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The job role
that I am going to be researching is a piano tuner. These are very important in
order for there to be in-tune pianos in this world, this is because piano
tuners actually make the pianos sound nice.

who
are the best piano makers in the world?

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First things first, we need to find out
what pianos are the best pianos. To find this out we need to know the best
piano makers in the world:

Bösendorfer

Blüthner

Steinway & Sons

Bechstein

Fazioli

Shigeru Kawai

Mason and Hamlin

Grotrian Steinweg

Working
as piano fixer/tuner

Piano tuners, also known as tuner/technicians, repair, tune,
regulate and make sure that pianos are in tip-top condition. Piano tuning pins
are set extremely tightly. A piano tuner uses a lever to turn the pins. This
process requires a lot of muscle!

 

Pianos have up to three strings for each note. When a note
is tuned, one of the strings is isolated and set to the correct pitch. The
other strings are then tuned to match it. This set of two or three identically
tuned strings is called a unison. Sound easy? This is how it’s done:

Tune
a C or an A in the centre of the piano.

Tune all the other notes an octave above and below by
listening. This will act as guides for all the rest of the notes.

Cover all the rest of the notes this way.

Afters that’s done and dusted, keep checking each note is tuned
and sounds great with several other pianos that have been tuned for comparison.
Practice chords to make sure that other intervals such as fifths and thirds are
good, not forgetting the octaves.

Now replace broken strings (this requires about 13 tools and
requires practice).

Don’t forget to give advice to the piano owner about
looking after it!

 

On a day-to-day basis, a Piano Technician are be making
calls to various people and receiving many calls. Mostly, piano technicians are
wanted for tuning a piano but sometimes there can be more things that need doing,
such as the tone of the piano and how it actually sounds. No one likes a piano
that has a honkey tonk vibe to the left and a rock sound to the right! Piano
Techs work in concert halls, homes, large venues, churches, small venues, clubs
and anywhere where pianos are performed live. Pianos are large, heavy, and not
easy to transport like a guitar or flute which means the Technician must often
travel to the location of the piano.

 

Because of the wide range of places where pianos are
found, Piano Techs work with all kinds of people, including Concert Hall
Managers, Nightclub Managers, Orchestra Managers, Composers, and musicians of
all sorts.

Rolf Dragsta has done this for 40 years of his life
therefore he is the perfect example for the job of a piano maker/technician.
These people are very in demand since there are not many people who know pianos
like the back of your hand.

Dragsta’s Dad was also a piano maker/technician as well.
He says the work can be very hard since sometimes it can take days just to tune
an old piano so that it can be played to its best. One does not have to be a
piano player to be able to fix pianos, that’s not the case. Dragsta says you
just need to “sharpen your ears”. You also will have to train your hand in
order for you to be patient. Which is another point, you’ll have to be very
patient because you could be sat there for hours just turning little knobs!

Okay,
you’ve convinced me! I want the job, surely there’s no jobs going?

WRONG! There are high in demand infact and the skill is
rare. Sometimes it can come down through genetics (like Rolf Dragsta’s) or
sometimes it can just be an interest but whatever the reason in starting the
job, you’ve got to be three things: Patient, have a sharp ear, Passionate –
because it would be highly boring otherwise.

Many piano players now-a-days start off as electric
piano/keyboard players but 9/10 always move on to the real deal which in this
case is a grand piano. That’s exactly what I did. This means that pianos have
been going for decades upon decades and there’s no stopping them even though
technology has come into the picture. Sure, it sounds good having electric keys
where you can pretty much put any voicing you would like on the keys and play
piano within that voice. However, its simply not the same as the real deal.

Oh so
there are jobs going! How do I get a job as a piano
manufacturer/maker/tuner/fixer?

Well, unfortunately there is only one course in the UK
that provides an education on piano tuning. Again its patience you’ll need the
most of. Once you get on there, you’ll need to just keep working hard on your
studies and practice, practise, practise! Loyd says, “Becoming a Piano Technician involves extensive training and experience.
Often, it would involve apprenticeship of some kind, then working in the field
for years on hundreds to thousands of pianos. Only through repetition and
continuing education throughout a Piano Technician’s career, (which will
include learning from older, more experienced Technicians) can he/she learn the
mastery of this trade. There is formal educational training available as well.
The Piano Technicians Guild is a good resource for what is currently available.”
In addition, Rolf Dragsta is looking to set up a course in London geared
towards those who are interested in perusing a career in piano tuning.

 

How
much do I get paid?

Piano Techs earn set fees per tuning, with the general fee
ranging from between $100 to $185 so there is some serious money to be made
over a long period of time. A piano technician are 90% self-employed
meaning that they are not paid a certain amount each hour but get all of their
earnings from the job at hand. The money can then go towards tools and
equipment needed to do the job.

 

Who
they interact with

The client – The member
of public who need their piano tuning

Piano manufacturers – ring
up for advice on particular piano that might look different etc.

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