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54. School Pianos- Care and Defense

Should you have a piano trolley for moving school, concert, or church
pianos about?  We have a large selection for all needs.
Trolley cups of two varieties on hand.

Damage control

Some clever children (not worthy to be called teen agers) in a high school in Michigan decided to bust off about half of the hammers from a Kimball in the band room. The Kimball sits there to this day, crippled and waiting its destiny, which is lousy since the school budget won't allow for repairing it. So, how are we going to keep the demolition crew at your school from destroying all the pianos?

First, get a lock on the piano to lock the key cover closed and the top down. The most vulnerable pianos are in the practice rooms where brats are out of view. Your problem is not usually a music student, but one of those wandering stars that drift through from time to time. If he cannot get into the piano, he will probably leave it alone.

Second, control the use of the piano. Try to set times for piano use rather than just fling the doors open all day.

Third, use the instruments seriously yourself. If you are a goof ball teacher, don't be surprised if the students are like you.  So much for security.

How do you keep the piano usable?

First, tune it regularly. September and February are good choices, considering the weather. If you have a performance piano, it should be tuned whenever it is out.

Second, keep the performance piano in a climate controlled room and covered. This makes a great difference in how well it holds tune, and the brats can't get at it.

Third, get all pianos that are moved from room to room up on heavy dollies. This will preserve the tuning, and it will keep the movers from smashing up the lower parts going over door jams.

Fourth, teach your movers to move a piano safely and slowly, then always assign only these trained "movers" to move a piano. Rule number one is, move it endways, NEVER sideways. Rule two, is keep hold of the handle behind the piano all the time while it is rolling.   Check out the Diagram.

Fifth, if you have to leave the piano in the cafeteria, you must make sure the key cover is locked. All the kiddies will walk by it, like the one in Nogales, Arizona, and they will plunk plunk the keys leaving you a whole lunch worth of grease, catsup, and weenie juice. If you cannot lock it, roll it against the wall with the keys out of reach.

Sixth, there is a disgusting possessiveness in many school offices. They may have two or three pianos they are not using in a school, but will they give one to a kindergarten teacher in the same school district? Never! "That piano is OURS."

Wrong, pin head-- that piano was paid for by the tax money from the parents of the kids you are supposed to be serving. It is really pitiful to realize that some little kids and their teacher cannot have a piano that sits in a closet across town-- unused. Ironically, that piano sitting there unused is a fantastic habitat for moths and carpet beetles. They will not infest a piano that is in constant use.

I have seen this many times, and it stinks. Who is most at fault? Answer: Wimpy principals who cannot stand up to music teachers. Music staff can get very spaced out as though their little world is the center of the universe. Principals are terrified of these psychos (Pardon-- For the record, there are some very decent music people). The only people in school systems with a worse attitude is football coaches. I have seen some fantastic battles of the minds between music people and coaches. It would make a great half time performance to tie the dance teachers left foot to the football coach's right foot and throw a one hundred dollar bill on the ground fifty feet away. They'd never get the bill for the fight!

Ah, now I feel a lot better, thank you. I would encourage PTA leaders to quietly snoop around and see how many pianos in their district are sitting idle. Demand, in a public session, that the school board put them to use.

Seventh, My dear Principal-- Show some principles. The next time some sweet soul offers your school a piano, would you please have the grace to have a tuner go around and check it out. Some of these donations are simply some skin flint's way of avoiding the fee to shove it in the city dump. Don't expect your tuner to save an old piece of junk-- take charge. If you feel you have to take it for the sake of diplomacy, leave it on the truck, and call the tuner to come and see if it goes to the classroom or the dump.  In the next board meeting, officially designate the city dump as "The Spot."  Then, when you have to disgard a donated piano by taking it to the dump, you can say, "My, my, Mrs Flump, but the piano you donated really hit the spot."

 On to task 55.