Institute Classes

 

   
 
   
     
 
Institute class Schedule
 
 KEY:    (E)  EVERYONE   (B) BASIC LEVEL  
(I) INTERMEDIATE LEVEL  (A) ADVANCED LEVEL

 

 

 

 


 ACTION REGULATION

(E) Feeling Your Way to Excellence

Fred Sturm, RPT, New Mexico Chapter  

Most of us focus almost entirely on sight and hearing in our work. The sense of touch has a lot to teach us. Analyzing action condition without removing anything, refining regulation and tuning, and becoming more efficient and ergonomic in our work are some of the ways a focus on touch can make us better technicians.

 

(E) Grand Piano Regulation Techniques

David Reed, RPT, Kawai America Corp.

There are manuals that give step-by-step instructions for regulating grand actions, but what makes one fluent at regulating is knowing the best techniques for getting each step done quickly and accurately. David draws on his extensive experience as a private technician, as well as his knowledge gained from working for multiple piano companies to achieve great results quickly and efficiently.

 

(I, A) Grand Regulation Actionpalooza

Rick Baldassin, RPT & Carl Teel, Renner USA

This hands-on class combines the popular “Are You Regulationally Challenged?” and “Are You Still Regulationally Challenged?” classes into an all-day experience. Students will first work in small groups to diagnose problems on a series of action models after which the solutions to the problems will be presented. Each student will then regulate a PTG test model according to a step-by-step procedure and his or her work will be checked for accuracy. This will be an intense day, but the instructors will make it fun. Limit 24 students. Pre-registration required. $40 fee. Materials and tools will only be provided for 24 participants, but observers are welcome.

 

(E) The Heart of the Hammer - The Art of the Bump


Fred Redekop, RPT, Manitoba Chapter

This class includes a thorough guide to traditional grand piano voicing and regulation. We'll discuss what to do - but more importantly - how to do it. See a step-by-step demonstration of hammer needling, filing and fitting, as well as the many regulation procedures required to achieve uniform and satisfying results. Good results require knowledge, but also skill and practice.

 

(E) In Home Vertical Service

Norman Cantrell, RPT, Central Oklahoma Chapter

Explore the next step in servicing vertical pianos. Tuning is the basic level of service but most pianos can benefit from additional attention. After a few years of moderate use, the action often begins to have problems with even touch and tone. We'll discuss a series of steps to improve the action and tone with a minimum amount of effort. The class will present three options, or levels, of improved service depending on the time and needs of the piano owner. Each level can be treated as a stand-alone addition to the basic piano service or combined to elevate the performance of the piano as a series of service plans.

  

(E) Three Regulations

Ed Foote, RPT, Nashville, TN Chapter  

More money can be made in living rooms than concert stages. This class features regulating for kids' lessons, casual pianists, and artists' ultimate demands. We'll cover ways to maximize your value with regulating, turn customers into advocates of your work, and avoid pitfalls while making sure-fire sales. 

 

(A) Upright Dampers - Friend or Foe?

Keith Bowman RPT & Mike Carraher, RPT, Vienna International (Hailun)

What will ruin an otherwise perfect action regulation? Poor damper work. Learn the real secret to achieving performance level action regulation. Join Keith and Mike for this comprehensive class that includes minimum regulation requirements, the damper drive train, tool demos, and diagnosing and correcting damping problems. We'll also cover felt replacement, underlever reconditioning, and trap work as time permits.

 

BUSINESS & NETWORKING

 

(E) Business-Savvy Professionals

Melanie Brooks, Brooks, Ltd.  

Defining practical strategies to make savvy business decisions will help you realize your goals. Focusing only on technical skills, we often lose sight of the costs of doing business. Join in a group discussion as we define what your time is really worth and how to build a road map to a successful business plan.

 

(E) The Business of Concert Work

Kathy Smith, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

This class is for anyone who ever services a performance piano, whether in a church, recital hall, teaching studio or large venue. The class is half business and half tips-and-tricks. Other great classes cover full concert setup, but this one concentrates on additional details not commonly discussed (such as billing styles, repairs, maintenance plans) gleaned from 35 years of experience. The class will include many photos and examples, tools and ideas, and solutions for common and unusual problems.

 

(B) Career Stability

Ed Foote, RPT, Nashville, TN Chapter

A stable career is no accident, but the result of planning. Learn to avoid piano specific injuries, skeletons in the closet, and getting trapped by a client. This class presents consequences of the choices we make, a list of things older techs wish they had known, and how to build your own clientele.

 

(B) Gazelle – Simplify Your Life

Tim Barnes, RPT, Gazelle Network

Geared towards established businesses, this class demonstrates how Gazelle, a comprehensive software built specifically for your piano service business, can simplify your life and allow you to focus on the work you love to do. Learn how to reduce your dreaded office work with Gazelle's Automatic Service Reminders and Self-Scheduling features. 

 

(E) Increase Your Income by 20% or More!


Ed Tomlinson, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

Learn how you can increase your income without adding more tunings or appointments. Work smarter, more efficiently, and offer more goods and services that will generate more income in the coming year. See how the

presenter's 30-year career as a piano salesperson, piano technician and piano dealer can provide you with what you need to know to maximize your time and translate that to a better income.  

 

(B) Intro to Movie Making Using Final Cut X

Rick Butler, RPT, Washington, DC Chapter & John Parham, RPT, Charlotte, NC Chapter

Instructional videos have become common place. Learn how to use your phone or tablet as teaching tools by utilizing relatively inexpensive movie-making programs. Lighting, framing and sound basics are covered as well. The instructors will use Final Cut Pro X, but the principles covered are universally transferable to other programs.

