• Disability Awareness Training for Music Retailers

    Shopping Without Barriers –Disability Awareness Training for Music Retailers

    Did you know that £267 million is lost every month by inaccessible high street shops?  Music shops that get this right can attract new customers and maintain customer loyalty.

    Disability Awareness Training, developed by the MIA, Creative United, and Attitude is Everything focuses on the particular needs of disabled customers that visit music shops and websites.

    The course will provide effective techniques that will help you to:

    • Understand the challenges that disabled people face while shopping
    • Adapt your sales techniques to meet the needs of disabled people
    • Increase loyalty and repeat business – if disabled people feel comfortable in your shop, they are much more likely to come back
    What you’ll learn

    Led by disability expert Gideon Feldman (Attitude is Everything) the training consists of two modules:

    Module 1‘s informative videos available to view on demand and include a thorough background to the issues faced by disabled people in the UK, looking at the Equality Act, the social model of disability and why it matters.

    Module 2 is a live session over Zoom, and is all about creating a welcoming and accessible retail environment for disabled customers.  You’ll learn about how to identify and address the needs of a disabled customer, best practice communication styles and work through case studies featuring real access-related scenarios.

    How to sign up

    1. Register for Module 2 (live session) on Eventbrite
    2. You will be sent a link to an online platform where you can register, make payment (if applicable) and complete Module 1 in advance of the live session
    3. Attend Module 2 on your chosen date

    Module 2 live session dates

    Please click on the date of your choice to book

    1. Thursday 21st October – 10:30 AM 
    2. Tuesday 26th October – 10:30 AM

    Here’s a view from a customer perspective…

    I like to have the latest equipment, so that means I’m always shopping. As a visually impaired person it can be a bit challenging when I visit music stores…although the sales staff are quite knowledgeable, they may not have much experience in dealing with someone like me.

    Jason Dasent, audio engineer and music producer, talks about why the training is a good opportunity to serve and retain customers like him:


    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making

    Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making

    Disabled music charity The OHMI Trust, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in matching disabled musicians with the adapted instruments they need to make music.


    The charity was established in 2011, with no money, only two trustees, and two volunteers. Fast forward ten years, and this small but ambitious charity has much to celebrate.

    It is unique in the breadth of support it offers to disabled child and adult musicians, with its impact felt across teaching, research and development, and awareness raising. The charity’s biennial competition, which supports the development of musical instruments that can be played without the use of one hand or arm, attracts entries from across the globe. Its popular Music-Makers and Inclusive Access to Music-Making programmes gain momentum each and every year, reaching new musicians across England and Wales. Its hire scheme offers an impressive 300 instruments and pieces of enabling equipment; a number that will only grow through the development of further instruments through OHMI’s research partnership with Queen Mary University, London and Birmingham City University. It is this wide-ranging work that led to the charity receiving recognition in The House of Lords.

    These impressive milestones will be marked at OHMI’s 2021 Competition Awards and Tenth Anniversary Celebrations, taking place on Saturday, 25th September. The event, which will be held at Aston University, will also be live-streamed from 6pm BST, and is expected to attract musicians and representatives from musical organisations from around the world.

    The event will include performances from the talented OHMI musical community, as well as an announcement on the winners of the 2021 Competition, along with demonstrations of their equipment.

    Melissa Johns, British actor and disability activist, best known for her roles in Coronation Street, BBC drama Life, and, most recently, Celebrity Masterchef, will be hosting the event.

    As Rachel Wolffsohn, OHMI’s Manager, explains,

    “Melissa is a proud champion of the rights of disabled people, so she was the perfect choice in helping OHMI to bang the drum for inclusive music-making. Hosting the event, for the first time, as a blended live and broadcast event, will allow us to share the celebrations with a global audience, reflecting the truly international nature of the competition entries over the years.” 

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Learn To Play 2021


    After delays and cancellations due to the dreaded C, we’re very excited that Learn To Play is back this year 🎉

    During Learn to Play 2019, over 10,000 participants received a free taster music lesson together with information on buying an instrument and finding local teachers, groups and other fellow musicians!

    Not sure what to expect? Here’s a little round-up of what it is and how to get involved…

    music for all logo making music changes livesWhat is Learn To Play?

