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#2056164 - 03/29/13 10:03 AM How and Why did you become a tech?  
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TheKeysAssassin Offline
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I am very intrested to know. I am trying to find someone to apprentice under, but it might be tricky being 16. Is that the way to go?

-Jon W

Last edited by TecFlip; 03/29/13 10:04 AM.

-Nathon Lee
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#2056171 - 03/29/13 10:17 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Hi Jon,

Why? Well, I found I enjoyed the work and the environment; working for myself. Also, I have a background in engineering and music, so piano tuning was a good mix of those skills and interest.

How? At first I joined the PTG and went to their monthly meetings. At the same time I purchased the Reblitz book and read it cover to cover. I volunteered at a rebuilding facility for a summer. I went to PTG conventions. I took a rebuilding course from another technician.

I have also condensed all the skills and information I gathered in the first two years and pass it on through courses I offer. Some other techs may get annoyed that I mention this but the truth is, I learn more about piano tuning and repair from teaching it, than from just reading about it. The act of teaching serves to solidify concepts one thinks one may know, into solid knowledge that a person can be confident about; students challenge knowledge and force us to re-examine our own ability and confidence.

Good luck,


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2056173 - 03/29/13 10:19 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Emmery Offline
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16 is not too early to start, in many countries in the world people this age are already beginning their first steps towards a skilled trade. I think that the trade seems to draw folks who recognize that they work well with their hands, have a connection with the instrument (or other instruments/vocals) such as playing or even listening.

Some of the work requires patience and abiity to handle delicate/intricate tasks. Some tasks are repetitious and straightforward, others require some detective work and ability to solve problems and associate causality to an issue at hand. Most importantly, a bit of humbleness and an understanding that the learning process never ends when stepping into this work.

Its hard to say what the future holds for this work so I would think that it would be a good idea not to abandon general studies/education at this young age. Its nice to have something else to fall back on to should something come along that wipes out this trade. A self tuning piano, a digital that truly emulates an accoustic, or even a shift in consumer needs could spell the end of what we have become accustomed too.


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
#2056177 - 03/29/13 10:23 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: Emmery]  
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Originally Posted by Emmery
A self tuning piano, a digital that truly emulates an accoustic, or even a shift in consumer needs could spell the end of what we have become accustomed too.


It seems impossible to imagine, but when I think that piano tuning as a skill has only been widely practised in the past 120 or so years, it's not as hard.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
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#2056179 - 03/29/13 10:26 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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TheKeysAssassin Offline
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Well, I am going to try to get a job at Meyer Music. They have many of pianos and other instruments. That seems like a great opportunity for me to get my feet wet. Also, how much does it cost to go to the meeting for PTG?


-Nathon Lee
YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/JleewSongs
Yamaha P-35b
#2056189 - 03/29/13 10:38 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Hi Jon,

Don't forget about Schmitt Music. You might PM Daryl Durand for some advice. He is a frequent poster here.

BTW - Kansas City is the home of the PTG.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2056190 - 03/29/13 10:40 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Jon, I apprenticed when I was 16, and I'm 52 now.

When it looked like I was getting serious about singing, my parents found an old upright player piano so I could have something to practice on; I still have it. I was fascinated to learn what made it work, and I began tinkering with it, taking it apart and reassembling it, much to my parents' initial shock and dismay (my dad: "I hope, for your sake, you can put that thing back together."). They sought a rebuilder for whom I could apprentice, and I interviewed with him. I worked in his shop for about 2-1/2 years.



Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2056203 - 03/29/13 10:55 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Schmitt Music is a little far for me to drive after school. Does anyone know of any good tech in missouri/kansas that i might be able to apprentice under?

Last edited by TecFlip; 03/29/13 10:56 AM.

-Nathon Lee
YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/JleewSongs
Yamaha P-35b
#2056209 - 03/29/13 11:04 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Jon,

Daryl is a tech and PTG member.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2056281 - 03/29/13 01:23 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
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Emmery Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted by Emmery
A self tuning piano, a digital that truly emulates an accoustic, or even a shift in consumer needs could spell the end of what we have become accustomed too.


