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#2246285 - 03/14/14 12:29 AM Piano Teachers
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 511
Loc: USA
I like piano teachers. I think piano teachers and technicians can work together harmoniously, but please….

Don't attempt to set our rates for us when dealing with our mutual clients, unless you'd like us to set yours for you.

Please don't get in the way of our ability to best serve the piano and its owner by making statements such as, "A piano tuning should cost no more than $$" "Pianos only need to be tuned every year and a half or two", "Dampp-Chasers are unnecessary in this climate," etc. Leave the tuning and technical work to us and we'll leave the teaching to you.

More than once, I've lost a client to a teacher that came between myself and the customer by giving wrong information. The most recent one showed a great deal of ignorance about piano care and then directed the client to her 'tuner'.

Frustrating, but life goes on.



_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2246500 - 03/14/14 12:05 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Perhaps this posting would be better served in the Piano Teachers forum?

I am not aware that a lot of them travel in and out of the tech forum.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2246821 - 03/15/14 03:27 AM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1067
Loc: PA
This reminds me of one teacher who was charging a consulting fee for her appraisals of used pianos. One of her morsels of wisdom was, "Do not buy any piano that has sat on cement for any length of time. The piano is ruined forever." Seriously, she was getting paid for this.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2246889 - 03/15/14 09:14 AM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Bourniplus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 27
Loc: Québec
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos
Perhaps this posting would be better served in the Piano Teachers forum?

This.
_________________________
Musician / tuner

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#2246978 - 03/15/14 12:20 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
Such teachers (teechers?) really have no business talking about piano maintenance. A good pianist has to have a certain degree of familiarity with the mechanical workings of the piano. They also have to listen to the sound close enough to be able to hear when things don't sound right. Unless their piano sits in a climate-controlled lab and they only play pp, they should hear something amiss within 4 months of tuning.

1.5 years...somebody sue that teacher.
_________________________
One111

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#2247204 - 03/15/14 09:14 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3833
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
I like piano teachers. I think piano teachers and technicians can work together harmoniously, but please….

Don't attempt to set our rates for us when dealing with our mutual clients, unless you'd like us to set yours for you.

Please don't get in the way of our ability to best serve the piano and its owner by making statements such as, "A piano tuning should cost no more than $$" "Pianos only need to be tuned every year and a half or two", "Dampp-Chasers are unnecessary in this climate," etc. Leave the tuning and technical work to us and we'll leave the teaching to you.

More than once, I've lost a client to a teacher that came between myself and the customer by giving wrong information. The most recent one showed a great deal of ignorance about piano care and then directed the client to her 'tuner'.

Frustrating, but life goes on.



I posted essentially the same thing a couple of years ago in the teacher's forum after a teacher and I argued over this.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2247288 - 03/16/14 03:09 AM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
But let's look at the other side for a sec. I'm also a teacher. And sometimes my students get really incompetent technicians. One of them got a technician from the only Steinway dealer in Utah, and got charged two-hundred-something dollars for a tuning, which didn't last 2 weeks. They tried calling the technician back to correct it, but couldn't get in touch. I offered to tune it for $60 and so they accepted it. Four months later it sounded like typical 4-month drift. They didn't do anything with the climate in the room, so the only thing I can conclude is that the technician sucked. Did they try something funny with the pins? I don't know, but it didn't work.
_________________________
One111

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#2247344 - 03/16/14 07:58 AM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7156
Loc: France
Saying a piano can be tuned every 18months is worse than every 2 years, in the end.

What happen is that the owner have the benefit of the frequency of the tunings (unless the tuner is really doing fast without much attention to stability, which happen regularly due to different things, lack of understanding of sensibility, many tunings a day, lazyness, ear/arm fatigue...

Tuning after 2 years a piano that had regular tunings done at sufficient space for years, is not really a problem, or even more, but if the piano is still lowering in pitch at large, the result will be less stable or the piano will be tuned at a lower pitch(lets say if we begin with a 442 standard, it can be lost and traded for 441, then even 440 in time if the customer call me late.
Some piano hold their pitch very well after some time, I am not chocked if I do not see them every year at last, but I am paid by the hour then, and there is a little maintenance to be done if the piano is played regularly. Still they call me back after trying other tuners when it happen.
Real professional pianists know well who produce turnings that last well, sound nicely, along with some evening of tone and touch for instance. In every town there are some.

