Piano Tuning and Repair Online Course (v4)

With 80 high-def videos and 20 lessons ranging from aural tuning and voicing to common major and minor repairs, our online course is the most comprehensive correspondence training program in the world. The course has been laid out in a very organized way by our in-house learning architect, Jeff Johnson, who has a master’s degree in curriculum and instructional technology, to ensure maximum material retention.



About the Course

The Piano Technician Academy’s course, Piano Tuning & Repair, was written by Adam Hayes RPT; Jason Cassel, RPT; Timothy Barnes, RPT; and Michael Stilwell, CPT. It was designed as a training program to not only get people started in the piano service industry but also to train technicians to take the Registered Piano Technician exams given by the Piano Technicians Guild. With 80 high-def videos and 20 lessons ranging from aural tuning and voicing to common major and minor repairs, our online course is the most comprehensive correspondence training program in the world. The course has been laid out in a very organized way by our in-house learning architect, Jeff Johnson, who has a master’s degree in curriculum and instructional technology, to ensure maximum material retention. Unlike other online mentorship/correspondence training, PTA utilizes technology, world-renowned instructors, and a learning management system that allows our students to get to work in our industry faster than any other training program.

What Makes PTA Different

Unlike other online or correspondence piano tuning and repair programs, the PTA course was written with the Registered Piano Technician (RPT) exams, given by the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) in mind. Our course has been used by hundreds of technicians aspiring to earn the coveted RPT status which opens countless doors for them in the piano service industry. Our instructors make up some of the most well-known RPTs in the US. They regularly write articles for the PTG journal, exhibit at PTG conferences, and teach at piano industry events. While some schools focus on how quickly they can get students working in the field, PTA focuses on their students actually learning the trade the proper way so that students are adequately prepared when they enter the market. Oftentimes, our students enter the market faster than students from those schools that focus on speed. This is because of our extensive learning management system (LMS). Unlike other online programs, our LMS is interactive and is used by some of the top universities in the USA who require a more professional system than simple plug and play education options found on the internet today. The PTA course is rebuilt every 4–5 years to take advantage of new technologies and build upon what the industry has to offer. With graduates in over 50 countries and an average graduation rate of 90%, our 300-400 student count a year makes PTA the largest piano tuning school in the world.

Course Layout

The course is broken down into 20 lessons. At the end of each lesson, students are required to take an 8–10-question quiz consisting of multiple choice, match the part/tool, and true/false questions. At the end of Lesson 20, students are required to take a 50-question final exam that covers all lessons.

Tuition & Time Frame

The tuition for the course is $1,800 and includes access to the online classroom for 12 months as well as access to downloadable/printable PDF versions of all the lessons for future reference. You will also have regular contact via email or telephone with your instructor both during your studies and after your course is complete. Videos are not downloadable for copyright reasons and are only viewable in the online classroom.

Being an online school, the Piano Technician Academy can offer year-round open enrollment. The course is self-paced, allowing students to study when it is convenient for them. PTA does, however, require that you finish the course within 12 months of initial enrollment. Extensions are available upon request. PTA recommends taking longer on the tuning lessons (18–30 hours) before moving on, while others may only take 2–5 hours. That being said, students should plan to spend about 250–380 hours on the course. 



Registered Piano Technician

Jason Cassel currently serves as a piano technician for the Brigham Young University School of Music. He graduated with his MA in piano technology from Florida State University and earned his BM in commercial music from BYU. Jason has served as a senior piano technician for the Aspen Music Festival and has received manufacturer training from Steinway & Sons, Yamaha, Mason & Hamlin, and Renner USA. 


Registered Piano Technician

Timothy Barnes, RPT, has a BSBA in economics and over 20 years of experience in the piano service industry, spanning everything from in-home service to work as a college and university technician (CAUT) and as a concert technician. He is also the co-founder of Gazelle, the all-in-one business management software for piano technicians. Timothy resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife Rachel and their four kids, and enjoys cycling, storytelling, and being present as a dad in his kids' little worlds.

