UT Martin piano tuning class helps local Boys & Girls Club
The Messenger 01.18.08
IN TUNE — Students in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s fall semester piano technology class recently had the opportunity to receive some hands-on instruction by tuning two pianos recently donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Tennessee.
Most teachers would agree that practical experience is by far the best learning environment.
It’s certainly true when it comes to piano tuning and the opportunity for University of Tennessee at Martin piano technology class instructor the Rev. Elwood Doss Jr., RPT, to provide that practical “real world” experience was one he relished.
The opportunity came recently when he was contacted by Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Tennessee development director Sherri Puckett about tuning two pianos that had been donated to the club. He discussed the possibility with the piano technology class members and they jumped at the opportunity to tune the pianos.
Doss teaches the piano tuning technique of aural tuning, or tuning “by ear.”
“The ‘in-the-field’ tuning differs greatly from tuning the pianos in the UTM Fine Arts Building that are tuned on a regular basis,” Doss said.
“When a piano technician goes to a home or church to tune a piano, and has never tuned it before, the technician may encounter a myriad of challenges to tuning the piano. Even opening the piano to tune it can be a challenge, since pianos from various manufacturers differ widely in case construction.”
The class studied the theory, history and technique of piano tuning last semester and met at the Fine Arts Building. Doss first demonstrated the “rough tuning” technique of pulling a piano in which its pitch is flat up to the correct pitch, then turned the pianos over to the class to “fine tune” the instruments. The group also tuned the piano at Martin’s Weldon Library as a part of this class project.
Danielle Alston, Boys & Girls Club director of education and choir director, will use the pianos for her choir rehearsals and to give piano lessons to the club members.
The piano technology class will study piano repairs and regulating of grand and upright pianos this semester. Will they use the two pianos for practice?
“Well, I haven’t asked permission yet, but it would be a good project for the second semester class,” Doss said.
Anyone may register for the class by enrolling through UT Martin. For more information, call (731) 881-7402.
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