We have moderate climate fluctuations, so while there is a "summer tuning" and a "winter tuning" , a good piano can go from one to the other while being still accepteable, generally a little more "wild" then back.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2247430 - 03/16/14 12:16 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: PianistOne111]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 511
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: PianistOne111
But let's look at the other side for a sec. I'm also a teacher. And sometimes my students get really incompetent technicians. One of them got a technician from the only Steinway dealer in Utah, and got charged two-hundred-something dollars for a tuning, which didn't last 2 weeks. They tried calling the technician back to correct it, but couldn't get in touch. I offered to tune it for $60 and so they accepted it. Four months later it sounded like typical 4-month drift. They didn't do anything with the climate in the room, so the only thing I can conclude is that the technician sucked. Did they try something funny with the pins? I don't know, but it didn't work.


Perhaps when the Steinway technician showed up he found a piano a half step flat and charged accordingly for pitch raises and some other adjustments, plus the tuning. Perhaps he told them it would need to be tuned again in a month but not to worry, it will settle out more quickly this time since it was so far out of tune from lack of regular service. The next tuning in one month will complete the stabilization process. The customer calls him right away rather than waiting one month like he suggested, and that's where you come in. You do a tuning after the technician already did all the 'heavy lifting' and you get the credit for making the piano stable. All kinds of scenarios can play out when you're communicating through a third person.

$60.00? Wow.

_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2247504 - 03/16/14 02:22 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 206
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
[quote=PianistOne111]

Perhaps when the Steinway technician showed up he found a piano a half step flat and charged accordingly for pitch raises and some other adjustments, plus the tuning. Perhaps he told them it would need to be tuned again in a month but not to worry, it will settle out more quickly this time since it was so far out of tune from lack of regular service. The next tuning in one month will complete the stabilization process. The customer calls him right away rather than waiting one month like he suggested, and that's where you come in. You do a tuning after the technician already did all the 'heavy lifting' and you get the credit for making the piano stable. All kinds of scenarios can play out when you're communicating through a third person.

$60.00? Wow.



Exactly! It does no good to assume the tuner or tooner was at fault not knowing the previous conditions. Whatever changes were made the next tech will have far less stretch and perhaps better string rendering because of the recent changes. Every town, including mine, usually has a rogue tuner that will work for peanuts just to get a job. The Steinway dealer technician that was originally called must be at least semi qualified for professional service. The same goes for piano teachers I would imagine. Some have had to take a piano instrument appreciation course as part of their curriculum whereas other teachers have only a fleeting idea what is good from bad.

I usually end up benefitting from other peoples bad work so I usually don't talk about the previous service to my clients and there only interested in getting the job done right anyway.
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#2247541 - 03/16/14 04:02 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 662
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote:
"I like piano teachers. I think piano teachers and technicians can work together harmoniously . . ." - Jbryon


As a technician, I believe that proactively working together with my piano teacher customers to encourage piano maintenance on the part of their students is one of the most important things that I do. Young piano students who are learning on a well-maintained acoustic piano are far more likely (I firmly believe) to stick to their lessons and really learn to enjoy playing the piano than those students who try to learn on a badly maintained piano or keyboard.

To help my piano teacher customers (I currently service instruments for 11 piano teachers in my area) I supply them with easy to understand one page handouts for the various type of instruments ( spinet, console, studio, upright, or grand ) which their students might be playing on. I print these on card stock quality paper, and provide these without cost to my teacher customers, so that they might in turn hand them out to their students.

I also email my teachers the links to full-length versions ( example ) of each topic if they have parents who want more detailed information.

The cost to me of providing these materials is minimal, and the outcome is better maintained instruments for students to play on, students more willing to practice, and parents more willing to continue shelling out for lessons. Plus, move work for me! Win-win-win! Chuck


Edited by Chuck Behm (03/16/14 04:28 PM)
_________________________
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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#2247549 - 03/16/14 04:14 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Chuck Behm]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3498
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
You're a real credit to your profession, Chuck. The effort you put into documenting your work, and educating people is extremely valuable in a world where such things can be quite mysterious. Much respect.

