Piano enthusiast’s good deed for public pianos

Richard Lidster tunes pianos
Richard Lidster tunes pianos
Have your say

A Sheffield piano enthusiast has spent an afternoon tuning two public pianos at Sheffield train station.

Richard Lister’s good deed means the two pianos, which have been out of tune for a number of years, are now able to be used once again by members of the public visiting the station.

As well as spending three hours tuning the two instruments, Richard, a piano tuner by trade, also carried out some small repair work - oiling and cleaning parts, tightening screws and replacing keys. He did all this for free.

“They’ve been driving me mad for the longest time,” said Richard, aged 28.

“They sounded so bad and so, when I found myself with a few hours off one afternoon recently, I decided to visit the train station and see what I could do with them. I worked on each piano for about 90 minutes.

“While I was working, lots of people came over to chat with me and see what I was doing. I don’t play much piano myself so, when I was finished, I did a few scales to test it and it actually sounded even better than I’d hoped. After that, a young man came along who did play piano and I moved out of the way to let hime play. It sounded great.”

Richard, of Fulwood, says he has always been passionate about music, and always knew he wanted a career in music.

“I started taking lessons in piano and classical guitar when I was eight and became obsessed with music in my teenage years. I also enjoyed playing the piano my parents had in the living room and, although my piano-playing skills never improved beyond the beginner level, I love the sound of the piano. It’s still my favourite instrument to listen to.

“I studied Music Production, Mixing and Mastering at the Sheffield College of Music from 2007 and 2009, and briefly considered a career as a sound engineer, but I believe my talents lie in hearing the underlaying mechanices of music rather than in the creative or artistic side of it. Piano tuning is the perfect job for me. I work all over the north now and get lots of bookings; there are lots of homes out there across Sheffield with pianos in them, many of them quite old and passed down through generations of the family.

“The work I did in the train station last week was a gesture of goodwill for the pianists of Sheffield. I think it will make lots of people happy.”