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Denver PTG Convention Review #2442673
07/19/15 09:20 AM
07/19/15 09:20 AM
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline OP
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I'm in the airport waiting to go home after spending five days at the national PTG convention and I thought I would post some of my experiences.

First, I taught two classes, one on stability and one on tuning. I have never taught at the national level before. I was terrified. My lips were so dry before my first class that no matter how much I drank, nothing helped. I made a joke of it at the beginning of class, so that helped me relax a bit.

It was really cool to meet some of the PW members there. I met Lucas Brookins, and spent a lot of time talking with Inlanding for instance.

I met a lot of people at my booth and found out that there are a lot more technicians who teach piano tuning than I thought.

But the most impact the experience had on me was just being in a place with some many people interested in piano technology. People were able to strike up conversations easily, having the same interests.

Here were some of the most memorable moments for me:

- Meeting my roommate, Jack Houweling. Check out his woodworking youtube channel. https://m.youtube.com/user/Jacka440

- Singing along with Larry Crabb and the barbershop singers.

- Dale Probst's touching Golden Hammer acceptance speech.

- Meeting Robert Scott of Tunelab, a real down to earth, kind man. And obviously very smart.

- Having lunch with Randy Potter at Wendy's and hearing his stories about hunting with his uncle.

- By some strange stroke of luck, sitting at the Golden Hammer recipients table with greats Leroy Edwards, Rick Baldassin, and Wally Brooks, although I was too shy to actually talk to them.

- Meeting Paco Morales. I was invited to teach in Ecuador with him but it didn't work out. His passion for piano technology was infectious, even though we didn't talk pianos much. We talked about Salsa music and Puerto Rico.

- Losing my luggage with half the items I needed for my classes and my booth.

- Finding my luggage.

- Seeing all the rabbits outside. I've never seen that many in the wild and they were not afraid.

I highly recommend attending a regional or national conference (not just for the rabbits. I can't guarantee there will be any in Norfolk). For me, it was like grad school and I learned a lot.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
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Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2442685
07/19/15 10:39 AM
07/19/15 10:39 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,021
Chicagoland
RonTuner Offline
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Nice write up! I always enjoy hearing experiences from those that were able to make the convention. Let's hear from some others!

What's something new you learned?
What was the funniest thing that happened?
Who surprised you?
What piano/concert really sounded terrific?
What did you find that you just had to buy?

Ron Koval

Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2442699
07/19/15 11:56 AM
07/19/15 11:56 AM
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Boston, MA
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bellspiano Offline
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Mark,

Thank you so much for your personal and touching review of the Denver convention. I was thinking, shall I plan to go to Norfolk next year -- even though I am retired -- andf you have put a big weight onto the "yes" side of the scales.

Best wishes, Dorrie


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2442711
07/19/15 12:35 PM
07/19/15 12:35 PM
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Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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I wonder why even the Canadians always call it the "National"?


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
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Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2442801
07/19/15 06:04 PM
07/19/15 06:04 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline OP
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The piano for the Kawai concert was phenomenal. Notwithstanding the debate over unison colour, I heard the unisons uniformly blooming. The pianist, sorry, forgot his name, played Chopin, so there was a lot of isolated unisons in the mid treble, and they all uniformly swelled and seemed to sail out over the crowd. The piano was prepared by a very high level technician, again, forgot his name, that Kawai sends throughout North America to give the first tuning on the KX series pianos. (Hope I got that right), so it is not surprising that he may be doing something that some of us mortal techs cannot do.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: RonTuner] #2442876
07/20/15 01:17 AM
07/20/15 01:17 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 963
CO, USA
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phacke Offline

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[quote=RonTuner] Let's hear from some others!/quote]

I'm local, so it was pretty easy (other than rush hour traffic) to go

What's something new you learned?
Much. But one thing maybe of interest because it is relatively new is a tool to set the strings at the bridge pins. It has a small pipe that fits over the bridge pin and an arm that extends to the wire in the speaking length, and you torque it to straighten the wire. The advantage is that there is less total force on the bridge pin than if you push the wire with a rod or dowel, and less chance for driving the wire into the wood on the bridge. Apparently its a Fandrich idea, Rick Florence at ASU introduced it, I forgot who makes it. It wouldn't be difficult to make out of some aluminum bar stock.


What was the funniest thing that happened?

Not too much funny, though I met a guy (Raymond Cugnolio) from South Africa that has a rebuilding shop.

