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Can You See Yourself As A Blind Piano Technician?

Posted in Apple Inc

This email appeared on a list that I subscribe to. It is one of those extraordinary stories that reminds us that just because we are blind, doesn’t mean that we can’t have a career that is unique and interesting, as well as profitable. Jeff Lann, Executive Director of the School of Piano Technology for the Blind, in Vancouver, Washington, writes……

We are just following a tradition set by Claude Montal.  Mr. Montal  is credited as writing the first treatise on piano technology.  Claude was a student at the Institute of the Young Blind in Paris and shortly thereafter rebuilt the school’s piano.  Today, piano technology is in jeopardy of becoming a lost art for blind technicians.

Since 1949, the School of Piano Technology for the Blind has been dedicated to teaching piano tuning and technology to blind and visually impaired students.  We are currently the only school in the world with this mission.  I am asking for your assistance by including our story in your next newsletter. It is important to let people know that a career in piano technology is not passé but presents an exciting opportunity to anyone –blind or sighted – seeking an independent, successful career.  And, as I am constantly reminded “perfect pitch and the ability to play the piano” is not a requirement to be a piano technician.

The hope of finding meaningful employment and a satisfying career is a reality for many of the alumni of the School of Piano Technology for the Blind in Vancouver, WA.  Our latest success story includes a former student that accepted a position, beginning in November 2012, as the piano technician at a major university’s department of music and a 2011 graduate that according to her vocational rehabilitation counselor is doing well with her start-up business in Florida.  Perhaps, the words of one of our recent graduate’s best tell our story.

My working career was suffering.  My vision was failing, and my own sense of purpose was being challenged.  I had walked away from one job that I was not enjoying only to get fired from another job, which was even more difficult.  I believe it was because of my poor vision.  It was at this point in my life when my husband suggested to me the possibility of a career tuning pianos.  In the midst of my floundering sense of what am I going to do with the rest of my life, this was a bright possibility.” ”Since making the decision to invest the rest of my life in piano technology, I have never once looked back.   I am equipped to run my own business, make the kind of money I’ve always hoped to make, and be in charge of my own schedule.  What continues to bless me is the fact that the help of the staff of the Piano Hospital is ongoing.  I have put in, and will continue to put in calls of help, calls for advice and calls of thank-you to the people who started me in this career.  I am now2 ½ years into being an independent entrepreneur.  The sky is the limit for me.  The only thing that is going to hold me back now is me.”

We are a small school, but we are do big things – we change lives!    Piano technology is a field which continues to offer opportunities for blind technicians.  With over seventeen million pianos in the United States and 4,173 technicians there are enough pianos to keep everyone busy and profitable.

In addition to learning to tune and repair pianos, students learn the basics of running their own piano service business including developing a business plan, sales, marketing, accounting and customer service.  Individualized instruction by qualified blind instructors has resulted in excellent career paths, since our beginning in 1949.  Approximately 70% of our graduates over the past five years found employment in the field, many as owner-operators of their own business, in music stores, colleges and school districts.

How can you help?  Please let everyone you know with an interest in the music industry about our school.   Staff and volunteers from the School of Piano Technology for the Blind will provide assistance and support in coordinating travel and logistical arrangements to prospective students.

Thank you for your assistance in passing along our name to your members.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jeff Lann 
Executive Director
School of Piano Technology for the Blind

Have you ever thought about becoming a piano technician? Does the information here peak your interest? Are you already a piano technician? Do you have a story to tell? Leave your thoughts, stories, and comments below.