When he was in high school, Buddy Gray made a choice that shaped his life in ways he could never have imagined. Today, he operates what may very well be the largest piano tuning and servicing business in the US owned by a blind person.
From their home base in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Buddy and his staff currently service pianos in 14 states, traveling to churches, nursing homes, schools, colleges, hospitals, civic centers and private homes. Certain Buddy Gray Music personnel can even check your fire extinguishers while colleagues work on your piano–and that’s only part of what makes the proprietor’s story unique.
Buddy lost most of his vision to glaucoma at the age of nine and began attending the Maryland State School for the Blind in Baltimore during his late teens. Two teachers had an enormous influence on his life–Mr. Ford, who taught chair caning and Mr. Bennett, who taught piano tuning. Both were blind, and both were very intelligent, active individuals. Buddy was fascinated with how much they did as blind guys. In his sophomore year, he began skipping English and history classes to hang around the tuning and caning shops.
Mr. Bennett, the tuning teacher, would sometimes see Buddy hiding behind an upright piano in his shop. Finally, Mr. Bennett said, “You’re going to get expelled, and I’m going to get fired, so either take this course or stop hanging around here.” Buddy signed up for the course, and all these years later, he still has nothing but praise for the teacher. “Mr. Bennett was a blind role model for me. He loved and nurtured me and was a big influence on my life and what I have become.” Finish reading “The Piano Tuning Business Is Alive and Well”