MICHAEL LIPNICKI, R.P.T.
I suppose I was destined for a career in pianos as I grew up around pianos in various states of repair since my father and Uncles were all in the piano business. Initially their training began at the Ontario School for the Blind as eye-sight problems afflicted every male of that generation. Tuning was a skill they could hone as their hearing and other senses were already heightened. Since my eyesight was fine, I assisted them from a very early age, in literally hundreds of tunings, helping to take the piano apart and keep track of their tools needed for tuning. Once I had my drivers license, I also got to chauffeur them around – much to my Aunts’ delight.
While I can’t say I aspired to do the work of “blind men”, I did take a great interest in how the piano worked and fell in love with the instrument itself. Eventually, I joined with my father and one
Uncle in the piano business running a successful, repair and restoration shop in a small town in Ontario. This lead to learning piano design and not just replacing parts but improving on the tone and touch of many fine, older pianos.
Due to the necessity of having the piano in-tune ....More
I grew up in Calgary in a musical and artsy family, attended the University of Calgary Faculty of Management, (now the Haskayne School of Business), where I earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree. After graduation I went to work with my mom, Irene, at Irene Besse
Keyboards while I looked for my “dream job”. Ha. 11 years later I left to have my son, Matthew, and decided I’d like to be home with him as much as I could, for as long as I could. That’s when Michael and I decided to run his piano tuning business from home with me at the helm.
Michael’s gigs in the Caribbean are pretty sweet but what people don’t realize is that it’s no beach vacation. He comes home with a tan on his left arm from hanging out the car window and that’s about it. Ever been to a large, outdoor music festival where they blast filler music in between acts while, they re-set the stage? He’s got to tune through that. No one turns the sound off for him. When a piano doesn’t arrive on a scheduled flight or get released from customs until 1-hour before it’s going to be played, he’s got to get it done anyway. When the piano just simply doesn’t show up, he’s got to find one, get it there and tune it anyway. When a venue turns on the air conditioning 1–hour before show time and knocks the tuning out of whack, he’s got to deal with that. He deals with tropical rainstorms and temperamental artists. But he also gets to hear some really great music and meet some really great people too. He often phones and rubs it in while I’m shoveling us out of a May snow-storm. No, we don’t go gallivanting with Michael on every trip to the islands. He works really hard and we wouldn’t see very much of him - so it’s not a true vacation. We go every few years, but try and take a few extra days for just family.
NICOLE LIPNICKI, Office Administration
And So the Lipnicki tradition continues - now Matthew is my "Child Labour"! Daddy's special "pi-nano" helper.