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Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools #2655730 06/23/17 12:23 AM
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Gimpt Offline OP
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Greetings! As you can tell from my post count, I am a new member here so I apologize if this is not the correct place to ask this question. I recently (for the second time) became interested in taking up a career as a piano technician, and after looking for ways in how to become educated I stumbled across this "school" called Piano Technician Academy. After looking at numerous reviews I think I have decided to go ahead and enroll in their course. But I was wondering what a few people here thought of the school, seeing as how I could not find any posts on this forum about it.

Secondly, I was wondering what opinion you all had of the tools that they offer on their store. I was considering purchasing them as well to go along with the course, but I know that other piano technician schools have people recommending you do not buy the tools from them. Is it the same with Piano Technician Academy, or are their tools good quality and okay to purchase? I also noticed that this website's store offers tool kits. Would it be better in the long run to just go with the Tuning Kit and Repair Kit from here instead?
Thank you in advance everybody,
Christian

Last edited by Gimpt; 06/23/17 12:45 AM.
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Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655735 06/23/17 01:39 AM
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You might want to look at this post before you buy tools. Tools accumulated by retiring tuners have the advantage of being a set that they have found useful. They might even come with some useful advice.


Semipro Tech
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655759 06/23/17 04:48 AM
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I agree with BDB. I strongly recommend you find a technician in your area willing to give you some time. You will need someone to bounce the lessons off of anyway. Good luck.

Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655762 06/23/17 05:16 AM
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David Boyce Offline
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Gimpt, welcome to the forum.

If you haven't already done so, I think it will help you to review the several threads in which individuals have raised questions about starting a career in tuning.

Don't expect too much too soon, and it may be that, depending on where you live, a second income stream, rather than a fulltime living, is all you will be able to get from piano work. Times are hard, and piano technology courses in colleges are closing. I don't mean to cast a downer on everything, but I'm just advising not to have unrealistic expectations.

As for tools, I second (or third) the comments above, and I'd certainly steer clear of complete "sets" of regulation tools etc that you can see on ebay. You'd probably never use half the things in them.

Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655860 06/23/17 02:24 PM
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If you're serious, consider the North Bennett Street School's piano technology program. Of the correspondence/ video online study possibilities Randi Potter has a long track record, and Rick Butler has (from what I hear/have observed in his teaching at PTG seminars) a relatively recent but excellent program of study.


Patrick Draine, Registered Piano Technician (PTG)
Draine Piano Service
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655879 06/23/17 03:55 PM
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My advice, join the PTG and start attending chapter meetings. You will make contacts and hopefully find a mentor who will work with you one on one. The Guild also has study resources. I don't know about you, but sitting next to someone and receiving immediate feedback about what you are doing properly, or not, works better than any workbook for me. Also, just like piano lessons, there is some accountability.

NBSS sounds great if you have $50k plus two years worth of living expenses.


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Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655882 06/23/17 04:10 PM
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David Boyce Offline
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Quote
NBSS sounds great if you have $50k plus two years worth of living expenses.


Yes, that's a huge hurdle, isn't it!

Is NBSS the only college-based program left in the USA now? I think the Chicago course closed? ANd the London, Ontario course closed in Canada.

Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655885 06/23/17 04:26 PM
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Yes, the Chicago school closed a few years back. Prior to that, the American Conservatory of Music (defunct) offered a class in piano tuning and repair. And in the really old days, Chicago Public Schools taught piano tuning as a high school trade course and offered a special program to train blind tuners.


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Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655888 06/23/17 04:47 PM
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Ed Sutton Offline
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See Jim Busby's new tutorial iBooks at <pianotechniciantutorials.com>
You get a remarkable introduction to piano service for $25 each, Grand and Vertical.
[See Hannah Beckett's review in July's Piano Technicians Journal.]
It is very hard to learn piano technology if you don't have a place where you can work on many pianos with direction of someone who is very good. It isn't easy for a beginner to be a good judge of who is very good. Jim's books give you a vision of a professional at work.
The correspondence and on line schools promise a lot. They don't really tell you how much more you'll need to find on your own.
Rick Butler only takes as many students as he can really coach. There is usually a waiting list.
This is a very rewarding profession if you are willing to do what is necessary to reach a high level of competence.That does not happen in just a few years.


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655890 06/23/17 05:01 PM
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Duke of Dunning suggestion about PTG - yes.
The Academy you mention reminds me of a corrispondance course I took in the 70's
Very basic and in retrospect, something I could have easily learned from the Braid White book Piano Tuning and Allied Arts.
Infact, Whites book was more comprehensive.
The tool kit appears to me to be the type that most if not all of it will be replaced once you start serious study.
Learning to tune with what I consider sub par tools - like the goose neck tuning hammer can delay progress.
The only good thing I see is the Coleman Beat Locator and a couple of tuning forks - aural tuning approach assumed and is good.


