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Geoffrey Higgs and his wife Alison, along with friends, still gather around the piano for a sing-along. Home music making was popular in the first half of last century but the electronic era killed it off.

Piano tuner Geoffrey and Alison Higgs at their player piano or pianola Sales peaked in

Now semi-retired, Geoff tuned his first piano in 1948. His ear has lasted and he can still coax instruments to the right pitch. Alison’s musical and theatrical interests stretch back to childhood and her particular passion was Gilbert and Sullivan.

Piano tuner Pianola roles by the dozen

Just a few of Geoff's large collection of pianola rolls of the hits of the day.

In his garage-cum workshop Geoff demonstrates a variety of piano tuning tools to Spectrum’s Jack Perkins but his pride and joy is a pianola or pneumatic piano dating from the 1920s and lining the wall are the paper rolls with holes in the paper which make the notes of the hits of the day.

Piano tuner Geoff the tuner in action

Gone are the times when every second or third house in a street would boast a piano and Geoff spent a whole day ‘tuning one street’. His skills were also in high demand from visiting opera and vaudeville companies and the Wellington Town Hall’s Steinway had to be perfectly tuned when some of the world’s finest concert pianists performed on it.