As New Years Eve approaches, many people are planning a party for family and friends. Don’t let them use your piano as a resting place for drinks and nibbles. I was chatting to a piano tuning customer in Alwoodley, Leeds earlier today who told me a dreadful tale of how he once spilt can of coke all down the interior of his 1929 Steinway upright. The hammers, jacks, flanges, wippens, centre pins and dampers were drenched! He immediately phoned the piano tuner who came round and told him off. When someone spills a drink inside a piano the damage is often irreversible, so prevention is better than cure. Your Bradford and Leeds piano tuner will have the appropriate cleaning tools to clean the piano action and reduce the damage, although some regulation work will probably be needed if sticky liquids have come into contact with the centre pins. Whatever you do, be careful!
I’m a very tired piano tuner today, so will try and keep this blog post succinct. As always, I am thankful and appreciative of all the piano tuning requests I have received this month from folk across Leeds, Bradford and West Yorkshire. I always appreciate the extra work. If you’re looking to get your piano tuned, please head over to my availability page or drop me an email. As hectic as the Christmas season is, I’m still able to take on new customers at short notice, so don’t be a stranger…
In other news my band Apostles of Chaos (based in Leeds) have been working hard on our new album, releasing a new preview track along with the highly appropriate artwork by Paul Dews. You can pre-order the album at our label’s website Progressive Gears.
Here’s a clip of a preview of song that will appear on the album (no, it isn’t quite pitch perfect yet and will need some tweaking before commercial release!). That said, we’re all very pleased with how it turned out:
Our main webpage can be found at apostlesofchaos.org
The short answer is yes I do, but my schedule is rather hectic during this time of year – I’m trying to fit all the piano tuning work for clients in Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Sheffield, etc. and manage to tune every piano offered. I try to update my availability page every day but have struggled to manage the last two weeks due to an exceptionally heavy work load (leaving the house at 8 AM and getting home at 11 PM). Piano students across Leeds and Yorkshire are desperately trying to have their pianos tuned for recitals, end of year exams and Christmas concerts. If you are in need of a last minute appointment, please contact me – although if it’s this week you might be better phoning rather than texting as I’m almost fully booked until Sunday the 16th of December. A phone call is easier at this time of year as I can have my diary at hand to ensure we can book a time that suits us both – even though I’m busy I’m still not quite fully booked!
Have you ever thought about a career in piano tuning? The 1988 Jobs rated almanac rated Piano Tuning as the second highest in a list of high-paying/low-stress jobs, ranking it above petroleum engineer and historian and just below actuary. In that year in the USA the average salary of a piano tuner was $43,600 a year… It should be noted that with the growing popularity of digital pianos, the trade isn’t quite what it was in 1988! And there’s certainly some stress that comes with piano tuning but that’s part of any job.
Large, densely-populated cities are gold mines for the piano tuner – Leeds seems to be a very good location. I’ve also heard that London is good place to work, if you can afford the living costs. You need to be willing to travel and prepare to work long hours if you are to earn a living. I’ve not found much piano tuning work in Manchester or Bradford yet – perhaps I need to promote myself more in those cities.
To become a piano tuner you’ll have to study a course in the subject. The only one I’m aware of that’s still running in the UK is the piano tuning and restoration course at Newark college. That is three years but it will give you a thorough grounding in the field and teach you most of what you need to know how the construction of the piano and how to regulate the action. A basic knowledge of music theory will certainly help in the early stages of learning, as will a musical ear and a love of music. If you play the piano you might progress quickly than those who don’t, but contrary to popular belief most people can become very good at piano tuning with a lot of practice – 10,000 hours is the oft touted figure.
You’ll have to accept that for the first one to three years working in the trade you won’t be earning very much money, as it takes a long time to build up a client base. Working in music shops; buying, restoring and selling second hand pianos, or teaching an instrument are possible part-time jobs that could sustain you through the hard times. If you live in a big city like Leeds it might be easier to find part-time employment. You’ll need some money coming in to buy the tools needed for the job. I must have spent at least £2000 on tools, parts and reading materials in my first three years on the job.
Hope that advice helps. If you do become a piano tuner please don’t work in Leeds until I retire as I don’t need more competition!
I hope your piano is in tune before your relatives come over for Christmas – Christmas carols sound so much better after your piano has been tuned. Keep your eyes on my availability page as I will be piano tuning in Leeds (and West Yorkshire) throughout all of December except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As always, a last minute booking is perfectly fine, as long as I have the space in my diary it’s never an issue.