 

(E) Jumpstart Your Business

Tim Barnes, RPT, The Gazelle Network

Geared towards young businesses and new piano technicians, this class demonstrates how the Gazelle Network, a new software that enables you to manage your business on the go, can save you time and increasing your revenue. We will also focus on how google, facebook, and others have changed their platforms and capabilities. 

 

(E) My First 43 Mistakes in My 43-year Career

Isaac Sadigursky, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

You'll enjoy hearing Isaac as he shares his mistakes so that you don't repeat them too. There are really 75 mistakes on the list, but Isaac will try his best to cover them all. You'll look at business practices, customer relations, dealing with commercial accounts, scheduling, record keeping, selecting proper tools, shop organization, keeping clients,...and a lot of what NOT to do.

 

(E) RU Socially Insecure?  Plan for Your Retirement!

John Gallen, Connecticut Chapter

Most of us want to retire, but many of us will still be working beyond our standard retirement age. Did you know that you may have to pay taxes - not only on your retirement income - but also on your Social Security income? Are there limits to retirement income? While NOT an investment class, this IS a planning class. Come find out how this can affect your retirement plans.

 

(E) Things All Piano Technicians Should Know

John Parham, RPT, Charlotte, NC Chapter

Are you really listening to what the piano has to say? This interactive visual presentation includes a wide variety of discussion opportunities. See if you can figure out “What’s wrong with this picture?” or “What’s causing this sound?” Be prepared to listen-talk-repeat for the entire class period.

 

(E) Tired of Hearing You're Not Charging Enough?


Maggie Jusiel, Roanoke, VA Chapter

You'll have an opportunity to take a look at your own business model as we explore the purpose, people, practicalities and possibilities of how you operate. This presentation guides you through important questions that will help you identify your goals and think beyond what you are now doing.

 

(E) Women's Forum on the Piano Tech Profession

Ricki Klos, RPT, Ft. Worth, TX Chapter

Take advantage of this chance to talk with women (newcomers and veterans) in the field of piano technology in a round-table format. Explore opportunities, challenges, resources, and feedback of our experience in this unique profession. Share, learn, give and receive your thoughts and ideas about this business. Everyone is welcome!

 

College & University Technicians (CAUT)

 

(E) Building a CAUT Program

Daniel M. Sponenburg 

Want to know what "buttons" to push to get funding for supplies, tools, etc. for your program? You'll also learn how to set priorities for the institution and people you serve. Recommended for technicians who work with, or are interested in working with, college/conservatory music programs.

 

(I, A) CAUT Forum

Lucy Urlacher, RPT, Columbia, MO Chapter

Join us as we discuss a variety of issues relevant to college and university technicians. We will have a list of topics to start the session, but anyone can bring up anything they would like the group to discuss.

 

(E) Making Simple but Very Useful Jigs and Tools ?


Francisco (Paco) Morales, RPT, South Florida Chapter

Learn how to make your own jigs and tools. They may be simple and cheap to create, but you'll be surprised to see how useful they'll be for piano regulation and maintenance.

 

(E) Strategies for a Successful Institutional Piano Technology Career

John Foy, RPT & William Huesman, RPT, Central North Carolina Chapter  

A successful career as a piano technician at a school of music requires both short and long-term planning. This class will prepare you to meet highly demanding job requirements, and demonstrate how to reap satisfaction from a life as an institutional piano technician. As the vast majority of music schools and music departments are understaffed and underfunded in regard to instrument maintenance, decisions must be made carefully in order to best utilize your time and resources. We will cover specific technical methods to streamline your work that will allow you to accomplish your job with time allocations that rarely seem adequate. We will also discuss successful approaches to developing good relations with faculty, staff, and administration that will assist you in keeping on track year after year.

 

DESIGN & HISTORY

 

(I, A) Antique Viennese and German Actions

Bill Shull, RPT, Pomona Valley, CA Chapter & Mike Reiter, RPT, Eugene, OR Chapter

Viennese and German actions are encountered by piano technicians in everyday service, and usually the work is turned down due to lack of expertise. Many of these pianos are serviceable, and many are delightful and interesting, and a good source of income. Learn more about these pianos as we present some of the service procedures which will permit you to begin to service them.

 

(I, A) Chickering Service and History

Bill Shull, RPT, Pomona Valley, CA Chapter

Piano technicians encounter Chickering pianos frequently, and often steer clear of these otherwise fine pianos because of their unique and unfamiliar designs. The company built pianos over a long period, with many different and unique designs which now present us with service challenges. In the first period of the class, we'll introduce the history of the Chickering piano, and begin to help de-mystify the brand. In the second period, we'll address specific service challenges, many unique to Chickering, from regulation of the Brown action to servicing the Quartergrand, along with alternative strategies for managing the brass rails and flanges.

 

(E) Evolution of the Piano: A Collaboration Across Space and Time

Alan Eder, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

Feast your eyes, delight your ears, and expand your mind on this epic interactive journey tracing how the piano came to be. Special consideration will be given to the development of tool making and usage in general (starting with pre-humans!) and particularly the parallel evolution of weaponry and musical instruments.

 

(E) General Session: The H.O Studley Tool Cabinet and Workbench

Donald C. Williams, Retired Senior Furniture Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution

Our General Session features Don Williams, a noted conservator, educator, scholar and author. His presentation will focus on his four years of photographing and writing the book Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley. In a space of just 10" x 39" x 19-1/2", H.O. Studley managed to arrange - with perfection - more than 250 of his tools into a dovetailed mahogany cabinet that has captivated tens of thousands of woodworkers - and piano technicians - since it was first unveiled in 1988 on the back cover of Fine Woodworking. Mr. Williams will also be presenting classes in veneer repair and museum conservation.

 

(E) Introduction to Conservation Principles

Donald C. Williams, Retired Senior Furniture Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution

Learn more about the principles of artifact preservation and conservation. You'll see examples from previous projects as didactic touchstones.

