Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) End Stage Fright
End Stage Fright
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#1881501 - 04/17/12 11:29 PM Considering career as piano technican
chiefboo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 3
Greetings everyone. I'm in IT, but really don't think I'm cut out for the culture.

I'm really interested in becoming a piano technician, and have found a nearby school. I was wondering what it's like making a living as a piano technician.

My goals would be to complete the courses, getting an apprenticeship then working towards landing a job at a school/college/university in a rural mountain area.

Many thanks to anyone who shares their story with us.

Top
(ad 568) Win a Year Journal Subscription
Win a year subscription to the PTG Journal
#1881505 - 04/17/12 11:35 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
A hobby, fine. A profession...there are probably better choices
_________________________
RPT. In the business: Feurich pianos, Neupert harpsichords, Hidrau benches, piano technician

Top
#1881512 - 04/17/12 11:58 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3292
It's fun, but also very hard. It's physically and mentally taxing, and you'll have days that will make you want to quit. Unless you're completely devoted, you will fail (or at least be mediocre).
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

Top
#1881551 - 04/18/12 02:46 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Weiyan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 684
Loc: Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: chiefboo


My goals would be to complete the courses, getting an apprenticeship then working towards landing a job at a school/college/university in a rural mountain area.

Many thanks to anyone who shares their story with us.


Piano technicians should be self employed. Its not easy to have a stable job and have money deposited into your a/c each month.

As beethoven986 said, Unless you're completely devoted, you will fail (or at least be mediocre).
_________________________
Fake Book player
Ragtime beginner
http://weiyanwo.wordpress.com

Top
#1881554 - 04/18/12 02:56 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Weiyan]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3292
Originally Posted By: Weiyan

Piano technicians should be self employed. Its not easy to have a stable job and have money deposited into your a/c each month.


This is a good point. Expect that you will have to be self-employed. It's difficult enough finding full-time employment with an already-established shop (trust me, I know), much less a university position... applying for university positions (especially at state schools) is a pain in the neck, anyway.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

Top
#1881595 - 04/18/12 06:59 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
chiefboo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 3
Thanks for the replies guys!

I'd really like to hear how you all got into becoming piano technicians, what was difficult about getting into it, the best days, the worst days etc.

Basically I want your life stories as related to becoming piano technicians. The more personal the better!

Let's see from what walks of life all you technicians came from and your experiencing in becoming a technicians and life as a tech.

Top
#1881629 - 04/18/12 08:37 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
The BIGGEST mistake people make with going into this business or at least one of them anyway, is going in with the mindset of being successful. Success does not come all by itself. that mistake, I speak of, is a very LARGE LACK OF BUSINESS SENSE. Not knowing how to run one. Any business you get into, is, obviously, a business. Therefore, also learning how to own and operate one, is a very big MUST. Otherwise, it is sheer guess work, like raising a baby without ever having one before. It's not easy.

Ask yourself, how successful does one want to be?

Set goals for yourself. If you don't know what goals, learn how to set goals by reading about setting goals.

I can give this advice to people and I have many times over yet, these same people still whine and moan that "I can't make a decent living tuning pianos." Yeah? Have you read or learned what I told you to read and learn about? "Well, noooo BUT...." BUT WHAT??? Warren Buffet (not that we're going to make his kind of money but you get the point) didn't become successful, turning his empire into a multi-billion dollar industry on not understanding how to run his business either.

Bear in mind too, that not all people are meant to be self employed. Just because one wants to be, doesn't mean, they should or can be. Some shouldn't be self employed because they are lazy, can't get out of bed and simply do not "really" want to work hard. As sarcastic as that may sound, it is true.

If you want success, you will work and work and work at building up your business until you have way more pianos to tune than you can handle. But, at the same time you will read, read and read some more about running a business too. Nothing is handed to any one of us. We all had to work for it and earn it.

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

We love to play BF2.

Top
#1881668 - 04/18/12 10:05 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
My approach is a little more organic than Jerry's, because I am not a goal-oriented person. I am a go-with-the-flow type person. We might have different definitions of "success." But I would guess that our underlying principles regarding integrity and workmanship are the same. If you expect someone to hand you a paycheck with fringe bennies every two weeks, then you're going into the wrong business. If you like the freedom and peril of being self-employed, then think about it.

