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New member considering attending convention for the first time

  • 1.  New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-26-2015 01:31
    I am currently about half-way through my piano technician's course and am doing well (so far).  I hope to be close to completion of the course by July.  Given my situation, I am wondering if it is worthwhile for me to attend this year's convention.  I realize that there are classes for different experience levels (everyone, basic, intermediate, advanced), but am concerned that the information might be over my head at this point.  Should I attend this year or wait until next year when I have more experience?

    Thank you for your help and input.

    Elizabeth Hoenig
    Winterset IA

  • 2.  RE: New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-26-2015 09:46
    Elizabeth, I would encourage you to go. I've been in the trade for 35+ years and some classes are still over my head! But I find that as I think about the material and work through it that those classes are many times the ones that benefit me the most. You can't reach the stars without stretching yourself a bit. Good luck and hope to see you there! DP ------------------------------------------- Dale Probst Registered Piano Technician Wichita Falls TX -------------------------------------------

  • 3.  RE: New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-26-2015 17:50
    Hi, Elizabeth. If you can afford to go, do it. You will meet so many
    others that are learning so much (including me), you will make new
    friends in the pianotech world. Stay in the cheaper hotel down the road
    if you have to (I have done that many times), but go if you can. It
    will mean so much to you, I can't tell you how much. I have not gone
    the past two years because of some physical problems (I can't hardly
    walk right now), and am having convention withdrawal symptoms. I hope
    to get better and join you there. Good luck to you! Clark
    Clark A. Sprague, RPT

  • 4.  RE: New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-26-2015 18:00
    Wow!  I guess that settles it.  :)  I plan to register for the convention as soon as my membership application is finalized.  Thanks everyone so much for your input.  Your words of encouragement have been very helpful to me.

    Elizabeth Hoenig
    Winterset IA

  • 5.  RE: New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-26-2015 21:00

    Many technicians will tell you the same as I am about to say. If you think you can't afford it, find a way.  Spend your last dollar if you have to.  For lodging, yes you can find it in another location but I suggest you look up the room mate board and find other women who want to share a room.  You won't be doing much more than sleeping, showering and changing clothes in there anyway.  You need to be where the action is and it won't be in the hotel room.

    I attended my first convention in 1979 as a non-member and much of what I saw and heard was over my head.  But four years later, I my official joining year was in 1983 even though I had actually joined and passed as an RPT in October of 1982.  In 1983, I took the tuning exam again and qualified as an examiner trainee and although that took me until 1991 to be certified, I have served as such ever since.

    Nobody knows everything but everyone has their area of expertise.  Even though tuning is my area of expertise, the mathematicians are over my head about it and always will be.  The point is that you will always absorb something from the wave of knowledge that passes over your head at each Technical Institute, whether the annual International or a Regional that may be near you.  The knowledge you gain is not limited to the classes you attend.  It can be greatly enhanced by the discussions you have with people you meet at these events.  You can learn a lot just at the exhibits, for example.  You may meet an experienced and knowledgeable technician with whom you have breakfast, lunch or dinner who may be able to explain to you something that you saw or heard that went over your head.

    You will find that piano technicians, unlike people in virtually any other trade, will want to carry over conversations into meal times, break times and even far into the night.  That is because we virtually never have anyone to talk to about our business until we meet together at such events.

    Attending the PTG International Annual Convention and Technical Institute may be the best decision you ever made!  If you have decided to make Piano Technology your profession, it should be your #1 priority.

    William Bremmer
    Madison WI

  • 6.  RE: New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-27-2015 17:56

    It looks like Clark Sprague said it all for you.

    I would only add one thing.

    Denver, Colorado, one of the most progressive states in the USA.

    Having been there on a long ago past journey. Colorado is another whole state of being.

    Why do I say that even more so now. Marijuana has been legalized and purchasable.

    You can't lose attending this convention!

    Keith McGavern, RPT
    Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA

  • 7.  RE: New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-28-2015 01:03

    I felt it relevant to mention the rules of purchasing marijuana in Colorado as a guide since I have been the only person to mention it thus far here, and in another discussion forum.

    Here is a link: Marijuana Laws in Colorado  | Colorado Pot Guide as an introduction.

    Please be advised of the reality of out-of-staters going to Colorado and hoping to bring back home with them, ah hem, colloquially speaking "weed, grass, etc.". It ain't going to happen without serious complications.

    However, I still testify openly, by personal experience, having crossed the state line of Colorado from Nebraska, it became immediately obvious to me that I had entered an elevated state of awareness from previous locations years ago, pure and simple. That experience alone has been a hallmark in my life.


    Keith McGavern, RPT
    Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA

  • 8.  RE: New member considering attending convention for the first time

    Posted 03-27-2015 10:04
    My first annual convention made an enormous impact on me. It was in 2000, in the Washington, D.C. area, and coincided with the Smithsonian's 300th anniversary of the piano's invention. I was still considering whether or not to change careers, and was studying informally.

    At the convention, I learned the amazing depth of this profession, from woodworking and finish work, to action geometry and physics, through the mathematics of tuning. The hundreds of people sharing these passions all in one place was impressive, and the camaraderie was enveloping. Being able to handle and try out dozens of different tools was a big benefit.

    I urge you to set the goal of passing the RPT tests. The earlier you do this in your career, the more it will pay off for you. An enormous amount of work has been put in to making them reasonable and fair, and tremendous effort goes into giving them (thank you, examiners!). They tell you which areas you're solid in, and which ares you need to focus on. I particularly recommend the classes which are the introduction to the written, tuning, and technical exams, to give you an idea of what your next goals should be.

    We've all started from square one at some point, and we all remember being stumped by a particular problem. The casual conversations between classes can be just as valuable. Our profession has a tradition of generosity and helpfulness that is unique, and I'm grateful for it.

    I've also found myself in classes way over my head. We always have classes useful to anyone, and many tailored just for beginners, including my own "Aural Tuning 101", which has absolutely no prerequisites.

    In any case, stop by the Institute Office at the convention, and any of us will be glad to help you get the most out of your experience.


    Cy Shuster, RPT
    Albuquerque, NM
    Associate Director, Denver 2015 Technical Institute