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Where To Donate A Piano?

There are a lot of reasons why you might need to get rid of your piano. And I am talking about acoustic pianos here, not keyboards. But, having made the decision that it has to go, there is another question. What to do with it?

You might think about selling it. But, unless it is a quality piano from a well-known manufacturer in good condition, that might not be an option. It would be a tragedy to break it up and get rid of the pieces. So, what to do?

You could think about donating a piano to someone who could get good use of it. But where to donate a piano?


Have You Given It Adequate Consideration?

A piano is a very special instrument. So, it would be a shame to lose it and then a few years later wish you had it back. It might be that you are moving house and won’t have room. In that circumstance, you are left with little choice.

Maybe there is no one left in the family who wants to play. But that could change at any time. Of course, maybe it needs major repairs. In which case, it is probably going to be expensive. If you consider it isn’t worth the investment, then it must go.

A Very Personal Experience

The only reason I mention this is that I had a similar situation in my family when I was young. My sister played at a high level but then suddenly just stopped. I would love to have kept the piano. We could have kept it, but my father decided, in a rush, to get rid of it. He later regretted it.

All I am saying is that you may well have a very good reason to get rid of your piano. But, if there is some doubt, then think it through carefully.

Where To Donate A Piano

Donate A Piano

If the piano would not be worth trying to sell, then a donation is the next best thing. At least then, someone can get enjoyment from playing it. But where can you donate a piano? There are many places where you can do this. We’ll get into greater detail about each one later on.

  • Local schools.
  • Senior citizen residents and care facilities.
  • Recreation centers and youth clubs.
  • Local churches.
  • Local Music Shops.
  • The Beethoven Foundation.
  • Pianos For Education.
  • Friends or family.

Before You Donate

There will be some things you need to check before you start the donation process. Also, a couple of things to consider. Let’s take a look at the considerations first.

Do you need to dispose of it quickly? 

If so, then there will be some things that you have to consider regarding who to approach. I will look at that a bit later.

Furthermore, this is a big heavy object. It is going to take a truck, manpower, and if you or they use a professional company, money. And, it won’t be cheap. There is no other way; you can’t just throw it in the car. 

People will be reluctant to even think about moving it unless you can provide them with full details. So, let’s take a look at those things and what you need to check before donating your piano.

Checking The Piano’s Condition

As I have already said, any prospective taker will want a good idea about the condition of your piano. They won’t come to collect it if it is not worth the trouble. 

Therefore, you need to give them an honest and clear appraisal of its condition. In these days of smartphones, you can send a dozen pictures, of course. But, in my opinion, a series of photos should be accompanied by a checklist. 

So, what do you inform them about? Well, everything, I suppose. They will appreciate you are not an expert piano builder, but a basic assessment will help. Let’s go through what you need to inform them about.

The Visible Build Status

  • Look for any visible signs of damage or breakages.
  • Check for any cracks in the furniture of the piano.
  • Make sure the caster wheels are oiled and running smoothly.
  • Ensure the cover to the keyboard, and its hinges are working smoothly.
  • Ensure the lid and its hinges operate smoothly.

The Keys

  • Sounds silly, but make sure all the keys are there, both black and white.
  • Press every key to make sure they all work.
  • Have a good look for any keys that may be chipped or cracked.
  • If any of the keys get stuck and you can’t see why then make a note.
  • When you play a key, use a portable tuner (if you have one or download one to your smartphone) to ensure the pitch is close to where it should be.

The Pedals

  • Some pianos have two pedals, others have three – check they are all there.
  • Press the pedals up and down while playing keys to ensure they are working and you can hear a difference in the sound.

The Tuning Of The Keys

Let’s return to the pitches when you play a key. As I have said, you can use a portable tuner or a smartphone. As you play the key, the pitch, or note, should be close to where it should be. If the pitch is slightly adrift of where it needs to be, that is a simple tuning issue. That is not a concern. 

When it is moved, it will detune anyway, so there is no point tuning a piano before any moving takes place.

If The Notes Are Wayward

However, if any keys start reading different notes completely, then that could indicate a serious problem. It could be that if anything is broken, then it will take too much money to fix. 