I apparently was only one of some number of people that mentioned, "hey, do you know Mark R that posts on piano world?" He did not.

Who surprised you?

Everyone was very nice, and I learned a great deal. I came right out and said I was amateur and briefly disused my specific interests within the field. I could get the chance to meet and buy lunch for a few technicians that have given me helpful feedback to me here on PW.

What piano/concert really sounded terrific?
I only attended the Yamaha concert, but I was not able to hear very well because there was a lot of talking. They served good ice cream.

The high-end pianos on the floor were actually disappointing for one reason or another. Sometimes regulation(SK), sometimes sound (Bose), sometimes quality of build/materials/fit+finish (M&H). Rick Baldassin was discussing in a general way that regulation of the pianos on the exhibition floor was problematic during his action regulation class that I attended. The class was out of this world excellent, as were many others.

What did you find that you just had to buy?

There were some tuning hammer makers there and of course M&H/WNG are developing very nice tools that were on display, others too; but Pianotek and Schaff were not there. The story was that if they sell with physical presence in the state, they have to charge sales tax in that state for the next 3 years. I bought a signed copy of Pianos Inside Out from Mr Igrec himself.

Best wishes-


phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Toccata (G minor) BWV 915
(and trying not to forget the other stuff I know)
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: phacke] #2442893
07/20/15 03:48 AM
07/20/15 03:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,265
Pretoria, South Africa
Mark R. Offline
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Mark R.  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,265
Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted by phacke
Not too much funny, though I met a guy (Raymond Cugnolio) from South Africa that has a rebuilding shop.

I apparently was only one of some number of people that mentioned, "hey, do you know Mark R that posts on piano world?" He did not.


I'm just an amateur, interested in learning. *blush*

Indeed Raymond and I haven't met (yet), but he knows my wife, who is a music teacher. One of Raymond's apprentices actually contacted me here on PW. It turns out his shop is just a few blocks from the institute where I work. I want to pay him a visit sometime. Small world...


Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2442908
07/20/15 07:02 AM
07/20/15 07:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
France
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Olek Offline
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France
You guys have lot of fun :

Nice to read the report

Nice to read that you heard a well voiced piano hence good unisons possibles

This actually is just possible with any acceptable upright assuming the hammers are voiced traditionally.

If too much energy is used to have crispness during attack, it cut in the possibles for projection and tone deepness

Not to say attack have to be muffled , best of both worlds is possible, while not with all hammers

It takes much energy, have to be done preferably before hanging the hammers, and one does not need to be shy

Then much more material is available to have nicely projecting unison, which is not the case with bell like but short tone.

I think I must stop by now !


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT] #2442912
07/20/15 07:26 AM
07/20/15 07:26 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,610
Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
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Posts: 2,610
Strong, Maine
Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
I wonder why even the Canadians always call it the "National"?

I think that might be because "North American/International" might take too long to say and write. wink

Last edited by David Jenson; 07/20/15 07:51 AM. Reason: spelling - Doh!

David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark R.] #2442919
07/20/15 07:58 AM
07/20/15 07:58 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,016
Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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Joined: Aug 2002
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Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted by Mark R.
Originally Posted by phacke
Not too much funny, though I met a guy (Raymond Cugnolio) from South Africa that has a rebuilding shop.

I apparently was only one of some number of people that mentioned, "hey, do you know Mark R that posts on piano world?" He did not.


I'm just an amateur, interested in learning. *blush*

Indeed Raymond and I haven't met (yet), but he knows my wife, who is a music teacher. One of Raymond's apprentices actually contacted me here on PW. It turns out his shop is just a few blocks from the institute where I work. I want to pay him a visit sometime. Small world...


Mark,

I had a long meeting with Raymond. I guess you would say it is one of those small world coincidences but I did mention that there was someone who often writes on PWF who was from South Africa, not imagining at all that you two may know each other. Nevertheless, he wanted to know who you were and when he saw that you were in the same area, he wanted to look you up.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2442983
07/20/15 11:47 AM
07/20/15 11:47 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline OP
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I looked it up. All I could find was PTG Annual Convention and Technical Institute as the official name.

But I did find cases of some other Americans calling it the national convention, so what's your point, Bill?

http://tprtools.com/blogs/news/37110593-ptg-annual-convention-and-technical-institute-july-15-18


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443207
07/20/15 11:32 PM
07/20/15 11:32 PM
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Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
I looked it up. All I could find was PTG Annual Convention and Technical Institute as the official name.