    Organised by Music For All, Learn to Play is a national group of events where venues across the UK such as music shops, performance spaces, libraries and educational centres offer free taster music lessons.

    When is it?

    Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September 2021.

    Who can get involved?

    Whether you’re a budding or lapsed music maker you can start your musical journey by attending a Learn to Play ’21 event! Learn To Play events are open to anyone and everyone who wants to take part.

    What does it cost?

    It’s free and open to the public.

    venues nationwide Where does it take place?

    There are events happening in venues up and down the country. Look for an event to join near you here: musicforall.org.uk/learn-to-play

    This year, there will also be an online programme so if there isn’t a venue close by you can still join in!

    How can I get involved?

    Either pop to your local venue and take part (some will be asking you to book a space in advance so do check ahead) or join in online. 

    All necessary Covid safeguards will of course be in place.

    If you’re representing a venue, you can set up your own event and list it here: musicforall.submittable.com

    🎹 Vale Pianos 🎹

    Our very own Take it away music shop member Vale Pianos are taking part in Learn to Play on Saturday 25th September!

    They are offering free lessons in their wonderful shop in Worcestershire.

    Have you always dreamt of playing the piano or keep promising yourself that one day you’ll go back and continue where you left off? Then make it happen this the year! Playing the piano is a wonderful hobby no matter what age you are.


    This is a great opportunity to have an informal, sample lesson for you or your child, the lessons are provided by Richard who has a relaxed approach to teaching.

    Piano lessons will be taking place between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm.

    To book your lesson, please phone Vale Pianos on 01386 860419 or email info@valepianos.co.uk

    Whether you’re making a return to music or trying instruments for the first time, we’d love to hear how you get on!

    Tag us on the day and show us how you’re celebrating:

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • How to restring your classical guitar

    How do I restring my classical guitar?

    Has your classical guitar started to slip out of tune more quickly? Or maybe the tone isn’t as bright and alive as it was a few months ago? …and perhaps the fretboard isn’t looking as clean as it should…
    These are all signs that it’s time to restring your guitar! Our Take it away music shop member Forsyth has put together a step-by-step process on how to do it yourself.
    They say: “Restringing a nylon-strung guitar is a little fiddlier than a steel-strung acoustic but it’s still an easy skill to learn. In this post, we’ll cover how to approach changing the strings on a traditional classical guitar.”
    Remember, practice makes perfect!
    1. Firstly, we need to get the old strings off. Depending on how they were put on previously this can take a few minutes!
    Loosen the tuning pegs until the strings become free.

    Undoing pegs on neck of guitar

    2. It’s a lot easier at this end! They should be easy to pull loose once the tension is taken off:

    untying guitar strings at base of guitar

    3. Ok, time to tie some knots! First, pass the end of the high E string through the hole in the bridge heading away from the neck so that the string end pokes out of the back of the bridge.
    The length of string behind my thumb and forefinger is the long part that we’re going to tie on at the other end:

    Tying a new E string at base of guitar

    4. Now we’re going to bring the end of the string back on itself.
    Notice that the end of the string goes to the treble side of the long length of string (or behind the long string if you’re looking at the guitar as in the photos:

    tying new guitar string at base of guitar

    5. And round it goes to make a loop passing around the long length of the string:

    tying new E string on classical guitar

    6. Now we’re going to wrap a couple of turns of the end of the string around on itself. Over the top and underneath:

    tying knot

    7. And again…

    tying knot on guitar string

    8. Lastly we just need to pull the knot tight and it will lock in on itself. That length of spare string you can see in the picture we’re going to tuck underneath the loop we make for the B string for a little extra snugness:

    tying knot on guitar string

    9. Don’t worry, you’ve done the difficult bit! There are a few ways to tie the strings on at the other end so I’ll show you how I do it. The string goes over the roller, underneath and up through the hole:

    securing guitar strings back into tuning pegs

    10. Now I’m going to pass it back through the hole, trapping the string in the loop:

    securing guitar strings back in tuning pegs

    11. Pull it back through the hole and it locks the string firmly in place:

    securing strings in tuning peg

    12. Next we just need to wind the string onto the tuner. I’ve left a bit of slack on the string which needs winding on and then we need to bring it up to pitch.
    Typically on classical guitars, the two E strings wind outwards and the other four inward to keep the break angle from as the string passes over the nut reasonably shallow. Here’s the E string winding its way:

