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#1662612 - 04/18/11 11:26 PM piano tuner's other job
darrenhee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 7
iam so curious and would like to know all the piano tuners job, apart from tune and repair piano, or selling piano; what other job (fulltime, parttime or freelance) will they do. unless they own their own business.
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#1662634 - 04/19/11 12:00 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
Darren,

Interesting question...it is along the same lines as "is this your day job?" other jobs within this profession include scheduling, preparing tools and invoices, book work, talking to customers, etc. That pretty much takes care of 50 + hours a week for me. I also play the piano (sometimes for money, even!), take care of the home, take care of wife, take care of son. Along with riding my bike and playing chess, that pretty much takes care of waking hours. I sleep occasionally, too.
_________________________
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net

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#1662740 - 04/19/11 05:44 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: Dave Stahl]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
So many customers find hard to believe this is my only source of income. Many customer asked what else I do. Sometimes when I am leaving a customer home 1 1/2 hour away from my home based, they will say something like this "Well you all done for the day"(this being said first thing in the morning) "you came all this way for my tuning" Do you have any more in the area"
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1662750 - 04/19/11 06:43 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Ah, the classic "So what else do you do?" Thanks, hadn't heard it yet this week! smile

Another good one is someone calling for an appointment and saying "I'm home this afternoon if you want to come now."
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1662753 - 04/19/11 06:55 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4893
Loc: Bradford County, PA
My full time job is to say "Yes, Dear."

My other part time job (only 40 hours a week) is as an electrician at a manufacturing plant.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1662804 - 04/19/11 09:00 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Just yesterday, when returning calls that came in while I was in Florida for the past 3 weeks, yes, to some of you, I just had to rub it in, one LAST time, smile They both asked if I could come next week Tuesday or Wednesday? I said noooooo and gave them a date toward the end of May. Finally, as I neared the end of the list. I still have 5 calls left yet, one lady who I could barely understand, had called back twice. She was angry the 2nd time saying in her foreign accent; "I call you once, you no return call. That rude! Crummy way to run business. Now I call you 2 times. Do you think you return this call??? 3 days later I did, after I got to that one on the list... When I called her, she immediately complained about me not calling her back to which I simply replied, do you need a vacation? "Excuse me? Not at this time" she said. Well, I did, and that is were I was for the past 3 weeks. "Oh.... So, (like that didn't matter) you come next weeeek then, tune piano, okay?" She lives 45 minutes away. Nope, I said. I can come on June 2 though. "WHAT? You come when?" June 2. "You not that busy? Come on!" She said. Can't do it that quickly, I am always scheduling in advance, I said. "OK. you on list of cancellations. Call me back within week or two for tuning, okay? I said, sure, along with about 25 other people that want the same thing... Well, hurry up, call me soon for tuning. We hung up, I threw her name in the waste basket..... No thanks! Call someone else...
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1662805 - 04/19/11 09:04 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
Jer, wish I had that luxury, you lucky dog. You forgot to add one more to the list of "other jobs", taking vacations thumb
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1662809 - 04/19/11 09:18 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
You will Les, very soon the way your are going! thumb
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1662890 - 04/19/11 11:59 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2399
Loc: Olympia, WA
It really is one of those FAQs that comes up on a regular basis. It's difficult for people to wrap their brain around the idea that there could be that much piano work out there.

I remember talking with Bill Spurlock several years ago about their business. Bill told me that they hadn't accepted a new client in 3 years! He also said that the techs to whom they used to refer customers were also to busy to take on new clients! That's why when his wife, Fern was president of PTG, education was their main agenda. From their standpoint there was not enough skilled technicians to take care of all the pianos in their area.

In my chapter of PTG, most of the technicians are doing this "full-time" although, it's hard to say how busy some of them are. A number of them have wives with good jobs. Then we have a couple of workaholics who probably put in 70-80 hours a week!

