This sounds very fair, Bill. Just one question - would the electronic examinee be given a few moments to calibrate his machine to the specific piano before setting the pitch? I have an older Verituner, and sometimes it takes more than a minute to do the calibration. Once that was done, a minute to set the pitch is more than adequate.
So (I have to ask) if you have had this in mind all along, why the big fuss? Just wondering. Chuck
I came up with this plan two years ago with the idea that sooner or later, PTG would either be forced or at least, find it to be in its best interest to do exactly what you are proposing: an elimination of the aural tuning requirement.
If anyone said anything at all, it was that they were totally against it. However, as Ryan S. alluded, changes in policy often start in long range planning meetings where ideas are discussed. When I originally put my idea on PTG-L, it got no support at all, only a few negative comments.
When I basically repeated the idea (with a few tweaks) on the exclusive examiner list shortly before the convention, it generated no comments at all. However, I did get a private note from Phil Bondi who hinted that what I said had been discussed at a recent long range planning meeting.
I said to the examiners that I was not suggesting the idea for anytime soon and that I remain fully an advocate of aural tuning skills but there should always be a contingency plan in case it somehow became necessary.
I'll have to say it again that the only way anything like what you have proposed or the plan I have would ever become reality is if it is brought up as a proposal before council. It would probably have to be an Examinations and Test Standards Committee (ETSC) proposal and for it to pass, would have to have the recommendation of both the Board and the Bylaws Committee. If some Chapter proposed it out of the blue, it would most likely be defeated.
Bylaws proposals are made and presented in the Fall (and without checking the facts right now), they are due in November, I believe and I think that means November 1, not 30. So, if you want something done, you have to get your Chapter to make the proposal or if you want to write letters, write them to your Regional Vice President, the PTG President, the PTG VP who was formally the chairman of the ETSC and the present chairman of the ETSC who is now Keith Kopp.
I am not sure who your current RVP is or what kind of support you would get from that person but I doubt very much you will get any from the VP or the ETSC chairman. Both are old school aural tuners. Still, all those people need to know what is on your mind. Only the President, Phil Bondi may see your ideas favorably.
You are welcome to copy the plan I have, especially since it appears that something very similar has already been discussed. As soon as I get around to it, I will copy it too and put it into a Word document and send it to Phil Bondi.
Let me express my opinion as well that the RPT-E category of membership idea will not fly. It is another, similar to the many which have come before it which attempt to create sub categories of membership. I have to say that Council will not pass it. PTG has been on a path to promoting the RPT credential (I prefer to call it that rather than "brand") for many years.
It would be said that RPT and RPT-E would only tend to confuse the public and members would ultimately be dissatisfied with a category that effectively labeled those people as "Junior Varsity". It would only lead to more hostility. "Oh, you're only an RPT-E. You're not as good as us."
You indicated that you thought my plan was fair and I think it is something that the hard liners could force themselves to swallow because it levels the challenge. You have to be skilled to pass, not just be able to turn on the device and turn some tuning pins.
The time limits, tolerances and multipliers are all up for debate, of course. They would need to be tested just as the original exam was by many people of various skill levels. The electronic exam could be made even more difficult with even higher multipliers, for example. Very few allowable errors. It could be made so stringent that only a person who knows how to custom program the platform could pass.
For example, the High Treble has a requirement that the octaves be tuned as 2:1 type. (Many ETD users may not even know what that means). That category has only 12 notes. If there were a multiplier of 10 as there is on Pitch, one would really have to know how to make the ETD do that as it would only allow for two, one point errors for a minimum score of 80. Make the multiplier a 5 and you allowed only 4 such errors (as it currently is with Stability). The Bass and Treble could also have such "killer" multipliers which would quickly weed out people who do not have sufficient skill and experience.
It could actually result in more people wanting to choose the aural option because it is far more forgiving. That is the major contention with the use of ETD's and the exam. They would make it so easy for just about anybody to pass with the current time limits, tolerances and multipliers.
So, I say, make the RPT credential reflect appropriately skilled technicians, not just anybody who buys an ETD and a tuning hammer.
There could still be a third option which would be the aural Part 1 but electronic tuning option for Part 2 and aural only unisons as it is presently and with the current time limits and tolerances.
That would give the people who can learn to tune a temperament aurally the same choice and chance as they have now. If they pass the tuning exam that way as well as the written before it and the technical, they become RPT's and no one knows what option was taken except the examinee and the exam committee. There is no second class RPT.
The electronic only option simply has to present an equivalent challenge to the examinee. I never yet met an electronic only tuner who claimed to have no judgment at all as to whether the piano is in tune or not. It has been seen that even RPT volunteers on exams often have limited knowledge of how to check and verify errors. So, when the moment comes to verify any electronically scored errors on an electronic only exam, the exam committee itself will have to be fully up to the task.
As for your question about readying the Verituner or any other platform for the Pitch score, it is my understanding that all such platforms operate in the "Tune" mode. The platform is powered up and set to read the note A4 on A4, the first partial. When the examinee says he or she is ready, the examiners exit the room and close the door but they wait just outside. As soon as they hear the A4 pitch played, they start the 1 minute clock.
This is actually the way it is done now, except that the clock is set for 45 minutes and when 5 minutes runs out, the examiners enter. If the examinee is done before that 5 minutes is up, the time remaining may be used on the rest of Part 1.
When the minute is up, they enter, measure and score the results. It should really only take a few seconds to tune the note to pitch. The examinee has a full minute, however to verify that the pitch is reading exactly on and is stable. Under my plan, just a few 10ths off would reduce the score into the 90's. A person on the other hand who would struggle for a full minute and still not be able to land the pitch within 2 full cents of 0.0 would not be qualified to be an RPT.
The same would be true for the rest of the tuning. Small errors would be allowed up to a certain point but a sloppy tuning would not pass. It would also largely rule out people who may use other less sophisticated type devices such as strobe tuners or Korg type devices.
The Stopper software would presumably be quite effective but the use of that requires superior hammer skills to get the precision that it affords. Some of these other software programs that are sometimes mentioned in this forum which apparently produce superior results would also be just fine. You can't get the results from them of which they are capable unless you know how to operate a tuning hammer at a professional level and that is the fundamental premise of the RPT credential.
So, I think that would satisfy the often heard lament that it is the final results which matter. If you make the choice to take the exam electronically only, you have to be quite good at it or you would not pass, plain and simple but if you did pass, you would qualify as an RPT, no ifs, ands or buts (provided that the technical exam is also passed).
I apologize if I seemed blunt when I suggested that your time and energy would be better spent learning what may seem to someone like me as minimal aural skills. But as you can see, none of this is ever going to happen before your current membership runs out at the end of this year. It was my feeling that if you accomplished it, you would be in a much better position to advocate for what you want by being an RPT, being elected as a Delegate, presenting a proposal that has sufficient support, etc. and presenting your arguments for it personally in council.
It seems to me from what you have said, that you want to try the "I'm taking my ball and going home and so are all my buddies. You won't be left with enough players for a game unless you do what we say" approach. I don't think that would work and it would not result in an organization that is more inclusive. It would probably only further polarize people.
On the other hand, if you come up with some good, solid ideas that have a chance of working and you get some of the disgruntled ETD only tuners to write letters in support of what you want to see happen, then I think there would be some chance of having PTG be the way you want it to be.
You could actually be one of the people who tests out the time limits, tolerances and multipliers. We would need people like you to show us where to establish those criteria so that a new, electronic only exam would indeed be fair and an appropriate challenge.