It seems impossible to imagine, but when I think that piano tuning as a skill has only been widely practised in the past 120 or so years, it's not as hard.


Mark, you were not on this site when we had a fellow posting about the self tuning piano he had designed. It used individual optical sensors for pitch recognition and heated each string through resistance process to bring it into pitch. Its been a few years now since he announced it, it looked quite feasable and promising. Not sure what happened since.


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
#2056295 - 03/29/13 01:48 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: Emmery]  
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TheKeysAssassin Offline
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It wouldnt last. As soon as the power goes out, the piano would be super out of tune (if it wasnt tuned for a while). At least I hope it doesnt last. wink


-Nathon Lee
YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/JleewSongs
Yamaha P-35b
#2056299 - 03/29/13 01:56 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
It seems impossible to imagine, but when I think that piano tuning as a skill has only been widely practised in the past 120 or so years, it's not as hard.

How did pianos get tuned before 1893?


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#2056350 - 03/29/13 03:38 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Some techs believe that pianos didn't exist before 1893. Cristofori is just a quaint little tale like the Easter Bunny.

wink


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2056369 - 03/29/13 04:16 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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TheKeysAssassin Offline
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Some techs believe that pianos didn't exist before 1893. Cristofori is just a quaint little tale like the Easter Bunny.

wink


Wait. Pianofortes or actual modern-like pianos? Ahh... ok, I see.

Last edited by TecFlip; 03/29/13 04:16 PM.

-Nathon Lee
YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/JleewSongs
Yamaha P-35b
#2056375 - 03/29/13 04:26 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Some techs would rather jump at the chance to make someeone else look foolish rather than try to understand the essence of a post. One suggestion might be to read the whole post. Words are used for a reason. Try and reread my post and concentrate on the word "widely". If after that, you are still confused, maybe we could delve into another one of those long, drawn out, boring waste of time threads that these forums are famous for...or not.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2056382 - 03/29/13 04:36 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Jon,

Do you play the piano? If not, what sparked your interest?


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2056387 - 03/29/13 04:46 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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It's just me putting my foot in my mouth. Anywho, I appreciate all of the answers. Along with Meyers, I may also call a few tech to see about apprenticing.


-Nathon Lee
YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/JleewSongs
Yamaha P-35b
#2056388 - 03/29/13 04:47 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Some techs would rather jump at the chance to make someeone else look foolish rather than try to understand the essence of a post. One suggestion might be to read the whole post. Words are used for a reason. Try and reread my post and concentrate on the word "widely". If after that, you are still confused, maybe we could delve into another one of those long, drawn out, boring waste of time threads that these forums are famous for...or not.

I'm not trying to make you look foolish. I meant to be asking a serious question with an economy of words. I did notice the word "widely", but it still didn't explain your original statement to me. I would have expected that keyboard instruments needing tuning were widely distributed before 1893, and so I would have expected the need for tuners to be widely distributed. Perhaps I am wrong in that. I would still appreciate elucidation. What changed around 1893?


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#2056408 - 03/29/13 05:21 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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accordeur Online content
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I started playing piano at age six and started teaching piano when I was seventeen at a private music school.

My father had a well tooled hobby woodworking shop, so I already knew quite a bit about tools, and I was mechanically inclined since being a child.

There was a piano tech next door to the school where I taught. I approached him and said I would work for free for a week, and if he liked how I was learning and working, he would hire me.

I have been doing work for him ever since. He was a great mentor.



Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca
#2056424 - 03/29/13 05:52 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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PianoStudent88,

Keyboard instruments, with stretched strings fastened to a peg for adjustment, go way back to the early Renaissance. Tuning, as a skill, can be traced back at least that far. Long before the Pianoforte, Harpsichords and all of its cousins, needed to be tuned. It is not, at all, a recent concept.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2056428 - 03/29/13 05:57 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Maybe "piano tuning as a career" instead of "skill" would help you understand the statement better...


