In 2017 I was elected Vice president on the committee of the Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild of Victoria. I look after the Guild website and I am the editor of the Guild newsletter.
For family reasons I am currently spending a lot of time in New Zealand with my wife Angela, but regularly return to Australia for work committments.
I always wanted to play piano but never did a thing about it. We had an old Bluthner upright at home when I was a kid, but it never got played and my father was not in to the idea of a kid playing the piano and getting lessons.
Odd really because both my parents were really musical.
My mum studied piano to grade 8 (in the 1930s!) and my father was one of those guys - he could play any instrument by ear. He could go to pretty much any instrument and immediately get a tune out of it and not only that join in with anyone else! Piano included.
Alcoholism pretty much wrecked everything
Yep my dad was a bit of a drinker. I never heard my parents play or saw any of their musical evenings, that was an age before I was born.
By the time I was a kid that old piano was just a bit too noisy for him. He ruled the roost and that was the end of that.
Why did I become a Piano Tuner?
Eventually I started on piano in my 40s. I rented a piano from Eddie and Mandy at ABC pianos in Montrose. I just loved it so I ended up buying one!
David Nyhouse came to tune it. That was it, David opened it up and there it all was. The gleaming bits, the bits of felt and fluff, all the strings and all kinds of fascinations. Oh wow. It's all David's fault, I really blame him for everything. David was obviously very skilled and got the thing sounding great. Like a bought one.
I found out about learning piano tuning from David
I couldn't think about anything else so off I went to Brent Ottley and learned my craft at ASPT in Melbourne. Quite a life changer really!
Why did I join the P.T.T.G.V Inc?
It's great to be part of something. I have learned so much so fast from others around me and I'm still learning. I was pretty impressed by the skills and knowhow of some of the people I met as a student so joining the Guild was an obvious pathway for me. I really didn't think twice about it.
Without doubt there are some pretty talented people in this organisation.
What do I love best about this Industry?
Every piano is problem solving. It's great. I like being able to make such a dramatic difference to an instrument so quickly. It's a nice feeling to get something up to scratch and see people's pleasure when they play it.
I have learned so much and continue to learn. Pianos are like any other engineered equipment, there is a manufacturer with a set of specifications for the instrument and as a technician I put my trust in the skill and integrity of the manufacturer.
It seems overwhelming at first, but really I break it down into steps that meet the manufacturer's specs and the piano just falls into place that way. It doesn't have a choice. There's always tweaking and working around issues but basically it's a trust thing, each instument has it's set of issues and I go about addressing them one by one.
My goal has always been to get my hands on as many instruments as I can, thousands by now, and work them out. It's a great variety! If I get stuck I ask for help. That's one of the really great things about being in a Guild. Like I said, there's some really talented people here.
How do I hope to help on the committee and serve the members of the P.T.T.G.V?
I like the Guild code of ethics. I think that focussing on that gives the scope and opportuninty to further the interests of the Guild, which by default furthers my own interests.
I've got a bit of an IT background so hopefully I can use that to push things along a little bit.
Nikau forest at Scotts beach Kahurangi National Park