In my current line of self-employed work (some might call "skilled labor"), I go into people's houses, walk on egg shells, don't make a mess, stay calm and polite, do a good job, charge a fair price, and fix any mistakes I might happen to make. What I discovered is that if I do a good job for one fussy customer, I get all of his/her friends. If I do a good job for another fussy customer, I get all of his/her friends, too. I do business with an un-listed phone number. I do not advertise. I tell people that I am very exclusive, and that I work exclusively for the meek and lowly. The phone keeps ringing.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

Top
#1881669 - 04/18/12 10:08 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
P.S. If you do not absolutely love piano guts, and piano motions, and piano sounds with your whole heart, then being a piano tech is the wrong line of work for you.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

Top
#1881699 - 04/18/12 11:22 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 427
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Curious - what do you mean by "organic"?
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

Top
#1881825 - 04/18/12 04:05 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 369
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Quote:
My goals would be to complete the courses, getting an apprenticeship then working towards landing a job at a school/college/university in a rural mountain area.


Sounds to me like you're not wanting to be self-employed. If that's the case then you would probably need to be working towards becoming an RPT (Registered Piano Technician), this is done through the PTG (Piano Technician Guild). This would be in addition to all the training you are currently planning. For more info about this check out PTG.org. I think a lot of colleges and universities require that you are an RPT. I know that's the case here in Lincoln at UNL. At a university you would (most likely) get a regular pay check and health care benefits, however there could be a lot of pressure that comes with the job. Our tech here at UNL is also responsible for concert tunings for visiting artists at the Lied Center. Pretty high pressure. All of this would vary, I assume, from school to school.

All that being said, I love what I do. As my Daddy used to say, "This ain't no get rich quick scheme.", but I make a living and enjoy the freedom that I have. I think one of the nice things is that you can decide what kind of tech you're going to be. I like to just go into people's homes tune the piano and leave. Others are really into the rebuilding part of it. I do repairs but don't get into rebuilding, at least not yet.

So, what got you interested in piano stuff?
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

Top
#1881900 - 04/18/12 06:28 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Ryan Hassell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 413
Loc: Farmington, MO
I got into this business a few years ago when most of the tuners in my area either retired or quit. I asked the tuner that finally did come, if I could apprentice with him. His exact words were, "Ryan, I'm 65 years old and want to retire one day. I would LOVE to teach you!" So, I've been tuning and working on pianos since 2008 and I love it! I only do it part time. I am the middle & high school choir teacher for a local public school as well as the worship leader and choir director at my church. So needless to say, having those already established connections with many local teachers and musicians paired with a great lack of tuners in my area, has made for the "perfect storm." I am covered up with business. I doubt that I will ever quit teaching and tune full-time due to the fact that the Missouri Teacher Retirement is VERY good! For me it's just a nice side job.

I would highly encourage you to get into the business. The world needs more excellent piano technicians. Unless you are in a pretty big metropolitan area though, I would think it would be pretty difficult to make a living at it full-time. As stated by others here, in order to be successful you must be willing to work hard, be business savvy, have excellent people skills and maybe just a touch of OCD. :-)
_________________________
Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com

Top
#1882048 - 04/18/12 11:05 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: That Guy]
chiefboo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 3
@Thatguy: Yes I'm prepared to make the commitment to become a RPT. I do need to do more research, but there is a guild associated school in my area that I could easily commute to. I understand that it will take several years to achieve my goal of getting a job at a rural college or university, but I was trying to keep this short because I tend to be verbose.

I took piano lessons as a kid and quit when my brother wanted to quit. Years later I decided to pick it back up and started playing on my own and taking a lesson here and there. Then I picked up an acoustic guitar and have really grown an appreciation for both instruments. I've also looked into lutherie, and it's something I would also like to invest some time into after I've established my skills as a piano technician. Maybe once I'm close to taking the RPT exams or if I'd gotten lucky and found a means of income to survive on (I really don't need much at all). I used to live in a room over seas the size of my closet here in the States and lived more happily and comfortably in it than I do in my huge house now. I'm 25 years and live with my parents so I don't really have bills to worry about.

@Ryan H: Thanks for your post! It's much more a long the lines of what I was looking for. I'm really looking for personal stories to try and relate with to see if it's something I could see myself really doing.

I love music. I play guitar and study theory in my spare time. I've never needed a guitar lesson thanks to my piano lessons and basic knowledge in theory. More recently I've started to seriously study theory again and apply it to my understanding of the guitar. I haven't played my piano in a while, but I always get the bite once in a while. I find myself in front of it often while playing guitar and studying theory. It's a helpful reference.