#2056444 - 03/29/13 06:23 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Now I remember!

Jon, your the lad who built his own action! That thread was a while ago.

You get an A+ for sticking with it.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2056509 - 03/29/13 08:12 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Thank you, Ron, for seeing the essence of my point.

Pianostudent88, my comments were not directed at you. They were more for the person who implied I didn't know who Cristofori was.

I was merely referencing the general idea that at one time, piano tuning wasn't as widespread as it became. I said about 120 years. I apologize if I was off by about 30 years.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_history_of_the_piano,
"Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, pianos were financially beyond the reach of most families, and the pianos of those times were generally the property of the gentry and the aristocracy." So, the lack of an abundance of pianos would imply a lack of the abundance of piano tuners.

Also, "over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, the middle class of Europe and North America increased in both numbers and prosperity." So, it would seem that pianos, and piano tuning, became more prevalent around 1850 and onward. Of course, I am just approximating from what I read. You can do the same.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2056561 - 03/29/13 09:45 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Well Mark,

You made comments in a public forum. If you don't intend them to be read by all PW members, send a PM.

I am the person who made the Cristofori comment. You put your foot in your mouth long before I answered the question from PianoKeys88. Even Jon, the young apprentice who started the thread, understood the reference.

You assume that people understand what you mean to say. That is a false assumption. We read words and not minds.

The point is that the skill of tuning keyboard instruments, with strings, has been around for as long as those instruments have existed. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a recent development. History seems to have proved that no matter the number of instruments, there have been a sufficient number of skilled people to tune them.

I don't approximate unless it is noted. I prefer facts.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2056706 - 03/30/13 06:05 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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And yet again, another long, drawn out, boring thread is created.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2056816 - 03/30/13 10:30 AM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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This is not boring to me. I absorb all of the info i can get!


-Nathon Lee
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Yamaha P-35b
#2056861 - 03/30/13 12:21 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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Jon Lee

I learned to tune out of necessity - learned rebuilding due to a recession. When I started a retail store in 1977, I needed a tuner. That tuner turned out to be me. When sales were non-existent, due to extreme competition and a recession, I began to rebuild.

I post this link as a direct encouragement to you:

[color:#6600CC][b][i]Youthful Persistence[/i][/b][/color]

Please read this tidbit. It could tell your future, if you keep at this idea of yours!


Lavender Piano Services
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#2056868 - 03/30/13 12:33 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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I was walking down the street one day when a piano followed me home. How could I ignore that gap-toothed grin, so I kept it, and learned how to care for it.


Semipro Tech
#2056899 - 03/30/13 01:15 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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My next question is... What is the job market like? My area is saturated with techs. What would be a good way to be sucessful down the road? How did you become sucessful?


-Nathon Lee
YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/JleewSongs
Yamaha P-35b
#2056904 - 03/30/13 01:28 PM Re: How and Why did you become a tech? [Re: TheKeysAssassin]  
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When I was a kid trying to learn piano, my lessons were constantly interrupted by mechanical problems with the piano. It definitely held me back. I also noticed that the piano never sounded the same when different tuners would work on it.

I got so disgusted and intrigued that I went to piano tuning school.

I was 17 when I graduated high school. One month later after HS graduation, I entered piano tuning school.

I would strongly suggest that you don't let your education stop with membership in the Guild or other organization. These days, college degrees are quite common. Much, if not most, of your clientele will have some sort of degree; you want to be able to interact with them as a peer.

You should investigate one of the piano tuning schools that offer an Associate Degree, or consider getting a degree in some other field as a backup to your tuning business anyhow.

Edit: There is no reason you cannot apprentice under a tech today AND go to school later after graduating HS. In fact, apprenticing under a tech will give you an opportunity to see if this is something you really want to pursue.

Don't limit yourself. Knowledge is worth pursuing for its own sake. smile

Best wishes!
-Joe smile

Last edited by daniokeeper; 03/30/13 04:18 PM.

Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
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