A Day in the Life of A Piano Tuner

Posted: April 11, 2013 in Piano

A day in my life is not very exciting.  It is a bit frustrating at times. Today I was to tune pianos at the high school.

Walk with me.

Here is the campus. Let’s find a place to park.


A closer view of our options:


Since I am a vendor – a contracted service – I am permitted to park in Lot 1 or Lot 2. Lot 1 is too far away. That leaves Lot 2. All other areas are for cars with permits. The curbs are all designated as fire zones – no parking permitted.

So we have a school of 3,000 students, and only 20 parking places where we can park.  I was unable to find a parking spot today, so I will have to return tomorrow and try again. I waited 20 minutes. But, let us assume that I parked in Lot 2. We now walk to point A to the only security checkpoint on campus so we can sign-in.

From point A we walk down the hallway to the music wing at Mark X. Oops! Forgot a tool. I must return to the car. There are four exits (Z) I can use, but none allow re-entry. So it is to the car, and then back to point A and again – a walk down the long hallway.

When I am done with the tuning I can leave the building (Exit Z) but the proper course is to return to the security kiosk and go through the check-out procedure.

The school receives a 50% discount for services. I can only gain access to the pianos during school hours, and must service the piano within a 45 minute time allotment when class is not in session. Some pianos are in practice rooms which allows easier access. The important pianos are the ones that are used in rehearsals. They require more maintenance, but are not as easy to access since they are used throughout the day. It would my preference to tune the pianos after school hours, or on weekends. Unfortunately this is not an option. The music rooms are locked after hours and a weekend visit would present too great of an inconvenience for whomever might be required to accompany me while I spent several hours servicing the pianos.

I have tried to secure an inventory of all pianos in the district, but after several attempts I have given up. I went to the Purchasing Department and offered to take an inventory of the school’s piano assets (for free), but received no response to my e-mail.  If I had an inventory of the pianos, I could collect maintenance data on each instrument. The District does not have an inventory of the pianos that I can find.

These situations have persisted for many years.  There is no party who is motivated to implement corrections. The Superintendent of Schools has not done so. The School Trustees have not done so.  The teachers have no direct link to the School Trustees. Their chain of command is through the school principal and then to the superintendent.  They are powerless.

Three school trustees are running for re-election unopposed, so we can assume that the citizens of the town are satisfied with their leadership.

The conditions of my employment as a vendor at this school are pretty much set in stone – not going to change.

So, that leaves me with a decision to make.

Is this worth my time?


Comments are closed.