 

(I, A) Restorative Conservation for the Piano Technician

Bill Shull, RPT, Pomona Valley, CA Chapter

A team with expertise in antique piano service will discuss the principles and protocols to help the everyday technician decide how to service older pianos. We'll consider how to maximize function without harming the historical value of the instrument. This is also a 10-year revisit of the 2007 PTG Technical Institute class on the “Conservation of the Piano.” 

 

(E) Woods of the Piano

Shawn Hoar, Connecticut Chapter

Take a guided tour through a visual presentation of how pianos are made and the material differences involved. Explore one hundred and thirty years of piano making as we see how piano making formulas grew out of materials that were available. Shawn shares tools, technology and materials used in the art of piano making and restoration.

 

HEALTH

 

(E) Aging and Fitness for Piano Technicians

Bonnie B. Swafford, PT, DPT, Lenexa, KS

There are many facts and myths about aging. Learn to successfully stay productive and healthy. Bonnie will review basic anatomy and what can go wrong, and give an overview of problems specific to piano technicians. Learn about treating problems and fitness recommendations for maintaining your most important tool - your body. Bonnie has been a practicing Physical Therapist for 40 years with bachelor and post professional doctorate degrees, and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

 

(E) Lifting Stuff

Kathy Smith, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

Piano technicians need to lift stuff pretty often. It impresses clients when you can work independently, not needing help lifting actions, corners of pianos for caster and leg repair, and so on. There are many ways to use mechanical advantage, or at least safe body mechanics, to get the tasks accomplished without causing damage to pianos, homes, clients, or our body. own tool cases can cause repetitive injury. Some common needs and situations are presented, with many photos, demonstrations and ideas, and class participation for those who desire it.

  

LEADERSHIP & CHAPTER DEVELOPMENT

 

(E) Chapter Leader Forum

Ricki Klos, RPT, Ft. Worth, TX Chapter

Wanted! Past, present, and future chapter leaders. Join in a dialogue with others about what works and what doesn't for your chapter. We all have chapter challenges and successes, and this is a forum for bringing ideas to the table, asking for advice, and getting motivated!

 

MINI TECHNICALS

The Mini Technicals listed below will run 40 minutes - 2 times during the 90-minute period 

 

(E) The Indispensable Ninth Partial

Dan Levitan, RPT, New York City, NY Chapter

Ninth-partial intervals have been part of the tuner’s tool kit for several decades now, yet many aural tuners remain unfamiliar with them. In this class, we’ll review their uses, focusing especially on the 9:8 M23, the most reliable guide to aural tuning from F6 to F7.

 

(E) Key Leveling - The “A440 of Regulation

Joe Swenson, Samick Music Corp.

Learn about tools and hear tips for efficiently and precisely establishing the essential foundation for any piano regulation job. This class will also include methods for establishing proper key height and dip for both natural and sharp keys.

 

(E) Staying Fit Without a Gym Membership


Maggie Jusiel, Roanoke, VA Chapter

After years of physical therapy and completing massage therapy school, Margaret developed an “opposing muscle groups” home exercise program that has served her well and saved her from the expenses of further physical therapy and gym memberships. Learn about her personal routine as well as how to develop your own.

 

(E) Steinway Action Frame Observations

John Dewey, Central Illinois Chapter

Hear about some of the details and eccentricities of Steinway action frames John has observed in the course of rebuilding several hundred Steinway action frames. Examples include pianos dating from the 1880's through present day. We'll talk about differences in bracket profile, action spread and vertical differential, screw size and shape, and much more.

 

(E) Tool Modification

David Reed, RPT, Kawai

A common frustration of piano technicians is that the tools we buy from the supply houses don’t always do their jobs that well. In many cases, the tools work much better if they are modified or customized for their specific uses. David will show examples of modified tools and teach how to modify them. He will also show you how to make your own tools.

 

(E) Upright Caster Repair


Jim Geiger, RPT, Heart of Texas Chapter

We all know how good casters make it easier and safer to move the piano while also protecting carpets and floors. This class helps you learn about what causes upright casters to become damaged and how to repair and prevent that damage 

 

PLAYERS

 

(E) The New Steinway & Sons Spirio

Glen Bingham, Steinway & Sons

Steinway Spirio is a high-resolution player piano that provides a musical experience indistinguishable from a live performance. Spirio Chief Technician, Glen Bingham demonstrates the system’s playback and Spirio’s custom iPad app.  Glen will share music library highlights and present a service overview. Don’t miss this exclusive look at Steinway & Sons first new product in over 70 years, besides Teflon bushings

 

(E) PianoDisc - The Next Generation

Mark Burgett, PianoDisc

Learn all about the new PianoDisc innovations from hardware to software

 design. Mark will present detailed information and demonstrate new products.

Take home a handout describing the new product features.

 

(E) QRS Music Technologies - Make Money by Making the Old, New Again

Lori Clutter & Mark Baughman, QRS Music Technologies

Find out how to increase your income by adding QRS Technology products in the home. Easy technology upgrades and add-ons make older systems perform like new again regardless of the manufacturer. Let Lori give you ideas on how to maximize your customer base.

 

(B) Servicing the Pianoforce System

Mike Rooks, Pianoforce, Inc.

Learn the proper techniques to service the Pianoforce Player System. Class members will learn how to evaluate the system's performance and make corrective steps to insure the best possible performance from the system. In addition, class members will delve into the intricacies of the system and how to analyze malfunctions and their proper remedies. Class attendees will receive a small service kit to take with them.