There is one fellow in my chapter who has 3 businesses: Piano technician, school bus driver, and tax consultant. I think he does the bus driving for the benefits, and his tax business keeps him busy during a time when his tuning business is a little slow, so it works pretty well for him.

Jerry: I know what you mean about clients who can't believe you have to schedule so far out! They somehow think we are sitting around staring at the phone waiting for it to ring. Some times of the year we get to a tuning within a week or two, but during the 4th quarter it can be 4 or even 5 weeks. You can hear their surprise on the other end of the phone. We tell people we are willing to squeeze it in sooner, but it puts me into overtime and we charge a premium for it. Most people decide to wait, or try another technician. It weeds out the less loyal clients!



Edited by rysowers (04/19/11 12:01 PM)
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1662895 - 04/19/11 12:10 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: Loren D]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1292
Loc: Michigan
Quote:
Another good one is someone calling for an appointment and saying "I'm home this afternoon if you want to come now."


A bit more annoying is the one where the prospect calls and says "I work during the daytime, can you come in the evening/Saturday?"

My usual response is along the lines of "That's when I work, too. Could we schedule something toward the beginning or end of your day before your go to work or after you return home? Or, are you able to get away during your lunch hour?"

If people are still resistant, I just explain that they'll have to do the same for their piano as if they were making an appointment with an electrician, plumber, telephone repair person. (Try calling a plumber to come in the evening "because you work"!!)
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#1662906 - 04/19/11 12:27 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3650
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Love it!!!

Also surprising when people are shocked they have to wait to get a piano rebuilt.
They think I can start tomorrow and finish by the end of the month.
Oh, also shocked that it costs money.
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Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

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#1662907 - 04/19/11 12:29 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
wcctuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 110
Loc: Princeton, NJ
I work full time as a university piano tech, and I'm also a church organist/choir director. A number of years ago I got home from my rehearsal and called a new customer who wanted me to call any time that night. I returned the call around 9:30, and this customer was mad at me because I wouldn't come out that same night-9:30-and tune his piano.
_________________________
Dave Forman
Piano Technician, Westminster Choir College of Rider University

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#1662992 - 04/19/11 02:18 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: wcctuner]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: wcctuner
I work full time as a university piano tech, and I'm also a church organist/choir director. A number of years ago I got home from my rehearsal and called a new customer who wanted me to call any time that night. I returned the call around 9:30, and this customer was mad at me because I wouldn't come out that same night-9:30-and tune his piano.


When I was still working for a retail operation (tuning and some piano moving) I got a call one evening at my private number. The guy on the other end just bought a grand piano at an auction and needed it moved within an hour. When he called it was about 10 PM. I told him good luck and hung up.
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1663012 - 04/19/11 02:55 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: kpembrook]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Quote:
Another good one is someone calling for an appointment and saying "I'm home this afternoon if you want to come now."


A bit more annoying is the one where the prospect calls and says "I work during the daytime, can you come in the evening/Saturday?"

My usual response is along the lines of "That's when I work, too. Could we schedule something toward the beginning or end of your day before your go to work or after you return home? Or, are you able to get away during your lunch hour?"

If people are still resistant, I just explain that they'll have to do the same for their piano as if they were making an appointment with an electrician, plumber, telephone repair person. (Try calling a plumber to come in the evening "because you work"!!)


Both these instances illustrate possibilities (though not necessarily requirements) in a personal service-based job like piano tuning! My trade isn't tuning, but it's a similar sort of setup. Someone rings me to get a job done, if I'm free I often say "How about now?" Some jump at it, some seem scared stiff at the concept :-) Likewise evening, weekend and holiday work. I'm delighted to sometimes have free time during "working hours", equally happy to work some evenings and holidays. The one thing I promised myself when I left school was that I would try my hardest NEVER to get stuck with having to wear a suit and tie and be in the same place at 9.00 a.m. every working day of my life! So far, I've managed :-)

