The Mastery of Piano tuning
I had the good fortune to ask many questions of Jeffrey Wood, the Guild President, who is a registered Piano Tuner with the Piano Tuners Technicians Guild of Victoria and the Australasian Piano Tuners Technicians Association, whilst observing him tune the Guild’s Medium grand Piano. Jeffrey is trusted to tune all the piano’s at Monash University and others for many years in Victoria. Jeffrey, like most registered and concert tuners, don’t use any digital devices to help him tune. He starts with the middle ‘C’ using the old trusted tuning fork and progresses from there. He showed me the 230 plus strings of varying gauges that he needed to adjust, to make our piano ready for our end of year Examinations.
Jeffrey is a qualified Tuner who completed a 3-year stint at the now-defunct Orchestral company in Melbourne from 1973. He was the last to be trained at this establishment by the last official apprentice out of Brashs music which closed its piano restoration workshop a couple of years earlier. Jeffrey said that Preston Tafe ran a course from 1985 to 1995 and closed due to funding cuts from the government. There were some smaller courses recently in operation but no official training is currently going.
Jeffrey taught me the finer points of pitch hearing which is necessary, a piano tuner needs to take care of their hearing, so loud rock concerts and industrial noises are not recommended in his profession, as the hearing loss would shorten the lifetime career.