Monday, December 26, 2011

A Tuner’s Life 5

 Last week I had a pretty special morning. A teacher had called and asked if they could have a piano tuned and have a demonstration at the same time. Nothing special about tuning with the exception that this was the Jericho Hill School for Deaf Children.

About 15-20 kids in the class total. Many of them were not completely without hearing and they were amazed at the sound of beats between two out- of- tune strings. I used some in the temperament octave to demonstrate. Many of the children wanted to put their hands on the piano to feel the tuning rather than hear it……

But there is always one child right??

This very small boy……. (small for his age), was kind of hanging back in the background. I asked if he was interested too because when most of the children are looking and touching, he was just looking. I sensed that maybe he was a bit shy, before the teacher informed me that he could not speak either.

I stopped what I was doing and moved my tool box to the end of the bench, then looking at him directly I patted the available space on the bench. Well this boy practically ran people over to get to sit on the end of the bench….. The teacher told me that this fellow just loves anything that moves… (mechanical motion).

After I started to actually tune for real, most of the children lost interest somewhat, and moved onto other sources of entertainment. But not this one fellow, he sat on the end of the bench…..when I used a wire mute and then turned for another one; he got one out of my toolbox and handed it to me…..then another one. I showed him where the bass mutes were and allowed him to hand me those ones too….

A couple of times he got off the bench to see what I was doing and I had to get the teacher to sign for me so that the boy could understand what my response was. At the end of the tuning he carried my small box of tools out to the car and then ran quickly back inside…. At the door of the school he looked back and gave me a big wave goodbye………….a very special day for him too…..

I drove back to the shop thinking about that movie with William Hurt.

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