    restringing classival guitar

    13. The bass strings are a little easier to tie on. If you have a square edge on the back of the tie block this single loop is enough to keep them anchored with the back of the loop over the edge of the tie block.
    (If the edge is worn and the string keeps sliding back you can tie them the same way as the trebles):

    tying bass string on base of guitar

    14. Here’s a view of the finished tie block. You can see clearly the loop used on the bass strings, and that each string is tucked into the loop of the next string along.
    I’ve trimmed the ends so that they’re not sticking out or trailing against the soundboard, which can be a cause of erroneous buzzing. It looks neat and should anchor the strings nice and strong:

    restrung strings viewing on body of guitar

    16. And here’s the finished headstock end, also trimmed nicely:
    It’s a little fiddlier than a steel string but give it a couple of goes and you’ll find you get the hang of it pretty quickly!


    finished restrung guitar viewing from neck of guitar

    forsyth logo

    Forsyth is a Take it away music shop member based in Manchester that offers an extensive Sales Departments for sheet music, classical and  jazz recordings, acoustic pianos, digital pianos, guitars, orchestral instruments and all accessories!
    They also have piano and instrument repair services with our own tuners, technicians and luthiers.
    Find out more and get in touch by visiting their website: www.forsyths.co.uk

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Learning by Livestream

    Learning by Livestream

    Based in Cambridge, Liam Taylor has been making music non-stop in some form for the last 17 years. He works across different areas of music from education to running a music blog, composing for independent film and releasing his own original music. This year, Liam became a Steinberg Certified Trainer and has gained recognition for his Cubase tutorial type livestream sessions. 

    We caught up with Liam to find out more about his approach to learning how to produce music and to get some advice for anyone looking to get started in this side of music-making.

    What led you to start creating your livestream music production sessions?

    I started creating videos for YouTube 10 years ago. For a while, I was creating weekly videos teaching composition or guitar techniques, sharing ideas and sometimes releasing new music. This was a great way to build a community but also gave me a way to discover new ideas myself – they say the best way to learn is to teach.

    Trying to keep on top of this weekly schedule became tricky after a while. I found that I was prioritising video creation over writing music which didn’t make any sense to me. So, I started to look for ways to stay in touch with my audience that didn’t require several days of research, recording and editing every week. I realised that live streaming could be the answer.

    I decided to go live twice a week and make music in Cubase with no goals other than to be creative. This gave me a reliable 4 hours of music creation every week with very little preparation. It also allowed me to chat with the audience live, so it was absolutely the right call.

    Liam Taylor playing the guitar with a black back drop

    I find being this open with my creative process really helps viewers see how music is really created; in an imperfect, non-linear way with plenty of mistakes!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


    Describe your sessions – what can viewers expect to happen and learn?

    The goal is almost always to write a new piece of music from scratch. I recently added a keyboard camera to the setup to show exactly what I’m playing and talk through the notes or chords I’m using. As I write the different parts, I describe the decisions I’m making, sometimes throwing decisions to the audience. Sometimes the audience will insist I change a patch or a chord which I don’t mind! 

    Once the basic structure of a song is in place, I’ll start adding production elements like E.Q., dynamic plugins, etc. Depending on the type of song I’m working on, I might add electric guitar, bass or ukulele – I have a room full of instruments so it’s nice to make use of them. 

    Liam Taylor working on music production software on a desktop computer


    What’s the benefit of livestreaming compared to pre-recorded videos in your opinion?

    Because I talk through all the decision making, viewers can use any of the production or composition techniques in their own work. I find being this open with my creative process really helps viewers see how music is really created; in an imperfect, non-linear way with plenty of mistakes! It’s exactly the kind of thing I would have watched when I was a teenager, (and exactly the kind of thing I do watch whenever I can!) 

    Occasionally, I’ll run a stream where I look back over old project files to add some variety. It’s really funny to look back at decisions I made 5+ years ago and wonder “what was I thinking!?” Sometimes it’s similar to working with younger music producers because some simple fixes can make the whole piece work better. Rather than working with a younger producer, I’m working with a younger version of myself so I’m pretty comfortable calling out whatever silly decisions I made back then. 

