The Butler School of Piano Technology

How the Course Works


Basic Overview

I believe the strength of my course is in its approach to learning. There's an instruction manual, a library of online instructional videos, and a personal feedback program.

The Instruction Manual

The information presented in the instruction manual is presented in a simple, concise manner. Why? Information gathered by reading takes time. I want you to spend as much time as possible, working at the piano. Therefore, I have tried to prioritize the written information you'll need to maintain a good pace, and at the same time, develop your skills at the piano.

Too much information or an overload of material can cause anxiety. The same is true if we have insufficient information or, worse still, incorrect information. So, I don't want you to be drowned in information and starved for knowledge. Therefore, I have presented a balanced array of material that will allow you to progress as rapidly and efficiently as possible.

For example, learning to tune pianos aurally requires a basic understanding of music and the piano keyboard. If you don't have any knowledge of the piano keyboard, I'll teach you the names of the keys and the musical intervals you will use in tuning a piano, and even the correct fingering. You'll have what you need to move forward, and it will not be that difficult.

Some of the subjects that are discussed in this course can be rather deep. So, I've tried to use simple words and short sentences, which are powerful tools of communication. Again, I've attempted to eliminate unnecessary details but provide you what you need to know.

The instruction manual is printed using a color laserjet printer on quality paper. This makes the color illustrations and pictures easy on the eyes and a pleasure to use. There's plenty of room to make notes and highlight text. In addition, each paragraph is numbered, and there are self-study questions on the bottom of the page, which will help you to grasp the main points being made.

The Video Library

The Online Video Library is a significant part of our course. Here, you'll be able to watch how the information presented in the instruction manual is applied. The Video Library is password-protected, so you'll be provided a user name and password. We're always adding and updating this library. Here's an example of one of those instructional videos.

Personal Feedback

We believe our tuning lessons are what sets this course apart from the others. Think about it. Learning to tune pianos requires much more than learning the answers to questions about piano tuning. Yes, I ask you to complete the written exams. That's very important. But I also ask you to submit aural tuning exams via the internet. These exams allow me to monitor your progress. When you submit your aural tuning exam one day, I will usually review it and provide the necessary feedback by the next day. How will I respond? Most of the time, it's with an email. But sometimes, emails aren't enough. I will email you a direct link to a personalized video that only you can view. Here's an example of such a video. Link Along with the instructional tuning videos, this approach has proved to be very successful. This is indeed a one on one strategy that works.

Additionally, we have an arrangement for live tutoring sessions via the internet. You'll need a computer, video cam, external mic [usb mic works well], and headphones. One 30 minute tutoring session is included for each aural exercise in the course. Extra 30 minute tutoring sessions are available at an additional fee You can schedule your online tutoring session by clicking on the calendar link in the navigation window.

The Lessons

The course has 19 lessons. There are self study questions for each lesson.

Lesson One: Making a Good Start

Lesson Two: The Other Masters of the Piano

Lesson Three: Learning the Keyboard

Lesson Four: The Nature of Sound

Lesson Five: Introduction to Tuning

Lesson Six: The Unison and the Octave

Lesson Seven: Fifths and Fourths

Lesson Eight: Thirds, Sixths, Tenths, and Seventeenths

Lesson Nine: The Aural Gauge Tools

Lesson Ten Equal Temperament

Lesson Eleven: Tuning below the Temperament

Lesson Twelve: Tuning above the Temperament

Lesson Thirteen: Tuning Unisons Advanced

Lessons Sixteen through Twenty cover the information needed to pass the PTG Technical Exam. While the tuning part of the course is interactive on several levels, the course's technical aspect uses written exams and instructional videos only. I encourage my students to work with local members of the Piano Technicians Guild for additional hands-on assistance in this area. Of course, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have on technical issues.

Lesson Sixteen: Introduction to the Grand Piano

Lesson Seventeen: Introduction to the Vertical Piano

Lesson Eighteen: Action Geometry

Lesson Nineteen: Regulating the Grand Action Model

Lesson Twenty: Regulating the Vertical Action Model

Lesson Twenty-one: Repairs


The Butler School of  Piano Technology

Rick Butler RPT  -  Registered Piano Technician, The Piano Technicians Guild

phone: 240 396 7480