Until recently I have never questioned who tuned my piano. Since I was a little girl the same gentleman has been our tuner. He knew me from the age of 8 and each year or so he would be over to tune the piano. This gentleman was a part of our lives. He had been to each house I had lived in, watched me grow up and then have my own children. Then tragically last year he died in a car accident on his way to a client.
The week before his death he had tuned my piano. He had been chatting with me about his young grandson and asked how my children and music studio were going. I was so sad to hear of the accident and his family’s heartache.
In the following months, in the back of my mind, I knew I needed to start looking for a piano tuner for the future. Someone who I could recommend to students and parents when they asked. I felt so reluctant to commence looking. It felt wrong. As I asked around, several people recommended someone they had used before. I didn’t really want to recommend someone I had not used yet. As time continued to flow past, I eked the tuning out for as long as possible. It felt like a little piece of him was still alive inside my piano and if someone else touched it, he would be gone!
In the past, I had never truly considered HOW my piano was being tuned. I loved the sound of my piano, it was mellow, rich and warm. He knew just how to get the best out of the piano and I had grown accustomed to the way he tuned it.
But as the tuning slipped over the next year, it needed to be re-done. So, after careful deliberation I took the plunge. It didn’t turn out well. I asked them to return and tweak the tuning a little more for me. It was suddenly brighter in tone and held sound for longer. It just wasn’t right. My mellow warm piano was gone. Even after the re-tuning, I haven’t really been happy with it. I try to tell myself I will get used to it over time, I’m just being too picky. Perhaps it is just me missing my old tuner and “his way”.
Then I considered buying a new piano.
At that point I knew that I needed to look for another tuner. There is certainly no need to buy a new piano when I’m know the sound this one is capable of creating.
So after some more investigating, I have another tuner coming today. She was actually mentored by and trained with my old piano tuner for some time, learning the craft from him. I hope this means she has a similar style to his and will understand what I’m looking (and listening for). I will be open about what I do and don’t like about the current tuning (it was only re-tuned 3 months ago) and I hope that will help convey what I would like to happen.
Fingers crossed! I hope this afternoon I am sitting down to practice on an instrument returned to it’s former glory.
How do you choose you tuner? Have you had the same tuner for a long time? I’m interested to know how you explain to your tuner what sound you want. I have never had to do this before and the words I seem to be coming up with are all wrong.