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St. Augustine piano tuner says being blind gives her an advantage

6:17 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A 23-year-old St. Augustine woman has been tuning pianos for two years now. 

It makes Michelle Lamm the youngest to start that kind of a business in Northeast Florida.

She says she's the only blind piano tuner in Northeast Florida as well.

"I was born with an eye condition called bilateral anophthalmia," she said while tuning a piano at a client's house in St. Augustine.

"Both my eyes were missing when I was born."

She was born in Japan, but her family moved to St. Augustine when she was young, and was able to attend Florida School for Deaf and Blind.

"In second grade, my mom read a magazine article to me about blind piano tuners, and since then I was interested," she said.

Two years ago, she started Michelle's Melody Fine Piano Tuning. She's state and county licensed and is a certified piano technician.

Which means she can do repairs as well as tuning.

"I really love my tools," she said.

Her parents Eric and Akiko play a big role in her business.

"They drive me to my client's houses," Michelle said.

"She's motivated a lot of people in my family," said her father Eric. "She's motivated me, my wife, my older daughter."

Michelle says she does all her tuning by ear.

"Aural tuning is the best way," she said. "It's because I have to tune by the fork."

She keeps a tested, true tuning fork in her tool box.

Michelle has clients from St. Augustine all the way up to Jacksonville. 

"I tune pianos for the University of North Florida too," she said.

Akiko says there have been difficulties along the way, but her daughter doesn't have any "give up" in her.

"It's been hard at times, but business can be hard for anybody," she said.

"There have been moments I thought about quitting, yes," Michelle said. 

But those moments were short lived.

Her father, a military man, wouldn't let them last.

"You have to keep going. Fighting is in her genetics," he said.

You can click here to visit the Michelle's Melody Fine Piano Tuning website for more information.

You can call her at (904)794-5726 or email her at michellesmelody@gmail.com.

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