    These sessions go out on YouTube and Twitch (both free platforms) so anyone with either account can watch and interact. I welcome any audience questions, whether or not it’s relevant to the stream’s topic. I have some big ideas about where to take these broadcasts in the future – I think there’s potential for this to be a great resource for all music students.


    What advice or tips would you give to someone looking to start learning from scratch?

    A lot of creative projects can look really daunting from the outside. You don’t necessarily need any prior knowledge to start making music so I’d suggest that anyone interested should just jump in!

    Try to turn off the part of your brain that tells you you’ll fail, because of course you will, but you have to embrace failure as part of the process. 

    I’d recommend starting by making a BandLab account – it’s a free, web-based program with plenty of tutorials and resources to help you get started. You’re likely to outgrow it at some point, but you’ll learn a lot in the meantime and the benefit is that you won’t have to spend any money up-front.


    What do you think the biggest barriers are that stop young people from getting involved in music-making?

    I believe there are two main issues. Firstly, information overload. It’s hard to know where to begin, especially as there are so many different programmes and so many ways to approach music-making. What works for you might not work for someone else and, unfortunately, you don’t always know that until you try it.

    Secondly, confidence. As a kid, when you think of making music you probably start by thinking of someone incredibly famous who tours the world and is all over social media. When I was a teenager, I thought that all musicians could sight-read. I assumed that anyone playing music on TV had a Grade 8 and had spent years studying music history. Eventually, I realized that wasn’t true. In fact, all I needed was a guitar, Cubase and the confidence to trust my intuition. 


    Why do you think it’s important to learn about music production?

    Whatever your long-term goals are with music, understanding the production side of things and knowing the basics of a digital audio workstation (DAW) will be beneficial. If you’re interested in music creation but you treat it as a hobby, making beats or recording yourself with a DAW is a really fulfilling way to explore your creativity.

    If you want to be a performer of some kind, knowing how to record basic demos or backing tracks will be incredibly useful to convey your artistic vision to other producers, or a record label, (if that’s the route you want to take). If you’re dedicated enough, you may be able to self-produce your work at every stage of your career. 

    There are also plenty of careers that rely on music tech: commercial music and client work; studio production and engineering; composition for film, TV and games. Being familiar with a DAW and some standard production techniques is a great start for anyone considering these careers. 


    How can people get involved in your sessions and stay in touch?

    There’s a page on my website with a Livestream calendar and further info. You’re welcome to explore the site for more information about me and my music projects: ltguitarist.com/streaming

    I’m @LTGuitarist on all the socials and most active on Twitter if you have any questions.


    Stay up to date and tune into Liam’s livestreams by clicking on the icons below:

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Make Music Day


    We’ve made it to June, the sun is shining and summer in the UK is feeling very promising!

    This month, we’re very much looking forward to Make Music Day on 21st June. Not sure what to expect? Here’s a little round-up of what it is and how to get involved…

    What is Make Music Day?

    Make Music is a day of celebration of all music around the world! It first happened in France in 1982 on the summer solstice when they had a festival called ‘Fête De La Musique’. This evolved to become Make Music Day which is now celebrated across the globe in over 125 countries.

    street music party

    When is it?

    Every year on 21st June.

    Who can get involved?

    Make Music Day is open to anyone and everyone who wants to take part; whether you’re a beginner, amateur or professional musician, interested in classical, rock, jazz or pop, young or old – you’re all invited!

    What does it cost?

    It’s free and open to the public.

    Where does it take place in the UK?

    There are events happening up and down the country. Look for an event to join here: makemusicday.co.uk/events

    Or you can set up your own event and list it here: makemusicday.co.uk/get-involved

    Musicians playing on a bandstand

    How can I get involved?

    This year there will be both digital and socially distanced celebrations including window serenades, listening parties and live streams. There are lots of ways to take part! 

    Have a look at the Make Music Day website by clicking here for 21 ways to get involved

    Making Music UK is also organising a Bandstand project so see if you can join them by checking their website here: makingmusic.org.uk/opportunities/make-music-day 

    There’s a lot of great resources on the Make Music Day website with ideas of what and how to set up your event here: makemusicday.co.uk/resources 

    📣 Calling all Take it away Music Shop members to join in!

    Do you have suitable space for performances?

    Why not invite local musicians to come and play throughout the day to support your local community? Or perhaps set up an open door day so that members of the public can pop in and have a play… they may discover new instruments and become your next customer!