 

(E) Yamaha ENSPIRE™ and TransAcoustic™ Pianos

Please change Instructors to David, Durben, RPT & Ryan Ellison, Yamaha Corporation of America

The new Yamaha ENSPIRE™ Disklavier is the only fully-integrated and most accurate TransAcoustic™ Piano - a new way for piano players to emotionally connect with their piano. In this class, we will show you these unbelievable Yamaha acoustic hybrid pianos and give you the information you need to service these instruments. Yamaha believes these hybrid pianos are the acoustic pianos of the future. As a technician you need to know how to maintain and service these incredible instruments. Service of these instruments is easy if you learn what we will be teaching in this fun “looking into the future” class.

 

REBUILDING & SHOP

 

(I, A) Bellyman's Holiday


Ken Eschete, RPT, Inland Northwest Chapter

This all-day seminar covers the three elements of "belly work". Using a combination of a slide presentation with lecture and work with practice jigs, technicians in this class will learn how to make a radius-crowned soundboard, recap a bridge, and install a new pin block. Limit 25 participants You must pre-register for this class. Fee: $99.00.

 

(E) All About Hammers

Norbert Abel & Alexander Abel, Abel Hammer Company

What raw material is used to make good hammer felt? How is hammer felt made? What is the difference between quality felt and standard felt? With the use of live videos and visuals, you’ll learn the process of felt making and take a tour through the Abel Hammer factory in Germany. In addition, Norbert will teach the basics of weight, voicing, elasticity, and hardness in hammers.

 

(E) The Art of Piano Restoration

Shawn Hoar, Connecticut Chapter

Explore Shawn's shop as he shares 35 years of custom tools and technology. You'll learn more about fitting the soundboard and pinblock with routers, and stretcher removal, rebuilding and replacement. You'll discuss fitting the plate and his unique approach to setting acoustical dowel. The visual tour also includes Shawn's custom piano paint room and shop set up.

 

(I, A) The Break

Del Fandrich, RPT, Puget Sound, WA Chapter

The bass-to-tenor transition is a timbral - or voicing - problem in many pianos. This class examines the many causes of these problems, graphically illustrates what is happening to the sound envelope and then

 suggests several methods for improving them.

 

(E) Calculating Piano Actions

Gunther W. Schaible, GSR

Find out how to calculate the levers of different upright and grand actions. We'll also look for ways to improve the touch feeling. Gunther Schaible lives in Germany and is the current president of Europiano. 

 

(I) European-Style Grand Pinblock Replacement

Christian Bolduc, Pianos Bolduc

Replacing the pinblock in a grand piano can be quite awkward when a solid piece is inlayed in the structure on both sides of the case. See the instructor demonstrate how to handle a Bechstein grand piano pinblock.

 

(I, A) Grand Piano Disassembly Techniques

Wim Blees, RPT, Hawaii Chapter

This class features some helpful hints on taking apart a grand piano for rebuilding, including measuring the scale, removing strings and pins, measuring and sorting screws and hardware, and removing dampers.

 

(I) Hand Tool Woodworking for Field Technicians

Ben Rocke, RPT, Connecticut Chapter

A hand plane, chisels, and a dovetail saw accompany Ben to every tuning. In Part I, learn to apply the techniques of hand tool woodworking to common piano repairs. Get involved with live demonstrations and class participation! In Part 2, you'll learn how to buy quality used tools and upgrade them to better-than-new condition.

 

(E) Hide Glue: Bringing It Out From Hiding


Vince Mrykalo, RPT, Kansas City, MO Chapter

Many piano technicians avoid using hide glue for a variety of reasons. Aside from the minor hassle that it is of preparing the glue for use, the next biggest reason perhaps is that they do not understand how to use it. We'll cover the basic rules of handling and using hide glue so that you can go back to your own shop and successfully work with the stuff. Expect to even have a little fun in the process.

 

(A) Install a New WNG Upright Action

Bruce Clark, Wessel, Nickel & Gross

You'll learn how to select, order and install a new WNG upright action in an upright piano. WNG has created tools and methods to enable a technician to install an action using straight forward small factory methods. This class will add a level of understanding of upright pianos that will benefit all technicians.

 

(A) Installing a WNG Damper Action

Bruce Clark, Wessel, Nickel & Gross

Discover the advantages of a composite damper action as well as the specific features of the WNG damper action relevant to the job. Bruce will present a complete methodology for the installation of the WNG back action. He will also cover the tools, methods and supplies required to accomplish the job.

 

(E) New Hammers - Do It Yourself or Outsource

Norbert Abel & Alexander Abel, Abel Hammer Company

Whether doing all hammer replacement by yourself or outsourcing some jobs, it is important as a technician to use your time efficiently to improve business and optimize your work. Norbert talks about unbored (for self-boring), standard bored and custom-made hammers. He will also discuss refelting existing hammers, changing worn parts and making square grand hammers. 30 years of quality hammer making allows the Abel Hammer Company to offer expert advice and full service for all technicians.

 

(E) Practical Touchweight

Melanie Brooks & John Gallen, Brooks, Ltd.

Using practical terms and methods, the instructors will discuss how to take and interpret touchweight measurements that allow you to diagnose root causes of problem actions and give you better language to explain to and meet the needs of our clients.  See how a small amount of effort can considerably improve the end product in grand hammers and action parts replacement.

 

(I, A) Rebuilder's Grab Bag

David Hughes, RPT, Baltimore, MD Chapter

This 90-minute potpourri will cover a myriad of topics for rebuilders of all experience levels including plate refinishing, plate fasteners, bridge layout, damper action installation, hammer weight, keyboard touch weight and more. Feel free to introduce other topics from the floor as well. Dave will provide a series of slides and accompanying pontification just for you.

 

(B) Recapping the Vertical Bass Bridge Without Removing the Plate

Christian Bolduc, Piano Bolduc

Learn an easy way to replace spitted bridge caps on uprights without using epoxy or other glues to fix bridge pin problems. Find out how to build a jig over the plate to remove the old cap and glue the new one. This

 technique can also be applied to grand pianos.

