Ruth Van Dine PT '99, PA '00

Ruth Van Dine PT '00Deciding to become a piano technician was a major career change for me. I was in my 40s when I came to NBSS and had been a Christian Science nurse for 25 years. I grew up near a piano technician who used my father's woodworking shop in exchange for tuning our piano. I was always fascinated by his work and admired his independence.

I was leery of going back to school in my 40s. Would I remember how to study? Would I keep up with the younger students? Did I have enough music background to understand the program? Turns out, I wasn't the oldest student. I was second oldest. The rest of the students were in their 20's. I didn't always understand their humor(!), but I'm still best friends some of my classmates.

Someone told me the education from NBSS would make me a professional and they were right. The instructors took us step-by-step through the process of becoming a technician. Being able to understand everything I needed in order to do top-notch work, even if I was not yet proficient, gave me the confidence to keep going.

The biggest challenge of quitting my job and returning to school was finding a way to pay the tuition. I was eligible for government loans, which was great, but there was little other income to cover the rest. Regardless, it was a great investment. Someone told me the education from NBSS would make me a professional and they were right. The instructors took us step-by-step through the process of becoming a technician. Being able to understand everything I needed in order to do top-notch work, even if I was not yet proficient, gave me the confidence to keep going.

After graduation, I worked for very busy concert technician as his jack-of-all-trades. I was his office manager and bookkeeper and I did shop repairs and tunings. I then decided to start my own business. I worked 2-3 days a week for a piano dealer as I built my business. I am now self-employed full-time, serving all of Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts. I have private clients and service universities, theaters and concert venues. I'm a past president of the Rhode Island chapter of Piano Technicians Guild and a mentor for new piano technicians.