What does it mean to be a Registered Piano Technician?
In a nutshell, a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) is a piano tuner who has passed several rigorous tests on all aspects of piano maintenance, including but not limited to piano tuning and repair. An RPT is part of the Piano Technicians Guild and therefore has met certain standards put forth by the Guild as necessary to be considered a professional in the field of piano services.
The Piano Technicians Guild
Because the piano tuning field is not regulated by any government agencies – there are no official barriers to entry. The Piano tuners Guild, founded in 1958 and unofficially going back as far as 1910, is an organization for like-minded piano technology enthusiasts to share and learn from one another.
With time PTG has created its own certification process to allow high-quality technicians to differentiate themselves. Guild membership is open to all interested in the piano industry, but the title of Registered Piano Technicians must be earned by passing a series of examinations.
To earn the certification, a guild member must pass 3 separate exams. A written examination that evaluates theoretical knowledge, everything relevant to the piano design, tuning theory, repair techniques and strategies. One hands-on practical test of piano tuning skills. And another practical examination to assess technical skills, such as common repairs and procedures.
Both the written and practical examinations are quite involved. The hands-on tuning portion requires aspiring RPTs to emulate a near-perfect tuning (also known as the “master tuning”). This master tuning has been agreed upon by a panel of examiners, who have reached a consensus on the (nearly) flawless tuning for the particular test piano in question. While candidates are allowed to use electronic devices to aid them during their process, they must also demonstrate the ability to tune solely by ear. Since this is a requirement of some concert halls, RPTs must be accomplished in both tuning techniques.
The technical hands-on exam asks the candidates to completely assemble both a grand and upright piano action back to functioning order. This involves mastery of regulating the action and performing the necessary procedures to get the instruments back to their optimal working performance. Aside from the assembly, several other common repairs are tested involving a myriad of materials that comprise these intricate and capricious instruments. Not to mention that all tasks must be completed within the allotted time frame and up to the high standard of the board of examiners.
While there are many other organizations worldwide that offer memberships and certifications to piano tuners, the PTG is one the better established ones and is a solid sign of a serious technician.
What Sets Technicians Apart?
Our team at Art & Technology, have not only been Registered Piano Technicians for many years now, but are on a level of their own. Valery Smirnov, our most senior piano expert, has been invited by the PTG to give a master class to the other members as their most respected specialist. True piano professionals never stop learning and perfecting their techniques. Valery, with decades of experience under his belt, has demonstrated this time and again. His son Oleg, also on our team, is following in Valery’s footsteps, and is an incredible piano technician in his own right.
Make sure you are entrusting your instrument to a technician you can be sure of. Our team is of the highest caliber and you can feel confident when choosing to work with Art & Technology.
Read more: Piano Care