 

(E) Vertical Hammer Hanging


Wally Brooks, RPT, Connecticut Chapter

Learn the process of installing new hammers in an upright piano from start to finish. We'll discuss hammer boring measurements. You'll also learn how to hang upright hammers on old shanks, how to bore out an old set of butts and how to install pre-shanked hammers.

 

SERVICE & REPAIR

 

(E) 6-Pack of Mini-Technicals

Isaac Sadigursky, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

These 5-15 minute mini-technicals were presented at Los Angeles Chapter meetings before main speakers, You’ll experience a fast-moving, very informative presentation of field problems, failed repairs, tool modifications, time-saving tips, field kits to perform certain tasks, unusual repairs, and dealing with broken screws and the proper way to extract them.

 

(E) Action Cloth and Felt: How to Make a Firm Choice

Norman Cantrell, RPT, Central Oklahoma Chapter

This class provides an overview of felt and cloth used in piano actions. You will learn proper selection criteria of felt and cloth as well as methods to cut and prepare material for use in pianos. A discussion of proper adhesives will also be included.

 

(E) A Baker's Dozen of Basic Beginner Mistakes

Randi Potter, RPT, ARPT, Portland, OR Chapter

New tuners wonder what issues and repairs they will see when they start tuning for clients in homes. We will go through a Baker’s Dozen of them; what they look like, sound like, act like, how to diagnose them quickly, and how to fix them right the first time. Included will be sluggish and loose key and action parts, string and pedal issues, and hard-to-find squeaks, clicks, clunks and swishes.

 

(E) Bending Grand Damper Wires - BYOT

Rick Butler, RPT

Learn how to take a damper head with wire attached, glue on the damper felt, and install the damper into the piano. A slide/video presentation will cover all the basic bends and you’ll have an opportunity to immediately apply the instructions presented in the video. Each individual will have a one-note damper assembly to work with. You must bring your own tools: a pair of needle nose pliers, a small straight screwdriver, and a pair of bending pliers. No pre-registration required, but models will only be provided for the first 30 students to walk in the door. Observers welcome.

 

(E) Competency-Proficiency Playground

Bill Davis, RPT; Gabe Granitz, RPT; and Sheffey Gregory, RPT, Atlanta, GA Chapter

Learn at your own pace. Watch and hear step-by-step demonstrations, then practice specific skills in an environment designed for success. Fundamental string splicing, making clean and tight coils and beckets, hammer traveling, damper alignment, vertical and grand aftertouch, key bushing, flange re-pinning, and making good measurements comprise the competency portion. Advance concepts in string repair and wire bending, making direct splices in the piano, bass strings splices, under the capo repair and measuring bass strings for replacement comprise the core of the proficiency portion. Tools and materials provided. Whether just starting out or a 30-year technician, this hands-on class offers the best practice opportunity to improve and polish skills. The Playground is available all day. Stay five minutes or all day. Chapter leaders are encouraged to drop in and learn how to incorporate this successful model into your local programs.

 

(E) Finding Joy in Your Toolkit

Dan Levitan RPT, New York City, NY Chapter

Explore the design principles behind tool kits that encourage excellent work and are a daily pleasure to use. This class features a wealth of ideas - borrowed from compact urban kits - for streamlining and reducing weight without sacrificing quality.

 

(E) First Do No Harm

Steve Brady, RPT, Seattle Chapter & Carl Lieberman, RPT, South Bay, CA Chapter

We'll take a look at the ways in which piano technicians unintentionally tend to damage the pianos they work on, and how they sometimes hurt their own bodies. Includes suggestions for preventing and reversing the damage.

  

(E) French Polishing Using Modern Methods

Doug Gregg, Long Island-Suffolk, NY Chapter

This class features an illustrated lecture on finish restoration without stripping, using hand rubbed shellac. Newer materials allow a one step process that can be done in a home or shop. Some retouching methods will also be shown, i.e. water marks and scratches. Results compare to a factory finish and are safer and faster than stripping and spraying. Attendance for this lecture is required to participate in the "Modern French Polishing Workshop."

 

(E) French Polishing Workshop

Doug Gregg, Long Island-Suffolk, NY Chapter

Try your hand at French polishing piano parts. Participants will work on one piece and receive some individual coaching. You must have attended the "French Polishing Using Modern Methods" lecture to participate in this hands-on workshop. Pre-registration required. Hands-on session limited to 15 participants. Observers welcome.

 

(I, A) Grand Action In-Home Analysis

Nick Gravagne, RPT, Phoenix, AZ Chapter & Rick Baldassin, RPT, Salt Lake City, UT Chapter

Taking the action back to the shop? Have you taken all the necessary measurements and notated observations at the piano such as the keybed to string height? Attendees will receive a complete check list and a PowerPoint file to take home. We'll also cover how to set things up for efficiency at the workbench. Learn how to let the action inform you as well as grasp what is the bottom line on action ratios.

 

(E) Heavy Hammers? How Do You Know?

Nick Gravagne, RPT, Phoenix, AZ Chapter

A customer calls complaining about an action that is either too heavy or too light. Do you have a simple procedure (checklist) that you can perform in the home? Is the problem friction, geometry, or hammers that are either too heavy or too light? Join us and find out what you can do to diagnose the problem.

 

(E) How Tools Work

John Dewey, Central Illinois Chapter

Discover the basics of how the rules of leverage and motion affect how tools work. You'll learn about “rule of thumb” formulas that will help you decide what tool to use. The ideas you hear will help you think about how the tools you use work and how you can use them more efficiently.

