James Edward (Jamie) Musselwhite (Toronto Ontario)
I learned my trade from my father, from other piano industry professionals too numerous to mention, and from experience. Over the past thirty-five years I have Rebuilt and Refinished hundreds of Upright and Grand Pianos, and have tuned for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Opera, Calgary Philharmonic, Saskatoon Symphony, The National Ballet of Canada, The Canadian Opera Company, Victor Borge, The Pointer Sisters, Manhattan Transfer, Alice Cooper, Anton Querti, Burton Cummings, various musical groups, recording studios, hundreds of teachers, and thousands of individual piano owners. I have worked on pianos professionally from the Arctic Circle, down into the southern States, and even across the Atlantic. My specialty is the tuning, maintenance, and restoration of pianos, a few of them the same pianos my father and grandfather have worked on when they were new. However, my number one job has been, and probably will always be, informing people about pianos. I am constantly asked questions such as: ‘How do I choose a new Piano?’ ‘How often should they be tuned?’ ‘Can a cracked soundboard be fixed?’ This website is my attempt to answer these and other questions as clearly, and definitively as possible.
As I was growing up, my parents owned what was then one of the largest music stores in Canada. Rideau Music had, during the 1970′s, not only the largest stock of sheet music in the country, but also Pianos, Organs, and every type of small musical instrument, from orchestral to folk instruments. It was my job every Sunday from the time I was eleven or so, to tune every tuneable thing in the store: Ukuleles, Banjos, Autoharps, Guitars, Violins. If it could be tuned, I tuned it. When I was fourteen I started to teach myself how to play the piano (That’s a whole other story!) but, like the proverbial shoemakers wife who went unshod, our piano was always out-of-tune. Whenever I would ask my dad to tune it, he would say: “Do it yourself!” (After all, he had been tuning all day). Finally, out of desperation, I borrowed his tools, and gave it a try. I was fairly familiar with the process already have been working on pianos for many years in my Dad’s shop, but I soon found that I needed some serious tutelage. For the next four years I worked side by side with my dad, eventually taking over even his concert tunings for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. I had honed my ears by tuning the instruments in my parents store, and learned the art of piano tuning alongside of my father, and that in a nutshell, is how I got my start. Now, over thirty-five years later, every time I tune, I am reminded of my Dad, and of those first initial lessons so many years ago.
This pictures proves I’ve been working on pianos for half a century!