Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a real need for Piano Tuner/Technicians?
Yes! Just click here for more information.
Our long range goal is to foster the next generation of piano tuner/technicians by providing the foundation for the development of the skills needed to service performance instruments. Your instructor has worked with Concert Artist from around the world. There is in fact a real need for full service, high level piano technicians!
Fewer and fewer piano tuners are learning aural tuning skills. Today, the trend for piano tuners is to use ETD’s - Electronic Tuning Devices. There is a real need within the Piano Techniicans Guild for those with aural tuning skills. We believe that developing your aural tuning skills can lead to a high level of voicing and regulation skills.
There are those who believe that aural tuning skills are not needed when one uses an ETD. Our response to that is: 'You don't know what you don't know!' Tuning is all about the music. Tuning is as much about the arts as it is about the sciences. The human ear can hear things that machines can't.
There is something else to consider. Piano sales are not as high as they once were. Nonetheless, the statistics demonstrate that if there were no new pianos being sold, the number of existing pianos that would need continual tuning and service would exceed 10,000 per active piano tuner. When you consider that most people continue to tune their older pianos the potential for new technicians is very bright.
Who qualify to take the course?
First, both men and women, young and old take the course. You should have normal hearing. Having said that, there are some very good tuners that use hearing aids. You should be physically fit with normal strength, being able to lift 30lbs. or so. It is helpful if you have a mechanical aptitude with average finger dexterity. It is very important that you have a self-motivating spirit, a willingness to learn. You should have the circumstances and be able to discipline yourself to spend a minimum of 3.5 hours a week in study and practice. Six hours a week or more is ideal. Skills and knowledge of cabinetmaking and piano design are important for those who are interested in piano rebuilding. But, new piano's are being sold. And the trend is toward Grand Pianos. We need qualified tuner/technicians to service these instruments.
Do I need a piano to practice tuning?
Yes! And it should be in reasonable condition. The tuning pins should be tight and the tone should not be too bright. If the tone is too bright, we will show you how to 'voice' the piano down in such a way that it will not be permanent.
Do I need to know how to play a piano in order to tune?
No. A musical background is not necessary. The course covers the necessary information to learn the names of the keys and the intervals used to in tuning. Playing the piano is an advantage, in that you will already be familiar with musical intervals and their relationships.
How long does it take to complete the course?
The Tuning section of the course takes about 9 months to complete. Some have completed it in 6 months. Others have taken 18 months or longer. And to be frank, some have simply dropped out. They didn't appreciate the effort involved in learning this profession. It's a little like playing a musical instrument. You have to practice! You get out of it what you put in it.
One side point. Some students are able to go out and tune before they actually complete the course. This offsets to some degree the cost of the course. It also affords them the opportunity to gain experience in tuning other pianos.
The Technical segment of the course is not separate from the Tuning segment. Most students will begin the Technical segment after they're as least half way through the Tuning segment. This is a very important aspect of your training. "You can't tune a piano if the notes don't play." Repair and regulation is part of earning your Diploma from The Butler School of Piano Technology and obtaining your Certification from the Piano Technicians Guild.
How much do Piano Technicians earn?
That depends upon you. The price of tunings vary. In some areas, tunings range from $75 to $125. In the Washington D.C. are they range from $125 to $295. Income potential for full time, experienced tuner/technicians average between$35,000 to over $95,000 a year or more.
Additional income may come from accessory sales, rebuilding, piano rentals, and retail sales. There are over 17 million pianos in the United States and the need for qualified piano technicians will continue to grow. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau or Labor Statistics and 1999 PTG Member Survey)
Do you discuss the business of piano tuning and repair?
Not enough to mention. Keep in mind that this is not a course on business. For the most part I leave that to other professionals. You should seek training in the operation of a small business, financial management, taxation, marketing, and customer service.
Most piano tuners are in business for themselves. They set their own schedules. And, keep in mind that it takes time to build any business. Most tuners start of part time and if they desire, build it into a full time schedule. Many people have started to learn how to tune in anticipating retirement from their present occupation. A good piano business can be built in about 3-5 years on average.