What have I learnt over this past year?

Some time ago I was given the task to come up with a short paragraph briefly explaining what it is that I have learnt since being at The Piano Man; or just 2-lines of what the trade is all about — my own understanding of the request.

Well I started my adventure letting Raymond know I was diagnosed with Aspergers [Syndrome]. He understood what I meant when I said that I do not learn in the usual fashion. Writing a brief paragraph may seem easy for you, but for me I have to try condense nine months into a few sentences! And I’d much rather be playing a game or looking for piano theory on youtube.

The piano industry in South Africa…is something I admit that I have not paid much attention to understanding it and therefore know almost nothing.
This year I have learnt many piano things while I have been working on the job, afterall, what’s an apprenticeship without that? I can say that I have learnt how to tune a piano with an electronic tuner, and how to distinguish unisons. Tuning is no simple feat of letting an electronic device do the work for you. I’m not sure how to explain this without creating an endless loop with words, so I will try another way to do this:

For a piano with 88 keys there are not simply 88 strings to tune, there are far more because pianos like to be bigger and better that you imagined them to be. My piano at home has 206 strings and yet only 85 keys/notes. So for my piano at home, I’d start by muting an octave or two so that I can play one string for every note I play on the piano. I would use the electronic tuner and use the tests to learn the correct outcome of each test, in order to be able to use my ears to tune the piano instead of an electronic tuner. Once the muted section is tuned, I would use a paps wedge to mute another note and tune by playing an octave and then using my electronic tuner to test how close I was. After removing the paps wedge, I would tune the unison… And then keep going.
Finally I would remove the muting strip one string at a time to tune each unison.

Pianos are serviced and regulated, and often repaired. I have learned how to do all three.
Learning as an apprentice is not the only thing I have done this year. I have also started attending World Tang Soo Do classes in Centurion and Waverly, all thanks to my friendship with Heinrich from MDT last year.
I’m quite a detailer and I enjoy knowing exactly how my movements help each other – not too sure how to explain that one though, but I love to understand the movements. The class is taught with the Korean commands, but it is in an English medium. I’m still quite confused with all the names, but through repetition I have learnt what certain phrases mean.
The classes are fun and I get to do a physical workout. The bonus about that is that I’m getting slightly bigger arms which is a good thing, because I need to be stronger to help with pianos!

I would still like to learn South African Sign Language and a bit of Korean, but I am not sure how much I can take on – I do not want to fill my plate…