A month or so ago, I happened upon a perfectly good piano at a local yard sale. We’d been planning to get a piano for the family, and as yard sales only last a day, this opportunity pressed the issue. The family selling it was moving and needed it gone fast, so we picked it up for a deal.

There was just one problem: it was completely out of tune. So bad, in fact, that we couldn’t play it at all in the middle. 

My original plan was to get everyone good old fashioned piano lessons once it was tuned, but my kids don’t think that way. Instead, the day I brought it home, X went onto YouTube and started learning how to play songs that interested him. The Super Mario theme song, Tetris theme song, Happy Birthday. This inspired the girls to look up favorite pop songs on YouTube and they began to play as well. Everything was either in a very low, or very high octave, but music had broken into our house, and there was no stopping it.

From the minute we got it, our house felt more like a home. As if we could all envision a roast baking in the oven and good stories being told by the fire. And the sound of the music coming from an instrument, as opposed to a stereo, was different. The richness of it filled the air. 

Today was the day the piano tuner came. An older man, he showed up with his wooden toolbox, no bigger than a lunch pail. He dismantled the front of the piano to reach the strings properly, and then sat down on the bench, working his way through string after string, trying to salvage it’s sound.

The Piano TunerAs I watched him with his docker pants that rose high above his ankles when he sat, and his patient and calm method of tuning, I was suddenly struck by something. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, and then it hit me. He was doing something very real. A craft. 

And I began to see that so much of what my family and I do, is virtual. I write a blog on the internet. My book is an e-book. Dan and I work in sales, which means we never touch the actual product (other than samples), and we don’t do the manual labor of installing it. Our success is measured on spreadsheets filled with numbers, not a finished product in our hands. Even our friends and family have become virtual on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I’m not saying this is bad, but in that moment I just noticed the contrast. 

A couple of weeks ago the neighbors above us threw a party. A very loud party that started around 12:00 AM and went until about 3:00 AM. I was very angry at first. I felt like it was so inconsiderate. After all, they’re in an apartment complex, not out on a ranch somewhere. 

There I was, stewing in my bed wondering why the police hadn’t shown up yet, when their loud music stopped, and a woman started to sing the most beautiful song. It was a Spanish song, and her voice was strong and rich. I became suddenly mesmerized, and I wanted her to sing all night. 

When she stopped, and they returned to their dancing and music, I had a different outlook on their party. I began to listen to what was going on. They were all so happy. Just dancing and singing and laughing. How could I fault such a thing?

I was struck by the same feeling that my life was lacking a certain dimension. That in all my modern advancements, something had been lost.

In all my modern advancements, something real has been lost. Click To Tweet

When the piano tuner had finished the job and reassembled the piano, he sat down and played for us. It was amazing. The boys sat up straight, their eyes wide in wonder. They hadn’t known the instrument could make such a full sound. I could see inspiration dripping from their fingers.

A piano is one thing. Getting together with people is another. Making things with my own two hands, one more. What will change if we began to remember a culture where we played, and laughed, and danced together? Not just liked each other’s posts. I’d like to see.

This post was inspired by the Friday Reflections writing quote prompt, “Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.” – Paulo Coelho

This is a Friday Reflections Link Up with Janine @ Reflections From a Redhead and Mackenzie @ Reflections From Me. Join the link up and share in the conversation.


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16 thoughts on “The Piano Tuner”

  1. What an absolutely wonderful post Tara! Even though much of what I do is virtual, I am lucky enough to have human contact with the people I serve at work, and I love to be able to lay hands on paints, or knit something, or shoot and print photos.

    I too have been feeling the lack of connection with friends lately, and even though I cherish all the people I have met on here through blogging and social media, I felt a wonderful reconnection with an old friend on Saturday when we sat together over lunch (for 4 hours!) and reconnected. I recently decided that it was important for me to reconnect with friends here too, since I have been so busy these past months with school, etc.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Great post!

    1. That must have been a great lunch! I have a certain girlfriend that meets up with me for coffee and we are always there for hours. I love it.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  2. I am very methodical and not matter how Zen I try to live my life, there is no way I would appreciate loud music late at night. LOL
    The world changed. It brought up great facilities, but disadvantages. It is not all good or bad, but we need to learn to adapt ourselves to this new reality and mainly have respect for those around us.
    I cannot even remember when it was the last time I listed to a live piano player. It must have been indeed an awesome experience!

    1. It was great to hear him play… and I Hate when my neighbors party late, but it was a moment, you know? Thanks for stopping by to share.

  3. Great post Tara, and I love the photo of the man tuning the piano. I love a house full of music, my daughter plays the violin a love she shares with her paternal grandfather. We don’t see him often as he lives far away, but when we do I love hearing them play together. Thanks for linking up with Friday Reflections

  4. What a beautiful post, it really hit the spot for me. 60 years ago my Grandparents would throw legendary parties, where they would sing together around the piano surrounded by friends. They connected through music, and shared the warm bonds of friendship and fun in this way. This morning we were watching some family video clips from 10 years ago, the kids were little tots, the music was cranked up and the whole family were dancing and laughing together. Across half a century the common denominator is music. Whether singing, playing, downloading or sharing you’re favourite tunes, it’s still the ‘food of love’ and long may it play on!

  5. Such a beautiful post. Your post touches on a lot I’ve been thinking about lately too, as I consider stepping back from my ‘online’ work to focus on living and actually writing for me.

    Also – We have an untuned piano sitting here and really need to get a tuner in. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. There is something to be said about those “good ol’ days”. Two of my grown children barely remember life without a computer, one has never known it. My granddaughter had no concept. Life played out, literally, learning to be alone and finding life out of the boredom. It inspires one to think, feel, move and create. Cudos on the yard sale find of the year and salute to the music in your home and in your lives.

    1. Or playing outside until the street lights came on. Building forts, wrestling with my sisters, lunch with friends on Sunday afternoons, playing my flute until my lips were numb, getting obsessed with a particular card game in the summer, washing the car in my driveway for $6 paid by my mom, coffee shop conversations, and live bands. Mother’s day parties at my grandmother’s house and family jokes.

    1. So then you probably understand even better! When I heard him play I realized it’s really only been the last 10-15 years or so that we’ve lived this way, yet it’s the standard now.

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