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A Piano Tuner is like a Vocal Coach for the world’s most melodic instrument: the piano. But a piano isn’t just an instrument. In its own special way, it’s also a machine. While most machines whistle, belch, grumble, growl, and groan when they talk, however, a piano is different. When it speaks, it doesn’t snarl; it sings.
As a Piano Tuner, you teach the piano to sing more beautifully. Typically employed by small, independent repair shops — although you might also own your own business, or work for a music retailer, music school, piano manufacturer, orchestra, or opera house — you tune, repair, and rebuild pianos so they play properly.
To do your job, you’ve got to understand the anatomy of a piano, the innards of which include several hundred strings, each attached to a tuning pin that controls its tension. Over time, those strings and pins get loose, jiggered out of place by vibrations and even weather conditions, such as temperature and humidity. When that happens, pianos don’t play the right sounds. It’s your job, therefore, to adjust the strings and pins so they produce the right pitch.
While you’re primarily a Piano Tuner, you often double as a Piano Technician, which qualifies you to not only adjust worn parts and strings but also repair and replace them.
Although he was talking about a Pianist and not a Piano Tuner, Billy Joel said it best in his famous song, “Piano Man”: At the end of the day, “we’re all in the mood for a melody,” so it’s your job to get “us all feelin’ all right” by helping the piano play!