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#1663097 - 04/19/11 05:53 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
One thing that has always surprised me and still does, is that customers actually have the guts to ask questions that are literally none of their business. Such as "is this your full time job?" Or, "can you make a living at this?" Or, "what else do you do for a REAL job?" Or, after you tuned their piano and are done at 10 AM, do you have more jobs to do today or are you done now?" Or, and this one is a pet peeve of mine. It is as if they are trying to figure out how much you make, again, like it is any of their business to begin with. "How many of these do you do in a day/week?"
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1663187 - 04/19/11 07:54 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
One thing that has always surprised me and still does, is that customers actually have the guts to ask questions that are literally none of their business. Such as "is this your full time job?" Or, "can you make a living at this?" Or, "what else do you do for a REAL job?" Or, after you tuned their piano and are done at 10 AM, do you have more jobs to do today or are you done now?" Or, and this one is a pet peeve of mine. It is as if they are trying to figure out how much you make, again, like it is any of their business to begin with. "How many of these do you do in a day/week?"


Gee, Gerry I think we have the same customers
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1663219 - 04/19/11 08:48 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3832
Or they ask "how many do you tune in a day?", trying to get a fix on my income, I guess.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1663262 - 04/19/11 10:29 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I'm always pretty honest about it if, that is, I decide to answer. Sometimes, I just give it the silent treatment or ask, why must you know? But, my dad used to toy with them and exaggerate. While he did tune as many as 15 or 16 a day sometimes at the college on a fairly regular basis, he usually tuned 4 day in homes but, he would tell them anywhere from 6 - 8 or more....

One time, he answered a fellow that way who then went to the kitchen. Dad over heard him telling his wife. Swear words coming out of his mouth like mad, saying that so and so, so and so, makes more money in one day than I make in a whole blankity blank week!!!! Dad said he had all he could do to keep from busting out laughing. Yep, that's my dad!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1663265 - 04/19/11 10:32 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: Bob]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 510
Loc: USA
You could say, "I'll tell you, if you tell me how much you earned last year".

Or you could just throw out a number like 20 pianos a day. That will give them something to chew on for a while.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#1663338 - 04/20/11 12:23 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: Bob]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1616
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bob
Or they ask "how many do you tune in a day?", trying to get a fix on my income, I guess.

LOL. Yes it looks so easy, ping ping, in tune, next string. Hey! I could do that!

When I was a kid my mom would be uptight all day when the piano tuner would come. Making sure the house is spotless, piano nice and polished, coffee ready for him, and everyone had to sit quietly in another room until he was done.

Then I would open the piano and put nuts and bolts between the strings and play John Cage prepared piano pieces. smile

Kees

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#1663363 - 04/20/11 01:20 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21189
Loc: Oakland
My income from tuning is inconsequential compared to my investment income. That is why I tend to avoid discussions of prices. My pricing is based on what I feel someone else should get for tuning if I could not do it, and what I feel is a reasonable recognition of our profession's talent and craftsmanship than on anything else.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1663386 - 04/20/11 01:46 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: DoelKees]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1055
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Bob
Or they ask "how many do you tune in a day?", trying to get a fix on my income, I guess.

LOL. Yes it looks so easy, ping ping, in tune, next string. Hey! I could do that!

When I was a kid my mom would be uptight all day when the piano tuner would come. Making sure the house is spotless, piano nice and polished, coffee ready for him, and everyone had to sit quietly in another room until he was done.

Then I would open the piano and put nuts and bolts between the strings and play John Cage prepared piano pieces. smile

Kees



That's twisting the knife. Ouch!
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#1663454 - 04/20/11 07:39 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: DoelKees]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4893
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
.....

Then I would open the piano and put nuts and bolts between the strings and play John Cage prepared piano pieces. smile

Kees


I do not remember even hearing of John Cage until just yesterday. The customer said my temperament sequence sounded like John Cage music. When I got done he played a little and I asked if he was a fan of Thelonious Monk. He was! Anyway, it took extra time at the appointment because I enjoyed talking with him so much.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1663518 - 04/20/11 10:31 AM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
When somebody asks me how many pianos I tune per week, I just tell them how many JERRY tunes. That way, they know how much HE makes.

