classical sonata, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, testing for buzzes in a piano

Piano buzzes can wreak havoc!

We all know about the note zinging nuisance that plagues students and teachers at inopportune times. Like getting ready to perform on the big Spring recital.. A run over the 88’s has a MIDDLE C blockade. The noise has infiltrated the most celebrated note in the method book cosmos, making the BLACK ones feel cheated of equal access. (

But what’s activated the dreaded zing? A paper clip is holding two pages of music together on the rack. Grab it and toss it aside with a flick of the wrist, making sure it’s sent into the audience area, where it can be secured and controlled.

Oh, no! The nagging noise persists.

Check the refreshment table for forks and spoons that might be sending covert messages to the hammers and strings– a form of terrorism that’s been unleashed on innocent pianists who are trying to get through 3 minutes of playing without a hitch!

I feel for the poor 5-year old who’s going to perform “That Thing has No Name,” a short piece the kid has NAILED.

That’s it! The pictures on the wall! It must be the nails holding them up. Quick, take them down and banish the mean-spirited buzz forever!

No luck!

Amidst a pile of hooks, nails, and double-sided adhesives, the fallen pics stacked high, the nasty nestling, gnawing noisemaker has dug in deeper, evading capture. (There’s gotta be CELLS of them)

Wait, it’s the cell phone in my pocket. I’ll turn it off, and put it in the locker down the hall, secured by my gym lock. Another hot potato. I should have every parent frisked for smart phones, digital cams and house keys before being seated.

What else?

OK, I’m convinced! It’s gotta be in the piano’s keyhole. I’ll fold down the rack and press hard in the area right above it, pushing my finger against it while testing the note. Then I’ll say the Bruches (Hebrew prayers) while I’m at it.

Nuts! I’m outta ideas!

Wait, there’s a nut cracker on the table for an unshelled assortment–Move the whole show into the hallway. NO one should be crackin’ ’em until the last little one has uncorked her piece.

OMG. I warned parents about bringing alcoholic beverages. Get the darn corkscrew out of here. It’s gotta be causing the ZING!

Forget it! Just live with it, or have the kids play on the piano off in the corner, with their backs to the audience. At least they’ll get a clean-sounding C, without a worry in the world.. unless they forget their music. (not to worry I have all their sheet music in a portable METAL safe. Oops I didn’t do a safe removal test. Enough already! The show must go on!)


Buzzin’ Ds and ME!

The heck with it! PLAYING THROUGH to the end.

LINK: The final word on note buzzes

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