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Every July, the Piano Technicians Guild hosts a convention to encourage skills development and networking. In 2012, the hosting city was Bellevue, WA. Below is a list of classes that I attended and their respective synopses. This year's convention will be in Chicago! You can view the official website here.

Taming Inertia: Creating a Touch to Die For- Darrell Fandrich, RPT/John Rhodes, RPT

Excessive inertia is a hugely critical gremlin responsible for the heavy tendon-tearing touch that plagues players of the majority of new pianos and rebuilds. This class presents newly developed tools to accurately quantify, predict, and correct action inertia-resulting in "a Touch to Die For" every time.

Understanding Aftertouch, the Core Principle of Action Regulation- Ed Sutton, RPT

When all the regulation specs have been met, there is still the question "Does it work?" The answer to this question can be found at the moment of after-touch. This class uses structured hands-on learning to clarify the functional relationships of key height, key dip, and blow distance in refining action regulation. 

Vertical Action Regulation: Maximum Results in Minimum Time- Don Mannino, RPT

This class focuses on the goals of regulation and how to fulfill them in the least amount of time. Don demonstrates how to make the piano work best within normal specifications, which tools to buy and which procedures to follow to ensure the best results. 

How the Piano Works- Del Fandrich, RPT

Hear a comprehensive overview of how the piano works. Beginning with an overview of the whole instrument, we examine each major design and construction element of the modern piano and show how they all work together to produce the sounds we know and love. Included are discussions of stringing scales, soundboard design and construction, plates and skeletons, and hammers and actions.

Hybrid Wire Scales- Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re-scaling pianos has become common since the late 1970s. The new piano wire (strings) from Stephen Paulello and PureSound opens up new ways to approach improving the tone at the scale break. Converting plain string trichords to wound strings is no longer the best approach.

All Day Touch and Tone- Wally Brooks, RPT

Geared to the field technician and rebuilder, Wally demonstrates how to prepare and build tone and touch in a new or rebuilt piano. At the end of the day, you will have a thorough understanding of how to control touch-weight, what affects tone in the piano, the art of listening to tone and a slew of technical tips on hammer selection and voicing hammers. beginning with a raw piano and ending with a piano that has a clean, strong, focused tone and improved volume and projection, you will see how to get the most out of an in-home or concert piano.

The Business of Rebuilding- Wally Brooks, RPT

Discover an experienced and proven approach to creating professional estimates.

The Full-Service Approach to Piano Maintenance- Steve Brady, RPT

Take your daily work to a new level with this full-service approach, by "servicing" instead of "tuning" the pianos in your clientele.

Practical Tuning- Jeff Hickey, RPT

Learn some practical tips from a simple bench fix to adjusting spinet lifters. See why "tuning" is just part of the job in your customer's home. The heart of this tuning class is a 4ths/5ths aural temperament you can easily master and tuning tips on everything from pitch raises to stability...practically speaking.

Tuning in the "Goldilocks Zone": A Guide to Efficient Tuning- Ben Gac, RPT

Want to learn to speed up your tuning time without compromising quality? Find out how to place your intervals "just right" by listening to the "too hot" and "too cold" intervals surrounding it. Time is also devoted to exploring the method of tuning unisons as you go.

Under the Lid: The Art and Craft of the Concert Piano Technician- Steve Brady, RPT

A proven routine for working with concert pianists plus a pre-concert checklist that will help eliminate worry. Specific information and advice on tuning, regulating, and voicing for concerts are included.

Voicing the Renner Blue Point Hammer- Rick Baldassin, RPT/Michael Spreeman, RPT

In this class, a full set of newly installed Renner Blue Point hammers will be voiced on a Ravenscroft concert piano. You will see an effective, easy to assimilate, step-by-step voicing procedure that is the culmination of 70 years of combined education and experience in symphony and university concert work, piano restoration, consulting to manufacturers and production. This new hammer allows the voicing to be achieved predictably in a very short amount of time. 

Voicing the Vertical Piano- Fred Sturm, RPT

A vertical piano can have the same evenness, range, and focus of tone available to grand pianos. It requires laying a foundation with fine traveling, squaring, and filing hammers, and leveling strings, along with shoulder needling, needling close to the crown, and mating hammers to strings. this class shows you how.

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