 

(E) Humidity and Wood

Charles Rempel, Dampp-Chaser Corp & Christian Bolduc, Pianos Bolduc

Join in this discussion-style class in which we analyze the relationship between relative humidity and wood. Our goal is to equip technicians with a better understanding of exactly what fluctuating humidity does to

wood in general and pianos specifically. We'll also discuss what steps are taken to counteract improper humidity levels and fluctuations in the Bolduc factory and what can be done to help pianos wherever they are.

 

(E) Lacquer Finish Repair

Ruth Zeiner, RPT, Allied Piano

See a demonstration of the touch-up of traditional finishes. Discover how to make repairs and de-gunk the finish.  Burn-ins, color matching, pigments vs. dyes and other subjects will be covered. Bring your questions.

 

(E) Love That Bluthner!

James Reeder, RPT, Bluthner USA, LLD - Julius Bluthner Pianofortefabrik, GmbH

Discover the Bluthner piano as we examine specific construction techniques and materials, action regulation points, and voicing techniques. You'll learn how to prepare for a concert and how to satisfy the concert pianist requests. You'll also take a look at the Bluthner Patent action, a survey of old to current production instruments and what is up and coming with Bluthner instrument production.

 

(E) Make It Shine

Ruth Zeiner, RPT, Allied Piano

Having the skills to cope with scratches, dings and gouges in glossy finishes enhances your value to your customers. Many nicks and scratches are easy to repair with minimal material investment. Repairs, sanding out scratches, and polishing will be demonstrated and discussed.

 

(E) Practical Tuning; Tips for Home and Shop

Jeff Hickey, RPT, Portland, OR Chapter

Discover how to approach the in-home service call (always tighten the bench!). You'll hear tips and solutions to everyday issues in trapwork and pedal repairs. Learn more about replacing spring cords in Schwander actions and repairing stripped screws. This class will also include a host of tips with slides showing practical ways to solve home and shop issues along with tuning tips from a 20-year CTE. Practical tuning. Really.

 

(A) Preparation of New Grand Pianos: Making a Difference Dealers Will Pay For

Don Mannino, RPT, Kawai America Corp.

This seminar provides practical guidelines and demonstration for preparing new grand pianos in the dealer showroom. With a goal of spending 4 to 6 hours maximum on the piano, we'll cover evaluation of the piano, prioritizing what work can be done in the time allowed, and making sure you give the dealer the most bang for the buck. In addition to technical aspects of dealer work, we'll discuss working with dealers so that they will learn to value the results of the preparation.

 

(E) Repairing Veneer Damage

Donald C. Williams, Retired Senior Furniture Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution

See a demonstration of the method Mr. Williams uses to make veneer repairs when the damage is irregularly shaped and the repair must be unobtrusive.

(E) Service Issues: Bösendorfer Now and Then
Ray Chandler, RPT, & Ferdinand Bräu, Bösendorfer
Bösendorfer has a history of piano building dating back to 1828. Some design features have changed over the years and replacement parts for many older models are no longer available. We will identify some of the major changes in construction over the years, and demonstrate service and procedural approaches for these instruments.

 

(I, A) Taking the Upright Piano Seriously

Fred Sturm, RPT, New Mexico Chapter

Upright pianos are often given little serious attention. An upright can be made into a relatively refined musical instrument by using focused and organized techniques. Based on procedures learned at the Sauter Piano factory in Germany, and refined over 30 years of university work, Fred will show you how. Period 1 will focus on prep, period 2 on regulation.

 

(E) What’s in Your (My) Toolbox

Jim Kelly, Palmetto, SC Chapter

This class discusses tools that Jim has found to make life easier for a field technician. Let’s face it - we are all tool freaks. However, having the right tool to do the job makes all the difference. Tools are an investment and we need to select them wisely. We’ll discuss and demonstrate tools such as inspection scopes, electronic stethoscopes, microscopes, lasers, data loggers, Dremel tools, magnets, gyroscopic drills, computers such as iPads, laptops and even GPS software on a laptop.

 

(E) Working with Vertical and Grand Dampers


Richard Bittner, RPT, Detroit-Windsor, MI Chapter

Don't miss this opportunity! The presenter discloses his secrets for working with vertical and grand dampers to stop them from ringing and improve the overall sound of the piano.   

 

TUNING

 

(E) 21st Century Tuning Style

Kent Swafford, RPT, Kansas City, MO Chapter

This class is the culmination of Kent's "Pythagoras" project, which was undertaken to fully describe, codify, and disseminate a modern tuning style. This tuning style integrates stretch and temperament. Pure 12th equal temperament, tuned uniformly across the entire scale, allows all tunable pianos to have a similar characteristic consonant, coherent, pure sound.

 

(E) About Aural Tuning

Rick Butler, RPT, Washington, DC Chapter

In this two-period class, Rick will discuss the relationship between aural tuning and music. It will feature a detailed discussion and demonstration of the interval relationships used in aural tuning. Anyone wishing to be an aural tuner, improve their aural tuning skills, or prepare for the tuning exam will benefit. Attendees will receive a detailed booklet.

 

(E) Aural Tuning Concert

David Andersen, South Bay, CA Chapter

This two-period class features a complete aural tuning using David's "follow the fourths" protocol and simple yet innovative techniques to produce a custom, musical, rock-solid, soaring, beautiful tuning. He will use one period to tune and one period to break down the tuning step by step, so everyone can hear and understand clearly and ask any questions that arise. Every piano and every pianist deserves custom work. The better you tune, the more money and respect you garner. It's that simple. We'll have a lot of fun....

