The Piano Tuner's School Days

This little plaque on a grand piano was interesting. Couldn't any government claim anything at any time? Yes, that was us, we did that, yes, whatever it was, who are you? All with just a hint of Newspeak, evoking a time when Big Brother had nothing to do with the Gold Coast. 

On the side of the piano I found another plaque. Once I was able to have a proper gander at the propaganda, I could (if I could be bothered) hazard a guess. Names changed to protect the opulent.

Within these gobsmacking grounds, a splendid series of bushes, each with dervish skirt flowers of a different single colour. Autumnal light makes everything fabulous! Well, the school grounds may be regarded as relaxing due to (in no small part) the complete absence of pupils!

Piano tuning time coincides with myriad maintenance. Stunning gardens saw tree surgeons aloft, performing deft amputations. The holiday maintenance folk whip around the ample campus in golf buggies, and are happy to offer lifts.

But rather than in the garden, I'm finding butterflies in the pianos. Too many trinkets trespassing. 

Chocolate sharps! Delicious! Who can stop at one? Interestingly, if you were to order black keys from a supplier of piano parts, they are very commonly known as 'sharps'. But they'll always (more often) be flats to me - I'm a brass player!

When I was small, seeing concert pianists in front of orchestras on television, I thought pianos had mirrors opposing the keys because the high-gloss cabinet finishes so often made them look like this. Here I played further with all the other shapes that seemed to speak to me in the room - circles on the music stand and wall. This Chocolate Piano Generation don't know how lucky they are. When I was young we couldn't afford a chocolate teapot!

Please do not use a piano as a barf bag. Too many chocolate sharps? This contamination had incredibly not had an impact on the sound (it had not seemingly reached the hammer noses nor the wound strings) but it is unfortunate and unnecessary.

Look closely at these strings (different piano). Above the damper line you can see a horizontal splash of contamination, where soft drink or something similar has reached part of several of the wound strings. In this piano there was a significant impact on the strings' sound. They sounded far too sixties Motown bass for normal piano requirements - all thunky and quasi palm-muted. It is difficult, if not impossible, to effectively remove such contamination from these wound strings.

...and piano tuners. We - yes, we - may play. Mercifully, this piano's keys were annotation-free. The next piano had a similar sign.

'Do not write the notes on this piano - bloody well learn them and be done with it!' 

...yet its keys looked like this.

A third piano had no advisory annotation. Its keys - they're all blue notes!

Interesting that nobody ever tries to write the names on the black keys.

I'll award a star to anybody who'll reduce piano vandalism to this comparatively benign level.

A music rest is installed to restore a practice room piano's functionality. It's a surprisingly convoluted job for the Caped Regulators. Let's leave it for the vandals to adorn, or the goths to colour black.

This little piano is effectively wearing platform shoes. When the cabinet is closed, it masquerades as a slightly taller (yet still short) piano.

More school stories: The Piano Tuner's School Days

A school piano movie: The Amazing Bearded Piano