Proper piano maintenance can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! We spoke to MJ Piano’s longtime customer Lynsie, a professional piano teacher from Cedar Hills, UT, who shares her advice on piano care and her search to find the perfect piano tuner.
Lynsie started playing the piano at only three years old. “My mom taught piano and I would sit on the couch and listen to her teach her students,” she remembers. “When they would leave, I would get up and play their songs — there was never a time I didn’t want to do piano.”
These moments sparked a lifelong love affair with the piano for Lynsie, who eventually went on to achieve degrees in both piano performance and integrated studies in business music.
Now, Lynsie’s life revolves around the instrument. As a full-time, professional piano teacher, Lynsie has 56 students, which she says is her “average”. All of her students play her piano, a grand Yamaha, which she has had for 13 years. “I have lots of memories attached with this piano, from all of my students, to preparing for juries,” Lynsie says. “I have spent so much time practicing, playing, and lots of lessons on it.”
Lynsie’s Yamaha is played for a whopping 8 hours every day, so she knows the importance of selecting and regularly maintaining a quality piano. Lynsie explains just how essential these things are, especially to people who are looking to buy their first piano.
“Absolutely, no matter what, go with an acoustic piano. The worst acoustic piano is better than the nicest digital piano,” Lynsie says. She explains that many people, including her students, are initially reticent about buying an acoustic piano due to the cost and maintenance involved, but that the reduced price is simply not worth it. “I have had students who were spending hundreds of dollars a month [but go home and] play on a crappy digital piano and then start to develop bad habits.”
“My advice is: get a good tuner and get a decent piano — whatever you can afford,” Lynsie continues. She explains that while many people think they need to buy a brand new, expensive piano to have a quality instrument, that is not really the case, “Good brand pianos don’t really lose their value. . . You can actually get a good piano for free or really cheap, then have someone like Matthew give you suggestions on what it needs to become a really nice piano. That’s the way I would go.”
It’s not just about the type of piano, though. Lynsie says that finding a quality piano tuner and having your instrument regularly tuned is a valuable tool for any piano player.
“I think a lot of people think it’s going to be such a bother or really expensive, but it’s not. It’s totally realistic,” Lynsie says. However, she does warn not all piano tuners are created equally, which is why Lynsie has been a longtime customer with MJ Pianos, “There are always people out there that will rip you off for tuning and repairs, but not Matthew!”
In fact, it was Matthew’s honest, transparent, and hard-working attitude that drew Lynsie to MJ Pianos. “I really put him through the ringer,” she laughs.
After her longtime piano tuner retired, Lynsie was on the hunt for someone who could do the job right. It was a long and arduous process. One piano tuner (who will remain anonymous) took Lynsie’s broken piano string to repair but then was never heard from again. “He just fell off the face of the Earth,” she says incredulously.
The search continued on. Lynsie met a different tuner (who will also remain anonymous), who claimed to have taught Hollywood movie stars how to play piano. “He came and ‘fixed’ the string but when he left, the whole piano sounded way worse than when he came before. I have perfect pitch, so I knew it was way off,” she says. “I knew I needed a new tuner, someone that is going to be consistent and do a good job.”
Finally, Lynsie’s daughter introduced her to Matthew at MJ Pianos.
“When he came in, I told him, ‘Look, I need a good piano tuner. I need someone who I can count on, someone who is going to do a good job, someone who isn’t going to rip me off. If you do a good job for me, I will send you lots of business and be faithful,’” Lynsie remembers. She had been burned by piano tuners in the past, and was not about to be scammed again. She laughs as she says, “The poor guy — I was watching him like a hawk!”
“[Matthew] said ‘if you don’t like my work, you don’t have to pay me,’” Lynsie explains. “So he tuned it, and it was awesome. He actually looked at the work the guy had done, who had came and ‘fixed’ the string, and showed me how it was not going to stay and didn’t work, then fixed it the right way. I’ve been thrilled with him. I’ve sent him lots of clients and they’ve all been happy with him!”
Since then, Lynsie has been a proud supporter of Matthew and MJ Pianos for over five years.
“I can’t recommend him enough. For me, he’s everything a piano tuner should be,” she says about Matthew. “He’s quick but thorough. He gets in, he gets out, he gets the job done.”
Lynsie may have perfect pitch, but many people do not. For this reason, some people are reluctant to have their piano tuned for fear that they will not even notice a difference. For these people, Lynsie recommends asking a trusted professional, like a piano teacher, who can confirm if their piano has been tuned correctly.
Other people put off getting their piano tuned because they are embarrassed about the state their instrument is in, but Lynsie says that MJ Pianos has never made her feel pressured or self-conscious in any way.
“People don’t realize how affordable it is and they are embarrassed, thinking it’s dusty, it’s dirty, afraid to bring people in. . .but I’m sure [Matthew] has seen it all. There’s no shame,” Lynsie says. “People are nervous he’s going to point out everything that’s wrong and going to want to fix everything. Well, that’s his job — to say what could be fixed and to make it the best. But he’s so chill, he’s never pressured me into anything and I appreciate knowing."
“He’s just friendly. He’s so fun and gives the kids high-fives,” Lynsie says, singing praises for Matthew and MJ Pianos. “I love that he’s young and hungry for success, and how he’s grown so much.”
“I’m super grateful I’ve found someone I can happily recommend and know that he’s not going to be retiring anytime soon,” she continues. “Good piano tuners are hard to come by, so when you find one, it’s amazing!”