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Marta the Piano Gal: A piano technician with a passion to perform

Discover the heartfelt journey of Marta Hansen during an intimate and revealing live radio concert and conversation

Marta the Piano Gal: A piano technician with a passion to perform

Source: Teri Barr

June 13, 2024 2:14 PM CDT
By: Teri Barr

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Discover the heartfelt journey of Marta Hansen during an intimate and revealing live radio concert and conversation

She is affectionately known as “Marta the Piano Gal.” But Marta Hansen isn’t just a musician. Hansen is an entrepreneur, and former music teacher who has transitioned into being a full-time piano technician with her own shop in Sun Prairie. Her story is one filled with passion and perseverance, and the songs she writes are often very personal.

Hansen is bringing an intimate experience to this “Live in the Lair” concert series which features a different artist or band in the studio each week. Every performance is broadcast across the state.

One of the show hosts, Jimmy K, kicks off the interview with some light-hearted banter about his favorite eateries in Sun Prairie, and Hansen agrees. Both love Salvatore’s Tomato Pies, with Hansen saying she believes in supporting her fellow small business owners in the city. 

The conversation moves on to her musical roots. “When did you start playing piano?” Jimmy K asks. 

WATCH AND LISTEN: Marta Hansen performs the emotional song, “Bang Bang”

“I started taking piano lessons when I was seven,” Hansen says. “It was fueled by my mother’s determination to give us every opportunity available, despite being a single parent. And the upright Baldwin piano that cost $70 ended up opening the doors to what’s now my lifelong passion.”

Another show host, Teri Barr, turns to the topic of Hansen, the teacher. “Did you enjoy your experience?” Barr asks. 

“It was always an adventure engaging middle school students in choir,” Hansen says. “But I’m proud I was able to get them to sing and even headbang a little to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was my creative way of inspiring and connecting with my students.”  

It’s time to hear Hansen’s first song of the night, “The Way I Used To,” and show host Rokker asks, “Is this song a warning or a prophecy?”

“Both,” Hansen says as she laughs. “It’s actually a poignant reflection on aging and self-acceptance as a wife and mother.” Her classically-trained voice mixed with delicate keyboard playing fills the studio as the three hosts nod in appreciation of her music, knowing it is also resonating with the show’s listeners. 

Hear the entire “Live in the Lair with Marta the Piano Gal” interview and performance, including her own take on a cool cover song, where to see her this summer, and she answers “Can you tune a fish?” here.

As the live segment progresses, Hansen shares more about her life. She talks about moving from being a teacher to running her own piano studio and becoming a piano technician. Barr wonders if there are many women who work as piano tuners. “I’ve had pianos since I was a kid, and it seems most of the techs are traditionally male,” Barr says. 

“Well, I love it,” Hansen responds. “I consider it a unique craft and have had the opportunity to tune pianos in so many different settings. Schools, churches, homes. And often my clients have pets which always want to assist me with my work!”  

”The next song you have for us is called “Ghosts,” Rokker says. “Can we learn about ourselves from our ghosts?”

“It is about learning from the past, but not being haunted by it,” Hansen explains. And as she plays, the introspective lyrics along with the melody – which is a bit haunting – leaves a silent moment of reflection at the end. The hosts then break into applause, and read a few texts of appreciation from listeners of the show.

The true highlight this night may be the powerful “Bang Bang,” a song about the fear and reality of school shootings. Hansen’s performance is emotional as she delivers the song’s message. It is also a somber reminder to cherish every moment.  

Throughout the show, the music is heartfelt and the conversation is fun. Her openness and authenticity allows the hosts and listeners to feel as if they are a part of her journey. Hansen performs a few more songs, including a cover from her grunge-inspired album, while admitting this is her favorite type of music. 

This “Live in the Lair” ends up being more than just a concert. It is a celebration of life being revealed through the power of music. 

The Max Ink Radio Show (L to R): Jimmy K, Marta the Piano Gal, Rokker, and Teri Barr
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