There have been so many times I’ve been asked to play piano at someone’s home simply because the host heard I play and service pianos. Other times I’ve been asked to sit in with a pianist and play guitar and/or sing and I can only apologize because the ensemble can’t work together due to the fact that the piano is out of tune.
Here is an excerpt from a fellow technician’s web site that I thought was wonderfully worded:
Why Should I Spend the Money to Keep My Piano Tuned?
I’ve been tuning for over forty years now, I’ve heard all the questions and the excuses for not having the piano tuned regularly.
Here’s the thing, if anybody in the house wants to play the piano, do it for them. Nobody wants to play an out of tune piano, or one that has notes that won’t play properly. Plus some of your friends, neighbors, guests may play. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been a guest at someone’s home when they find out I play piano and ask me to play. I cringe if the piano is out of tune (or worse).
By the way, fixing notes that don’t play properly is not part of a tuning, although many of us will fix one or two without charging extra if it doesn’t take too long. Otherwise we will point out what needs to be fixed and give you a quote. Depending on our schedule, we may be able to make the fixes while we there, or we may need to ask to make another appointment.
Particularly if someone is taking lessons, learning music, singing, etc. !
Part of learning to play an instrument is ear training. Learning what notes sound like what, hearing how combinations of notes form chords, etc. If the piano is out of tune what the student thinks is the sound of a C chord (three notes played together, C,E,G) is really the sound of a B♭ (if the piano is sorely out of tune).