    There are useful resources from the Musicians’ Union, ISM and more including how to set up your own gig, live stream, host online concerts etc. here: makemusicday.co.uk/resources 

    Let us know if you’re planning anything on Make Music Day this year and we’ll see how we can support you here at Take it away. 

    Contact us

    After a year of restrictions, Make Music Day is going to be the perfect opportunity to celebrate playing music together!

    Tag us on the day and show us how you’re celebrating:

    Make Music Day UK 21 June logo

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • 6 Pieces of Studio Gear to get started as a Producer/ DJ – Point Blank

    Point Blank Beginner Kit List: 6 Pieces of Studio Gear for Producers/DJs

    Point Blank Music School pride themselves on helping young creatives kick-start their music careers. With over 25-years of offering award-winning music courses both at their HQ’s in London and Los Angeles, as well as online, they are clued up when it comes to the kind of music tech you should have in your home studio. If you’re new to the world of music production and/or DJing and need to get to grips with what software and hardware you need, they can help!

    They’ve put together their six go-to pieces of kit for anyone looking to jump into the world of music creation and performance which you’ll find below.

    If you’d like to learn more about music production, DJing, singing, songwriting and music business, be sure to check out Point Blank’s courses. Plus, they’re currently offering 25% off their selected LondonOnline and Los Angeles courses using the codes LONDON25ONLINE25 and LA25.

    1. Ableton Live

    Ableton Live is a staple for many music producers, featuring a range of instruments and effects. There are some affordable price plans available if you’re not looking to buy upfront as well as the option to grab yourself a copy for free when enrolling on certain Point Blank courses. If you’re looking for some fantastic free plugins to add to your music production tool kit, check out Point Blank’s round-up of the 10 Best Free Plugins: 2021.


    2. AKAI Professional MPK Mini MKII

    Akai’s MPK Mini MKII is a great controller for programming beats and playing in your basslines and melodies. Unlike many other controllers, the MKII has an innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control as well as a built-in arpeggiator with adjustable modes. This one’s perfect for taking on the road due to its compact size of 18 x 31.4 cm (that’s roughly the size of a laptop).

    AKAI Professional MPK Mini MKII

    3. Focusrite Scarlett Solo

    To help connect all your gear, you’ll need a good audio interface. Focusrite’s Scarlett Solo is perfect for beginners and features an XLR input for recording vocals or instruments, the best-sounding Scarlett mix preamp yet, a 2-in/2-out configuration and more.

    Focusrite Scarlett Solo plugged into laptop and man recording guitar


    4. KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitors

    What’s great about the KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 monitors is their integration with the KRK app. This allows users to gain expert assistance with EQ, level matching, speaker placement and more, so you’ll get the most out of your monitors. KRK’s are popular in lots of home studios thanks to their reliable quality and accessible prices. As well as featuring powerful D-class amplifiers, their custom Brickwall Limiter helps provide wider sound dynamics and prevents them from overheating.

    KRK Rokit RP5 G4

    5. beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

    These beyerdynamics are a solid option for those looking to use their new headphones primarily at the studio. They’re bass-heavy, reasonably priced and durable, meaning that you won’t need to replace them anytime soon. You’ll reap the benefits of these headphones when using an audio interface but when plugged into a laptop or phone the sound can feel slightly less driven. Overall these are a great selection if you’re in the game for some low-end studio sessions.

    beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones


    6. Pioneer DJ DDJ-400

    The DDJ-400 from Pioneer DJ comes in at just under £250, making it a fantastic entry-level controller for those looking to jump into the world of DJing. Like many of Pioneer DJ’s other hardware controllers, the DDJ-400 comes equipped with the latest Rekordbox software which enables users to set cue points, hot cues, arrange playlists and organise their tracks for use on CDJs when the time comes. The layout on this controller mirrors that of the performance tech giant’s flagship NXS2 set-up, meaning that it’s a great tool to use when preparing yourself for the club.



    Point Blank Music School Logo

    If you’re looking to kick-start your music career, be sure to check out Point Blank’s award-winning courses in London, Los Angeles and Online: www.pointblankmusicschool.com

    Take it away logo


    How Take it away can help you

    Instruments and equipment can be expensive meaning some people never discover the joy of learning and playing music.

