new work meet the maker

A Mentor for Alex

Over the past two years, Alex (also known as “A”) has been going through a piano tuning course, practicing on our own piano and tuning the pianos of friends whenever he gets the chance. But he always felt like he was missing something. He needed a teacher, a mentor, and had called a few local tuners to see if they would be willing to take an apprentice. All said no.

Last week, a friend put Alex in contact with an elderly man who is moving out of his home. This man is blind, and had been a piano tuner for 40 years. He had a lifetime of knowledge and piano tuning and repair equipment  in his home, and all he wanted was a worthy person to pass it all down to. Alex is over the moon to be that person.

And so the 80-year-old man whose hearing isn’t what it used to be, who hadn’t been down to his basement in three years, took Alex down there, blew the dust off a room full of tools and told Alex he could have it all, if Alex would just tune his piano.

He came home with old bottles of then-locally-made lubricants and glues,

antique tins full of tiny instruments used in piano repair,
…and more tools than Alex could  have ever hoped to acquire. Some of them cream of the crop, some clever hand-made inventions of a master of his trade. 
Their weekly meetings are now the thing that Alex looks forward to most, and each week he returns home with boxes of this kind man’s lifetime career. Yes, he comes home with his arms (and truck!) full, but I can see that he is full, too. His spirit is soaring, and his brain is buzzing with the knowledge the man is so generously giving him—a lifetime of tips, tricks, and secrets. My husband is brimming with possibilities again, and it is good. 
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15 responses to “A Mentor for Alex”

  1. Michele at A House Called Nut

    That is a wonderful story! How fortunate, after all, that those other ones said no. It's a shame there's no longer much of an apprentice tradition in many fields. Good for Alex! And nice story!!

  2. Angela

    That would make a spirit soar! Wonderful and exciting. I am so happy Alex found this gem of a man and mentor. This is what makes the world go around!
    xo, Angela

  3. kendra

    what a gift! this is so profoundly beautiful, amy. congratulations to your a – many years of beautiful music to you all. <3

  4. mandy

    i wonder how many people there are 'out there' like this kind man who is mentoring your husband; living treasures with minds and basements full of knowledge passed down for generations. what a gift for your family to have him as a part of your life!

  5. hands follow heart

    So goes the Buddhist proverb: "when the student is ready, the master appears." What a wonderful story and a great gift for Alex!

  6. Kate England

    UNBELIEVABLE!!!! What an amazing story and opportunity for Alex… I'm really blown away! Incredible! Wonderful.

  7. Francesca

    What a blessing for both of them – for this elderly man who can make his knowledge and trade live again through your husband, and for a who can learn from a master those unique skills that simply can't be learned from books.

  8. Dasken Designs

    Interesting. I was just lookin for a piano tuner…

  9. erin

    What a wonderful story. Where we used to live, my husband made friends with an older guy (about 60) who had been where Chris is now. They would talk for hours and hours. Such special friendships that means so much! How fun to get hand me down tools. I think those are better than the new, because they have a story attached to them.

  10. Mousy Brown

    Basically – what everyone else said! Wow how wonderful, I am over the moon for him ( and you!) Will he come and do our piano now?? Em xx

  11. MiaZagora


  12. Carrie

    Love this story – sounds like an really beautiful film but it's real! How wonderful x

  13. aimee

    it is so wonderful to see the knowledge of trades passed on from generation to generation in this way! what an awesome story!

  14. ella@lifeologia

    This is fantastic. What a great thrill it is for your husband to be in the presence of this grreat man with so much history and stories to tell.
    i don't have any more grandparents around anymore but i think it would be fantastic to learn from a wise-old-man especially with so much talent 😉

  15. Joyce

    Hi- I came over from Francesca's corner.
    I love this story!! Shame on the other ones who turned your husband down, some day they will be sorry. smile… They always say one door closes another opens. I am happy your husband found this wise mentor. xo