Pianos are found in a wide variety of settings, and piano technicians are essential to keeping these sensitive instruments sounding beautiful. While no formal education is required, there are optional training programs available. The following article details the educational requirements and job outlook for piano technicians.
Piano technicians tune, repair and replace damaged parts on pianos in schools, churches and individual homes. Aspiring piano techs can train in programs that usually last two years or less, although there are also master's degree programs available which may emphasize piano technology.
|Required Education||Typically no formal education required, though candidates may complete training or master's of arts degree program that focuses on piano technology|
|Other Requirements||Certification is optional; candidates may choose to be certified as a registered piano technician through the Piano Technicians Guild|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||9% decline for all musical instrument repairers and tuners|
|Mean Salary (2018)*||$36,330 for all musical instrument repairers and tuners|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Duties of a Piano Technician
Piano technicians are trained to tune pianos and perform basic maintenance. They are able to diagnose and fix problems. Many piano technicians use computers to aid them in setting proper pitch and harmonics. Although piano technicians aren't required to be musicians, they should have normal hearing and the ability to recognize proper pitch. Some piano technicians have cabinetmaking skills and may restore old pianos to original condition.
The Piano Technicians Guild (www.ptg.org) has a list of registered piano technicians and training programs on its resource page. Most students enroll in training programs that don't result in degrees. One master's degree is available for those interested in graduate education. Some aspiring piano techs may train through apprenticeships.
The Piano Technician Guild (PTG) provides a list of piano technology schools. Students can attend on-campus classes or enroll in correspondence or self-study courses. At a piano technology school, students learn tuning techniques and theories, procedures used in tuning, the parts of a piano and how they function, action and tone regulation and a history of the piano.
Master of Arts with a Piano Technology Emphasis
A master's degree program is completed in four semesters and results in 36 graduate credits. Students work in a piano lab, getting hands-on instruction on a large number of pianos and harpsichords. Students learn how to tune period equipment and modern, concert pianos. Students also learn geometry and restoration techniques.
Registered Piano Technician Classification
The Piano Technicians Guild sets the standards for piano technicians in the United States. The PTG reports that piano technology is an unregulated trade but that membership in the guild as a registered piano technician (RPT) proves competency and skills. To gain membership in the guild, a piano technician must pass three examinations. A portion of the examination includes test tuning a piano to prove technical skills. Many piano technicians are self-employed and are not required to be certified. Piano techs who have not yet earned the registered piano technician credential can call themselves associate technicians.
A piano technician does not have to have formal education, but training programs and certifications are available, including college degree programs in piano technology. Many piano technicians prove their skills by obtaining professional certification that requires passing competency examinations.