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Best Training Courses
#2753405 07/23/18 04:49 PM
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So I finally start working with a tech this week to learn how to tune and service pianos. I purchased an old Everett studio and all my own tools (so expensive) In addition, I am looking at doing a course. I was looking at the Piano Tech Academy online program and was wondering if anybody has had any experience with it? Any help would be appreciated as always.

Last edited by JodyT; 07/23/18 04:50 PM.

Jody T

1975 Knabe model 509
1981 Yamaha P22
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Re: Best Training Courses
JodyT #2753415 07/23/18 05:48 PM
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I don't know much about the current courses offered out there. There used to be a number of really poor ones.

I would definitely suggest getting involved with the Piano Technicians Guild if you haven't already. They have printed resources that are quite educational and many local chapters have ongoing classes often with the goal of helping you to be prepared to take the tests to become an RPT. Those tests make you demonstrate lots of practical skills you'll use in piano service work.

I probably said it poorly but hopefully others will say it better than me.

Good luck!

Re: Best Training Courses
JodyT #2753452 07/23/18 08:12 PM
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The best school is the North Bennet Street School in Boston. It is a very thorough and complete course, and is also quite expensive.

My familiarity with the online and correspondence style courses is pretty limited. Any of them might have merit when combined with one on one mentoring.

Bellyman's recommendation for attending nearby PTG meetings is invaluable, and becoming a member gets you the journal which is full of information.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
Re: Best Training Courses
JodyT #2753613 07/24/18 04:15 PM
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KawaiDon, I just went and checked out the North Bennet Street School. You weren't kidding about expensive. If I read it right, you drop $50k, which is pretty serious coin to me. Not saying it isn't worth every penny. Just that it is a significant investment for many.

Re: Best Training Courses
Bellyman #2753629 07/24/18 05:12 PM
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But consider the cost per hour. NBSS piano training classes are 5 days a week for 40 weeks or so, each class day running from about 8am to 3pm with an hour for lunch. That's 200 class days times 6 hrs a day, or 1200 instruction hours. $15000 divided by 1200 is around $14 or so an hour -- check that against the other piano training possibilities (I'm serious, my math could use checking). Thanks for reading this.

The big issue for me with NBSS was the attendance hours expected: you had better be serious about piano work to focus on it full time for 40 weeks!
Riverview, NBSS '90


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Best Training Courses
JodyT #2753678 07/24/18 09:16 PM
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I'm not sure where the $15,000 came from. Maybe an old number?

(Information from the current website) https://www.nbss.edu/full-time-programs/piano-technology/tuition

The basic course is $25,500. The advanced course is another $25,500. They are each 36 weeks and 1260 hours.

So total, it's $51,000 and 2,520 hours of instruction. So if my math is correct, it comes out to just a little over $20/hr.

It would be interesting to see what they're covering in their basic and advances courses. I didn't see that on the website, unless I missed it somewhere.

The only other course that I am aware of is the Randy Potter correspondence course. From what the website suggests, the basic course is $1,400 and the advanced training is another $1,000. Still not cheap but perhaps a little more in reach for many, if that's a direction they want to go.

I will add that the last PTG Journal that I've seen is probably about 2005 so there are likely lots sources, educational materials, suppliers, and vendors that I don't know about. Looking forward to changing that soon!

Re: Best Training Courses
JodyT #2753681 07/24/18 09:26 PM
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The Rick Butler Course is very thorough, and Rick is a respected concert tuner and teacher.
He limits enrollment to the number of students he can honestly mentor, and often has a waiting list, unlike other online courses which seem to sign up as many students as they can get. He is constantly reworking his material for better results.


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Best Training Courses
JodyT #2753687 07/24/18 09:55 PM
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Back in the late 1970's, I fell victim to an advertisement in a magazine for the Empire School of Piano Tuning. Spent $400 on a very badly written book and some very cheap tuning tools. And I never did figure out how to tune a decent temperament with what they were teaching.

I actually learned to tune a temperament in my reading of John Travis' "Guide To Restringing", which I believe was under $20.

I think one if my best learning opportunities came when I started working at a large piano store with a substantial rebuilding and refinishing shop. Not sure how many of those kinds of places remain this many years later.

Re: Best Training Courses
Bellyman #2753752 07/25/18 10:08 AM
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Thanks for the correction to my post and for providing accurate information --


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Best Training Courses
JodyT #2753757 07/25/18 10:40 AM
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