But I did find cases of some other Americans calling it the national convention, so what's your point, Bill?

http://tprtools.com/blogs/news/37110593-ptg-annual-convention-and-technical-institute-july-15-18


Just what you said.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443212
07/21/15 12:15 AM
07/21/15 12:15 AM
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rtheaux Offline
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I attended the convention for the first time this year. (complete amateur). I've been studying for a year and three months now and trying to balance public school teaching job, professional musician, and low confidence level. I can say that in all my musical/professional career I have never been around so many open, friendly, and welcoming people. The PTG is a one of a kind organization. I was able to get the big picture of the industry and confidence/inspiration to continue my endeavor.

What's something new you learned?
The specific striking point of the string and it's significance.

What was the funniest thing that happened?
I went to a prep for the written exam. The next day I went to another class that I thought was a continuation of that prep. Turned out it was the actual test. I said to a few others "I have to get out of here" they all convinced me to try and take the test. After much coaxing I went ahead and tried, and was surprised to know how much I had a handle on.

Who surprised you?
Well this was sort of a surprise. I went to a regional meeting on one of the mornings and met Elizabeth Ward. I had no idea who she was or that she would be at the convention. (She is closely related to a member of my professional musical duo)

What piano/concert really sounded terrific?
The piano in David Anderson's clinic. Also my favorite clinic.

What did you find that you just had to buy?
The new Gazelle network software. It does everything and I can grow in to the business.

Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443213
07/21/15 12:24 AM
07/21/15 12:24 AM
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Inlanding Offline
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This year's PTG Convention was my first, and being a local guy made it very easy to attend.

The minute I walked into the hotel on Wednesday, I noticed immediately the large degree of enthusiasm everyone was showing. People were very engaged in the piano conversation, the regulars at the national conventions were re-connecting, sharing stories and talking about which seminars were of interest, etc.

The Denver Chapter had a welcoming table and there was always someone there to offer assistance. I found myself looking at nametags, as I was as well interested in meeting Piano World regulars. I introduced myself to many PW regulars and it was great putting a face to the name. I stopped by the various booths to introduce myself and it was great talking at length with Mark Cerisano. I was fortunate to talk with Jurgen, Robert Scott, Jim Coleman, Rick Baldassin, Cy, Dale, Jim Busby, Christopher Brown, Larry Fine, Paul Sanderson, Randy Potter, David Anderson, and Eric Johnson. It was great spending time with some folks from the Denver Chapter.

It was tough deciding on which seminars to take, as there were often more than one I wanted to attend scheduled at the same time period. I attended a seminar nearly every period and was pretty tired at the end of each day. I'll comment on a few.

I sat for Mark Cerisano's class on Equal Temperament and Octave Sizes Using RBIs. The class was packed and the class materials were excellent. Using the supplied Pramberger grand, he demonstrated some great techniques using temperament checks for three different octave sizes. Everyone was engaged in the conversation, as there were some beginners and a great many highly experienced technicians in attendance. I learned some additional aural checks to improve my own tunings that before I'd not considered. The main goal was to get folks to hear beats. He used an adjustable band pass filter, and Audacity to reinforce and demonstrate what people were hearing on the piano. Mark's open-minded approach to teaching made for a solid experience.

Another seminar that had an impact on my weekend at the PTG Convention was also that same Saturday. David Anderson and Eric Johnson shared their expertise with an SRO crowd. They took the concept of end-to-end Complete Piano service to a very high level. That class was for two periods. What they brought to the fore was their expertise gained from their lifetime experiences gained regarding piano technology. They made it fun and interesting - you can tell they love what they do! The group was fully engaged and everyone left with well more enthusiasm than when they arrived. After that seminar, I was walking down the hall and heard someone playing Mozart and Chopin on the piano they used to teach - it got my attention. The connection she made with that piano was quite clear to me. It was wonderfully regulated and tuned - better than any of them in the exhibit hall.

The class on Alexander Technique was very good and I found it applied quite nicely to what piano technicians need to address to counteract the effects that accumulated poor body mechanics, poor posture, and repetitive motion stress have on the body. Aside from a Product Engineering background, I have twenty plus years experience as a fitness trainer and I have been able to observe on my own the effects that repetitive motion combined with poor body mechanics/posture can have on folks.

