This is a terrific series about Piano Technology at Florida State University ( F S U ) a comprehensive public University containing it’s own College of Music in Tallahassee Florida U S A.
Anne Garee is the current Program Director, Piano Technology Department Head College of Music Florida State University Tallahassee Florida U S A . http://music.fsu.edu/garee.htm
The following Florida State University Piano Technology thread was started December 2006 to February 2008.
FSU Piano Technology Program Director Anne Garee begins by saying –
This piano was on its side for many years waiting patiently for it’s moment and the moment was fall semester 2006.
Anne felt it was a good candidate and very interesting journey. It had served in the College of Music actually since it was purchased in 1954.
Each project is totally unique and presents its own specific challenges which makes it a very interesting journey.
My mother was a pianist and a professional musician. She was a theory professor at Oberlin Conservatory before she married my physicist father.
My father the physicist, my mother the musician is actually a synthesis of what I do now. It is really the unique combination that we bring to piano technology and was fortunate to have these two forces in my life. they were so supportive in choices we made in career path because obviously you don’t grow up to be a piano technician. Those of us in this field typically come to it by accident and sort of fall into it.
In the field there is a real shortage of training opportunities. Typically people get their information in a very patchwork fashion, um, a bit like here and a bit there and it was always my dream to provide some, a cottified way to accelerate peoples training so that they didn’t have the circuitous route than most of us have taken and because of the comprehensive nature of our music school and the breadth of the program material it was an ideal setting for a program such as this.
(Jennifer Roberts is a graduate student in the Florida State University FSU College of Music, Piano Technology program) said
I heard about the program when I was studying in Canada. I did my primary training at the University of Western Ontario and we were all looking for options after we left, we either worked in our own business or we worked for somebody else and I heard about this program down here as being really structured and intensive training program.
(Amy Porter isa Graduate Student at the Florida State university (FSU) College of Music, Piano Technology) continues saying
It’s very much like a job. We are graduate assistants here in the College of Music and so we have (both Jenifer and myself) um, look after about fifty pianos, each year, each semester, we run through our list of instruments, um, some are in practice rooms, some are in faculty studios, halls, um, we have our own assignments that we look after and as well as tuning a harpsicord on a weekly basis.
One thing that I found particularly challenging on this piano was the fact ,uh, that it had a lot of problems straight from the factory, so when it came to us it had a lot of geometrical flaws, and in that sense it’s been a great piano to learn the restoration process.
(alternating), Amy said
We brought it in the shop and got to play on it. It was terribly out of tune it was very heavy (the touch was very heavy.)
The first thing we noticed was that the action was extremely heavy. It was hard to play. If you think of a teeter-totter you know – the hammers on one end and the keys on the other and, you know, you want a certain relationship between these two in order for it to perform properly, it’s going to be, i f you have to much weight on one side it’s going to be not pleasant to push on the other.
The pin block
The pin block is quite a thick piece of wood at the front of the grand piano and it is what the tuning pins are embedded into. It is the secure anchor.
The strings were rusty and quite decrepit.
The bridge needed some restoration, the soundboard was pretty ugly, the plate needed refinishing.
One thing that we spent a lot of time on was the lettering of the plate. It’s a part that some people just use a marker to paint them we actually decided to use some black lacquer and a paint brush and do it the old fashion way.
Anne finishes up saying-
The ultimate goal is of course that they are confident that they can go anywhere.
The world needs wonderful piano technicians, The piano is a cornerstone instrument. There are not enough people doing it well.
There are a lot of opportunities hat have come other from the contacts I have made through this program. I would like to be able to work in a University to have the access to talented faculty members and to be able to work with students.
The program has really taken me to a different level of technical ability and I’m hoping that will open a few more doors, more opportunities to practice my craft.
As often as I can I like to play and keep my fingers moving and remember why I’m restoring pianos in the first place.
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