Welcome back Jer, by the way. While you were on vacation we took the liberty of removing your yellow pages add. Hope that was ok?? (That'll learn ya to leave us in the snow!!!)

Rick 3hearts
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1663657 - 04/20/11 02:11 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Thanks Rick! I was to busy anyway! You cracked me up!

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1663661 - 04/20/11 02:15 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I can't help it. I just have to do this!!!

Quote:
My income from tuning is inconsequential compared to my investment income. That is why I tend to avoid discussions of prices. My pricing is based on what I feel someone else should get for tuning if I could not do it, and what I feel is a reasonable recognition of our profession's talent and craftsmanship than on anything else.


So, BDB, you really DO make a living at something else other than piano tunnnnning! Do I dare ask how much???? LOL!!!

I'm sorry, sometimes, I just can't help it!!! grin
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1720014 - 07/24/11 02:22 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: kpembrook]
Scotty-Boy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 147
Quote:
(Try calling a plumber to come in the evening "because you work"!!)


I understand limiting your working hours, but I think it is reasonable to have one or two evenings available per week and one or two weekend days available per month.

It's just good customer service.

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#1720027 - 07/24/11 02:46 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
All of us work during the evening returning your phone calls after we've already worked a full day. That means putting in at least a 12 hour day before we're done for the day. In the evening, being self employed, we do our office work which can add up to a lot of time sometimes.

Many of us when we first started tuning, worked almost any hours of the week just to have something to tune but now that we've built up our business, many of us no longer have to tune in the evenings or on weekends however, many of us still do emergency service work for our colleges for example after hours or on weekends. You'd be amazed at how many calls we receive requesting that we come at night and it is not an emergency. Yet most people do not want to pay more for after hours service, they merely want and sometimes, expect, the convenience. Why should we do it unless we do get paid extra? I will do it for some of my regular clients but, not all of the time... It depends on my day. And yes, I do charge more for after hours service work. If they want to pay for it, fine, I'll come and do it if I have the time but, if they refuse to pay additional, forget it... smile It isn't fair to me to work harder and at night or on a weekend after working all day long for the same price.

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1720040 - 07/24/11 03:30 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Roy Rodgers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/09
Posts: 346
Loc: Ranger, Texas
Having just started tuning full time last November I still do some odd hour work. So long as it's local.

A few years ago while tuning after my regular job I got a call from a customer two hours away needing her piano tuned the next night for a party she was having. She wanted to know how much I would charge. I threw out what I thought was a pretty outrageous amount...... and she said come up.

I went, tuned the piano the next night, and was paid a good bit more than I quoted. She was just glad some one would come.

Now I try to keep nights and weekends free for family time. In my rural area sometimes I just have to take what comes in. It is getting better though. Just takes time to get to where you can do more picking and less jumping.

I do like being in charge of where and when I go now.
_________________________
Tuning and repairing pianos since 1981 in Ranger, Tx. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roys-Piano-Service/173273022711505

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#1720065 - 07/24/11 04:17 PM Re: piano tuner's other job [Re: darrenhee]
JPDelmore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/10
Posts: 73
Loc: Shreveport, LA
Well, I do have another job: I'm a chemist. I'm learning piano technology as an "after-retirement" job ("Do or die" doesn't mean there's something you 'have to do', it means if you ain't doing something, you're dying...), in maybe five to ten years. I'll only be in the early fifties, so I'll need something to interest me for at least, I hope, another twenty or thirty years!!

I wouldn't bring this next bit up, but Jerry's just asking for it...

I just, Friday, got back from:



My "other" job, of course, picked up the tab!! LOL
_________________________
...and the dayight o'er the pavement, quite has faded...and the strong dead march enwraps me...

PTG Associate Member

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