As for the pianos in the exhibit hall, a few were pretty nice and a few I found underwhelming. Of all the pianos in the exhibit hall, the Yamaha C3x was by far the most pleasing to play. The Grotrian was also quite nice. The Bosie and the Shigeru Kawai felt good, but were lacking, as were all the M&Hs. Prep is key, and it must have been the ones that didn't make the cut to my mind's ear that probably did not get the attention they should have for a convention like that. Pianos Unlimited had a fabulously restored Steinway A on display - it had its share of players that stopped by for a test-drive. There were some fantastic piano players there - very impressive.

David Korevaar played for the Kawai Concert on Friday night. He's a professor at CU and I've seen him play before. That night, he was on his game. The piano was extremely well-prepped to fill a carpeted, high ceiling ballroom, packed with an enthusiastic audience. Unfortunately, I missed Sue Downs for Saturday night's Yamaha jazz concert. There were many other events I missed, but the convention was a hit for me.

Glen


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Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443283
07/21/15 08:35 AM
07/21/15 08:35 AM
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Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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While I was mostly busy with exams and tutoring, I saw that nearly every class that was offered had a standing room only crowd. The Executive Director's report in Council said that membership had declined to pre 1988 levels which on the surface, looked disappointing but much of the decline had to do with older members who have passed away. Every year at the opening session, there is a long list of members who have passed away during the year since the last convention.

The strength of the organization was seen in the long line of new RPT's which were honored (24, if I remember correctly). Those people all worked hard to pass the three rigorous exams while the charter members in 1957 and for some years beyond that never had to take any exams. Every month, the Journal has a list of new RPT's.

The exams evolved in difficulty to the point where passing both the tuning and technical are a real feat of accomplishment. Half of people fail on first attempts. All slots for exams were full and there was a full slate of Part 1 retakes after hours too. Many of the new RPT's were quite young, so they have their entire career ahead of them to build upon their own, personal skills as well as to build upon the strength of the organization.

One point was made perfectly clear: There will be no further acquiescence to electronic tuning for the exam. In fact, there will be a push for all examinees to use nothing more than a tuning fork. The feeling is quite strong that an RPT must have basic aural tuning skills.

Surely, this has and will continue to frustrate the segment of Associate members who have not learned aural tuning. They have no choice in the matter other than to buckle down and learn them if they wish to have the RPT credential. It may well result in a smaller organization than it would be if PTG lowered its standards but the RPT's who control membership standards in Council would rather have a better organization than a larger one.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443309
07/21/15 09:59 AM
07/21/15 09:59 AM
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline OP
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Thanks for the kind write up Glen. It was a pleasure meeting you. Hope to see you again at another convention.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443324
07/21/15 10:38 AM
07/21/15 10:38 AM
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I met Glen at the convention too but unfortunately, all I could do at the moment was greet him. I'm glad to know he got so much out of the experience.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443326
07/21/15 10:49 AM
07/21/15 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
I looked it up. All I could find was PTG Annual Convention and Technical Institute as the official name.

But I did find cases of some other Americans calling it the national convention, so what's your point, Bill?

http://tprtools.com/blogs/news/37110593-ptg-annual-convention-and-technical-institute-july-15-18


My point really was that during my entire 32 year membership, almost nobody, even people from countries other than the USA, never called the event by its actual name. There was a proposal in council to remove the word, "annual" and call it merely, "the,convention" in case the event went to being every other year.

I proposed that it be called the "International Convention" but that was ruled as "beyond the scope". So, it remains the PTG Annual Convention and Technical Institute but people still call it "the national" regardless. I never once even heard anyone call it the convention but I heard time and again people call it the National. In the PTG forums, that is what the write as well.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443345
07/21/15 11:51 AM
07/21/15 11:51 AM
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline OP
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That is much clearer. Thanks for clarifying.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Denver PTG Convention Review [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2443515
07/21/15 08:22 PM
07/21/15 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Thanks for the kind write up Glen. It was a pleasure meeting you. Hope to see you again at another convention.


No doubt the teaching experience for you helped you to solidify and modify your excellent approach. Likewise, Mark - look forward to the next one!

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer, RPT
I met Glen at the convention too but unfortunately, all I could do at the moment was greet him. I'm glad to know he got so much out of the experience.


Yes, Bill, I am glad to have shook your hand and introduced myself. You've been very helpful to me over the past few years as I've been learning more and more about piano care.

Glen


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Piano in kitchen/utility
by Daniel odriscoll. 02/22/19 06:25 PM
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