Question

Music for Young Children

I place the piano in my five-year-old's bedroom for him to practise before he sleeps. But will playing the piano in the small room be too loud or damaging to his ears? Where should be the ideal place to put the piano?

What the Expert Says

By Joel Chua

Manager at Sonare Music School

Bachelor of Music Arts

Performer for Music and Improv Festivals across Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and New Zealand

www.sonaremusic.com

While the piano CAN be a loud instrument at times, rest assured that it’s not damaging to your child’s ears – especially if it’s mostly him practising on his own (He does not have the physical strength to create enough noise to damage his own hearing).

Consider the Piano Maintenance and the Sound Projection

In searching for the ideal location for a piano in the home, one should consider two things, maintenance of the piano and sound projection.

In this instance, I am assuming that you have an upright piano at home. In which case, understanding that most of the sound from the piano is being projected from the back, as well as how different surfaces reflect sound will help you decide where the best place is to put your piano.

Ideal Place to put your Piano – Against a Solid Wall

Generally, against a solid wall with a small gap in between is simple and ideal for projecting the piano clearly within the house. However, should you wish to get a brighter (potentially more shrill) timbre, consider placing it against a more reflective surface such as glass but do note that there is a possibility of accentuating other undesired sounds too.

Don’t Place Piano by the Window

As much as possible, avoid placing a piano by the window, in direct sunlight as this is a sure way to shorten the lifespan of your piano through warping the wood and wearing out the lacquer. Instead, find a spot where the temperature doesn’t change too drastically even if you have to switch on the air-con. This will not only have less impact on the wood, but also help your piano stay in tune. If possible, position the piano in a carpeted area to avoid moisture seeping into the piano through the floor when cleaning the house (ie mopping), or simply place a carpet beneath it. With a good environment, your child will enjoy the music learning journey.

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