I also think becoming a RPT would be cool because I've always wanted to do wood work. Of course I wouldn't be doing this for many years, but eventually I'd like to restore old pianos and sell them and collect the more precious ones. And it's funny you mentioned being a litte OCD, cause there are some things that I really have a problem letting go of. It effects my work in the office sometimes because I lose track of time trying to figure something out. I often skip lunch because it's too bothersome to pull my mind off of something once I've invested so much attention to it. Today I got so caught up in something that I didn't realize how badly I had to urinate and I actually let out a little squirt before I could pull my member out at the toilet bowl.. lol

You guys see what I mean by being verbose? Any ways it's past my bed time. Thanks for all the responses and I hope more people will follow Ryan's lead and share their stories!



Edited by chiefboo (04/18/12 11:12 PM)

Top
#1882065 - 04/18/12 11:50 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Jbyron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 481
Loc: USA
How come I can't stop laughing?!

Top
#1882131 - 04/19/12 03:21 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Cinnamonbear]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2371
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
P.S. If you do not absolutely love piano guts, and piano motions, and piano sounds with your whole heart, then being a piano tech is the wrong line of work for you.


This is the most important thing to consider before going forward. I LOVE piano guts!

The way I got started: As it began to look like I might have a future as a singer, my parents bought an old upright player piano while i was in high school. Its workings fascinated me to no end. When we'd had it a couple of weeks, I shut myself up in the music room and began taking it apart. After a couple of hours and once I had removed all of the case parts, the upper and lower player actions, the action, and the keys, my father poked his head in the door and said, "I hope - for your sake - that you can put that back together," and shut the door.

I continued to be curious about what made it work, so my parents suggested I apprentice someone and learn the trade. We found a Phoenix area rebuilder by the name of Jim Jeffers, who took me on for a couple of years.

After that, I moved away and went to college for a year, couldn't afford to keep going, so I then joined the Navy with the intention of becoming a Navy musician. My test scores motivated my recruiter to worry more about his quotas than my career aspirations, so he swindled me into nuclear power and submarines. No time to work on pianos here.

After I got out, I piddled around a little doing work/tunings for favors, but never got back into the business. Then, in 1992, I contracted drug-induced tinnitus as a side effect of an antibiotic I was given. I was sure from then until about four years ago that I'd never tune a piano again as long as I lived.

In 2006, while researching resources for rebuilding the player action on my piano, I came across Piano World, and then the offshoots of Well-Tempered Forum and The New Coffee Room. through WTF, I got to know Ron Koval, who suggested I might be able to tune again in spite of my tinnitus. He taught me the method I employ now, and I seem to be doing something right; everyone likes my tuning(the vast majority of my customers being professional musicians I've known through singing with the San Diego Opera).

These days, I do piano work by day and singing work by night. I feel so very fortunate to do two things I love.

Now if icould just figure out how to get rich doing these things... wink
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

Top
#1882151 - 04/19/12 04:39 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Mark R. Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1864
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: chiefboo
I'm in IT, but really don't think I'm cut out for the culture.


What are you cut out for?

Originally Posted By: chiefboo
I'm 25 years and live with my parents so I don't really have bills to worry about.


I suggest you don't consider piano tech as a career. But if you do, I suggest that as a first step, you get off your parents' pocket. They do have bills to worry about.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

Top
#1882277 - 04/19/12 10:33 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Zeno Wood]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Zeno Wood
Curious - what do you mean by "organic"?


Well, by way of comparison, while Jerry has become outstanding in his field, deliberately and strategically driving his business forward, I am out standing in my field, like a free-range chicken.

Actually, I do tend to let life come to me. I used to be a happy children's librarian, but a very unhappy library manager. So, I bailed out of the management gig, then desparately called through the yellow pages looking for work. Found a tradesman who took me under his wing. Ten years ago, I never would have imagained that I would ever be self-employed, but the fussy customer rule worked in my favor. It started with the first side-job I ever did (which my "skilled labor mentor" encouraged me to take), and the momentum has been growing ever since. And, because I have left a trail of homemade CDs in my wake for customers who expressed interest in my piano music, I have a number of people who want me to tune their pianos when I am ready. grin This was not a business plan. It was an "organic" outgrowth of my love for making pianos sing, and a late-in-life discovery of an aptitude for close work that requires patience and attention to detail. smile

People have all kinds of ideas about success. I like to think in terms of successive unfoldings.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

Top
#1882297 - 04/19/12 11:02 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 369
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Quote:
Basically I want your life stories as related to becoming piano technicians. The more personal the better!


