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#2107928 - 06/25/13 04:26 PM Volunteering my time to learn
Chrislw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/11
Posts: 33
There's a music shop in my area that was hiring a piano technician/tuner trainee. I was a little surprised because I figured that to be something not trusted to a novice.

But that's something I'm interested in learning, so it got me wondering as to what kind of response I would get if I called other piano stores in my area and offered to volunteer my time to learn more about piano tuning, maintenance and repair. Assisting and helping in what minimal way I can, doing various odd jobs around the shop.
Is this worth a try, or not?

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#2107939 - 06/25/13 04:34 PM Re: Volunteering my time to learn [Re: Chrislw]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1887
Loc: Old Hangtown California
Definitely worth it.
Been there, done that and it pays dividends in the form of referrals and skill building and reputation.
You will know when it is time to charge for your services.
You will also learn about the character and reputation of the store that you do volunteer work for.

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#2107977 - 06/25/13 05:14 PM Re: Volunteering my time to learn [Re: Gene Nelson]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Gene Nelson

You will also learn about the character and reputation of the store that you do volunteer work for.



This is more important than you think, when people find out where I trained, they often wonder if I can be any good. If you plan on applying for this position, try to find out what their turnover rate is. It takes months to train as a technician, just to become competent! The store I trained at sent me out to tune for a customer less than a week after I started. Had I been a different type of person, I would be a terrible technician. I was determined to be good at my job, so I learned on my own. They've "replaced me" 3 times since I left last August. Before I started, they replaced techs more than twice a year. If I'd known better, that would have been a HUGE red flag.
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

And why yes, I know I'm a girl!

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#2108152 - 06/25/13 11:09 PM Re: Volunteering my time to learn [Re: Samthetech]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3489
Originally Posted By: Samthetech
Originally Posted By: Gene Nelson

You will also learn about the character and reputation of the store that you do volunteer work for.



This is more important than you think, when people find out where I trained, they often wonder if I can be any good. If you plan on applying for this position, try to find out what their turnover rate is. It takes months to train as a technician, just to become competent! The store I trained at sent me out to tune for a customer less than a week after I started. Had I been a different type of person, I would be a terrible technician. I was determined to be good at my job, so I learned on my own. They've "replaced me" 3 times since I left last August. Before I started, they replaced techs more than twice a year. If I'd known better, that would have been a HUGE red flag.


Your experience is fairly typical, I think. There are far more mediocre dealers than really good ones. In my area, there is a rebuilder who was looking for a refinisher not too long ago and I heard through the grapevine that they actually rejected applicants who ever worked for a certain another local rebuilder, just due to its poor reputation.

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#2108681 - 06/26/13 08:09 PM Re: Volunteering my time to learn [Re: Chrislw]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Learn as much about pianos as you possibly can BEFORE you offer your serives as an unpaid or minimally paid intern (so that you at least bring something to the table). Even if you have some basic knowledge of the piano action and can tune unisons, that helps!
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2109277 - 06/27/13 08:15 PM Re: Volunteering my time to learn [Re: Chrislw]
Chrislw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/11
Posts: 33
^^ Yeah, I think I'll do that.
But is people volunteering to learn with a technician a common thing?
I called and emailed some piano stores and other places yesterday and got turned down on all of them.

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#2109285 - 06/27/13 08:27 PM Re: Volunteering my time to learn [Re: Chrislw]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
As you can tell by perusing this forum, lots of technicians can have attitudes about people learning to tune. I don't really know why. Find a "residential" tuner, they're more likely to help, so long as you agree not to open shop within 200 miles. (I seem to remember that being a standard distance. I didn't sign a noncompete agreement, so I don't know for sure.)
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

And why yes, I know I'm a girl!

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