Why do people think piano tuners are blind? A question I often ask myself when I’m out and about in Sheffield, Doncaster or Rotherham.
After the First World War many men returned home blinded by mustard gas. Many retrained in piano tuning as a way to make an honest living. In those days pianos were much more commonplace – most front rooms possessed a parlour piano in the way most living rooms today contain a television or computer, so piano tuners were high in demand.
Even in more recent times the blind were encouraged to learn piano tuning from a young age because, sadly, their parents and teachers didn’t think they were able to do much else. The thinking was that their hearing would be more acute to make up for their lack of sight. Today our society has a different attitude towards disability and with the help of modern computer technology the blind are much less limited in their choice of occupation, so while I still know of several blind piano tuners, it isn’t the case nowadays that the majority of piano tuners are blind.
– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.