 

(E) Aurally Troubleshooting the Midrange: An Organized Strategy

Mitch Kiel, RPT & Mary Kiel, RPT, Twin Cities, MN Chapter

A temperament sequence is only the first step in creating a good aural tuning. More important and challenging (but unfortunately more neglected), is the next step: refining your tuning by finding and fixing the errors inevitable in every first pass. Focusing on the midrange, we’ll demonstrate a simple five step troubleshooting process that will help you stay organized and prioritized. Class handouts will include a Connected Interval Visualizer that graphically illustrates the all-important Big Picture – how retuning a single note simultaneously affects the beat speeds of its 3rds, 4ths, 5ths and octaves. Aural tuning is mostly mental, so our goal is to help you learn to think like an experienced aural tuner – and ultimately pass Part 1 of the RPT Tuning Exam, aurally tuning the midrange.

 

(B) Basic Tuning Theory


Jim Geiger, RPT, Heart of Texas Chapter

Investigate the vibrating string, partials (overtones), coincident partials, musical scale, intervals, ratios, temperament, beats, different kinds of octaves, inharmonicity, the turnover and other factors that affect tuning. Question and comments are encouraged.

 

(E) Mock Exams: The Ultimate Tuning Exam Prep Tool

Mitch Kiel, RPT & Mary Kiel, RPT, Twin Cities, MN Chapter

Aural tuning is in decline because ETDs have become so smart. Ironically, ETDs are also the best aural teaching tool you never knew you had. Mock Exams use the RPT Tuning Exam scoring program already included in most ETDs to provide you with a free, easy, and accurate way to score your aural practice tunings and track your (increasing!) aural tuning skills. In this class, you’ll learn how to give yourself (or your student) a Mock Exam, hear the difference between the sound of a tuning that passes or fails the exam, aurally troubleshoot and repair points-off scoring errors, and reverse-engineer your score sheet’s numbers to predict the sound of problem intervals.

 

(E) Pitch Perception & Tuning


Ken Forrest, Past President UK Pianoforte Tuners Association

The ear's sense of pitch runs roughly close to frequency, but not exactly. Some tuning customers can challenge your tuning - particularly singers and string players - and this class attempts to help you to understand the issues and be confident in responding to the customer.

 

(E) Music of the Spheres

Daniel Sponenburg, RPT, Reading-Lancaster, PA Chapter

Music is a language, but harmony is a force of nature. This class uncovers the beauty and power of ancient and modern harmony using mathematical language. You'll also examine harmonic continuity from the molecular through the celestial levels.

 

(E) Techniques for Passing Part 1 of the Tuning Exam

Bill Bremmer, RPT, Madison, WI Chapter

The focus will be exclusively on the techniques required to pass Part 1 of the PTG Tuning Exam. You'll explore the benefits and perils of finding pitch from both a tuning fork and an aural electronic source. You'll see demonstrations of three temperament tuning sequences: a traditional fourths and fifths sequence and two sequences which begin with a chain of contiguous major thirds. Completion of the Midrange will follow.

 

(E) Temperament Theory Without Tears

Steve Brady, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter

Not quite clear on why we have to temper the scale? Or the difference between Meantone Temperament, Well Temperament, and Equal Temperament? In this class we explore the whole topic with no need for mathematics beyond arithmetic. Includes demonstrations at the piano.

 

(I, A) Tuning Limits of Piano Harmony

Daniel Sponenburg, RPT, Reading-Lancaster, PA Chapter

Tuning has boundaries. A technician needs to know those boundaries to execute a good tuning. You'll examine the harmonic laws that underpin our work then go on to discover how these laws are bent to conform to our modern 12-tone system. Also covered is tone adjusting and regulating and their effect on perceived harmony, different types of tuning methods and achieving stability in tuning.

 

(E) Tuning Tutoring

Taylor Mackinnon, RPT, Portland, OR Chapter & Richard West, RPT, Tucson, AZ Chapter

There’s no better way to improve your tuning than one-on-one tutoring by a master tuner. Private tutoring will benefit you no matter what your skill level. With outstanding tuning tutors, you’ll find a universe of tuning knowledge to explore. This all takes place in a one-on-one format lasting 90 minutes. Limit of 18 Slots.  You must pre-register for this class by calling (913) 432-9975. Fee: $120.00

 

ELECTRONIC TUNING DEVICES

 

(E) CyberTuner Tames the Comma of Pythagoras

Dean Reyburn, RPT and Carl Lieberman, RPT, Reyburn CyberTuner, Inc.

iRCT is constantly evolving to raise the standard of piano tuning.  We will describe CyberTuner's thinking for creating and rapidly stabilizing beautiful sounding tunings.  All the   latest features and improvements will be discussed.

 

(E) Tuning Efficiently with the Accu-Tuner

Paul Sanderson, Inventronics, Inc.

See how you can use the Accu-Tuner to lighten your work load. It has the ability to take the work out of tuning, letting you auto pilot through your tunings and saving your ears and brain a lot of work. Take three measurements and get tuning quickly and accurately. Learn how to create tunings with or without custom adjustments to tailor the tuning to your taste. Come with your questions and we'll make time to answer them.

 

(E) Tuning with the Verituner

Dave Carpenter, RPT, Veritune, Inc.

See up close how to take advantage of the unique tuning features of the Verituner product line, including our app for iPhone, iPod and iPad. This class will cover pitch raises, fine tuning, setting standard pitch, temperament, stretch styles, and saving tunings. Learn the best practices for getting a great sounding tuning on any piano with the fewest steps.

 

(E) TuneLab for Android and iPhone

Robert Scott, TuneLab

This class covers all the basic features of TuneLab, including how to use the Phase Display and Spectrum Display, normal tuning procedures, pitch-raise mode, tuning to non-standard pitches, saving tuning files, and ways of customizing the stretch.