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Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2655921 06/23/17 08:07 PM
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Patrick Draine Offline
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If Gimpt is anywhere near the US Midwest he should attend the PTG convention in St Louis next month. Check us out!


Patrick Draine, Registered Piano Technician (PTG)
Draine Piano Service
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2656626 06/26/17 02:26 PM
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Gimpt Offline OP
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Thank you for the replies, everyone. From what I see it looks like the best way to learn is from local technicians who have the experience. Here in Southwest Florida I did manage to find a few technicians. From all of your experiences, would you recommend beginning to learn by yourself through books, or do people usually accept complete newbies if they want to learn? Thank you again.
EDIT: After emailing a couple local technicians, I found a person with 25 years of experience who offered to teach me and "turn over his customers and equipment to me." He said it would be three months of training, and there would be a "10,000 dollar upon front fee." Does an offer like this seem genuine and fair, or should I try to steer clear of such high price points?
I also apologize if I should not post information like this. If I need to I will delete the specific details. Thanks everybody.

Last edited by Gimpt; 06/26/17 04:27 PM.
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2656705 06/26/17 06:25 PM
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David Boyce Offline
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Even if the offer is a genuine one, I'd think twice about paying $10,000 up front.

You have not yet - have you? - even tried to tune a unison on a piano, or read one of the standard textbooks. How do you know if you will prove to have any aptitude at all, or even enjoy the work?

My feeling is that, if you were that eager, you might already have started - obtaining an old piano and a tuning lever, for a start.

How is what you get for your $10,000 to be quantified? What if it turns out you just hate the whole thing?

Much better, I think, to attend local PTG Chapter meetings if you can, and sound out a number of opinions, before you start to shell out big money..

Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: David Boyce] #2656729 06/26/17 07:53 PM
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As David said, looks like a bad deal. Seriously, look at NBSS. It prepares you for a real career. Want to get your foot wet? Join PTG, and attend next month's PTG Convention/Institute. http://my.ptg.org/2017convention/home


Patrick Draine, Registered Piano Technician (PTG)
Draine Piano Service
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2656738 06/26/17 08:45 PM
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Ed Sutton Offline
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There is no way you could learn enough, or develop enough skill in three months to successfully take over and retain customers.
If you have $10,000, there are much wiser investments you could make in a career. Did this person with "25 years experience" pass the RPT exams?
Go to the PTG annual seminar in St. Louis, meet many technicians, take classes, visit the Competency Playground to get your hands on some basic skill training. After that you will have some genuine experience to help you shape your way forward.


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2656857 06/27/17 09:54 AM
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Please listen to Ed, Patrick, David -- your assumption that the best way to learn is from local technicians is not necessarily correct. Why not try to connect with RPTs, teachers at PTG events, schools with high reputations? If you are really interested in making this career change, I strongly suggest registering for the PTG national convention in St. Louis, and talking with and learning from as many of us as you can. Seeking out teachers with high standards will not hurt you.


Dorrie Bell
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Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2657393 06/29/17 02:01 AM
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Christian, why not just ask your local tuner/technician if you could have a starter week exploring the rudiments from him for some scaled-down fee, maybe $1000?

Frankly, what he is offering - to teach you for three months of apprenticeship and hand you his tools and business at the end - seems to me very reasonable for $10,000. But as others have said, you need to explore piano tuning first. And you need to see if you are comfortable working with him, and if he seems like a competent and knowledgeable explainer.

You could both get started with him *and* also attend a PTG congress. These are hardly an either/or choice.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 06/29/17 02:02 AM.
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2657431 06/29/17 05:58 AM
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Ed Sutton Offline
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My wife's comment on this $10,000 offer:
"Run, Little Rabbit! Run!"


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Ed Sutton] #2657516 06/29/17 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
There is no way you could learn enough, or develop enough skill in three months to successfully take over and retain customers.

This is my thinking as well. Even if you were already an excellent technician, you would likely lose some portion of the client base simply because some people, if forced to switch tech's, will prefer another anyway. And after three months you likely won't have developed the skills to satisfy everyone either, which would result in more lost customers.

I agree that a try-it-and-see-if-you-like-it approach would be a better first step than committing 10k to something that you may end up not enjoying, or even discover you don't have a knack for.



And still I dream she'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
Re: Piano Technician Academy & Their Tools [Re: Gimpt] #2657567 06/29/17 05:41 PM
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Ed Sutton Offline
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One last comment to Christian;
Visit ptg.org, the PTG site, look at materials in the PTG store' and see what they cost.
You can join my.ptg, the discussion site for free, and read many discussions.
This should help you get some idea of professional level discussions.
There are links on my.ptg to youtube videos as well.


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
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