through dealers typically carry a one-year warranty. In all cases, follow the service recommendations of the manufacturer to maintain the quality of the sound and to detect early any problems that can develop.
  3. Choosing a used piano. If you are buying a used piano that is still under warranty, make sure the warranty is transferable; many are. If you are purchasing the piano through a piano store, consider both the reputation of the store and the skill of their technicians. If you are purchasing a used piano from an individual, keep in mind that even a free piano can become a problem. Do hesitate to look a gift horse in the mouth.
  4. Consider Rent-to-buy Options. If you need a piano for a trial period, consider renting. Many firms offer an option that allows rental payments to be applied to the purchase price. The terms and conditions of these contracts vary greatly and delivery is sometimes extra. Extended rental periods can be costly. A good rule is to rent for one year or less.
  5. Moving your Piano. Delivery is usually included in the price of a new or used piano when it is purchased from a dealer -- check to be sure If you purchase a piano from a private individual, be sure to use professional piano movers to deliver the piano to your home. They have the expertise and equipment to avoid damaging the piano or your home.
  6. Servicing the Piano. Pianos typically need to be tuned and serviced twice each year. New pianos need to be tuned more frequently - as often as four times each year. Be sure to follow the service recommendations for your piano.
  7. Use the Services of a Registered Piano Technician (RPT). Registered Piano Technicians are members of the Piano Technicians Guild and have passed a series of rigorous examinations in the field of piano service.

    1. The Piano Technicians Guild is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the knowledge and skill of professionals throughout the piano industry. A Registered Piano Technician can assist you in evaluating the age, condition, and service needs of a piano prior to purchase. He or she can also maintain the piano after purchase.
    2. The Piano Technicians Guild is a 40-year-old, non-profit organization of nearly 4,000 piano tuners, technicians and other piano service specialists throughout the United States and Canada and around the world. The Piano Technicians Guild stands for quality piano service, and the Guild member who carries the RPT designation has made a commitment to quality by completing a comprehensive three-part examination - the only industry-wide standard available - in the tuning, regulation, repair and maintenance of fine pianos.
    3. Registered Piano Technicians (RPTs), make up more than two-thirds of the organization's membership, and have completed a series of three examinations.
    4. For more information or a list of Registered Piano Technician members in your area, contact the Piano Technicians Guild at: 3930 Washington, Kansas City, Mo. 64111-2963; phone, 816-753-7747; e-mail, ptg@ptg.org; or visit the Piano Page on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ptg.org

Last updated on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 EST
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