Adam Hayes

Registered Piano Technician

Adam began his career apprenticing at Artisan Piano Services and quickly advanced due to his background in classical piano and education. Currently a head technician at a major retailer and an instructor at Piano Technician Academy, Adam is dedicated to mentoring students and ensuring their success in the field of piano technology.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 1

Introduction to the Craft
  • Overview of piano history and piano styles
  • Common parts all pianos share
  • Different types of actions
  • Four foundations of a truly great instrument

Lesson 2

The Piano Belly

Overview of 

  • The soundboard & ribs
  • The bridges
  • The strings
  • The plates
  • The pinblock
  • The piano rim

Lesson 3

The Piano Action
  • How both upright and grand actions work
  • Removing an upright action
  • Removing a grand action
  • Removing a spinet action
  • Upright and grand pedal functions

Lesson 4

Regulating the Upright Action Part 1
  • Assessing the piano’s needs
  • Tightening action screws
  • Cleaning and lubing action and frame
  • Easing keys (pliers and iron)
  • Regulating bridal straps
  • Squaring and spacing keys
  • Spacing parts (hammers, backchecks)

Lesson 5

Regulating the Upright Action Part 2
  • Aftertouch 101
  • Setting key height & lost motion
  • Regulating let-off
  • Key dip (naturals and sharps)
  • Setting blow distance 
  • Regulating lost motion
  • Regulating back checks
  • Regulating the pedals
  • Regulating the dampers (spacing, lift, timing)

Lesson 6

Regulating the Grand Action Part 1
  • Removing the stack
  • Cleaning and lubing action and frame
  • Easing keys (pliers and iron)
  • Traveling and burning the shanks
  • Squaring and spacing keys
  • Bedding the keyframe
  • Setting key height and leveling the keys
  • Spacing parts (hammers, wippens, back checks, etc.)

Lesson 7

Regulating the Grand Action Part 2
  • Setting aftertouch
  • Synchronous escapement
  • Regulating blow distance
  • Regulating jack position
  • Regulating rep lever height
  • Setting let-off
  • Setting key dip
  • Setting drop
  • Regulating back checks
  • Repetition spring tension
  • Damper regulation

Lesson 8

Common Repairs Part 1
  • Key bushing replacement
  • Repining flanges
  • Ream/Burnish flanges
  • Rebushing a flange
  • Broken hammer shank replacement

Lesson 9

Common Repairs Part 2
  • Replacing a broken string
  • String splicing
  • Ordering replacement bass strings
  • Making hitch pin loops

Lesson 10

Aural Tuning Part 1
  • Inserting a temperament strip
  • Setting your pitch note
  • Overview of equal temperament
  • Unison tuning
  • Partials and overtones defined
  • Inharmonicity/ Beats and what to listen for
  • Intervals overview 
  • Octaves, 5th, 4th, etc. 

Lesson 11

Aural Tuning Part 2
  • Hammer placement/posture/pin setting
  • Unison tuning exercise
  • False beats
  • Inserting strip, mutes, Papps mute
  • Interval tuning exercises
  • Octave tuning exercise
  • 4ths interval exercises
  • 5ths interval exercises

Lesson 12

Aural Tuning Part 3
  • Setting the temperament
  • Ladder of 3rds exercise 
  • Filling in temperament
  • Possible temperament sequences 
  • Checking your finished temperament
  • Tuning into the extreme ends of the piano
  • Unison tuning and pitch raises

Lesson 13

Electronic Tuning Devices (ETDs)
  • Pros and cons of ETDs
  • Who ETDs are for
  • Piano scope ETD overview by developer
  • Reyburn CyberTuner overview by developer

Lesson 14

Tone Regulation Part 1
  • Components of good tone
  • What should we listen for?
  • The anatomy of the hammer (by Renner USA)
  • Hard-pressed vs. soft-pressed hammers
  • Hammer shapes

Lesson 15

Tone Regulation Part 2
  • Establishing your reference 
  • Crown position referencing 
  • Shaping the hammers
  • Paddle shaping
  • Shoe-shine shaping
  • Gang filing 
  • Prepping termination points
  • Leveling strings
  • Hammer mating

Lesson 16

Tone Regulation Part 3
  • Hard-pressed vs. soft-pressed needling
  • Voicing the una corda
  • Noise in the capo section
  • Regulating evenness
  • Regulating balance