Okay, you asked for it wink

The year was 1994 and I was kinda between jobs. There was an article in our paper about a piano tuning school in western Nebraska and I thought, "I think I could do that.". So a few months later I was driving to Maywood, NE to learn a new trade. I started tuning in 1995 and have been ever since. Just last year I officially went full time.
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

Top
#1882369 - 04/19/12 01:07 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: OperaTenor]
wcctuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 110
Loc: Princeton, NJ
Jim (OperaTenor)
After reading your post I had to reply. I did end up as a Navy musician, 1972-76, first in Brooklyn NY then Newport RI-rough duty. I was the keyboard player for the band, and often we would go to different gigs where the pianos were horrible. Worst one-we played for a function at the Coast Guard base in Groton, Conn., and they told me the piano would be tuned for the event. It was, but was left almost a half step low. Ever try transposing all your music?? A chief in the band also did piano tuning, so I started learning from him. In May 1976 I was discharged and came to Westminster Choir College in Princeton as an organ and church music student. I did piano tuning to help pay expenses, but never was planning to be a full time tuner. My senior year here the tuner retired, I got the job, and 33 years later I'm still here. Was at the right place at the right time, and have loved almost every minute of it.
_________________________
Dave Forman
Piano Technician, Westminster Choir College of Rider University

Top
#1882390 - 04/19/12 01:24 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Quote:
Today I got so caught up in something that I didn't realize how badly I had to urinate and I actually let out a little squirt before I could pull my member out at the toilet bowl.. lol

I think the first skill you need to develop before becoming a piano technician is bladder control.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

Top
#1882451 - 04/19/12 03:14 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Ed Foote Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 969
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
The first thing a piano tuner has to possess is the ability to make a decision in a hurry. Tuning a piano is thousands of decisions, and if you have to deliberate over them, you tunings will take hours.
You will need a fairly good mechanical aptitude, and the ability to hear beating. After that, it is all pretty simple. It is also important that you are a self-starter, since there is not going to be anyone around to tell you to work.

Regards,

Top
#1882474 - 04/19/12 03:54 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
If you want to do this, do not neglect the business portion of your education. You will need to do all the bookkeeping that gets done for you when you work at a regular job. You have to pay all of your taxes, insurance, pension, etc. Figure that at least 40% of your gross will go towards that.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#1882512 - 04/19/12 05:00 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 664
Loc: England
I was very lucky in as much as I taken on as an apprentice for 5 years in full time training by a very well respected London company. Having completed training, I have since worked full time for 41 years, and never had a day's un-employment or ever had to ask for help from the dole office.

While many will say that the piano is slowly dying, being forced into the graveyard by digital pianos, there nevertheless remain many acoustic instruments that are in need of service, resortation, and regular tuning.

If you are prepared to train seriously, and become excellent in what you do, you then could expect to have clients banging on your door to get your expertise for their beloved instruments - and make a very good living. If however, you expect to be able to do this simply by reading books, and subscribing to short "piano tuning courses" .... then .... I wouldn't bother, you'll struggle to get clients, lack the necessary experience, and won't ever be taken seriously enough to get a foot hold on the ladder that leads to the real status of someone able to hack it in the professional concert world ...... where sadly there is a huge gap, that is filled by very few people.

Speaking of which .... how are you keeping Jerry ?

It's a huge committment to become good in this game .... but I for one am glad that I made it, all those many years ago.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

Top
#1882574 - 04/19/12 06:32 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I'm doing about the same John, thanks for asking. Seeing a massage therapist that works with trigger point massaging and other aspects of it, doing exercises to stretch the back and neck, hoping that will help it. Got some long days coming up the first week of May tuning for the Gilmore here in Grand Rapids at my college. Like, 9AM to 10 PM. That should be tricky..... wink
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

Top
#1882658 - 04/19/12 08:56 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3789
Having taken a correspondence course and tuned a couple of pianos, I started tuning pianos in a store's warehouse. After about two months, they started sending me out to homes. 18 months after tuning my first piano I passed my RPT. By that time I was doing some concert work, though I was hardly qualified. I could tune, but had no business skills, and burned out after 3 years. I was working too many hours for too little pay.

