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Meet Caleb Crockett of Crockett Piano in Oak Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caleb Crockett.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Caleb. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I didn’t dream of becoming a piano technician when I was a little kid.  It just sort of happened, really.  When I was about 13 years old, I started taking guitar lessons from a family friend who just happened to be a piano technician. I paid for the lessons by working in his shop. After six months, I quit the guitar lessons but continued the shop work.  He brought me along on what he called “big jobs” at the local universities, and he taught me how to tune pianos.  Tuning would later become the foundation of my business.  I moved to Chicago in 2013 in order take my career in piano-tech work to the next level.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Piano sales have historically been sensitive to changes in the economy, and sales have been declining since the 1920’s.  The 2008 stock market crash only accelerated this decline, leading America-based piano dealers of all shapes and sizes — high-end and “mom-and-pop” establishments alike — to permanently close their doors.  One of the few piano dealers that managed to weather the storm is American Music World here in Chicago. Rick Fajmon, who owns the Forest Park location, helped me get started here in town.  Prior to that, I had worked in the piano industry on a part time basis. Things began slowly but steadily picking up for me, however, and with Rick’s help, I’ve been able to establish myself in Chicago as a professional piano technician and enjoy an increasingly successful career.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business centers around tuning pianos in people’s homes, churches, and various educational institutions.  I’ve always been fascinated with things of a technical nature, and the scientific aspect of piano tuning — as well as the sharp technical skills it demands — was profoundly compelling to me.  From the moment I discovered how complicated piano-tech work truly is, I was hooked, and I’ve been practicing and studying all the various aspects of the process since age 14.  I enjoy continuing to perfect my skills, and I take great joy and pride in being able to make a lot of people happy in the process.  I’m proud of having built a successful business based on my passion, which essentially comes down to making pianos work and sound better.  I think one of the things that sets me apart from other piano technicians is that, having recently turned 30, I’m a bit younger than people expect a piano tech to be.

What were you like growing up?
When I was a teenager I taught myself guitar and played in rock bands, music was always a focus for me. I also dabbled in building computers, and painting. My friends and I did anything we could to crack each other up, which often involved recording “funny” songs in the spirit of Spinal Tap.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hayley Anderson

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