THE TUNING PHASE OF THE COURSE
How to locate, evaluate, and purchase a used piano for under $300.00.
Lesson I: Piano Basics
A brief history of the piano and the different types you'll be dealing with as a technician. These include the spinet, console, upright and grand piano models. Photos and diagrams help explain the basic workings of each.
Lesson II: Tuning Basics
An introduction to sound vibrations and how they're used to determine when a piano is in, or out of tune. Also covered are the tuning of unisons (which involves tuning more than one string at the same time), understanding the notes of music, why strings go out of tune, and proper use of the tuning lever (the tool that's used for tuning). Climate factors and their effect on tunings wrap up this lesson.
Lesson III: Interval Tuning
Here, we focus on the aural (i.e. ear ) tuning of different tones played together (called intervals). Also covered in detail is the "equal temperament" which forms the basic cornerstone of piano tuning. The temperament involves tuning the middle scale of a piano according to a prescribed formula that actually involves tuning the scale slightly off key. This is done because a "perfect" musical scale doesn't exist and must therefore be compensated for. Once the temperament is established, the rest of the piano is tuned. Complete tables, charts and easy-to-use formulas take the mystique out of tuning the equal temperament.
Lesson IV: How to Tune A Piano
The entire tuning procedure is demystified, and special tuning techniques are examined. Special emphasis on how to tune the highest (as well as the lowest) strings are explained, and use of the electronic tuning fork is examined. Practical exercises and drills are presented to enhance your learning experience.
Lesson V: Advanced Tuning Techniques
The piano technician will encounter a variety of tuning scenarios---many of which are not touched upon in typical piano courses. More importantly, different scenarios require different strategies. For example, a very-out-of tune newer piano that's in good condition must be tuned differently from an old piano in poor condition. In some cases, pianos require several tunings to bring them "back to life" but just how and when to do this requires the right course of action. In this important lesson, we describe each tuning scenario in detail and the appropriate strategy you'll need to follow. We include guidelines, real-life examples, and easy-to-use formulas.
Lesson VI: Electronic Tuning
An introduction to the electronic tuner - included in each course - and a complete overview on how entire pianos can be tuned using these devices. The use of electronic tuners on determining how far to "stretch" upper strings is also examined.
THE REPAIR PHASE OF THE COURSE
Lesson VII: The Vertical Action
The inner 'machine' of a piano is called the action. In this lesson, we focus on the vertical action (found in all stand-up pianos). A visual "walk-through" of how the vertical action works makes its understanding easy. We take the student step-by-step through the process of removing vertical actions as well as regulating them via easy-to-understand instructions. Regulation---which is not to be confused with tuning---involves adjusting different action parts so that they all work together like a well oiled machine. One important function of regulation involves the distance piano keys are pressed down to make an effective sound. Also included in the lesson are repairs and adjustments involving dampers (blocks of felt that stop strings from continuing to make sounds once keys are no longer pressed down), bridle tapes, and pedals. Charts, diagrams and photos are provided.
Lesson VIII: The Grand Action
A complete lesson on how the grand piano action works and how it is regulated; includes easy-to-understand diagrams and instructions.
Lesson IX: Introduction to Piano Repair
How to diagnose and repair the most common problems encountered by the piano technician, including sticky keys, broken strings, and loose tuning pins. Each problem can have a different cause, and these are thoroughly addressed. For example, sticky keys can result from problems within the keys themselves, or from the moving parts they are linked with. Loose tuning pins can result from worn out parts which are easily replaced, or they can signify a greater problem in the piano's pin block. Professional tips for diagnosing and repairing all of these issues are covered comprehensively, and in plain English.
Lesson X: General Repairs I
One of the more common piano repairs involve flanges; these are mechanisms consisting of different moving parts that serve as connections between things like piano keys and strings. For example, when a piano key is pressed down, it activates a flange which, in turn, propels a hammer to strike a string and make a sound. Importantly, flanges are subject to eventual wear and tear. Different type of flange repairs involve those made of brass and wood. In some cases, these can be repaired in the field but often, they have to be replaced. Other general repairs covered in detail involve broken or worn-out piano keys, wobbly hammers and other moving action parts.
Lesson XI: General Repairs II
Springs of various types form a major part of a piano's action. Methods for repairing and replacing springs are thoroughly discussed. Additional training focuses on broken hammers, broken elbows (flange-like devices used to raise and lower hammers), and squeaks and rattles which are common nuisances for the piano owner.
Lesson XII: Hammer Reconditioning and Replacement
Total replacement of old or worn hammers is thoroughly covered here. Valuable information on how to order custom hammers is presented. In many cases, hammers need to be restored or revamped, and procedures for doing so are outlined in detail. Replacement of dampers---small blocks of felt that sit atop piano strings---is also explained.
Lesson XIII: Specialty Repairs
Total string replacement is examined. The pros and cons for doing so are discussed (for example, the cost might outweigh a piano's value, but an exception would be a customer who has sentimental concerns). Other specialized repairs involve shimming cracked soundboards and repairing or replacing bridges (the horizontal wooden structures on which piano strings are wired through). Repair of grand pedal lyres (the wooden assembly found underneath grand pianos which holds the pedals) is explained. Tuning of odd, or seldom seen pianos (Players, the Square Grand and the Mason-Hamlin) is also covered.
Lesson XIV: How To Run a Successful Piano Tuning Business
A fascinating discussion on how to establish and market your piano tuning business for optimum success. This valuable lesson includes advanced marketing techniques, hard copy advertising strategies (Yellow Pages, direct mail, classified ads, etc.), the use of Facebook, Twitter and social media, mail order tips, how to insure repeat business and effective customer relations.
NOTE: A number of recommended exercises, practical drills and assignments are included throughout the course. Each lesson also concludes with a self-study test designed to help students accurately gauge their progress.
PIANO TUNER SUPER HOME STUDY COURSE LESSON DESCRIPTION