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#2247691 - 03/16/14 10:42 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
Jbyron,

That is a possible scenario, but these students (' parent) told me they've very diligent about getting their piano tuned at least once every 6 months. It's not a new piano either.
_________________________
One111

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#2247792 - 03/17/14 08:07 AM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: ando]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 662
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote:
"The effort you put into documenting your work, and educating people is extremely valuable in a world where such things can be quite mysterious." - Ando


Thank you very much, Ando. I think it is important for us all to combat misinformation whenever possible - and there is no better way (in my mind, at least) than by using the power of the written word. If you have the truth, and you write it down in a coherent way, people will be much more likely to believe what you have to say. Thus, if you want your customers to understand how important it is that they maintain their piano with a regular tuning, put it in writing.

As an interesting side note, I've found that when your written materials are (1) accompanied with illustrative photographs, and (2) printed on card stock quality paper, they are almost always held on to. I've noticed that customers retain the write-ups that I give them concerning repairs, even if they don't act on them right away. Something printed on ordinary computer paper (I believe) is much more likely to find its way into the trash, whereas an article on card stock (especially if its illustrated) will be kept. Human nature, I guess. We tend to hold on to items that seem more substantial.

Again, thanks, Ando. I hope things are going well in Australia. Here in the Midwest, we are ready for spring! Chuck



Edited by Chuck Behm (03/17/14 08:08 AM)
_________________________
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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#2248562 - 03/18/14 07:40 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: PianistOne111]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3833
Originally Posted By: PianistOne111
But let's look at the other side for a sec. I'm also a teacher. And sometimes my students get really incompetent technicians. One of them got a technician from the only Steinway dealer in Utah, and got charged two-hundred-something dollars for a tuning, which didn't last 2 weeks. They tried calling the technician back to correct it, but couldn't get in touch. I offered to tune it for $60 and so they accepted it. Four months later it sounded like typical 4-month drift. They didn't do anything with the climate in the room, so the only thing I can conclude is that the technician sucked. Did they try something funny with the pins? I don't know, but it didn't work.


Sounds like price envy - that some tech was able to charge $140 more than you....Likely the piano was way flat in pitch as noted above, justifying the higher charge. A piano raised a lot in pitch will often slip out of tune quickly - That is NOT a reflection on the skill of the tuner, but is more likely a result of neglect on the part of the piano owner.

Case in point: A teacher once complained a four month old tuning had slipped. This was a brand new piano - delivered 40 cents flat by the store. Of course it slipped. It was a pitch raise on an unstable piano who's strings were still stretching out. I tried to teach this to the teacher, but she wasn't getting it. Part of teaching is learning.

_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2248944 - 03/19/14 03:42 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Bob]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 511
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Bob
Originally Posted By: PianistOne111
But let's look at the other side for a sec. I'm also a teacher. And sometimes my students get really incompetent technicians. One of them got a technician from the only Steinway dealer in Utah, and got charged two-hundred-something dollars for a tuning, which didn't last 2 weeks. They tried calling the technician back to correct it, but couldn't get in touch. I offered to tune it for $60 and so they accepted it. Four months later it sounded like typical 4-month drift. They didn't do anything with the climate in the room, so the only thing I can conclude is that the technician sucked. Did they try something funny with the pins? I don't know, but it didn't work.


Sounds like price envy - that some tech was able to charge $140 more than you....Likely the piano was way flat in pitch as noted above, justifying the higher charge. A piano raised a lot in pitch will often slip out of tune quickly - That is NOT a reflection on the skill of the tuner, but is more likely a result of neglect on the part of the piano owner.

Case in point: A teacher once complained a four month old tuning had slipped. This was a brand new piano - delivered 40 cents flat by the store. Of course it slipped. It was a pitch raise on an unstable piano who's strings were still stretching out. I tried to teach this to the teacher, but she wasn't getting it. Part of teaching is learning.



The sort of thought process shown in the quote from PianistOne111 is not all that uncommon. Just one of the challenging things we have deal with in the business.

I'm wondering why he charged so little for doing a tuning that was better than the professional tuner's.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2249023 - 03/19/14 06:38 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
So my clarification that the piano was regularly tuned and not new has been ignored.

