Piano Access

There are a number of pianos available in the college for personal practice, including a Steinway Model B and a Bluthner grand piano for approved users.

To obtain access to ‘approved users only’ pianos, send your request to ea.treasurer@some.ox.ac.uk, outlining the reasons for which you’d like to practice on these instruments.

In applying to be an approved user, you are agreeing to the terms as outlined in ‘Guidelines for using the Chapel Steinway’ (at the bottom of this webpage) and the ‘Guidelines for using the Park Music Room’. Once you have been put on the approved users list, you will be able to obtain the keys for unlocking these instruments from the Lodge.


Approved Users only

Venue Instrument Hours of access How to book piano Do I have to make a booking?
Chapel Steinway Model B Grand piano All hours (2 hours max.) Book the chapel via Outlook as instructed here. Practice sessions must be limited to 2 hours. No. Bookings are not necessary to use the piano i.e. it can be used whenever the Chapel has not been booked or is not already occupied. If you are practising without a booking, you must vacate the Chapel on the arrival of those who have.
Park Music Room Bluthner Grand piano 8.00-22.00 (2 hours max.) Book Park Music Room via Outlook as instructed here. Sessions must be limited to 2 hours. Yes. Bookings are necessary to access this practice room and piano.

All users

Venue Instrument Hours of access Further Information
Flora Anderson Hall: Brittain-Williams room Bechstein Model C Grand piano Weekdays: 17.30-22.00 Weekends: 8.00-22.00 These rooms and pianos cannot be booked for practice. If you are practising here, you must vacate for meetings, official events, meal services, and all other bookings.
New Council Room Upright piano 8.00-22.00
Dining Hall Estonia Grand piano Outside meal service
Chapel Electronic piano All Hours (2 hours max.)
Mary Somerville Room Grand piano Weekdays: 17.30-22.00 Weekends: 8.00-22.00 This piano can only be used by members of Somerville’s Senior Common Room, and the room cannot be booked for practice. If you are practising here, you must vacate for meetings, official events, meal services, and all other bookings.

Guidelines for using the Chapel Steinway

Access to the Steinway and other ‘approved users only’ pianos can be revoked if the below guidelines are not followed.

  • The protective black rug underneath the piano must remain under the piano (i.e. with all of the wheels on the rug) at all times. This purpose-made rug (sourced at great expense, and with great effort) is essential to ensure that the instrument is not affected or damaged by the underfloor heating.  The simplest way to ensure this is the case is to not move the piano unless for public performance, and even then, the rug must be placed first, and then the piano moved onto it.
  • The only lock that needs to be used is that for the keyboard cover clamp, on the left side of the keyboard. You only need the key to unlock the mechanism.  To lock it, simply push the cylindrical lock back into the clamp.  If you are the first person to use the piano after it has been tuned, you may find that the tuner has locked the lid as well.  If so, please go to the lodge and ask for the large Steinway key, and unlock the instrument, but please do not lock the lid when you finish practising.
  • If you remove the cover when playing (recommended), then please fully replace it afterwards.
  • Please do not use an eraser on the music stand of the piano, or the erasings will get into the keyboard and cause issues.  The same should be said for leaving bod cards/pencils/etc. on the piano.  If things end up inside the piano, it requires a technician to visit to retrieve them. (In addition to having your ‘approved user’ status revoked, you may be charged the expensive cost of retrieving your lost item.) The design of all Steinways means you can’t easily remove the keyboard lid.  There is a table upon which you can lean to make/erase markings, and where personal items should be placed.

Guidelines for Park Music Room

While all Somerville members are welcome to use Park Music Room, please be aware that your access to the room, and the instruments inside, can be revoked if you do not follow the guidelines below:

  • Failure to return the PMR key to the Lodge by the close of your booking time may result in the withdrawal of your permission to access the PMR. The PMR key cannot be passed from student to student, even if you know the person who has booked the room before or after you. You must return the key to the Lodge at the close of your session.
  • Bookings should be for a maximum two-hour period. The PMR may not then be “re-booked” until a two-hour period has elapsed. This is to ensure that the room is available for other people who wish to use it. If for any reason you find that you are unable to attend a pre-booked session, you are required to notify the Lodge as soon as possible to allow others wishing to book it to do so.
  • If you fail to take up your booking within fifteen minutes of the allotted start time, you are liable to forfeit the session and the booking may be offered to another user. Repeated failure to attend pre-booked sessions may result in the withdrawal of your permission to use the instruments and/or room.
  • The piano in the Park Music Room is also available as above, but it is locked with a C-clamp: the key has to be separately signed for (from the Lodge), in addition to the room-key. Any evidence of mistreatment will result in a user being prevented from signing out the key again.