Have you ever thought of piano tuning? Part 2

Actor singer Laura Jo Trexler talked in the first part of this interview about how she got into tuning pianos, what the learning process is like and what it takes to build a clientele. In this second part she gives us the reasons why performing artists should consider it for ourselves, along with the advantages and disadvantages of doing it. 

How do you make yourself known as a piano tuner? Who hires you?Your first targets are schools, colleges, churches and theaters. I do door to door marketing, putting up flyers in cities and music stores, taking my card to piano teachers and music shops, craigslist and I bought a sign that I put on my car. The best way to get yourself out there is to get all the people that you know to figure out who in their family and friends near them have pianos, and for them to give me their phone numbers and names so I can contact them.

"It takes about three years to build a clientele"

It takes about three years to build a clientele. It's not about tuning a piano once, you have to keep on getting hired. I try to call people six months after I tune their piano, and tell them that their piano is due for a tuning. Concert tuning is a complete different thing. It’s its own entity because there are some tuners that do it but many that won’t until they’re at the head of their game. They do it when it’s a steady career and they had years of practice. It’s critical because at a concert you'll have the players, other musicians and critiques, and everyone is very critical of the sound. It scares away young tuners like me because if you upset anyone you loose business.

"It is easy to make it match 
your performing career"

Would you recommend piano tuning it to anyone?
I recommended it to a few of my friends. There are only a few piano tuners that are female in my area, and I’m the only one under the age of 50. I recommend that skill to a lot of performers because it’s your own business, you can take it anywhere, you can make money if you build up your clientele. It’s really nice when I go on vacation and I can tune a piano, nice to get the extra money. It’s so much better than waiting tables. You make your own schedule and it’s easy to make it match your performing career.

Have you learned anything by being a piano tuner that translates into your work on the stage?

I have it on my resume under my special skills and people always find it interesting, and it has started conversations with auditers before. I tuned the piano at a theatre and after that they knew who I was which is always a plus if I have an audition with them later on. A lot of music directors that wouldn’t come up and talk to me will after I’ve tuned the piano. It helps getting to know people from that because people respect what I do as a piano tuner.

"I can tell if the person that tuned a piano before 
me has used an electric machine"

Any last word?
It’s really popular for most piano tuners to tune with machines now, electric tuners. I learned the old school way which is with a pitch fork, because I feel it’s much better because everytime I tune a new piano I can tell if the person that tuned it before me has used an electric machine or not. If they have the beats aren’t the same, some notes are sharp and some are flats, which is unusual because most strings fall or go sharp at the same time. Those people charge the same. Regular households will be fine with whoever but if it’s for musicians, they ask your method, and they’re happier with fork. I prefer a pitch fork.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails