Does My Piano Need Tuning?Regular servicing of one's instrument, including biannual tunings, is a must in order to maintain your investment. Finding a proper technician who is capable of both tuning and repairs, is as important to your piano as finding the right dentist is for your teeth.
The following is on excerpt from Piano Tuning, Repair & Rebuilding, by Floyd A. Stevens. Ph.D. (reprinted by permission*). Aubrey Willis is the master technician responsible for the creation of one of the finest piano trade schools in the country.
“Aubrey Willis, who is widely known among piano tuners, once made
a tape recording in which he explains 'Why Johnny Can't Play.' The
gist of it is that Johnny listens to TV and hears fine music played by
trained musicians on properly tuned pianos. When Johnny's parents purchase
the piano, it has an excellent sound. But in the months and years that follow,
it is not serviced regularly. So Johnny cannot sound good on it no matter how hard
he practices. More and more, his music sounds different from that played on his teacher's
piano, and not at all like the music on records and TV.
Johnny thinks he has practiced in vain and is not playing nearly as well as his parents believe he should. His ears are not accustomed to the proper pitches for arpeggios, and when he plays his lesson at his teacher's place he thinks he is making mistakes when he isn't. He loses interest, and prefers to play baseball or listen to recordings. The recording goes on to say that if a person who knows something about music and proper pitch should visit Johnny's parents, he might inform them that the piano needs tuning. They would look through the phone book, and then call different tuners, trying to find the cheapest one. If they got him, chances are that the piano would be in worse shape when he was through with it than it was before he began to 'gut it' of all musicality.
Then, with the action messed up and the sounds, which come from the piano resembling nothing musical, Johnny totally gives up. The piano sits in the living room gathering dust and family pictures. The relatives, who were aware of the piano purchase and were somewhat envious, now decide that there is no sense in buying a piano because 'it is almost impossible to learn to play one.' Furthermore, they don't think Johnny's folks were very smart to invest so much money in something, which never sounds good. So, the chain of dismay and discontent kills future sales of pianos to Johnny's relatives and future business for competent technicians.”
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