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Topic Options
#2093566 - 06/01/13 07:20 PM To play or not to play
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I have been tuning for awhile(over 30 yrs). I am no concert artist for sure, but I can play pretty well. Seems at this point in my tuning career, I would rather not play once I have finished the job. For some reason, I'm thinking it's going to appear to the customer I am trying to "show off", or that I'm being self indulgent. Plus I need to get the check and get to my next appointment. But lately, I've noticed customers seem really disappointed that I didn't play a song at the end. Some have even told me THAT is the only reason they had their pianos tuned.[to hear the song at the end]. And If I play something at the end, how much is too much? I don't know what other tuners do, but it would be interesting to find out.
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2093570 - 06/01/13 07:23 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
I always play. I ask them what their favorite song is; they love it.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2093590 - 06/01/13 08:29 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 166
Loc: South Jersey
I usually play. Not anything real showy - mostly for my own benefit to hear how the piano sounds and touch up any interval or unison that needs it. If they ask, I'll play something longer or fancier occasionally. But I agree - by that point I'm usually ready to be done with the job and move on.
_________________________
Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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#2093592 - 06/01/13 08:31 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2197
Loc: Maine
I ask if they have a guitar. I'll play THAT for them. 'Makes most customers laugh.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2093595 - 06/01/13 08:33 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
manyhands Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 129
Loc: Md
hearing my tuner play lets me, an amateur, get a sense of how good my piano can sound, something to which I can aspire! Please play.
_________________________
many hands many smiles

Big Mama Yama U1

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#2093629 - 06/01/13 09:32 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
If you got it, show it! Hey, who wants to show up at the dance empty handed?

I am a very mediocre player, so I use this opportunity to compliment the piano and point out how nicely it tuned up. It's all about 'their' piano.

When tuning for concerts or professionals, I use a much more mechanical approach to checking the tuning.

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#2093824 - 06/02/13 09:33 AM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2749
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I don't know how well my tuner plays, but he always plays the same big range, chord-y bit when he's done tuning. When I hear it, I know it is time to come out and write him a check.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2093912 - 06/02/13 01:19 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 370
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
As the client, I really appreciated my techs playing. He's very good and I even picked up some playing pointers (he has a musical degree and used to teach). When he finished, he played a mini-concert for us. We could have sat for hours. One of the pieces was Debussy's Arabesque #1 and what a great piece to hear a piano really sing.

I think by your playing gives any owner a chance to hear his instrument played by someone who has a gift for fine tuning (and who cares how good you are)? So, yeah, I agree with the other owner's post, keep playing by all means, it's a pleasure........blob
_________________________
KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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#2094013 - 06/02/13 04:45 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
I'm always embarassed by the fact that I have no memory for music. I have a lot in my repertoire but only with the sheet music, and it definitely feels like showing off if i get music out at the end. If there is sheet music there that I can play though, I will sometimes play that.
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2094014 - 06/02/13 04:47 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Always play. I don't even consider myself mediocre; I pretty much fake it.

Even at the Shout House, every week, I play the same three excerpts, and the managers always seem to appreciate that I do it.

At the schools, the kids and teachers love it when I do it.


Edited by OperaTenor (06/02/13 04:49 PM)
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2094127 - 06/02/13 09:42 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 413
Loc: Lincoln, NE
I always play a little bit although I'm actually a drummer. I know all my scales so I play chords up and down the piano. I have two song memorized, Minuet in G and O Tannenbaum for Christmas. People usually want more and then I have to confess that that's the only song I know!
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

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#2094130 - 06/02/13 09:48 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1224
Loc: Québec, Canada
I pick and choose when I should play or not.

I'm an improviser, and know tons of tunes by ear.

It is interesting how different people will either be inspired or intimidated by my playing ability.

Some teachers that I tune for I think would prefer that I not play too much. And I don't.

I can usually guage how much I should play, or not, by the music books lying around.

So, for me, it's a case by case scenario.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2094131 - 06/02/13 09:48 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Judging from the comments by others so far, I'm thinking it's not such a bad thing to play a little after the tuning. I may stick to doing "parts" of songs, and keep it short and sweet.
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2094134 - 06/02/13 09:50 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1224
Loc: Québec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Judging from the comments by others so far, I'm thinking it's not such a bad thing to play a little after the tuning. I may stick to doing "parts" of songs, and keep it short and sweet.


Good plan.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2094143 - 06/02/13 10:04 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
I love it when my tuner plays (and he can). Not having another pianist around, it is the rare opportunity to stand back and listen to my own piano.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2094236 - 06/03/13 12:40 AM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I will sometimes play during the tuning, after I'm done a section I'll play a bit from a piece that fits there. Its almost like a final check before moving on. If there is time afterwards, I will play something unusual. Most pianists, pro or not, appreciate hearing their piano played by someone else. There is something good about hearing your piano from a location away from the bench also. Sometimes I'll suggest to a customer to try out the piano while I'm packing up, I enjoy hearing them play also and gives me an idea what kind of genre of music the piano's being tuned for.