I charge little for tuning because I'm not a professional tuner and it doesn't make me significant money. I just tune my own piano, pianos I'll perform on, and some friends. I can ask for $100 tunings if I wanted to, but that would make people (i.e. students) less likely to keep their pianos in tune.

You want another hard-to-believe story? An organization I'm in got a new piano. Tuned by Steinway technicians. It's been half year. Tuned and somewhat regulated by Steinway technicians. It's been a year. I tune it (for free) because I practice on it a lot and I want it to sound decent. Didn't notice anything weird. It's been a year and a half. Wasn't satisfied with the regulation so I called a (different) Steinway tech to regulate it. Marvelous job. Completely stable. Much easier to play than before. I'm scheduled to perform on it, and don't have time to tune it. I call a (different) Steinway tech to do it, I check when he's done. They leave some unisons at 1bpm, I start playing ff, more stuff moves.

But maybe I'm just delusional.
_________________________
One111

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#2249025 - 03/19/14 06:47 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: PianistOne111]
That Tooner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 56
Loc: Janesville WI

PianistOne111: "I charge little for tuning because I'm not a professional tuner and it doesn't make me significant money. I just tune my own piano, pianos I'll perform on, and some friends. I can ask for $100 tunings if I wanted to, but that would make people (i.e. students) less likely to keep their pianos in tune."


^ 100% Agree!!
_________________________
Lucas Brookins

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#2249103 - 03/19/14 10:10 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3833
Regulation changes with use and with the seasons. Regulating a piano 2 years old is part of normal maintenance. A piano will always play better after a good regulation....that is the reason for doing it......

Perhaps You should voice your concerns directly to the techs?
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2249144 - 03/19/14 11:57 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 511
Loc: USA
I often times get asked if I teach also. I get asked that at least once a week after a tuning when I play a little bit. Maybe I can make a few extra dollars here and there and say, sure I'll teach your kids for half of what your teacher charges, they're not learning fast enough with that teacher anyway. Nah, I wouldn't do that.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2249349 - 03/20/14 08:23 AM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3833
Ha Ha.

_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2249544 - 03/20/14 03:56 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
tannertuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/11
Posts: 23
Loc: Georgia, USA
PianistOne111 - Just because a piano had been tuned every 6 months doesn't mean the tuner they were using was tuning it at pitch. The Steinway tech may have come in and done a pitch raise that should have been done long ago, but wasn't.

That said, dealers are notorious for using the cheapest tuner they can get. And they get what they pay for. The tuner likely didn't get $200, the dealership did.

You say you don't charge $100 because you don't make much money doing it. Exactly. We do this for a living, and have to charge enough to pay our travel costs, taxes, insurance, and set aside some sort of savings for a retirement plan. You think if you charged more, people wouldn't get their pianos tuned often. What is your approach to charging for lessons? Don't you find that the most expensive teachers are typically the most requested? Same with tuners.

If you're getting tunings because you're cheap, you're not also considering that there are a lot more skills a tuner has to have than just tuning. Just because he doesn't use them every day doesn't mean he doesn't have them. The most expensive tuners are typically the highest skilled and most experienced. And they generally don't have a problem with "I'm afraid people won't get their pianos tuned if I charge $100." I know techs who charge triple what you're charging and stay as busy as they want to be.

It's just like teachers who are the most qualified and most experienced charge the most and have the most students. They attract the brightest students. Cheap tuners attract junk business.
_________________________
Jeff Tanner
Piano Tuner-Technician; 30 years
Tanner Piano
http://www.tannertuner.com

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#2249549 - 03/20/14 04:04 PM Re: Piano Teachers [Re: Jbyron]
tannertuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/11
Posts: 23
Loc: Georgia, USA
PianistOne111 - "One of them got a technician from the only Steinway dealer in Utah, and got charged two-hundred-something dollars for a tuning, which didn't last 2 weeks."

Another quite possible scenario is that the weather took a drastic turn after the tuning, or they turned the air conditioning or heat on in the house ONLY while the tuner was there, then turned it back off.

I've had clients adjust the thermostat while I was there, and I'd have to tune the piano three times before I could get out of there!
_________________________
Jeff Tanner
Piano Tuner-Technician; 30 years
Tanner Piano
http://www.tannertuner.com

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