    At Take it away, we work with our retail partners, Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to break down these barriers. A part of Creative United, a community interest company that drives economic growth and social impact in the arts and creative industries, we provide a range of subsidised and non-subsidised loans. These are designed to make learning, playing and participating in music more affordable and open to everyone.

    Together with our partners, we look to enable and inspire a life-long love of music.

    Find out how Take it away can help you with the cost of a musical instrument, equipment and software.

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Visiting music shops in person post lockdown

    Why we're excited to visit music shops again in person 🎉

    As we all know, many small businesses and high street shops were knocked sideways when lockdown hit the UK, but a year later things are starting to look up…

    Music shops have always been ‘essential shops’ in our eyes so we were super excited when our Take it away music shop members were once more allowed to throw open their doors ready to welcome back customers! 

    Many music shops have adapted to the times to ensure that lots of their stock is available to buy online, and for some customers this may still be the safest option. If you feel comfortable doing so, supporting your local music shop in person is incredibly important and here’s why we recommend popping in to see them:

    In need of a new instrument or upgrade?

    Nothing can compare to the joy of trying out different instruments and seeing how they feel beneath your fingertips. Some even say that it’s the instrument that chooses the musician… (Harry Potter fans, we see you.)

    Music shop staff have unrivalled knowledge so stop by and ask for their advice however little or big a question you may have. Our Take it away retailers are lovely and are always ready to help – we know that they’ve missed having a chat with customers and musicians alike! 

    17 String instruments displayed on wall

    Image curtesy of Alan Gregory Music

    Looking to refresh your repertoire? 

    Browsing for new sheet music in person and having a peek inside to see what the print is like beats searching online where more often or not you can only see the cover. In store, you’ll often be able to see what’s popular to learn for your level and ask for recommendations too! Also the smell of new books is oddly appealing. (This felt strange to write down but you know what we mean!)

    Photo of sheet music on shelves

    Image curtesy of Just Flutes

    Start browsing 

    Two shop staff with covid safe face masks

    We’ve got a brand new search page to make finding the best Take it away music shop member for you super easy! 

    All of our shop members have the appropriate COVID safety measures in place and some have timed booking slots to visit showrooms or try out new instruments, so make sure to have a quick check online before you head over. 

    Either search by location on the map with your postcode/town, or filter by instrument and shop name.

    Image curtesy of Bridgewood & Neitzert 

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • How to maintain your piano

    How should I look after my piano?

    Have you seen the inside of a piano before? The sleek exterior is protecting the most beautiful and clever interior…
    In celebration of #WorldPianoDay, we’ve got some top tips in an super useful article from Take it away music shop member Piano Warehouse on how to maintain your piano and keep it at its best!
    Read on to find out how to look after your piano 🎹

    Piano maintenance and tuning are important factors to remember for the longevity of your piano. Pianos can behave differently when delivered or moved. Changing environments, temperatures and humidities can all affect the piano in different ways.

    Pianos are delicate instruments which need professional attention periodically. Basically there are two types of professional piano care: tuning and adjustment. Tuning means correcting the pitch of every note by retightening the strings. Each piano string is normally stretched to a pressure of about 90 kilograms (198.5 pounds), but eventually it will stretch further with use and lose some of its tension, causing the piano to lose its correct pitch.

    piano being tuned


    How often should you tune your piano?

    The strings need to be tuned once or twice a year to restore them to their proper tension.

    Adjustment involves the entire piano action, keyboard and pedal movements. Proper adjustment is especially important for grand pianos. Whether the piano will perform properly or not depends on how accurately the adjustment is made. Tuning and adjustment should be done by an expert. When your piano requires either one, ask your dealer or call a specialist. Your dealer can also advise you about the interval between adjustments for your piano under the circumstances in which it is used.

    Caring for you piano

    The piano is among the most versatile of musical instruments, but it is also one of the most complex and delicate. Pianos are extraordinarily rugged-built by a combination of traditional craftsmanship and advanced acoustic technology. But even the finest instrument needs proper care to give long life and dependable service. Please read this article carefully and follow its instructions, and you will be rewarded with years of pleasurable satisfaction.

