Piano Technology

A time-honored profession in a modern world

  • • Are you interested in musical instruments?
  • • Do you like to solve problems?
  • • Would you like to be your own boss?

Consider a career as a piano technician.

Piano technicians are trained to tune, repair and adjust pianos to improve their sound and touch. Full-service piano technicians can diagnose problems in the mechanical functioning of pianos and fix those problems so owners can enjoy their pianos for years to come.

Skills Required

Normal hearing, patience, average finger dexterity, and a willingness to learn are needed in this field. A musical background is not required. Skills and knowledge in cabinetmaking and piano design are important for those who are interested in piano rebuilding.

Piano technology involves physical work, so general physical fitness is important. An individual of any age, sex, or background can find success in this field.

Skills in operating a small business are necessary for self-employed technicians. Successful technicians have good organizational and communication skills and enjoy working with the public. Some piano technicians also use computers and other electronic devices to assist them in their work, so the ability to use a computer is beneficial.

Working Conditions

The majority of piano technicians are self-employed. Others work for music stores, other technicians, manufacturers, school systems, colleges and universities, or in other institutional and performance settings.

Piano technology is a good profession for those who like to work independent­ly. Because most work is done in private homes, it offers a flexible schedule and a large amount of local travel.

Piano technicians report a high level of job satisfaction, a low stress level, and a serious commitment to continued personal and professional growth.

Training

People learn to become piano technicians through enrollment in residential schools, correspondence or self-study courses, and apprenticeships. You can learn through full-time academic programs, through part-time customized programs, or at your own pace.

A list of piano technology training programs is available from the Piano Technicians Guild. Entry-level training usually requires from six months to two years, but allow two to five years of training and practice to develop competence in piano tuning and repair.

Tuition and supply costs can range from approximately $1,000 (correspondence) to more than $11,000 (academic programs).

Opportunities for professional development are available through piano manufacturers, some of the schools that offer entry level training, and the Piano Technicians Guild at the international, regional, and local chapter levels through classes offered at conventions, seminars, and meetings.

The Piano Technicians Guild also publishes the only trade-specific magazine in the field, The Piano Technicians Journal. Various technical and reference materials are also available from the Piano Technicians Guild.

What You Will Learn in A Piano Technology Training Program

Whether you enroll in an established school, apprentice with another technician or choose to study on your own, a core curriculum in piano technology typically includes the following subjects:

  • Tuning Theory and Terminology
  • Tuning Procedures
  • Piano Parts and How They Function
  • Common Field Repairs
  • Action Regulation
  • Tone Regulation
  • Business Practices
  • Piano History and Design

Advanced training may include the skills and knowledge needed for concert tuning, specialty repairs, reconditioning, and rebuilding.

If you decide to start your own business you will want to seek training in the operation of a small business, financial management, taxation, marketing, and customer service.

Technicians usually own their own tools, so plan on making an investment in supplies and materials.

Income Potential

Income for full-time, experienced technicians employed in this trade can average between $35,000 and $75,000 or more a year depending on location and initiative. Most technicians are self-employed and can build a good business within three to five years.

Additional income may come from accessory sales, rebuilding, piano rentals, and retail sales. There are over 17 million pianos in the U.S., and the need for qualified piano technicians will continue to grow.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and 2012 PTG Member Survey

Opportunities for Advancement

Piano Technicians Guild members can be certified as a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) by passing a series of exams covering technical knowledge, tuning, and repair skills.

Technicians who enjoy teaching or writing have a variety of opportunities to share their skills and knowledge.

Some technicians use their training and experience to operate a piano or music store where they sell new and used pianos. Others go into the specialty business of reconditioning and rebuilding used pianos.

Technicians may also design and build pianos, tools, or parts for resale to other tech­nicians.

Certification

A Registered Piano Technician (RPT) has earned the only certification available in North America for those who tune, regu­late, maintain, and repair pianos.

Administered by the Piano Technicians Guild, a series of three knowledge and skill examinations challenges even the most experienced and well-trained technician. No other organization has done more than the Piano Technicians Guild to upgrade and validate the profession of piano technician. Only Piano Technicians Guild members are eligible to become Registered Piano Technicians.

Registered Piano Technicians are professionals who have committed themselves to the continual pursuit of excellence, both in technical service and ethical conduct.

Through affiliation with other technicians, manufacturers, suppliers, and teaching associations, Piano Technicians Guild members continue to enhance their knowledge and skills.

About the Piano Technicians Guild

The Piano Technicians Guild is the largest organization of its kind in the world. Its mission is to promote the highest possible standards of piano service by providing members with opportunities for professional development, by recognizing technical competence through examinations, and by advancing the interests of its members.

Join PTG

For membership information or a list of technicians in your area, contact:

Piano Technicians Guild

ptg@ptg.org - www.ptg.org - 913-432-9975

4444 Forest Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66106

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