If this is the situation, you might find it worthwhile to call in an expert who can advise on what is wrong and how much it is going to cost to fix it.

Returning To The Pedals

As I said, some pianos have two pedals, others have three. The difference is the pedal that is placed in the middle. This is known as the “sostenuto pedal,” and its purpose is to dampen a note or chord slightly.

The left pedal softens the tone using the full dampening opening effect and the right pedal, the most commonly used, adds sustain to the note or chords as you play. It is important you can hear the difference as you play and use the pedals.

A Final Point

You are offering to donate a used piano. They will not be expecting a pristine, almost new instrument. Therefore, if there are one or two cosmetic problems, then it shouldn’t matter. Providing they don’t interfere with the performance of the piano.

Likewise, they will be expecting to tune it after acquisition. So, as long as the keys all work and the pitches are about right, everything is fine. As I say, they are not expecting a Yamaha Concert Grand.

Model, Style, and Serial Number of the Piano

Number of the Piano

The last thing they will want to know is the name of the manufacturer. If the piano has a stylized name as a descriptor, that will help. And if you can still read the serial number. However, if the piano is a very old model, then the serial number may have worn off.

Furthermore, some of that information may not be available if it’s very old. But, what the recipient wants to know is what sort of piano it is. Use a brief description of the model style and size. Anyone considering accepting the piano will want to know this information before they agree to take it.

Usually, if the piano has vertical strings, then the piano is what we call “upright.” If the strings are horizontal, then it is a Grand Piano. But, be aware of the sizes; it could be a ‘baby grand’ or another smaller grand piano. These are physically much smaller than a full grand piano size.

Not Being Ungrateful

This is not these people being ungrateful in any way. They are going to be very pleased that you have offered them your piano. 

But, repairs can be expensive if it needs extensive work. Transportation is also costly. And, of course, it will have to be tuned, which is time-consuming and also not cheap to have done properly. They just want to know that their expense is going to be justified, which is not unreasonable.

How Quickly Do You Need To Have It Taken Away?

I mentioned earlier whether you may need to remove the piano quickly. If you go to individual people to remove it, then it is going to take longer. 

If you need it removed quickly, then you will be better off dealing with an organization. They will be better geared up to make a quick assessment and start the removal process.

Any Preferences?

Do you have a certain sort of recipient in mind? Maybe you would prefer it to go to an individual. That could be someone who would love a piano but hasn’t the budget. If so, then you might be able to arrange that by doing a bit of work yourself. 

You might find someone through local piano teachers or at the local music shops. They are usually well-informed on these matters and might be able to help.

A Potential Problem

Finding that someone does potentially create its own problems. It is a noble thing to seek out a person who is desperate for a piano. You will know it is going to a good home where it will be well-used and taken care of.

But who is going to move it? Or, to be more precise, who is going to pay for it to be moved? If you are donating it to someone on a tight budget, will they be able to afford to pay piano movers to get it? 

Can They Move It Safely?

Then, of course, there is also the tuning. Getting a few friends over with a pickup truck is not necessarily a good idea. If they have never moved a piano before, they may get a shock at how heavy it can be.

I am certainly not trying to persuade you otherwise. But, maybe you should have a discussion with them regarding how they intend to move it before making any agreements.

The Best Places Where To Donate A Piano

I listed earlier a variety of places that may take your only if you approach them to donate it. Let’s look at each in more detail…

Local Schools

This is a very attractive option if you live close to school. A lot of schools use keyboards these days. They are cheaper, easy to move around, and offer plenty of extra options. 

The children would benefit from playing and, in some cases, even hearing the real thing. And, for those music teachers who would love a ‘real’ piano for their students, your piano would be a great asset. A phone call or an email to them will do the trick.

The benefits are that it will be great for the children to use a real piano. And, it is certainly going to be used every day. The only downside is whether the school can arrange to collect it from you.

Senior Citizen Residents and Care Facilities

It may surprise you to know just how many senior citizens in our communities can play the piano. Back when they were children, it may have been one of the few ways of entertaining themselves and each other.

Taking your piano to a center for these elderly residents may be giving them something very special. Music skills don’t diminish with age. Once you have played, it doesn’t take long to remember, no matter how long it has been. 