    Piano playing Provide enough ventilation

    Pianos need ventilation, but the wrong kind of ventilation can damage them. The best location for your piano is in the centre of the room or against a wall, which divides two rooms. If possible, avoid placing it next to an exterior wall where outside weather conditions might cause tone quality and volume to suffer. If there is no other choice, however, at least make sure that the piano has adequate ventilation on all sides.

    Avoid windows

    Try not to place the piano near a window. Its cabinet is made of wood and must be protected against direct sunlight, humidity and sudden changes in temperature. Windows that open to the outside offer the least protection. If you must place the piano near a window use a heavy curtain over the window for protection.

    Avoid heat

    Keep the piano away from sources of heat such as radiators or hot air registers. They may damage the finish and internal parts causing tone and balance to deteriorate. Make sure that no radiant heat or hot air draft strikes the piano directly.

    Proper conditions = better sound

    Pianos work best and sound best when the temperature and humidity are right. Proper ventilation is also important. Generally speaking, a relative humidity of between 50 and 60 percent is ideal for pianos. The use of materials such as wood, felt and cloth in piano construction means that many parts are quite delicate. If not properly cared for, they can be damaged easily. Therefore we are unable to assume responsibility for damage resulting from abuse or harsh treatment.

    How does humidity affect a piano?

    Felt, cloth, leather and the precision wood parts – some of them machined to tolerances as fine as 1/100 mm – used in such critical parts of the piano as the action are extremely sensitive to humidity. Too much humidity will result in dull hammer action and unclear tones, rusting of internal parts and sticking keys. Before this happens the piano should be repaired.

    inside of piano

    How to protect again excessive moisture

    On cloudy or rainy days close all windows in the piano room. Also, be sure to close the top board each time after playing. The piano’s thick cloth cover absorbs moisture in damp or rainy weather and should be taken off and dried on clear days. Be especially careful about excessive moisture if you live in one of the following places:

    • Along a seacoast or in a rainy or humid region.
    • In a valley, in a house facing hills, or in an area with poor drainage.
    • In a concrete building not more than one or two years old.
    • In an area where air exhausts are directed into a room or in a dark, dank room.

    But also beware of excessive dryness

    Too much humidity is a problem, but excessive dryness is an even more serious one, especially where heating or cooling systems are used to create artificially dehumidified rooms. Used in naturally dry climates the piano has enough natural moisture to prevent excessive drying. However, if the air becomes too dry the wooden and felt components will shrink. In extreme cases, the soundboard, joints and other laminated sections may even come apart, even though they have been glued together carefully. Slight distortion of the parts may cause noise, and the tuning pins may work loose, making it difficult to keep the piano in tune. To avoid excessive dryness it is best to keep some kind of leafy plant or a humidifier in the piano room. 🌱

    Avoid sudden temperature changes 🌡

    When a cold room is warmed suddenly, moisture will condense on the piano strings and other metal parts, causing them to rust. Felt parts will absorb moisture, dulling their action and resulting in unclear sound. Be especially careful about sudden temperature changes when moving your piano into a room in a cold climate or into an airtight room in a concrete building.

    Put your piano where it sounds best

    The piano should be placed in a room where the sound will be evenly distributed. A room where all the sound gathers in one spot will produce sound lag and echoes. The best room for your piano is one in which its sound will reverberate to produce pleasant, full-bodied tones without harsh echo.

    Don’t place objects on top of the piano

    A heavy object may cause poor tone or noisy vibrations if placed on the piano. A vase of flowers may look attractive on the piano but if it should spill and water enter the piano serious damage can result. Water will rust the metal parts of the piano and damage the hammer and action. Avoid costly accidents and never place anything except sheet music or a metronome on the piano.

    Piano - Take it away Because music needs backing

    Avoid placing or spilling any of the following on the piano

    • Plastic products (except polyethylene)
    • Vinyl products
    • Anything containing alcohol
    • Liquids such as cosmetics, insecticides, any kind of aerosol, paint thinner or petroleum-based products

    Remember to dust and keep the keyboard clean!

    Dust can dull the hammer action and cause noise. Dust the piano frequently with a soft cloth or feather duster and wipe the finish with a soft cloth.

    The keyboard should be wiped periodically with a soft, dry cloth. Never use cleaners containing alcohol as the keys will become cracked. If the keyboard is very dirty, wipe it with a cloth dipped in a solution of soap and water and wrung out well. The same cloth should not be used for cleaning the surface of the piano, however. A good habit to cultivate is never to play the piano with dirty hands. That way the keyboard will stay clean for a long time.

