Just as you go to the doctor for check-ups from time to time, your piano needs maintenance and care throughout its life. You may notice, especially if you have a keen ear or a tendency to sing along with your practice, that your piano drops in pitch, particularly during the summer and winter months.
This is because your piano is mostly made of wood, and your wooden soundboard will contract when the weather is drier — or the heating is on! — and cause the pitch of the strings to drop.
While knowing the cause of your piano slipping out of tune might be interesting, sour notes will spoil your enjoyment of playing. To make sure you’re getting all you can from your lessons and practicing, your piano should be tuned on a regular basis.
As a general rule, the more regularly your piano is maintained — including tuning — the less work it will take. The cost to tune a piano should be factored into your study expenses, just as you account for the cost of car repairs as essential driving expenses. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but at least twice a year is a good minimum.
If you live in a climate where there are four distinct seasons, then as the seasons change will serve you and your piano even better. Concert halls and other venues where pianos are used very frequently will want to tune them even more frequently than this.
The cost to tune a piano is typically around $100, although if you pre-book regular sessions with the same technician over a longer period, sometimes the cost may be discounted, as there will be less work to do on a well-maintained piano.
You may have to pay more for additional maintenance work, and some piano tuners will charge you travel costs if they aren’t close by. For more information see this guide about the average piano tuning cost.
With over 200 strings to deal with on an 88-key piano, a good job is quite an undertaking — so find a good piano tuner, and stick with them. Your piano will thank you for it!