I have written before about pianists as a species unto ourselves…advantaged with work that we love, which keeps restoring brain cells and keeping us on our toes, and therefore healthier than we would be otherwise; and being the sub-species of Musician with the widest range of repertoire: countless masterworks at our very fingertips to continually enrich our lives intellectually and emotionally.
One of the big disadvantages, however, is the fact that we are just about the only musicians who cannot approach our instrument daily and freshly tune it; a finely-tuned instrument of any genre, inspires and enables any musician to play better. If we are lucky to have a beautiful piano, or even luckier to have two beautiful pianos, the cost of tuning as often as we would wish can be daunting, and the fantasy of playing a freshly tuned piano wanes with each passing week, especially if we teach on our instruments.
I know pianists who have their pianos tuned every month, but live Spartan lives in other ways. For me, although the piano is a very high priority, I also enjoy my home and gardens with my husband, not to mention other simple pleasures alongside of music. Just like any other relationship in our lives–with people who help us in various ways–medical people with our health, carpenters and plumbers helping to maintain our home, technicians with our electronic equipment, and so on, we try to combine the two elements of expertise along with good nature. And in most of my own experience, this has been possible. There is never one single person who can do a job well. There are many fine doctors, craftspeople, technicians and tuners.
We owe it to ourselves to minimize the stresses in our lives in any way we can, and that includes only dealing with folks with whom we can have a cordial friendly exchange, without enlarged egos, or axes to grind getting in the way. I am remembering Wally Schreiber, many years ago, who became a true friend, and who was the best tuner I have ever had. And Alecs Markevich, whose magic touch on my pianos has made all the difference in the world, along with his funny tales at lunch. We treated each other with mutual respect and appreciation. The moment anyone in my life cannot act appropriately and kindly, they are out of my life, presto-chango–whatever the quality of the work they do.