I first climbed up onto a piano bench when I was about 5 years old and picked out "Jesus loves me" on the white keys. "The Marine's Hymn" was next, followed by some guitar pickin' at about 10, and finally real piano lessons at 17. Then came service in the Air Force, followed by school on the Korean GI Bill to become an aeronautical engineer. That happy career eventually provided enough income to afford a rebuilt Steinway. Trying to get it working right led to apprenticeship with new RPT Stuart Conner and lots of experience cleaning rat pills and nests out of old uprights. We also re-strung them and put on new hammers and dampers to create some pretty impressive musical instruments. Of course there were some pitiful grands among the Mason & Hamlins and Knabes.
Stuart took me to several regional and National PTG conferences as I progressed from Student through Apprentice to Craftsman, now RPT. I chronicled my learning experiences with the greats of the past in a two-part article published in the Journal. I taught a course in other chapters and at several Regional conferences in which I reported my engineering discoveries about the piano in layman terms. I also offered a prep course for the Written and gave Written and Technical tests for our chapter and at our regional conferences. I am presently trying to learn enough about alternate ways of transmitting string motions to the bridge to give a technical on it. The people who have done this seem not to want to share, however.
I am thankful that I can still hear well enough to do aural tunings, and that I have a number of fine grands in my clientele, including two Steinway As. I try to avoid spinets altogether, but the pesky things are still out there! I built a complete shop into my dream home, expecting to rebuild pianos therein. I started writing instead and finally downsized to a little four room house for our sunset years. Wound up adding three rooms . . . go figure!