Can You Have a Piano in An Apartment?

Music can happen anywhere, or that’s what we like to think. There will always be logistics involved, but deciding if you can actually fit your instrument of choice in your home is probably the most stressful one around. That’s the problem facing apartment-dwellers wishing to add a piano to their lives.

So, can you have a piano in an apartment? You can have a piano in an apartment as long as your landlord has given the okay to have the piano, you have the room to keep it and don’t bother your neighbours with it.

There are a few things to keep in mind before you have yours delivered, however. Make sure you take these important points into consideration before you select, purchase, and move your piano into your home. If you don’t, you may end having to return it, which will be a huge pain in the rear and a big disappointment to your soul.

Can you have a piano in an apartment? - SchoolofComposition.com
Can you have a piano in an apartment? – SchoolofComposition.com

Pianos in Apartments: Can it be done?

This is a legitimate question that I hear a lot, and many people are surprised by my answer. You can have a piano in an apartment! But you may not be able to have a piano in your specific apartment. Before you get upset with me, just hear me out.

There are some points of having a piano in your apartment that you need to think long and hard about. You may even need to talk to some people before you can decide.

Landlord Permission

First and foremost, you’ll need to ask your landlord if you can have a piano in your apartment. You might already have that information available to you; just read your lease or rental agreement. Many of these agreements already have a clause in there about instruments, noise, or heavy furniture. Since a piano falls into all of these categories, you might find the info in any one of those.

What if your lease says no heavy furniture? 

Some apartments just can’t handle heavy furniture; it may not just be a case of a picky landlord. Every building has weight restrictions, so apartments are no different. But that can make this a tough rule to crack.

If there isn’t an actual weight limit listed in your lease, you might be able to argue this point. Pianos come in a wide range of sizes, styles, and weights. If you can get your landlord to specify a weight limit for heavy furniture, you might be able to find a beautiful piano that weighs in under that weight.

Part of the issue with “heavy furniture”, and pianos in particular, is the damage they can do. Even if your piano is moved in under the best of circumstances, your landlord is going to flip out if you scratch the walls or floor or damage any part of the building. And once the piano is inside your apartment, you’ll still need to worry about the impressions it could leave on the floor or any tears in the carpet.

By taking appropriate measures to reduce or eliminate any chance of damage, and proving these steps to your landlord, you might be able to convince him to let you try.

What if the lease says no loud instruments? 

There are actually ways around this! If you can prove to your landlord that you can keep the piano quiet enough not to disturb the neighbors, you might get away with it. It may take some convincing, but it’s worth the effort. You can explain to your landlord the different methods used to quiet loud instruments. These may include soundproofing the piano room, including the floor and ceiling, or dampening the sound of a grand piano by keeping the lid down during playing. 

Many pianos have a “soft pedal” located on the left. While this isn’t an ideal way to play your piano, it may muffle the sound just enough not keep your neighbors happy.

It also helps to keep your piano in tune. There is nothing worse than a poorly tuned piano waking the neighbors. Another way to dampen the sound of a piano in an apartment is to close the vents. Sound can travel to other apartments through ventilation shafts.

Some apartment pianists have also suggested opening your windows. The sound will head outside instead of resonating in your apartment.

Play at a reasonable hour

While it’s your right as a musician or music student to practice in order to get better, piano players in apartments also need to consider the neighbors’ right. In this case, it’s best to plan your playing times during the hours where you won’t disturb your neighbors’ rest or relaxation time. This may mean playing while they’re at work or speaking with them to find out an acceptable time to play.

What if your apartment is on the top floor?

This is one problem a lot of musicians and music learners worry about. Did you know that being on the top floor of an apartment may not be as big of a deal as you think?

There are plenty of moving companies out there that have experience moving pianos. In fact, you may even have a local piano mover that can do an even better job. A quick internet search is usually all it takes. However, you can ask around at music stores, too. They usually have a list of people and companies that can help you.

A word of warning for those piano movers though. Be sure they are licensed and bonded or insured. If you hire a company to move your piano, and they end up damaging the instrument or the building, you’ll need to go after their insurance for payment. If they’re not insured, you’ll end up footing the bill.

How do you get a piano into an apartment?

You have seen movies where a piano is being raised by ropes into an apartment overlooking a busy street. Depending on the type of movie, you may see a funny scene of the piano falling or a tragic one. Either way, that’s what most people picture when they think of moving a piano into an apartment.

Moving a piano into an apartment - can you have a piano in an apartment?
Probably not the best way of moving a piano into an apartment

While that was certainly one way to get it done way back when, things have changed a lot. These days, it’s much safer, simpler, and less stressful to move a piano into an apartment.

I’ve mentioned piano movers already, but if you’ve never tried to find one before, you may not know what you’re getting into. These professionals will want to know the size and weight of your piano right up front. Be as specific as possible. Give them the exact measurements if you can.

They need this information to bring the right supplies and the right number of helpers. Depending on the size, shape, and weight of your piano, you may need just one guy with a dolly, or five strong people with a truckload of equipment. Providing good information right up front will help prevent any delays or accidents.

Don’t skip the dolly

Chances are good that your piano is sitting on casters. These little wheels may look like the perfect way to move your piano, but stop right there! Those casters are mainly for decoration and very slight movements once in place. They aren’t strong or sturdy enough to handle a long roll down a hallway or into the building. Use a piano dolly and secure your piano with straps to be sure everything is safe and sound on the trip to your apartment.

And don’t be shocked if your piano movers take some parts off of your precious instrument. This is normal. In fact, it’s the safest way to do it. They may remove things like the casters, legs, the lyre, and the music rack.

You might consider a keyboard instead

I know that having a beautiful piano in your apartment might be the ultimate dream, but sometimes it’s just not possible. If your landlord says no, your neighbors make a stink, or you can’t seem to fit a piano up your stairs, you can still learn to play piano in an apartment. There are so many types of keyboards available these days, you might be surprised at their quality and sound.

You may have to give up on having a piano for now, but you don’t have to give up on learning to play the piano. Just get a keyboard for now; you may be able to upgrade to a piano when you move next time!

Conclusion

Yes! You can have a piano in an apartment! As long as you follow the rules of your apartment building, have the space for a piano, and are considerate of your neighbors, you can enjoy having a piano in your apartment or condo.