I re-grouped, worked in the real world for a few years, noted what business did right and wrong, learned how to sell, got a business degree, and dove back into tuning much better armed. My RPT had expired due to not paying dues, and I worked successfully for years tuning and doing some stringing and hammer jobs. When I moved here in 2006, I re tested for my RPT and have a busy schedule of tuning and repair jobs.

I can't wait to tune my first piano of the day. I love hearing customer's and their kids play a piano I've just tuned. I don't have a job, it's a hobby that pays me quite well. I get to meet all kinds of people, see all kinds of homes, set my own hours, and take a vacation when I want.

But, there is a price. To be successful you have to work hard, and always try to improve your skills. It's not a 9-5 job. It's not a 40 hour week. There are aches and pains, which get worse with age. Other drivers hit my car an average of every two years. At some point in your career, someone will break into your car and steal your tools. Your spouse has to provide the health insurance. Banks look at you like a leper when you want a loan. What is a Piano Technician, they say? Let's see your tax return. I don't believe you make that kind of money. I tell that loan clerk my job is far more secure than hers. If I'm not busy, it's my fault - and I fix it. ha ha.

Piano tuning is hard, but it's the hard that makes it worthwhile.

This evening I had an hour to raise a Steinway D 12 cents for an outdoor concert. I had the typical pre-concert distractions, checking the sound system, someone testing an RC boat in the adjacent pond, people running around the stage - No problem. I finished just as the musicians arrived. It's the "hard" that makes it great. It's getting the job done, so someone can play music that makes it great.

Aspire to tune pianos, but always learn, always get better. Never be complacent.


_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






Top
#1882692 - 04/19/12 10:03 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Bob]
Jbyron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 481
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Bob
Having taken a correspondence course and tuned a couple of pianos, I started tuning pianos in a store's warehouse. After about two months, they started sending me out to homes. 18 months after tuning my first piano I passed my RPT. By that time I was doing some concert work, though I was hardly qualified. I could tune, but had no business skills, and burned out after 3 years. I was working too many hours for too little pay.

I re-grouped, worked in the real world for a few years, noted what business did right and wrong, learned how to sell, got a business degree, and dove back into tuning much better armed. My RPT had expired due to not paying dues, and I worked successfully for years tuning and doing some stringing and hammer jobs. When I moved here in 2006, I re tested for my RPT and have a busy schedule of tuning and repair jobs.

I can't wait to tune my first piano of the day. I love hearing customer's and their kids play a piano I've just tuned. I don't have a job, it's a hobby that pays me quite well. I get to meet all kinds of people, see all kinds of homes, set my own hours, and take a vacation when I want.

But, there is a price. To be successful you have to work hard, and always try to improve your skills. It's not a 9-5 job. It's not a 40 hour week. There are aches and pains, which get worse with age. Other drivers hit my car an average of every two years. At some point in your career, someone will break into your car and steal your tools. Your spouse has to provide the health insurance. Banks look at you like a leper when you want a loan. What is a Piano Technician, they say? Let's see your tax return. I don't believe you make that kind of money. I tell that loan clerk my job is far more secure than hers. If I'm not busy, it's my fault - and I fix it. ha ha.

Piano tuning is hard, but it's the hard that makes it worthwhile.

This evening I had an hour to raise a Steinway D 12 cents for an outdoor concert. I had the typical pre-concert distractions, checking the sound system, someone testing an RC boat in the adjacent pond, people running around the stage - No problem. I finished just as the musicians arrived. It's the "hard" that makes it great. It's getting the job done, so someone can play music that makes it great.

Aspire to tune pianos, but always learn, always get better. Never be complacent.




Bob, that is an amazing story and inspiring read. thumb
_________________________
piano tuner/technician



Top
#1882981 - 04/20/12 12:36 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: wcctuner]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2371
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: wcctuner
Jim (OperaTenor)
After reading your post I had to reply. I did end up as a Navy musician, 1972-76, first in Brooklyn NY then Newport RI-rough duty. I was the keyboard player for the band, and often we would go to different gigs where the pianos were horrible. Worst one-we played for a function at the Coast Guard base in Groton, Conn., and they told me the piano would be tuned for the event. It was, but was left almost a half step low. Ever try transposing all your music?? A chief in the band also did piano tuning, so I started learning from him. In May 1976 I was discharged and came to Westminster Choir College in Princeton as an organ and church music student. I did piano tuning to help pay expenses, but never was planning to be a full time tuner. My senior year here the tuner retired, I got the job, and 33 years later I'm still here. Was at the right place at the right time, and have loved almost every minute of it.


