John has passed away as of Sept 2018 and his loving family who have been by his side and received excellent training from since the beginning and are continuing his amazing legacy.
As Brower Piano Continues now a 4th Generation - His Wife Cher & youngest daughter have taken the role of running Brower piano. With some updated services and more details, Please contact us to discuss how we can help your piano reach its full potential!
John was a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) with the Piano Technicians Guild, and a third generation piano craftsman. He has tuned and restored pianos for over 40 years.
His services have been employed by:
Glenn Miller Orchestras .
The State Theater
Florida Grand Opera
NCL Cruise Lines
Colony Theater, Miami Beach
Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center, Miami
Florida Atlantic University,Boca Raton
as well as many commercial jazz, classical and pop venues on the East Coast.
John was cross trained in both aural and hybrid tuning methods, which gives you, the customer, the best and most consistent tuning. Piano Tuning cost is less when you use a qualified technician!
'' The Piano Sounds great! I wish I knew John years ago! I highly recommend him! '' ~ Debra
" Brower Piano Service,
Thank you so very much for your kindness & interest of my piano. You understood the meaning of owning one of these majestic instruments.
Thanks to you, your wife & daughter in helping bring back my little 'Steinbach' back to life by giving her a second chance. The respect you showed towards my piano truly reflects in your artistry.
With great respect & gratitude.
Barbara Wong "
'' John, worked on both of my pianos. I'm playing mostly daily now where before I wasn't playing at all. ''The Knight'' sounds great again. Such sweet sounds in the treble. The Baldwin, of course, is the star and I'm pleased that it is back in tune. Thank you so much for your fine work! '' ~ Diane
" John - You made me drop a couple of tears (emotion) after watching such an endeavor with my mother's piano. You really like your work and are very professional at it. I'm Sure you will bring back the best of that beautiful piano which was part of my mother's life and I will enjoy it for years to come. Thank you '' ~ Donald
" The first impression I had when trying out my "new and improved" piano was a sense of unfamiliarity and I was shocked by that. It seemed like this was not my piano at all, and I did not touch it for a couple of days. When I did start playing again, it was with the expectation of having to re-acquaint myself with my instrument, and that made a difference. I definitely like the ease with which I now can play, how more expressive the phrasing has become. Thanks for suggesting the work and for truly improving my piano, I am very happy with the result! '' ~ Irene
'' John Brower has completed all the items we discussed and everything has really turned out well. He brightened up the keys which now have an improved touch as well as heightened appearance. The scratches have been buffed out , gloss finish touched up and the de-humidifer installed. Apart from doing an excellent job, John is an affable, pleasant craftsman and it's a pleasure dealing with him.'' ~ Dr Abrahams
" John - thank you for the best tuning my piano has had in memory. It is a month since you tuned it and it is holding perfectly. As mentioned, the piano has a history of not holding very well. So far so good and a pleasure to play.'' ~ Stephen
'' John - Thank you for making my piano well again. I am sending out an email tomorrow to all my friends with pianos. They all need tuning and no one knows who to call. They will! '' ~ Nan
'' John, The universe works in strange ways. That piano was the heart and soul of my house growing up in Brooklyn, NY. My parents purchased it in 1934, the year after they were married and during the depression, so you know what a sacrifice it was and how much music meant to them. I come from a family of musicians and entertainers. My grandmother’s brothers were vaudevillians, and her sisters played piano in theatres for silent movies. My mother played by ear, and she and her sister sang on the radio and entertained the troops in WWII in their youth, going on to other musical ventures later. My Dad sang too. This piano was the epicenter of the joy and laughter of family gatherings, parties with friends, and in fact of our lives. My brother and I learned and practiced on this piano too. My brother’s signature piece was Moonlight Sonata, though he preferred to improvise, (even on Beethoven) and play by ear. I wasn’t much for the discipline of piano practice, but played to learn the music and songs of different eras, and accompany my singing.
The piano moved with my parents to Miami Beach in the early 1970s and continued to provide the musical glue. Over the years it endured ambient humidity and several hurricanes, the last of which was Wilma. She blew in glass doors and windows and lots of wind driven rain. By that time, Dad was gone and Mom was too ill to play piano. Mom passed soon after and eventually her apartment was sold. At that time, sadly, no one in the family was able to accommodate this wonderful large piano. My brother was also gravely ill. So we couldn’t find the motivation to restore it. It was donated to a restaurant in the building. I was happy that at least it would continue to live.
Now, it seems, I just found out, that my niece Susie recently had an overwhelming urge to locate and retrieve this lost family member, for her own family. (I believe she is a bit of a psychic.) She had the will to follow these prompts. And timing was everything. She found the piano, recently abandoned, and then found you, of whom she said, “this guy is really an artist”. She sent me your link, and this morning I went to your blog and saw this songful soul being painstakingly and lovingly resurrected from the grave. I am so deeply moved. It is beyond words.
I am so grateful to you, and want you to know the significance of what you are doing. To paraphrase what my sister in law just wrote to me…. Susie’s children will touch the keys their grandfather touched. It will be forever be a part of us all.
And I am so grateful to Susie for her outrageous courage in following her heart and acting on her instincts and bringing about this ‘mitzvah’.
Now the clincher…When I saw your link I realized ..we also know each other from Islamorada and the Florida Keys Concert Association. I had no idea you did this also. And due to whatever forces are working out there, it has now come full circle. Welcome to the family, John'' ~ Marcia
BROWER PIANO NEWS
ALL IN THE FAMILY | Stuart News article | Sunday Dec. 7, 1997 | by Shelley Canupp
LOVE OF MUSIC BONDS THREE GENERATIONS OF PIANO TUNERS
[Note: prices quoted in the article do not reflect current market value]
Some peoples’ eyes bug out when John Brower tells them how much it will cost to restore their grandmother’s old piano. They don’t realize what’s involved. The average piano has 8,000 parts, some have 11,000. They usually are built from expensive woods. You don’t take one apart or even reglue a bit of loose veneer on one, unless you know what you’re doing. Brower, 37, knows what he’s doing. He does this for a living. After a brief fling with sales, piano repair and restoration became the love of his life. And it’s a love that spans at least three generations of this Port St. Lucie family.
Pianos were the first thing John Brower ever turned his hand to. He grew up in New Jersey with his Dad Adolph, a professional piano player and music teacher, mom and siblings. Adolph Brower’s father was a piano tuner who worked in New York. As a boy Adolph, and his father rode the New York City subways to the homes of piano owners. “I have what they call a natural ear,” Adolph said. At the time, he said, a subway ride cost 5 cents and Morris Brower charged $6 to tune a piano. “My whole family is musical,” said Adolph, who is 65 and retired, but still playing a little jazz on the ivories. “My mother (Rae) and my brother were both concert pianist.”
By the time they were teenagers, Adolph’s sons John and Frank, were working alongside their father. John played drums in high school, but he eventually turned to the piano. Both boys studied at Tusting Piano Co. in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Although he’s retired, Adolph regularly plays the piano at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in Wabaso and at Helga’s Café in Stuart.
His sons runs their own branches of the family business - Frank in New Jersey and John on the Treasure Coast. John rents warehouse space in Vero Beach to store his work and he’s working out of the family garage in Port St Lucie. “It keeps the family involved,” John said. His clients range from West Palm Beach to Sebastian. Whatever has to be done to a piano, he does. Stripping and refinishing, restringing instruments, replacing hammers, dampers and pegs, repairing soundboards - you name it. “Almost any piano can be restored if the owner is willing to pay the price,” he said. Such famous folk as Peter Nero and the Count Basie Orchestra have paid Brower for his expertise. He charges $65.00 to tune a piano. The price tag to restore one is much higher: $7,500 to $11,000 to restore a large upright player piano. The same job on a baby grand runs from *$4,000 to $8,000. [All prices quoted are not current market prices.] Some people hear these prices and say “Gee, I could buy a new piano
for that!” Sometimes they could, other times they couldn’t. New pianos are big-ticket items, as anyone who has recently priced one knows. A new Yamaha or Kawai grand may cost from $8,000 to $9,000. Small uprights cost about $4,500 and even “beginner” pianos go for about $2,500. It’s not surprising then, that there is a market for reconditioned pianos. In fact, they outsell new ones buy a ratio of 8 to 1, according to “Music Trade” magazine.
Children are notorious for losing interest in music lessons. So, if you have a budding pianist at home but wonder whether he’ll stick with it beyond a year, you’re smart to buy an older, reconditioned instrument rather than an expensive new one that may sit in your house unplayed. If mother’s old spinet has been gathering dust in a corner, you might want to hire a piano technician to rehabilitate it. A good piano will last 200 years, if cared for and restored every so often. The Browers have worked on a slew of oldies, including a 1918 Behr Brothers and Co. player piano. They’ve refinished historic pianos such as a 1907 Steinway, as well as Nickelodeons. Such jobs aren’t necessarily more difficult than reconditioning a standard modern piano. It all depends on the quality of the instrument and the care it received. Piano re-builders will tell you that newer American instruments are rarely as well-made as those built 50 to 100 years ago. “Prize pianos are pre-1940’s”, John Brower said. “They sound better as they get older.” Some new pianos from Asia are of low quality, though they cost $5,000 or $6,000 each, he said. They contain inferior wood, instead of the natural hardwoods of the American-made pianos.
All piano restoration requires four things: technical knowledge, skill, attention to detail and tremendous patience. Consider Baby Grands. These are grand pianos that measure less than 5 feet 5 inches from back to front. They’ve become popular in recent years. Even people who can’t play buy them to dress up a formal living room. It takes John Brower six to eight weeks to refinsh a baby grand. If he has to work on its innards as well, it may take longer. He has to know different woods, mahogany, walnut, cherry, oak and birch - how they take finishes. He has to know how to tear down a piano, remove the strings and pins, lift out the 200 pound cast-iron plate to which the strings are attached and repair cracked soundboards. He must know about grain fillers, sealers, stripping agents, glues and sanding techniques, and he has to breathe all the fumes and sawdust that are generated on every job. “It’s not clean work,” said John’s wife, Cher. “But, sometimes, it’s like a treasure hunt.” Cher Brower said the family has found many surprises in pianos. These treasure hunts include coins, stamps, and negatives of old, old photographs. “And sometimes the wood is a surprise. People paint pianos all sorts of colors, often covering beautiful mahogany or oak wood.”
John Brower said that he had other career options, but he wanted to restore and tune pianos. His 10-year-old son, Jordan, plans to follow in his family’s footsteps. He’s already polishing brass hinges on piano lids and sanding wood components. He eventually will learn everything about refinishing and restoring a piano by working alongside his father. “It’s in the blood.” John said.
“Pianos are our life.” Three generations -- Adolph, John and Jordan – agree that their love of wood and woodworking, and of things mechanical, keeps them going. John Brower’s daughters, Karissa, 13 and Triana, 7, also get in on the act. They sometimes help sand nicks and scratches on piano lids and legs. All the Brower children play the piano, taking lessons from their grandfather.
Part of John Brower’s pay is the pleasure and gratitude of piano owners when they see a family heirloom restored for the first time or when they sit and play a beloved instrument newly rebuilt. At first, they just smile and they sit down and play, he said. Then they say, “It’s just like I remember it from Grandma’s house.”