Tuning Pianos and Tuning into the Community
Published April 22, 2020
Silverthorne and surrounding Summit County have quite the live music scene. Form local bands playing weekly shows at nearby breweries to big name concerts at a First Friday event, music helps brings our community together. While local favorites and famous bands draw a lot of attention, there are other ways our community depends on music.
Summit County churches, schools and individuals come together in a quieter “hidden” music scene. It is this organic community that keeps Summit County piano technician Rob Murphy busy. Working frequently with local churches, schools and home musicians, Rob specializes in tuning pianos in Colorado’s high country.
“My business is unique,” says Rob. “I’m the only piano technician in Summit and surrounding counties.” Rob states that until he turned his piano hobby into a full time job, there hadn’t been a local piano tuner in the area since 2005. To fill that need, many local piano owners had been relying on tuners from the Front Range. “Since I’m local, I can work around your schedule rather than you having to work around mine, and you won’t need to wait weeks or months for service,” says Rob.
As a piano technician, Rob’s primary job focuses on tuning, along with basic repairs and adjustments. He can also help community members evaluate and appraise pianos as well as install and maintain piano humidification systems, which are important for keeping pianos in tip-top shape in Summit County’s dry mountain air. Rob is also a member of the Denver Chapter of the national Piano Technician’s Guild.
In order to complete his piano technician work, most jobs are completed on site in a client’s home or at a school or church. Unfortunately, social distancing requirements are putting these tuning needs on hold for the time being. However, these requirements may also have some positive aspects for local residents. “I’m sure that a lot of locals with pianos in their homes are taking advantage of down time during the stay-at-home order to play. Some people are probably playing more than they have in years!” exclaims Rob.
For piano owners that are giving their instruments a little extra love and attention while at home, the extra play time along with changes in the seasons may require a much needed tune for their beloved instruments. Rob is looking forward to scheduling out piano owners for tuning as stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements begin to relax in the future. For schools, churches and other public spaces, piano tuning may need to be considered as part of a general reopening plan.
Rob’s piano expertise expands beyond church halls and school rooms as he is available for local artists and bands as well as for the many Summit County music festivals. He can also help local families with evaluating a piano’s condition. “Just as you might have a mechanic check out a used car before you buy, I can inspect a piano before you agree to take it,” says Rob. Evaluating a piano’s condition helps ensure that the instrument is in good condition, making it easier for children or adults to learn and more enjoyable to play.
Music crates a close-knit community, and this community is what Rob loves about Summit County. “A strong sense of community has only been reinforced by the County’s impressive response to COVID-19 and the way that people are coming together to support each other in a variety of ways,” says Rob.
In Silverthorne, we hope musicians can continue to practice while at home and we can’t wait to hear what they have been working on as we can begin to listen in our favorite community gathering spaces.