“It is the Piano Tuner!!!” I explain to the Toddler, as I spot a car drawing into the drive.

It is, indeed, the Piano Tuner. I throw open the door and greet him effusively, before leading him through the narrow passage to the room with the piano in it.

“This is the piano,” I explain.

He looks grateful for my assistance, and gets his tools out, opening the top lid to reach in for the pegs. ‘Ting!’ goes his fork tunefully, as he plinks on a note and listens hard to ascertain its pitch.

“It’s quite an old historic one,” I continue. “From about 1910 or a bit earlier.”

“1906, I’d say,” he replies, looking up, before doing another ‘ting’ and starting his careful listening again.

“What’s the man doing, daddy?” asks the Toddler.

“He is making a noise with his fork, and then listening very hard to see what sound it makes,” I explain. “It’s very difficult. Would you like a cup of tea?” I ask him.

The piano tuner puts down his fork and looks up again. “Yes. I would,” he replies. He makes to start another ‘ting’ but holds off until I have left the room, so not to interrupt our conversation.

Two hours later, he announces that his work is done. I am extremely pleased, as the piano has not been tuned for a couple of years, and was sounding a bit wobbly.

“It’s a fine instrument,” he affirms. Sitting at the piano stool, he takes a deep breath and launches into an array of pieces, demonstrating the incredible warmth of the sound. He plays ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, then ‘Maple Leaf Rag’, then a couple of classical pieces that are probably by Rachmaninov or somebody else from the past. It is amazing. The room fills with sound – wonderful, incredible music. The Toddler stands transfixed and spellbound, a broad smile beaming across her face as if this is the most fantastic thing that she has ever heard in her life.

I am a bit pissed off by this. I play her the piano all the time, and she has never once stood transfixed or spellbound or with a broad beaming smile. He has probably slipped her some sweets or something. I wait for him to finish and then shoo him out the door.

When he has gone, I pull the Toddler back into the piano room. I play all my specialities, the theme tune from ‘Minder’ and the song that Iggle Piggle sings. But there is no beaming smile. The kid is tone deaf and it is a disappointment to me.

34 thoughts on “The piano tuner visits.

  1. Fanto says:

    The minder theme tune is quite hard as well Johnny. Me, I only know three-quarters of Imagine (I must get round to learning the middle eight)

  2. Andrew says:

    The Toddler is a girl! You will have to play Upsy Daisys tune to get her attention. Isn’t that obvious?

  3. tillylil says:

    What a show off. Don’t make him a cup of tea next time!

  4. My boy just looks at the floor when I break out my banjo. He has that air of resignation that just says: patience, it will all be over soon.

    Well, if he doesn’t learn music off his dad then we’ll never be a musical family with musical genes and all that middle class stuff Robin Robinson requires for Ask The Family entrance.

    Even my kazoo just raises a curled lip. Kids these days.

  5. guyana gyal says:

    Play Ravel, she’ll like Ravel.

  6. Cliff says:

    Laugh. Out. Out.

    Very nice Jonny.

  7. Cliff says:

    “Loud”, I mean. Grrrr

  8. gargravarr says:

    my girl-toddler beams, transfixes and spellboundes at ickle-piggle. asks me to sing it all the time.
    all. the. fricking. time.

    wasn’t so impressed by captain beaky, though… no accounting for taste.

  9. If you think she’s a disappointment to you, you’re going to love the inevitable role reversal attendant upon puberty. In fact, why wait that long? She’ll soon be old enough to read the comments here, after all…

  10. Z says:

    I bet she loves it when you play the banjo though.

    Actually, you’re awfully clever and musical. I’d stand transfixed with a beaming smile if you played for me.

  11. JonnyB says:


    Biggest. Typo. Evre.

    That is quite right Z. Thank you. I may upload some banjo music at some point.

  12. zed says:

    She can talk now??? Good grief, whatever next – cooking for you?

    Try playing “Chopsticks” to her. It was banned at my school.

  13. Mac says:


    Is it as bad as ‘ I like to eat apples and bananas’ from ‘The Singing kettle’?

    My Godson stayed with us for a couple of days and brought the DVD with him. That song stayed in my head for my entire summer holiday and spread like a virus because I kept singing it to myself until the whole family couldn’t get it out of our heads.

    Oh my God, writing this has put it back in there!!!

    I like to oot, oot oot oot, ooples and boonoonoos…..

  14. QldDeb says:

    I agree Ivan the Terrible.

    There’s nothing quite like the disapointment in your teenager’s eyes as they look you up & down when you go out in public with them. Or try to crack a joke. Or just about anything, really.

    So you might as well enjoy still having the choice, before your teenager knows everything and kindly shares her knowledge with you. Fun!

  15. Pat says:

    You jes gottta keep practisin’.

    Such strides the little one has made – a whole sentence. Reminds me of the little boy who we were all worried about because he never uttered, until one day, in the car he said:
    ‘Grandad your indicator’s out.’

  16. Hilde says:

    Of course the Toddler smiled because to her he’s a magicien who repaired the piano with a fork from a ting sound to a Rhapsodie !!

  17. Gingerbollox says:

    Next time, take a piss in his tea!

    Did the tuning improve your playing or are you just polishing a turd?

  18. Clunky says:

    I just think the toddler was amazed that the piano could be used to make music.

  19. spazmo says:

    I’d listen to some banjo music if you uploaded it.

  20. JonnyB says:

    Honestly Pat – you should be worried about the granddad in that case. And no man calls it their ‘indicator’ these days – get with it!!!

  21. gargravarr says:

    Mac – what do you mean ‘is it as bad as…’ it’s going to be worse than anything that you could put after that phrase being that it’s “hel-lo my name is ickle piggle, ickle piggle ickle piggle ickle; yes! my name is ickle piggle, ickle piggle ickle piggle woooooooo!!” repeat repeat repeat repeat re….. die.

  22. Is there something inside it that says “Made in 1906”?

  23. JonnyB says:

    Yes – is says ‘Copyright 19&6, Casio Corporation.’ The ‘&’ is a bit smudged but I assume it is an ‘0’

  24. Hilde says:

    Copyright 19″#”6: they were already focussing on the Calculator..

  25. jonathan says:

    Perhaps if the fork man could have tuned the toddler into the piano before being shooed away a better result could have been achieved for family harmony. I’m sure this is a service that he could have provided at an extra cost, he sounds clever enough.

  26. PAT says:

    Er – s’cuse me Jonny but did I actually say WHEN the grandfather’s indicator was out?
    Thought not!
    You do realise I’ve got Joan Bakewell looking out for me now?

  27. guyana gyal says:

    I come here for an update on the life of the wanna-be piano player and…nothing…nada…aw well, he’s probably practicing Yes sir, we have no bananas.

  28. JonnyB says:

    The ****ing computer broke… have just done my recovery discs an’ all. Bah.

    Sorry everybody.

  29. GingerBollox says:

    It was that bloody Piano Tuner. It is the perfect alias in a cheap spy novel.

    “We need to take out JonnyB’s computer to reduce his power” muttered the Chief.
    “Good idea Boss, I’ll use the Piano Tuner” replied Trevor the Greek.
    “Tell him not to make such a bloody mess this time. It took a lot of sodium pentathol to sort out that whole Lesley Ash lip saga”

  30. Peter says:

    I was raised with pianos. My grandad used to take them to bits and store the musical bit (frame I think they call that part) in the hen sheds. There my cousins and I used to play them with sticks, like a harp. Lovely sounds you could make. Glissandi.

    Every house had a working piano in the forties. The man two doors along could make the piano talk, which was the highest of accolades. There also was a thing called the National Song Book, which had easy arrangements of hits such as De Camptown Ladies, Sons of Harlech and The Grandfather Clock. Lovely memories. Thank you.

  31. Hilde says:

    No JonnyB, it must have been the AVG anti virus (is for free…) and they had a problem last Sunday!

  32. drew says:

    I’m a tuner and I think it’s wonderful to have the experience as a toddler of watching and hearing the results a tuner can make. I often get asked if I would like tea or coffee and have learned to turn it down. Often tastes can be very personal.

    Taking an out of tune piano and turning it into a working piano again takes time. The cost of doing so always gets in the way as most people don’t understand how many years it takes to learn to tune properly or to repair as needs along the way.

    My father was a technician and a wonderful jazz player and I followed him around for years. We eventually began a rebuilding company that had many great succeses. I was the one who ended up having to refinish most of the pianos. Even though I loved rebuilding. Most of the tasks I was given were too difficult for the apprentices. Like replacing pinblocks or soundingboards.
    No matter how much time I spent at the shop, up to my neck in stains and laquer, I loved to get out and tune. I also play jazz and blues and give a concert at the end of all work.

    that’s enough for now. I hope your piano stays in tune for a long time.


  33. JonnyB says:

    Thank you Drew. That is possibly the most sensible comment that has ever been left on this site, ever.

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