When I was 12, my parents purchased an old upright piano from a neighbor for $25. Moving was included in the price. They found a teacher that came to the house for $1 a lesson. Obviously, that was a long time ago. When they realized how much I loved the piano, they purchased a new Baldwin Acrosonic Piano. From then on, nothing could keep me off the piano bench. My sisters begged me to stop practicing, because the TV and the piano were in the same room. I soon was playing for Vacation Bible School, at a church where I would walk to every Sunday with a few neighborhood kids. A few years later I started serving as a church pianist. After I was married, I gave piano lessons.
Later my new family moved to Greenville, Ill. It was there that my children's piano teacher told me about a piano rebuilder named Oscar Steinbach. He had a 1941 Mason & Hamlin grand, residing on its side in the process of being rebuilt. I waited 9 months for that piano, so I called it my baby. And yes, I still have it. It was then that my passion for the piano was ignited. My piano tuner suggested that I pursue tuning as a career, and he ordered me some tools. After endeavoring on my own, I concluded that I needed some one-on-one instruction. I found the piano technician for the St. Louis Symphony and after much persuasion she agreed to teach me. Once a month I traveled to St. Louis for a tuning lesson. Afterwards, I would hang out at piano rebuilding shops, and in the evening, attend the monthly Piano Technician's meetings. I took all the PTG exams and became a RPT(Registered Piano Technician).
After moving to St. Louis, I assisted the Symphony technician. When the Symphony started the Community Music School, I became their tuner technician. Tuning for the Symphony Queeny Pops series in the summer was one of my favorite things for many years, till it was discontinued.
Webster University eventually moved the music school to their campus, and I am still caring for those pianos, as well as some new ones.
Last Modified Jan. 25, 2016
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Delores (Dee) Schaefer