Your piano gives those that can play and those that just like to listen a big bonus. The benefits are obvious, and they are certainly going to get plenty of use from it. 

Recreation Centers and Youth Clubs

Placing your piano in a community recreation center is likely to be more of a luxury than anything else. There may be some younger people who fancy having a little tinkle on it occasionally. But it may not be particularly serious.

But you never know; there may be a little Mozart there waiting to pop up and surprise everyone.

Local Churches

Local Churches

This is another way of making sure your piano will get plenty of use. Most churches will have their own piano or organ that they use for services already. But, most also have smaller rooms used for other things where a piano would be a welcome addition.

It is certainly going to get plenty of use, and it will probably be local to where you are. The potential downside is whether they can organize or afford the transportation and tuning costs.

Local Music Shops

It is unlikely that your local music shop would be willing to take the piano themselves. Not unless it is a high-quality instrument in very good order. However, they may well be aware of a third party that would like it.

They may be able to hook you up with individuals or organizations that accept piano donations. Music stores are usually aware of local community needs. 

It may take a bit longer to move it. But, if you are in no rush, then this is a good option that is going to place your piano in good hands.

The Beethoven Foundation

This is a nonprofit organization that has been set up to get music into places where it needs to be. That would include relocating your piano. They probably won’t take pianos that are in poor condition. They are there to relocate instruments that don’t require a lot of corrective surgery.

However, they usually handle all the transportation and tuning. And they will know what they are doing. The downside may be that you have to wait. They might not collect until they have found a suitable recipient.

Pianos For Education

This is an organization that is very similar to the Beethoven Foundation. Another nonprofit organization, but this company deals only with schools and other educational establishments. They will take your piano and make sure it goes to an establishment that needs it and will use it.

They will deal with transportation and tuning. But, the downside is they are very selective about what they accept, and they will require a lot of information.

Friends or Family

This actually might be the best place to start. Donating it to a friend or a family member will see it put to good use. And, it will be close at hand if ever you want to give the ivories a tinkle.

Of course, you will have to talk about transportation and tuning costs. But, with someone close to you, I’m sure they would only be too pleased to do a deal considering they are getting a piano for free.

Quite A Few Options To Choose From

Among those choices, there is sure to be one that suits you. Your piano is going to bring a lot of pleasure and usefulness in the right place. So, take your time to decide where to donate your piano. That way, it will end up somewhere it is truly appreciated.

Is It Just A Space Thing?

A Space Thing

Is the reason you are getting rid of your piano just about space? Maybe you need the room where it might be located. Maybe you are moving to new accommodation, and there isn’t the space. Or even moving to an apartment that isn’t on the ground floor. 

If it is just about space, then it looks like you have to give up your piano. But, it doesn’t mean you have to throw away all the progress you may have made. Some great little digital pianos sound as close to the real thing as you can get. And they take up very little or, indeed, no space at all. 

Here are a few excellent examples:

Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano with Bench

A great digital piano from their Arius range. 

Donner DDP-100 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano

Good value for those who may be on a budget.

Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal

A completely portable instrument that can be stored away when not in use.

Need More Information About Pianos?

We have you covered. Take a look at our detailed articles on How to Buy a Used PianoHow Much Does a Grand Piano CostHow To Clean Your Piano KeysTypes & Sizes of PianosWhat’s the Difference Between a Digital Piano and a Keyboard for more useful information.

And if you are looking for a digital piano to replace your acoustic one, we can help. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Digital Pianos, the Best Digital Pianos for Under $500, the Best Digital Pianos For Under $1000, and the Best Digital Grand Piano you can buy in 2023.

And don’t miss our reviews of the Best Portable Keyboard Pianos, the Best Digital Piano With Weighted Keys, the Best 88-Key Keyboards, the Best Cheap Keyboard Piano, the Best Kawai Digital Piano, and the Best Yamaha Digital Pianos currently on the market.

Where To Donate A Piano – Conclusion

If you do have to donate your piano, then there are plenty of options. And, at least someone will get the benefit from it. It is a good way of allowing your piano to find a new lease of life and be of value. Donating your piano is a great way of making sure someone will benefit.

Until next time, let the music play.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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