    Piano Warehouse logo

    Piano Warehouse is a Take it away music shop member based in Surbiton that offers a wide range of pianos, repairs and more!

    Find out more and get in touch by visiting their website: piano-warehouse.co.uk

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Breaking down barriers to music-making for disabled pupils | The OHMI Trust

    Breaking down barriers to music-making for disabled pupils | The OHMI Trust

    The Take it away Consortium conducted research in 2019 which found that a lack of knowledge about the existence of adapted instruments is a major barrier to ensuring parity of opportunity in music-making for disabled children. Following this, we launched the Nottingham Pilot Programme with The OHMI Trust and Nottingham Music Hub to enable disabled children to participate fully in Whole Class Ensemble Tuition at primary school.
    Two years later, the successful pilot has been extended!
    Our partners at OHMI have written and shared the following article about the programme.

    One of the greatest gifts a teacher can give is the opportunity to learn. Yet this often presents a challenge when catering for pupils with additional needs.

    It’s certainly the case when ensuring Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET) is truly inclusive. If a child is living with an upper arm impairment, how can she or he play a brass or stringed instrument which requires the use of both hands? An assumption often made is that it is impossible. It seems fairer for the child in question not to attend the music lesson lest they feel excluded.

    As the UK’s leading authority on adaptation of traditional instruments, the musical instrument charity, OHMI, is uniquely positioned to provide solutions that give pupils parity of experience with their peers, and enable teachers to use uniform pedagogical approaches across a whole class.

    However, before it could provide the appropriate instruments, OHMI needed to assess where pupil needs lie. In 2019, the charity launched its pioneering Inclusive Access to Music-Making (IAMM) programme with Nottingham Music Service (NMS) and Creative United. The objectives of the project are three-fold: to identify the needs of physically disabled pupils; to produce a plan for WCET; and to provide accessible instruments, enabling equipment, staff training and other interventions.

    The results of the pilot were particularly compelling.

    It identified the needs of 78 children who faced a barrier to instrumental music-making, 37 of whom had a requirement for adapted instruments and/or enabling equipment.

    The success of the pilot led to the project’s extension in 2020. With the support of an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant, the project enabled the inclusion of a second year group of pupils in Nottingham, and to a second project with Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT).

    In the latest survey assessing needs for the 2020-2021 academic year, 37 schools in Nottingham and 42 schools in Northamptonshire have identified pupils who would benefit from additional support on WCET.

    Once needs have been pinpointed, the IAMM project serves to provide the most appropriate instrument or apparatus to allow each child to participate fully in the WCET sessions.

    As Ian Burton, Head of Nottingham Music Service, comments,

    “If there’s one thing I would urge schools to do, it’s this. However well intended, don’t make the assumption that an upper arm impairment precludes a child from making music to a high standard. OHMI has dedicated the last ten years to challenging assumptions on what’s possible but they can only offer help to the children that need it if advance notice is given to instrumental teachers of particular pupil needs.”

    Peter Smalley, Head of NMPAT, is in full agreement,

    “OHMI has come up with the most wonderfully innovative solutions for pupils in Northamptonshire. A trumpet stand which allows a pupil in Northampton to play his instrument one handed. An Artiphon which means two girls at a school in Daventry can switch to that instrument when bowing on their lap-held violin becomes too tiring. Where there’s a will – from the school, the pupil and from a Music Hub’s partnership with OHMI and Creative United – there’s almost always certainly a way.”

    We highly recommend reading this case study for more information on the impact of the IAMM project in Northamptonshire, from the perspective of instrumental teachers Kate and John Bickerdike:

    Read Case Study

    Are you a Music Hub, teacher or parent wishing to find out more about the data identified and experiences and techniques delivered by this programme?

    Please get in contact with OHMI via the button below.

    Contact OHMI

    The OHMI Trust logo

    The OHMI Trust’s objective is a simple one: we enable children and adults with physical impairments to play the instruments they want to play, when they want to play them and where they want to play them (whether at school, in the home or in a professional ensemble).

    Find out more and get in touch by visiting their website: ohmi.org.uk

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic