When he was a Lynchburg College student, John Pastorius ’13 amazed his peers and professors with his upbeat attitude, talent, and excellent memory. Blind since birth, he memorized all the music for his senior recital.
Now he is an entrepreneur running his own piano tuning business in Alexandria, Virginia.
Pastorius began playing the piano when he was given a Yamaha keyboard at the age of 3. Then he picked up the French horn in his middle school band. “My family was very non-musical, and I didn’t think that I was great, but during my senior year of high school, I got a new band director that told me I had a gift,” Pastorius said. Pastorius played in the community before attending Lynchburg College and continues to play French horn in a community band.
Pastorius started as a music education major and later switched to music performance. “Lynchburg College was able to show me the history of music and gave me a knowledge of music and an interest in learning,” he said. “College was some of the best years of my life. Although a summer camp I went to before college prepared me for independent living, Lynchburg taught me to ask for help when I need it.”
He also helped teach others. As a senior, he had some of his classmates in an education class blindfold themselves so he could teach them how a blind person learns mathematics. (Read the story here.)
After college, Pastorius’s perfect pitch helped him gain admission to the School of Piano Technology for the Blind, a school that taught blind individuals how to tune pianos and run a business. He graduated in 2015 and began his piano tuning business, Perfect Pitch Piano, LLC.
“I loved the mechanics of [piano tuning] because growing up, I worked on antique cars with my dad,” Pastorius said. Running his own business can be stressful, but it can also be rewarding.
Entrepreneurship has given Pastorius the flexibility to travel and see his former guide dog, Houston, whom he brought to Lynchburg College. After Houston suffered a leg injury, Pastorius retired the dog to his mother’s home. In November, Pastorius traveled to California to train with Volvo, his new guide dog, at Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Pastorius says he doesn’t let the challenges of being blind affect his business at all. “I was born blind, so it’s always been a part of me and I do everything everyone else does,” he said. “I go about it just like anybody else, the only difference is that I use Uber to get around.”