Recently I attended the home of a new client who had recently purchased a small upright from my shop.
The usual process is repeated; I arrive at the residence, access is provided by the homeowner, attend the location of the instrument, and go through the usual process of dismantle the cabinet components, insert the appropriate tools and begin the process of tuning the piano.
This is a home with three pre-school children of various ages, from barely walking to kindergarten years.
Because some of my previous work included maintaining school board inventories of pianos, I am well trained to be used to the constant noise children produce while playing or at work with school activities.
While I was tuning I could hear the children moving around behind me, oblivious to the work I had to complete, and their shuffling and talking was something that did not overcome my ability to tune by ear.
I just ignored the noise as usual.
So there I am, working away tuning, not paying any attention to what was going on behind me. After a short time I needed a bit of a break so I stopped tuning, stood up straight and looked around behind me.
Now we all know about those small chairs that children use in primary classrooms. These are chairs that have a sitting height of about one foot from the floor, and at my age if I ever sat down in one of those not only would the chair be unable to sustain the weight but it would be highly unlikely if I was able to stand up again.
Well unknown to me, while I was tuning the oldest child had organized the other two, they had gone to their playroom and brought back 3 small chairs, organized in a semi-circle where they could sit and watch spellbound, at me tuning.
The only problem I could see was, the piano was small, I am big, and the children could not see any of the piano tuning but mostly were studying my back; bent over in front of the piano.
So when I turned around what I saw were 3 small children all beaming at me with their little wisps of hair poking straight up in the air, looking very much like an onion looks with its little wisp standing upright off the top.
I started laughing out loud to the point that the homeowner came to see what was going on. She told me that the children were so excited to have the piano tuner come to the house.
It seems that I have a new fan club; the three little onion heads.
There are times in my career as a piano technician that some of the things one experiences tell me I wouldn’t change this job for any other.