After over 45 years as a faculty member, including 36 years as Department Head of the Piano Technology programs, David Betts PT '72 has retired from his role. Please join our entire community in sharing our heartfelt thanks to David for his many years of expertise and mentorship, and wishing him all the best in his retirement. Since we couldn't honor him at graduation this year as planned, we decided to bring the celebration to David by hosting a physically-distanced, drive-through party at his home.
Our comprehensive Piano Technology programs give 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.
Both 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. Combined with business instruction, you’ll have the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to become a successful technician.
BASIC PIANO TECHNOLOGY
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 to such venues as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mason & Hamlin Factory in Haverhill, the Steinway factory in Long Island City, as well as various workshops and collections throughout New England.
ADVANCED PIANO TECHNOLOGY
The PA program 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—an example of which is the School’s 72-piano service contract with the Boston Public School system. Each year, PA students work in teams of two or three to dismantle, rebuild, and repair grand pianos.
- Curriculum: Investigate what students learn over the course of both nine-month programs.
- Facilities: Virtually walk through the program spaces.
- Faculty: Meet our talented instructors, who are experts in their field.
- Tuition: Check out tuition, costs, class hours, schedule, and program length.
- Careers: Explore careers available to Piano Technology graduates and the employment outlook.
- Profiles: Read about our alumni, including how an education at NBSS opened doors for them.
- Piano Technology program brochure: Download at-a-glance details.
Admissions, Financial Aid, and Employment Information
- Admissions Info: How to get your application started and what you need to apply.
- Financial Aid: We're dedicated to helping you afford the cost of your education. Learn about our financial aid options.
- ACCSC Graduate & Employment Data: View the 2018 Report here.
Patrick Branstetter PT '10, PA '11 is a graduate of both the Basic and Advanced Piano Technology programs. He moved to Los Angeles a few years ago, and recently set up a home shop in a converted garage on his property. He gave us a tour around his workshop, showing off his tools and his vintage Volvos – which he calls "pianos with an engine."
Nearly every week, someone calls the Piano Technology faculty at NBSS offering to donate an old grand piano for the Advanced Piano Technology students to rebuild. But in an entire year, only a select few make the cut. Usually, they're Steinways. For students to wring the most educational value out of the rebuilding experience, a chosen piano must need everything replaced but the case, plate, and (usually) keys. Then with careful instruction and guidance, the students replace all of the piano's action parts.
The Boston Herald featured our Violin Making & Repair and Piano Technology programs in a March 2019 article, including video and photos of our students creating violins, restoring grand pianos, playing instruments they've worked on, and describing what drew them to a career where music and hand skills intersect.
A former instructor in Piano Technology at NBSS, Jack Stebbins PT '82, PA '83 has earned the Examiner of the Year Award from the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) on a number of occasions. So often in fact that the 4,000-member-strong organization, the industry's only recognized piano service certification program, decided to rename the honor after him.
Michelle Stranges, a 1993 graduate of the Basic Piano Technology program and a 1994 graduate of Advanced Piano Technology, knew she wanted to be a piano tuner from a young age. She was recently featured in an article by her employer, Western Washington University, where she tirelessly works to keep all 85 of their pianos (and four harpsichords) in tune.
"It is impossible to overemphasize the respect this school has in the piano technology industry. When [employers] see NBSS on your resume, they will take a serious look at you."
Brian Turano PT '13, PA '14View More Piano Technology Alumni Profiles