Piano Tuning and Repair Online Course (Apprentice Version)

The PTA Apprentice Course is our solution to the growing need to quickly and efficiently train the next generation of piano technicians working with a mentor. The material is identical to our main Piano Tuning & Repair course but with the business lessons removed so that you can teach your apprentice the things that makes your business unique. Group/bulk discounts are available by reaching out to support@PianoTechnicianAcademy.com.
This course is for students working with a mentor only. If you are not working with a mentor, please enroll in the regular Piano Tuning & Repair Course.



About the Course - Apprentice Version

The PTA Piano Tuning & Repair Apprentice Course was designed as an aid for established piano service businesses and piano stores to quickly and efficiently train their new piano technicians without having to start them at ground zero. Training a green technician to the point where they can effectively service a customer’s piano can take months and even years but with our apprentice course, that time can be cut in half. The apprentice can study on their own time while the mentor focuses on growing their business. Once the apprentice has the base knowledge of something like grand regulation, the mentor can get them started and simply check in to add pointers and tips. Mentors can also log in using the apprentice’s username to see what they are working on that week or what they are struggling with. All students will still have access to a PTA instructor if their mentor is unavailable to help with certain questions or topics. By the end of the course, the apprentice should be able to tune, regulate, repair and voice your customers pianos! See course index for more on what is covered.

Course Layout- Apprentice Version

The course is broken down into 17 online 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 17, students are required to take a 50-question final exam that covers all lessons.

What Makes PTA Different - Apprentice Version

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 courses have 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.

Ttition & Time Frame - Apprentice Version

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. Discounts for service businesses/ piano stores are available by reaching out tosupport@PianoTechnicianAcademy.com. 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 300–380 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. 

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.

Michael Stilwell


Michael started in the piano industry at 20, joining his family's business, Stilwell Pianos in Mesa, Arizona, which has grown into a comprehensive piano store and rebuilding shop. He is a vital part of the Piano Technician Academy, heavily involved in course development, student enrollment, and global marketing, dedicated to teaching the art of piano technology.

Lloyd W. (Chip) Meyer

Lloyd W. Meyer III, known as Chip, is the general manager of Renner USA, a premier supplier of German-made piano components throughout the Americas, who joined the family business established by his father to enhance the Louis Renner brand’s American presence, following a notable tenure at Grainger.

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


What is teh difference between the regular Piano Tuning & Repair Course and the Apprentice version?

The only difference is that the business lessons in the regular course are removed. We do offer a range of discounts for the apprentice course so to learn more about what you may be eligible for, please email support@PianoTechnicianAcademy.com with the number of apprentices you would like to enroll in a given year.

Does PTA Offer group discounts?

Yes! We offer institution and group discounts. For more information, please email support@PianoTechnicianAcademy.com with the number of apprentices you would like to enroll in a given year.

Can the mentor monitor the apprentice's progress?

Yes! We are now able to track IP addresses which allows mentors to use the same login information as their apprentice to monitor their progress, see what the apprentice is working on that week and see what the apprentice might be struggling with so the mentor can help.

Does PTA offer payment plans?

Payment plans are now available to USA students via PayPal's "PayPal Credit" program. Students subject to credit approval. 6 months free with no interest is offered to most students. To find out more about this program, please check with Paypal prior to enrolling in the course.

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.

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.)

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 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.