You were indeed.

After I had been an E6 for about six months, one of my fellow crew members came to me with the latest issue of the Navy Times: The musician's corps was looking for male vocalists, any creole group, E5 AND BELOW. I'm pretty sure getting myself busted down to E5 wouldn't have helped me get in...

BTW, I apprenticed in 1976/77.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

Top
#1883232 - 04/20/12 07:26 PM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: chiefboo]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
I'm an IT guy as well, and added piano work as a second career. The analytical troubleshooting skills you get in IT serve well in piano work (assuming you did well with the content of the work, and the culture is what is driving you from it).

In the mechanical operation part, piano work is often simpler since the mechanism is sitting in front of you rather than hiding in black boxes of hardware and software that you poke and prod from the outside using various interface techniques, attempting to build a mental model of how it works. The parts of a piano respond directly. You should get a piano you can dig into without worrying about whether you going to damage it. Take it all apart, put it all back together again, that's how I learned. Plan to damage it. It's a good way to find what the limits of certain adjustments and techniques are.

In other ways, particularly tuning, I find it to be very much like computer algorithm design, where you are building an implementation of your mental model and trying to verify your understanding of it through the various tests and careful listening. Perhaps more philosophically, if you are a coder, consider the leaky abstractions often present in imperfect algorithm and structure design (present in practically all non-trivial software systems). These side effects remind me very much of the problems tuners deal with when overlaying the mental structure of a tempered scale upon the frequency spectrum available to the compass of a piano. There are problems that evade trivial solution, and people deal with it in various ways.

Anyway, food for thought, from one IT guy to another.
_________________________
Jim Moy, RPT
Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
http://www.moypiano.com

Top
#1883349 - 04/21/12 12:31 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Jim Moy]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Umm, first of all, Bob's post is an exceptional story. So, I'm with Jbyron--thanks, Bob, for the inspiration! thumb

But this...:

Originally Posted By: Jim Moy
Plan to damage it.


...is such great advice. thumb laugh thumb I LOVE IT! (But who cares what I think, really...)

And this:

Originally Posted By: Jim Moy
In other ways, particularly tuning, I find it to be very much like computer algorithm design, where you are building an implementation of your mental model and trying to verify your understanding of it through the various tests and careful listening. Perhaps more philosophically, if you are a coder, consider the leaky abstractions often present in imperfect algorithm and structure design (present in practically all non-trivial software systems). These side effects remind me very much of the problems tuners deal with when overlaying the mental structure of a tempered scale upon the frequency spectrum available to the compass of a piano. There are problems that evade trivial solution, and people deal with it in various ways.


...is some of the coolest abstract writing I have read in a long time! As a connoisseur of analogies, in review, I would give this five stars! smile (I wish there was a way to reward good writing on PW!)

And BTW, chiefboo, when you say you want stories... I remember laying under my dad's grand piano when I was 3 or 4 years old, listening to the tuner do his thing, and loving the sounds he was making, and, when I was 12, I took the action in and out of our old upright several times, just to see if I could. Apparently, I did something wrong, because the next time our tuner came to work, I got scolded! eek
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

Top
#1883368 - 04/21/12 01:00 AM Re: Considering career as piano technican [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
...is some of the coolest abstract writing I have read in a long time! As a connoisseur of analogies, in review, I would give this five stars!

Now that I go back and read it again I think I sound more like a pretentious dork. Oh well, not the first time...
_________________________
Jim Moy, RPT
Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
http://www.moypiano.com

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
99 registered (ando, anotherscott, beeboss, 36251, Al LaPorte, 30 invisible), 1260 Guests and 44 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74198 Members
42 Forums
153495 Topics
2249240 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Accepted Procedure for Having a Piano Tech look at a piano?
by Paul678
17 minutes 21 seconds ago
Tips for playing a piece through
by Hemmingway
56 minutes 45 seconds ago
Temperature and tuning
by Beemer
Today at 04:46 AM
Tired Fingers
by adanepst
Today at 01:45 AM
Bechstein 7
by PhilipInChina
Today at 01:07 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission