I am happy to say that I’m back tuning pianos again this summer, albeit with special COVID precautions and protocols. I’ll be tuning pianos up and down central Vancouver Island, with mask, hand sanitizer, and physical distancing. If you would like to request a piano tuning or repair, please give me a call and we can discuss the needs of your piano, and the needs of everyone for safety around the coronavirus. I service pianos throughout the mid-island region: from Mill Bay to Parksville, Duncan to Qualicum Beach, and of course here in my town of Nanaimo. In the meantime, I hope you get out and enjoy this beautiful place we live in – oceans, parks, mountains, wildlife, and wonderful people…even at a distance.
Thankfully here on Vancouver Island we can still get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Here’s a few shots of me with the famous big trees on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The sitka spruce is what piano soundboards are most often made of, and the gnarly cedar tree is close to 800 years old.
It’s been a very different spring, with the world-wide pandemic of the Corona Virus affecting most of Canada in some way or another. Currently, Piano Forte Service has “paused” all piano tuning and servicing here on Vancouver Island, as we take safety precautions not to go into clients homes or other public spaces. Thankfully, I have an interesting and varied business with pianos, and another part of my business is importing specialty piano parts, tools, felts, and supplies and supplying them to piano technicians all over the world. So I am lucky to be able to work from home and connect with my piano colleagues in different ways each day.
This spring I am sorry to not be able to connect with my long time piano tuning clients and help create a bit more harmony in the world! I will also be foregoing my spring trip to Yellowknife, in the NorthWest Territories, where I have been tuning pianos for more than 20 years. In the meantime, I’m enjoying renovating a large space into a shop and piano “workshop”, so I’ll always have a space in which to play. I have a few very unique and historic pianos of my own that I have also been dreaming of rebuilding…
We are also so blessed to live in a beautiful area of the world, were I can take my little row boat out in the islands to see the wonderful wildflowers. Here’s a couple of shots from the Winchelsea Islands, early May 2020.
To all my piano tuning clients, old and new, please stay safe and healthy this year and I’ll see you when the tuning starts up again…Jurgen Goering
Fall is always a busy time for piano tuning, when people get back into music lessons, schools get back into swing, and music groups get organized for shows. This year is different here on Vancouver Island, and all over the world, with the Coronavirus ramping up. Nevertheless, I was busy tuning and repairing pianos from Nanaimo to Parksville, Duncan to Qualicum Beach….until I had my own little bicycle accident on a rainy day and a slick road. As it turned out, I broke a bone in my right hand, needing a cast for 8 weeks, and also broke a rib. So, with the ensuing rehabilitation, I will need until the end of 2020 before I start tuning pianos again. And, of course, I will be foregoing my piano tuning trip to Yellowknife once again.
If you would like a piano servicing appointment, please phone me to discuss whether I can refer you to someone else, or whether you would like to wait until the new year for work on your piano. Thank you for your patience and understanding. I wish all my clients a healthy New Year, and a better 2021 for everyone!
Hello to all my piano clients new and old. The months fly by, and the piano tuning and repair business just gets busier here on central Vancouver Island. From October to December I’m booked up and down the island – from Mill Bay to Qualicum Beach – tuning for piano teachers, recording studios, churches, and theatres. I tune pianos for private clients in Shawnigan Lake, Parksville, and all the spots in between….and clients must book early because everyone wants their piano tuned before the holidays.
In November I also made my annual fall trip up to Yellowknife, NWT….getting there right before the really cold weather hit. This year I worked overtime to tune an astounding 54 pianos in 10 days…those northerners really like their pianos to help get them through the long, dark, cold winter!
And I’ve recently began mentoring a new piano tuner, Cathy Sisson, a recent graduate from the North Bennett Street School in Boston, School of Piano Technology. Cathy has been helping me regulate pianos in my workshop, and will be doing the occasional piano tuning for me when appropriate. You may meet her soon!
I was also happy to be contacted by a school here in Nanaimo that had a student wanting to research piano technology as a career. He had the opportunity to accompany me to the Port Theatre in Nanaimo and watch and ask questions while I tuned the concert grand piano there. There is so much opportunity for new piano technicians in North America, but the training is 2 to 3 years at a minimum. However, it’s great to pass on some of my 35 years of experience and have someone else get excited about this career!
I wish you all the best for the holiday, and a great new year!
Once again, I’m privileged to be the piano technician selected to repair and tune the concert grand piano for the Hornby Island Music Festival. This is a music festival that’s been running for 38 years on this tiny gem of an island in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and mainland B.C. Hornby is an island with an incredible natural setting, beautiful parks and trails, sandy beaches with warm ocean water, generous people, and it’s full of creativity of every type. The music festival runs for 10 days straight, and the last 3 performances this year were classical shows in the unique and intimate Hornby community hall. The piano there is a beautiful 1923 Bechstein concert grand piano, and it is my joy (and job) to keep it in great condition for the amazing artists that come every year.
This year we were privileged to have 3 talented performers come from New York: Michael Brown and Adam Golka on piano, and Lauren Pearl Eberwein sang a vocal recital. Lauren’s songs of “Love’s Passion and Sorrows” were moving and engaging, and the two piano recitals were technically impressive and emotionally powerful. The last recital included both pianists in two different four-hand pieces: Beethoven’s sonata in D and a rendition of Beethoven’s famous 5th Symphony. The piano really got a workout with these two masters engaging full force – I gave it multiple piano tunings to keep it in order! It was a pleasure to chat and share with all the artists, and hard to calm down after such exciting performances. Also while on Hornby I tune pianos for select private clients – please contact me if you need this service in the future
This May and June I had the great opportunity of visiting friends and colleagues in Germany on a business trip for Piano Forte. I visited the area where I was first trained as a Journeyman Piano Maker, near Essen. Then I visited one of my associates in the Cologne area, a high-level piano technician named Ulrich Busch. He is currently the piano technician for the Beethoven House in Bonn, and one of the technicians for the WDR Radio in Cologne (which includes orchestras, performance halls, recording studios, historical instruments, and more). We had the opportunity of spending a few days with him and were treated to some amazing experiences. Below is a picture of me in the basement of the WDR building playing one of the historical pianos, a fortepiano made in Munich in 1793.
We also visited the Beethoven House in Bonn, while Ulrich tuned a piano in the performance hall which is situated right over the vault containing all of Beethoven’s original manuscripts. We then walked a short distance from there and visited the grave of Robert and Clara Schumann. In the evenings we were treated to symphony orchestra concerts in the Cologne Philharmonic Concert Hall and the WDR Hall. Europe simply oozes culture at every turn.
Other visits included the manufacturer of high-end concert grand stage casters which I sell to other piano technicians and performing arts venues around the world. Here I am with the casters and my associates in the manufacturing shop.
Then off to Heidelberg, where I met with another master craftsman piano technician, Reiner Mertens who was in the same training course as I was 35 years ago. After a short visit in his hometown, we were off to the BDK – German Piano Maker’s convention in Tuttlingen, in the south of the Black Forest. The convention included a visit to the Sauter factory, which is the oldest family owned boutique piano making company in the world, founded 200 years ago this year. It was a great 4 days meeting other colleagues and professional piano technicians.
The trip to Germany was a great way to re-connect with my professional roots, my esteemed colleagues, to advance my own professional development, and to make stronger business connections. A pleasure!
I have had yet another very full year tuning and servicing pianos all over central Vancouver Island. From Mill Bay and Shawinigan Lake up through Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach and Parksville, the spring is a busy time for pianos! Music festivals, church performances, and chamber music concerts all require piano servicing, let alone my dedicated private clients.
I will now be taking a break from piano tuning and repairs to do some travel, connecting with colleagues, and professional development. Piano Forte Service will be closed completely from May 17th until June 12th. If you need your piano serviced, please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you after June 12th. Thanks!
Once again, I’m off to the Canadian North to tune and repair pianos from April 11th – 19th, 2019. I’ll be leaving sunny warm Vancouver Island and flying up to Yellowknife, North West Territories…where they’re still struggling with the end of winter. That being said, I’ve been tuning and repairing pianos up there for years, and I always get a warm welcome from my regular clientelle. And I get more requests for piano work than I can handle in the time I’m there! If you live in Yellowknife and would like to be on my regular piano tuning list, please contact me for future trips.
If you are on beautiful Vancouver Island, it’s recommended that you also book early…as spring is a very busy time for piano tuning, and it’s hard to fit everyone in. I’ll be tuning and repairing pianos from April 23rd until May 17th, and then I will have a few weeks break for travel and conferences. Don’t hesitate to book now: firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-754-2440.
Here on Vancouver Island we were watching our daffodils come up a few weeks ago – until a sudden flurry of late winter dropped about a foot of snow on them! But nevertheless, spring is just around the corner. And with a change of season comes a flurry of activity in the music world. From Duncan to Ladysmith, Mill Bay to Qualicum Beach, there will be music festivals, choir recitals, college and university music exams, and many piano studio recitals in the next couple of months. And for each event they all need to have their pianos tuned and serviced. Today I was tuning a piano for the Upper Island Music Festival here in Nanaimo, and tomorrow I’ll be servicing a harpsichord for an upcoming concert at the Port Theatre. If you are in central Vancouver Island and you are also looking to have your piano tuned or serviced this spring, please don’t wait to book a date! Call 250-754-2440 for Piano Forte Service.