If you are still reading the occasional blog updates that pass through this space, you know that I have spent the past 6 years studying and working to become a piano technician. While it’s definitely been slow, I have been persistent, despite having two children during that time. I’ve been tracking my tunings with blogs (and am woefully behind on posting about them). It’s with a lot of sadness that this part of my life is coming to a close. I am actually very close to having completed 100 tunings (just finished #94 recently). I do feel a need to explain my sudden departure for the few people who will care to read about it, since this is a completely different direction than what I had been planning on and working towards this summer.
Last Spring I hurt my hands to the point that playing and tuning pianos was impossible. I powered through a concert that I was accompanying and then completely stopped. My thumbs hurt all the time: while driving, writing, typing, pushing on my kids’ car seat buckles. Slowly the pain lessened, although it flared up again any time I played piano. I’ve been playing since I was 6 and based my whole career (as limited as it is at this point) on piano so this was terrifying. The hand doctor said it was just an isolated incident that would heal over time. So I waited and played even less.
This fall my number of tunings resumed as weather changed and rehearsals began again on pianos unused for the summer. The same pain came back immediately. Not all tunings were the culprit, just specific angles un-avoidable on specific pianos. I know I could learn another way to tune as clearly other technicians do not have this problem, but that would take more time and investment while trying to preserve my hands for something I love much more: playing piano.
I’ve found that trying to pursue learning piano tuning, finding accompaniment work which fits around a homeschooling schedule, teaching lessons, and keeping a household running is all too much for me right now. My first love is playing piano, my second love is teaching piano, and my third interest (which never really turned into the love I wished it to be) is tuning. As much as I love working, my first priority is actually not any of those, it is tending to my home and my family, which currently includes very hands on homeschooling.
And so I think it is time to bring this chapter to a close. It’s time to focus on the things I do want to invest more time in and stop hurting my hands for the sake of pride. Stopping now is now is a not a decision I come to lightly. I desperately want to be able to take them apart without a haunting fear regarding my ability to put them back together again. Maybe someday when my kids are grown and I have time to tinker, I will be back. My tools are certainly not going anywhere as I have my own piano to maintain! But for now, it is the end of tuning for me.
Thank you to the few fearless people who let me experiment with their pianos at the beginning, and those who have trusted their pianos to me in more recent years. Your support has been deeply appreciated.