Piano Technology

NBSS is one of the leading piano schools in the industry. Our Piano Technology program gives you the skills you need to start a successful business and pursue a deeply satisfying career. We offer two nine-month courses—Basic Piano Technology (PT) and Advanced Piano Technology (PA)—both of which provide intensive training with master faculty in a stimulating environment.

The Piano Technology programs attract students who share a passion for music, problem solving and mechanics, and the hand skills used to restore and care for beautiful musical instruments. Our facilities include two bench rooms and sixteen individual practice rooms, outfitted with a variety of pianos, so you have the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to become a successful technician.


The PT program covers all phases of aural piano tuning, including the concepts on which equal temperament is founded. You’ll learn to tune, regulate, and repair the actions of both upright and grand pianos. Classes include hands-on work, lectures, and field trips. You’ll learn the history of keyboards, business best practices, and advertising and promotion.


The PA focuses on the entire piano and comprehensive piano service. This includes advanced tuning and regulation practice, and resolving service problems that occur in the field. We also cover grand piano repair in depth.

Each year, PA students work in teams of two or three to dismantle, rebuild, and repair grand pianos. The pianos are either donated to the school or done on commission for individual clients. You can read the story of one of our rebuilt pianos here.

Field trips for both programs typically include:

  • The historical instrument collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • Organ manufacturer C.B. Fisk, Inc. in Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • The Steinway factory in Long Island City, New York
  • Frederick Historic Piano Collection in Ashburnham, Massachusetts
  • The harpsichord workshop of Alan Winkler in Medford, Massachusetts
  • Shalin Liu concert hall in Rockport, Massachusetts
  • Mason & Hamlin in Haverhill, Massachusetts

In addition to the Full-Time program, we occasionally offer an introduction to piano technology course through our Continuing Education Department. View all CE courses here.

Piano Technology Faculty

Our Piano Technology instructors are nationally recognized and respected trade practitioners with more than 100 years in of combined experience. Each offers a unique perspective on the approach and execution of work, which gives students a more comprehensive view of the field.

David Betts PA ’72

David graduated from NBSS in 1972 and is the Department Head. He is a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) and has worked as a self-employed technician and rebuilder for more than 35 years. He is a regular master teacher at regional and national Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) meetings.

Debbie Cyr PA ’93

Debbie is a 1993 graduate of the program and a Registered Piano Technician. She works as a piano rebuilder and has an established piano tuning clientèle. She is also the staff piano technician at Brandeis University. A recent past president of the Boston Piano Technicians Guild, she teaches at regional and national PTG seminars.

Emily Townsend PT ’06, PA ’08

Emily is a 2008 graduate of the NBSS piano technology program and a Registered Piano Technician. She also holds a degree in piano performance from Trinity University. Emily has served as head technician at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and as a concert technician at both Aspen Music Festival and School and Tanglewood. She now runs her own tuning and rebuilding business.

Louis Del Bene PT ’06, PA ’07

After graduating from NBSS, Louis worked in a number of piano rebuilding shops, and eventually launched his own business, Brevet Piano Service, in Santa Rosa, CA. He is a Registered Piano Technician with the Piano Technicians Guild, serving as President & Vice President in the Central North Carolina chapter and later, as Vice President for the San Francisco chapter.



Topics include:

  • Musical acoustics
  • Tuning procedures and practice
  • Temperaments
  • Piano maintenance and repair
  • Upright and grand regulation
  • Business practice and ethics

Topics include:

  • Appraisals and estimates
  • Pin block replacement
  • Veneer repairs
  • Refinishing
  • Soundboard repairs/replacement
  • Bridge capping
  • Rescaling
  • Action renovation, retrofitting, and replacement
  • Use of hand tools and woodworking machinery

Hours & Tuition

Basic Piano Technology

  • Students are admitted in September.
  • The maximum enrollment is 16 students.
  • Classes meet 8:00 am - 3:30 pm, Monday - Friday, September through May.
  • The program length is one, nine-month academic year (36 weeks or 1260 class hours***).
  • Tuition is $25,000*, with the option of making 9 monthly payments of $2,778.
  • The estimated cost of tools is $1,500.
  • The estimated cost of transportation for class trips is $200.
  • Students who complete the program receive a Certificate of Basic Piano Technology.
Advanced Piano Technology
  • Students are admitted in September.
  • The maximum enrollment is 9 students.
  • Classes meet 8:00 am - 3:30 pm, Monday - Friday, September through May.
  • The program length is one, nine-month academic year (36 weeks or 1260 class hours***).
  • The tuition is $24,500*, with the option of making 9 monthly payments of $2,722.
  • The estimated cost of hand tools is $750.
  • The estimated cost of transportation for class trips is $200.
  • The successful completion of the NBSS Basic Piano Technology course, Registered Piano Technician (RPT) certification or equivalent experience is a prerequisite for this course.
  • Students who complete the program receive a Diploma of Advanced Piano Technology.

*The tuition rate is for students entering North Bennet Street School between September 2017 and June 2018.

**North Bennet Street School reserves the right to increase tuition in the second and subsequent years of a course. If the school does increase tuition for a course in subsequent years, that increase will not exceed 7.5% of the previous year’s tuition. Should the school exercise its right to increase tuition, the school must give the student a minimum of ninety (90) days written notice prior to the effective date of the increase and a new enrollment agreement will be executed.

*** Class hours equals clock hours.


We offer rolling admissions and accept qualified applicants throughout the year. Both the Basic and Advanced programs start in September. The maximum enrollment for Basic program is 16 students, and the maximum enrollment for the Advanced program is 9 students.

We look for applicants who have good manual dexterity and enjoy working with their hands.

Students who want to apply for the Advanced Program must first complete the Basic Program or show proof of equivalent experience and training.



You’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your craft in the field. We arrange internships throughout the year with private clients and institutions. We also offer internships at summer music festivals, including Tanglewood and the Aspen Music Festival.

Gainful Employment


Most graduates of the Piano Technology courses become self-employed piano technicians. Some work with piano dealers and conservatories. Advanced Piano Technology graduates often work for piano manufacturers and rebuilding shops, or for colleges, universities, and music schools.

Learn more about piano technology careers here.

View the School's gainful employment report for Basic Piano Technology here.

View the School's gainful employment report for Advanced Piano Technology here.

Note: Due to privacy concerns, on-time completion rates are withheld when fewer than ten students in a graduating class received Title IV, or "federal," financial aid during their enrollment at NBSS. Because our programs are small, this information may be withheld or appear low in any given year.

Typical earnings rates are based on the earnings of our graduates as reported to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and therefore may not be an accurate reflection of potential earnings in a given field.

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Contact Rob O'Dwyer, Director of Admissions, at 617-227-0155 x111 or admissions@nbss.edu.

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