Edited by Emmery (06/03/13 12:41 AM)
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2094252 - 06/03/13 12:59 AM Re: To play or not to play [Re: accordeur]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: accordeur
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Judging from the comments by others so far, I'm thinking it's not such a bad thing to play a little after the tuning. I may stick to doing "parts" of songs, and keep it short and sweet.


Good plan.


What Jean said. That's essentially what I do.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2094253 - 06/03/13 01:00 AM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Emmery]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Emmery
I will sometimes play during the tuning, after I'm done a section I'll play a bit from a piece that fits there. Its almost like a final check before moving on. If there is time afterwards, I will play something unusual. Most pianists, pro or not, appreciate hearing their piano played by someone else. There is something good about hearing your piano from a location away from the bench also. Sometimes I'll suggest to a customer to try out the piano while I'm packing up, I enjoy hearing them play also and gives me an idea what kind of genre of music the piano's being tuned for.


Depending on the customer, I also suggest they try it out. I feel it gives them some buy-in to my work.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2094764 - 06/03/13 06:51 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 370
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
Agreed operatenor and emmery.......

For no other reason than curiousity or enjoyment, I like watching people play. I mean if they take off like Jerry Lee Lewis playing encores, I would know that's probably at least 4 tunings a year, right?! blob
_________________________
KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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#2094781 - 06/03/13 07:42 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1238
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
Most of my customers are professionals, and there is absolutely no way anything I can play on a piano is going to impress them with anything but a deserved condescension.

OTOH, those piano owners that plunk around at home, some having started taking lessons again at 65 years, others having once played but now just rarely, and those that inherited the piano, can't play a lick, and always hope that anyone, and I mean, anyone, ( the friend that teaches, the kids that have just learned chopsticks, the nephew home from school, the piano tuner, the interior designer, anyone! ), will sit down at the piano and make some notes; these customers get a boogie, or a homemade ballad, or the worst rendition of "Tennessee Waltz" one is like to encounter out of me, and I can't play!

It doesn't matter. I have had too many of these customers tell me that as soon as they make the tuning appointment, they are waiting to hear what I doodle after I am done. They, after many years, consider it part of the job. Even though after 2 minutes and 18 seconds I begin repeating myself, it is a solid part of why I get called. I have no reservations about the quality of my craft as a tech, and no pretensions of being a musician. Yet, I have had customers comment on how beautiful the piano sounded after I had simply modulated around the circle of fifths. (Which I do, since most of these tunings are UT)

There is little musical about tuning the way I do. For most people, it is a technical bunch of sound, but when there are chords and melodies suddenly coming out of the box, something happens. They show up at the doorway and listen. I think that once I play something, I am a person they can more readily identify with.

Tune the piano, make some music. If the quality of the former is sterling, the quality of the latter doesn't matter.

Regards,

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#2094869 - 06/03/13 09:21 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Ed Foote]
Tunewerk Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 425
Loc: Boston, MA
Warm hearted response, Ed. I agree.

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Tune the piano, make some music. If the quality of the former is sterling, the quality of the latter doesn't matter.
_________________________
www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.

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#2094888 - 06/03/13 09:35 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Tunewerk]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
Warm hearted response, Ed. I agree.

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Tune the piano, make some music. If the quality of the former is sterling, the quality of the latter doesn't matter.


I guess there's a limit to how far a great tuning will carry a poor musician if one happens to be one.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2094932 - 06/03/13 10:46 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
What I lack in talent I make up for with enthusiasm. The rest is simply hard work.

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#2097157 - 06/06/13 04:37 PM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3623
After tuning my tech usually plays a number of big chords and then waits a few seconds after each chord. He seems to listen to how they sound.

At that time I hear how it sings and dies out, how the piano resonates, the overtones, the chord voicing, the pedaling, the damper noise, etc. I suppose that's also what he is listening for.

It seems to me that this 'playing' is a final check that the tuning is ok.
_________________________

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#2097685 - 06/07/13 08:09 AM Re: To play or not to play [Re: wouter79]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 737
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Hi all - a good topic! For years and years, I've followed every tuning with a lively rendition of "Satin Doll." Customers are used to this and typically by the time I've finished they've arrived, checkbook in hand from another corner of the house.

As a practical matter, playing a bit helps catch things I didn't notice when I was tuning. As far as for customer satisfaction it helps to show the owner that the piano is indeed well in tune (especially when the customer can't play him or herself, and is having the piano tuned for children taking lessons.)

When I really enjoy playing is when I tune the pianos at the local nursing home. I'll follow up Satin Doll with a few favorites, such as "Stormy Weather" (which has been really appropriate this spring in the midwest) or "Ain't Misbehavin'". The residents listening are very appreciative of this - makes my job fun! I'll hang out for a bit, have a few cookies with them and visit. All good! Chuck
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2098409 - 06/08/13 12:28 AM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Chuck Behm]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Chuck, play "An Affair To Remember" at the old folks homes. It brings them to tears every time.
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2098526 - 06/08/13 09:33 AM Re: To play or not to play [Re: Gary Fowler]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1843
Loc: Conway, AR USA
I pieced together a few-minutes medley of original to classical to pop etc. Just snatches, really, of perhaps a dozen or more tunes. Clients seemed enjoy guessing - e.g. - "was that a little bit of Gershwin I heard?" It was fun.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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