Lesson 17

Registered Piano Technician Exam Prep
  • RPT overview
  • RPT exam procedure
  • Written exam
  • Technical exam
  • Tuning exam

Lesson 18

Setting Up Your Business
  • Registering your business
  • Business banking
  • Monthly bookkeeping
  • Recordkeeping
  • Tax preparation
  • Pricing your services
  • Discounts
  • Payment processing
  • Customer service

Lesson 19

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Understanding business stage changes
  • Gazelle overview
  • Client and piano management
  • Estimates/Checklists
  • Location-based online scheduling
  • Automated reminders
  • Client organization
  • Integrations
  • Estimates
  • Invoices and payments
  • General CRM overview (non-Gazelle) 

Lesson 20

Marketing Your Business
  • Building a website
  • Electronic marketing 
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Consumer review sites
  • Print media
  • Marketing to organizations (churches, schools, etc.)


Do I have to know how to play the piano to be a piano tuner?

No. While knowing how to play the instrument is helpful, it is not required. Included in the course is a brief overview of the basic music theory every piano tuner needs to know.

How much money does a piano tuner make?

A piano tuner's income is based on their location and personal work ethic. An average piano tuning can range from $100 to $225. A full-time piano tuner will tune around three to four pianos a day and work about five days a week. Repair work is also a key part of the piano technician’s job, and most CPTs charge between $50 and $100 an hour.

What is a Certified Piano Technician?

A Certified Piano Technician (CPT) is someone who has completed PTA's piano tuning and repair course and is properly trained in all aspects of running a day-to-day piano tuning and repair business. They have passed the PTA's training requirements and are now certified to advertise using the PTA logo.

Which tool kit should I buy?

Again, you do NOT need to buy a tool kit from PTA to take our course. We simply offer them as a convenience for our students. If you do choose to purchase your tools from PTA, you will have two options—the basic kit and the upgraded kit. If you don't plan on doing much regulation or too many repairs, the basic kit will suffice and get you through the course. If you plan on making tuning your full-time job and would like to not only offer your tuning service but also your technical services, we recommend getting the upgraded kit. Our tools are only sold in kit form, but if you see a tool in the course material that you would like to purchase that is not included in the kit you purchased, you may do so directly from any piano supply house.

How much is tuition?

The course itself is $1,800 and includes access to the online learning material for 18 months as well as printable/downloadable PDFs of the material to keep for future reference. PTA sells two different tool kits that can be found here. You are not required to purchase tools from PTA to complete the course, but the tools our staff has selected are used in the training material. The basic tool kit is $215 and the upgraded tool kit is $430.

Group rates on tuition are available upon request. For more info, please contact
support@pianotechnicianacademy.com with the number of students you wish to enroll.

How long is the course?

The course is divided into 20 lessons, with quizzes at the end of most lessons. Theoretically, students would complete one lesson a week, but we allow students to move as fast as they would like. We recommend taking longer on the tuning lessons (18–30 hours) before moving on, while other lessons may only take 2–5 hours. That being said, students should plan to spend about 250–380 hours on the course. The course must be completed within 12 months of enrollment. Extensions are given only for extreme cases and are granted by our student coordinator by emailing Support@PianoTechnicianAcademy.com.

Do I need to own a piano to take the course?

You do not need to own a piano but it is critical that you have access to one. Many of the lessons include exercises that students will be required to perform. We believe that to fully understand how to tune and repair pianos, students need to not only have book knowledge but also hands-on experience.

What do I get when I graduate?

After passing all 20 lessons and the final exam with at least an 80%, you will become a Certified Piano Technician (CPT). You will receive an email with a PDF of the official Piano Technician Academy seal to use on your website or business cards, as well as a hard copy of your certificate (signed by your instructor) in the mail. (Please allow 1–2 weeks for this to arrive, as they go out twice a month.)

Will this course prepare me to take my RPT exams from the Piano Technicians Guild?

When building our course, we designed it with the RPT exams in mind. We cover all the material needed to pass the RPT exams, but studying and committing to learning the material is up to you, the student. We strongly recommend meeting with other RPTs in your area while or after taking our course to continue to prepare for the exams. No course will prepare you like one-on-one training by somebody who took the exam in the PTG chapter you are joining.