Selecting a Piano for Worship

Finding a Church Piano for Worship

Selecting a worship piano is very different from selecting a piano for your home. Whether you're “officially” affiliated with your church's piano selection committee or an independent congregation member who would like to donate an instrument, you should follow a very specific process to make sure the piano you select represents the best long-term investment for your congregation.

Consider the following five-part process your “road map” to finding the best instrument for your church:

Step 1: Select a Piano Dealer

Pianos are for sale all around us. A worship piano, however, will require a regular regime of care and maintenance that many piano sources simply cannot provide. Avoid selecting your piano from an online auction site, a private owner or a long-distance warehouse. The money you “save” is money you’d gladly spend for the proper technical and delivery services that good pianos need.

Step 2: Work with an Experienced Representative

Save yourself time and stress. Instead of calling around and getting prices on the phone, take the time to visit with an expert in person. It's important to develop a relationship that extends beyond a single transaction. Over time, you will develop a clear picture of what your church needs and how the instrument you select can help you achieve your goals. This is hard to do over the phone. Call us and arrange an in-person visit or an on-site consultation. You'll be surprised at the difference it will make.

Step 3: Consider Your Sanctuary

Size: For most worship centers or sanctuaries, a grand piano is the best choice. Grand pianos have a larger, more controllable sound than vertical pianos do and they are easier to blend with other singers or instruments. The size of the grand piano depends on the size of your sanctuary, how many instruments or vocalists will be playing with it and a variety of other environmental concerns. NOTE: If at all possible, plan for a piano that is big enough to be heard without amplification. “Mic'ing” a piano often ruins its tone.

Color: Black or “ebony” grands are standard on most worship platforms. Ebony is the least expensive color for most grands, it's the most durable and it's easily repaired if damaged. If your church has bright stage lighting, you may want to chose an ebony satin piano. Glare from stage lighting can cause distractions or discomfort for some members of the congregation. If your stage lighting is subdued, an ebony polish finish might work very well.

Style: Decorator-cabinet pianos are rare on sanctuary stages. In most cases, a traditional “Sheraton” style will cost less, blend better and last longer in the hectic church environment.

Step 4: Buy the Best Piano Possible

"For whatever reason, churches have bought into the mentality that it's ok to spend several hundred thousands of dollars for a great organ, the best pews and a killer sound system, but the piano - their main worship instrument - is an afterthought!" (Bob Dove - Chicken Soup for the Soul)

Consider how the sound of your worship instrument will edify those to whom it ministers. Your worship piano should be warm and pleasing. It should not be overly brilliant or abrasive. The touch should provide your pianist with the level of control (s)he needs to perform at the highest level. As your primary worship instrument, your sanctuary piano should provide the highest level of music your congregation can afford.

Step 5: Ensure "After the Sale" Service

It is meaningless to select an excellent worship piano without setting up an appropriate service program to maintain it. Under ideal circumstances, a typical maintenance program includes tuning the piano four times per year, voicing and regulation once per year, and regular cleaning. Your experienced Gist Representative will work with you to find the best piano and piano maintenance program for your worship space and climate.

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