Q. What can we do to make our piano sound louder in our church?

A. Often a church will have a piano that is much too small for the size of their worship space.  Another challenge is when the piano is placed on the platform in such a way that the sound does not project well. (answer continues below picture)

Here is a 5' Kimball grand on the platform in a 60' x 75' worship space that could easily handle a 6'4"-7' grand piano. Notice also that the piano has it's back side facing out so that much of the sound is directed towards the musicians, not the congregation.  Notice also that the top is lifted up on it's short prop, not all the way up on the tall prop.  The piano's soundboard is it's amplifier but the lid acts to direct the sound out into the room.  The short prop muffles the sound.  This piano could be placed on the other side of the platform (often called the 'piano side') so that it would open towards the people with the lid raised on the tall prop to dramatically increase the piano's natural sound into the room.  However this room is so large and the piano so small this church will still be microphone dependent for adequate piano sound. Below are several examples of microphone placement with comments below.

     

The picture on the far left shows a mic resting on a piece of foam directly on the soundboard of the piano.  The soundboard should be kept free to resonate and anything placed on it will muffle the sound and also has the risk of vibrating (rattling).  The middle picture shows a mic on a boom pointed down at the strings in the center of the piano.  This location is likely to create a 'hot spot' where the sounds of the mid section of the piano will be louder than the top end and possibly even stronger than the bass notes.  The far right picture shows a mic on a stand outside the rim of the piano pointed directly toward the open lid (not down toward the strings.)  The lid acts as a sound reflector/director so this position will give the most natural piano sound and pick up  less of the mechanical sounds of the piano action.  It does, however, require more gain to provide adequate amplification.  Below is a picture of a vertical piano in a church that is mic-ed from the back.  Notice, however, the heavy back fabric on the piano which will absorb a lot of sound. If the back needs to be covered, speaker grill cloth is the best choice so as not to loose sound.  If a piano is too loud, drapery fabric will do a good job of cutting down on the volume.