 

VOICING & CONCERT PREP

 

(E) Ear Training for Voicing

Keith Akins, RPT, Appleton, WI Chapter & Ari Isaac, Toronto, ON

Increase customer satisfaction, enhance your reputation and grow your income by improving your voicing skills. Through a combination of audio tracks and live demonstration, this class will help you hear voicing issues - which are different from tuning. Learn effective voicing techniques along with the essentials of hammer function.

 

(I, A) How Hammers Work

Del Fandrich, RPT, Puget Sound, WA Chapter

This class concentrates on how piano hammers are designed, how they are made and how they work. Voicing techniques that work well for one type of hammer do not necessarily work well with another. In this class we delve into the mysteries of what happens when the hammer strikes the strings.

 

(E) How to Make a Piano Sing
David Andersen, South Bay, CA Chapter, Mason & Hamlin
When a good piano is brought to its maximum efficiency via regulation, tuning, and voicing, something magnificent happens; it starts to “sing,” to bloom, to sustain. Players start to smile, checks are written, everybody’s happy. If a piano technician can master these skills, success in our business is assured. David will be working with one of the finest pianos in the world, the Mason & Hamlin, and paying special attention to the revolutionary and spectacular WNG parts, and how the whole M&H system works together, but the information presented applies to all pianos. Special and famous guests will appear.

 

(E) Tone Building: From the Anechoic Chamber to the Band-aid Drawer

Jim Busby, RPT, Utah Valley Chapter & Vince Mrykalo, Kansas City, MO Chapter

Is there anything that doesn't affect piano tone? Using information from spectrum analysis studies at BYU, we'll see how regulation, string prepping, and other things not considered "voicing" actually contribute to tone more than we think. Beginning to more advanced voicing techniques will be discussed.

 

(E) Voicing Abel Hammers

Joe Swenson, Samick Music Corp. & Norbert Abel, Abel Hammer Company

Following a presentation on the details of hammer manufacturing, we'll demonstrate a variety of voicing procedures using examples of Abel Hammers made to different manufacturing specifications. These hammers will be installed on a section of a single piano, highlighting the different tonal characteristics and voicing requirements of these various hammers.

 

(I) Voicing to the Max

Don Mannino, RPT, Kawai America Corp.

Finding the optimum tone for a fine grand piano and for the piano owner/type of use can be a challenge. Getting the best sound from each piano can also be a challenge! In this class Don explores tfull scope of voicing a fine grand piano: preparation of the piano, regulation for tone, and finally the full gamut of voicing the hammers themselves to produce the type of tone desired for that piano and that location. If you’ve heard beautiful well-prepared pianos before and wondered what the process is to get that special tone out of the instrument, don’t miss this class!

 

(E) Voicing Without Needles


Zhiwei Huang, RPT, San Francisco, CA Chapter

When a piano needs voicing, don’t immediately reach for needles and lacquer. In this class, you'll see other techniques that can eliminate the need for jabbing or juicing. Learn how to make tone more focused, reduce or eliminate buzzes and false beats, and make a spinet sound like a grand.

 

(I, A) Zen and the Art of Concert Prep

Steve Brady, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter

Drawing on material from the book Under the Lid, this class looks at the human side of concert work and explores the subtle psychological relationship between the technician and the concert artist from the perspective of the Zen artist.

 

RPT EXAMS


Written

Introduction to the RPT Written Exam

Jack Stebbins, RPT and Robert Guenther, RPT

This class is revealing. It will acquaint you with the field of knowledge that will be explored on the Written Exam. It will expose the breadth of material with which you need to be conversant as a piano technician. If you are new to the field, come find out what you need to know.  For PTG members only.

 

Take the RPT Written Examination

Jack Stebbins, RPT and Robert Guenther, RPT

This is your opportunity to take the RPT Written Exam. Examinees should come to the room indicated on the schedule. Visually impaired technicians will take their exams in the ETSC office. You must bring your current PTG membership card with you to take the exam. No extra fee required to take the written exam. For PTG Associate members only.

 

Tuning

Inside the Tuning Exam

Keith Kopp, RPT

You will be led through the requirements of the RPT Tuning Exam and an get an overview of exam equipment and procedures. Find out how to prepare for the exam, what tools and supplies you will need to bring to the exam site, and what examinees are entitled to know before, during and after the examination. Learn how to best utilize your time, improve efficiency, cope with exam anxiety, and other skills and strategies you need to successfully tackle the exam. For PTG members only.

 

Technical

Introduction to the PTG Technical Exam

Dave Davis, RPT & Ann Fell, RPT

We will walk through the Technical Exam and its requirements. There will be examples of exam equipment, models, and jigs such as one would find on the test. Come find out how to prepare for the exam, what tools and supplies you will need to bring to the exam site, and what examinees are entitled to know before, during and after the examination. Learn ways to best utilize your time, improve efficiency, cope with exam anxiety and other skills and strategies you need to successfully tackle the exam and in your daily field work. There will be plenty of time for Q&A. For PTG members only.

 

Examiner Training

Tuning Examiner and Assistant Training

Atsundo Aikawa, RPT

Administering or helping with a Tuning Exam is one of the best ways to hone your knowledge and skill of tuning. In this class, we’ll discuss requirements and procedures to become a Certified Tuning Examiner, tips and pitfalls of giving an exam, aural verification, handling difficult situations, and new 3-Part procedures. For RPT members only.

 

Technical Examiner Requirements and Training

Dave Davis, RPT

Supervising examiners on Technical Exams must be certified as TECs (Technical Examiner, Certified) in order for the exam to be valid. We’ll discuss certification requirements, demonstrate exam equipment, analyze the skills and attitudes required of a competent examiner, and talk about common exam problems and issues. All RPTs with an interest in Technical testing, TECs with questions, TEC trainees and RPTs just thinking about getting involved in testing are invited to attend. For RPT members only.