About Us - Glenn's Story
Glenn embarked on his interesting life's-work in 1957 when he enrolled in the William Braid White Home Study Course in Piano Technology. Soon he realized that he needed the guidance of a private teacher and the experience of apprenticing in a piano shop. His philosophy in studying music and piano work has been to "find the best brain in the specialized area that you want to learn about, no matter how minute or small, no matter where this person may be in terms of distance or isolation, and pay him what he wants or help him in ways that only you can offer. We all have something unique to offer in the way of helping someone else."
His belief is that "knowledge is like gold, it is where you find it, usually not in a classroom with 50 other students where 45 of them are there for various reasons and are not motivated to learn."
Glenn began playing piano (by ear) at age 5 and serious trumpet study at the age of 7. His interest in music is rooted in the blues. At the tender age of 9, he began performing on floor shows, and for the next nine years worked as a solo act, playing trumpet, piano, and singing.
After graduating from high school, his trumpet skill earned him a position with the 8th U.S. Army Band in Seoul, Korea. There he played for such world-famous dignitaries as Emperor Heille Sellassie, General Charles de Gaulle, and Generalissimo Chiang Ki-Shek. Glenn and four other musicians from the Army Band formed the "Jazz Five", a show band which entertained on a weekly television broadcast in Seoul. In addition, he acted as an agent for the U. S. Army, inspecting pianos at Korean piano factories prior to their purchase and use in U. S. Army compounds. In the latter part of his time of service, he was based with the 36th Army Band at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. His activities there included playing trumpet, piano, and arranging music for the 36th Army Band, and pursuing piano technician work on and off the base. In 1961, fate dealt him a most interesting hand, when the First Sergeant of the 36th Army Band, Ed Johnson, introduced Glenn to Mr. Johnson's father-in-law, Martin Palm. Imagine Glenn's surprise and delight upon learning that Mr. Palm was the top piano technician in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, tuner for the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, and a charter member of The Piano Technician's Guild International. This introduction was the first of many two-week sessions of apprenticing and brain-picking with this wonderful teacher, including a trip from Glenn's native Ohio to Mr. Palm's shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Using his rapidly expanding skills as a piano technician, Glenn worked his way through school. His work ethic ("Work is a privilege") has sustained him toward earning two college degrees. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio and the Master of Music degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music.
He simultaneously maintained the pianos and studied as a full-time student at both schools. At the Institute alone, there were 150 Steinways to maintain. He says: "It was a great Steinway experience!"
From 1971 to 1975, he served as the Piano Technician at Arizona State University. In addition, he taught Instrumental Music and Band from 1971-1973 with the Tempe Elementary School District in Tempe, Arizona.
It was in 1973 that he established his Piano Rebuilding business, building a shop behind his home. He calls this family owned and operated business, Glenn Brown Piano Rebuilding. His work on pianos for the past 45 years has included studying Scale Design with Lewis Herwig, who was in charge of research & development at the Wurlitzer factory, and who taught seminars in scale design to engineers at Steinway in New York City and Hamburg, Germany. Mr. Herwig later worked in Mr. Brown's shop for the last eight years of his life. Glenn also studied Pinblock Installation and Action Rebuilding and Regulation with Willis Snyder of Pennsylvania (rebuilder of the Whitehouse Steinway grand). He has also custom designed many of the tools which he uses in his shop. The beautiful refinishing on his projects is done by Armand Caruso of Armand's Finishes.
Glenn has attended countless classes at the Piano Technician's Guild Institutes and seminars, has taught many classes for (and is a past-president of) the Phoenix Chapter of the Guild, and is a graduate of the Yamaha Little Red Schoolhouse. He has also served as Piano Technician for the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio and Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Since moving to Phoenix from his native Ohio in 1971, he has done hundreds of concert tunings and repairs for professional pianists appearing in concert at Phoenix Symphony Hall, Gammage Center for the Performing Arts, Celebrity Theatre, Desert Sky Pavilion, The Orpheum, America West Arena, and other local performing venues too numerous to mention., He was the tuner of choice for Harry Connick when the new Dodge Theatre opened in downtown Phoenix. Throughout the years, Glenn has met and tuned for some very interesting celebrities, among them: Liberace, John Browning, Art Blakey, Tito Puente, Freddy Hubbard, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Natalie Cole, B.B.King, Ferrante & Teicher, Vronsky & Babin, Claude Franke, Peter Nero, Lou Rawls, Elton John, Billy Joel, and The McGuire Sisters.
As an actively performing jazz pianist, Mr. Brown approaches his craft not only from the standpoint of the mechanical technician, but also as a pianist who is very sensitive to the touch, sound, and musical capability of an instrument. "Working on pianos is a privilege," he says. "It is not just a job to make money. I feel I'm creating an instrument which can make beautiful music. Music is what this business is all about." Glenn also believes that music is the best medicine in existence. "Best of all," he says smiling, "there are no side effects."
Glenn A. Brown · Piano Rebuilding · Piano Technicians Guild Registered Craftsman
1108 West 19th Street · Tempe, Arizona 85281 · Phone: (480) 966-3023