Kimball Piano USA

Andersen pauses for a moment, reflects, then resumes. "I really love this world, this work, and I've surrendered to it. I love being challenged, and I love putting my hands on something that I conceived, directed, produced, and did even the final 10%. And to have someone look up from a piano I rebuilt and say, 'This piano has everything I need'--how can you get a paycheck like that with money? It's what I call a reliable catalyst. Because the experience I'm after--which is the joy and fulfillment of giving something, helping somebody get some place--that experience produces joy inside me. It's not beamed into me by an artist, or a colleague, say, but the experience catalyzes something that's already inside of me. So being involved at a high level with pianos and piano human beings is one of the most reliable catalysts I've ever found. And my life is all about reliable catalysts.

Modern Piano Moving"I should be in a wheelchair right now. Most people with this disease just sort of quietly disappear. Getting sick and really understanding that if I was going to get well, it was up to me--that was a wake-up call for me. It allowed me to see that you'd better do what you want to do, right now. You'd better have some kind of internal experience right now, because the time you think you have is an illusion. True fulfillment in this business is the kind of paycheck we talked about: helping another human being to catalyze joy, so in turn they can catalyze joy for other people."

Visit David Andersen's website at

Steve Brady is a piano technician and writer in Seattle, Washington. His most recent book is Under the Lid: The Art and Craft of the Concert Piano Technician (Byzantium Books, 2008). Visit his website at


FALL 2009 -- page 64

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