How to Become an RPT in Less than 1 Year
How do you become an RPT?
Passing all 3 exams is necessary to become a Registered Piano Technician in the Piano Technicians Guild. It is an advancement of membership from being an Associate Member.
As a piano technician who completed the RPT exams in 2015, I was able to learn from many members in the Chicago Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild
There are a few tips I can recommend that will help you accelerate your learning so that passing the RPT exams within one year may be entirely within your grasp.
It involves all sorts of different aspects about of the PTG, whether it is working with the right people, resources, and timing to get everything in order so that you pass the exam within the time frame.
Here are the 7 things I recommend you should do if you want to pass the exams within a year.
*But first, become a Member of the Piano Technicians Guild Here.
#1 Attend every PTG meeting
No matter what. Attend the meetings and talk to the people there and learn as much as you can.
Missing one meeting may cost you the connection you needed, especially considering your goal may be to complete the test within one year.
#2 Ask if there are any pianos you can practice tuning on
If you find a piano that you can tune on, chances are you'll also be able to find someone who may be able or willing to teach you how to tune better.
There are lots of pianos. However, finding a piano that you can practice on with some level of supervision will be beneficial than just tuning your piano at home.
#3 Borrow the action models from your local chapter
Action models are the testing contraptions that everyone performs their exams on. If you are an Associate member, you should be allowed to borrow the jig for a certain period of time.
Before you get your hands on an action model, it is likely you will talk to someone who knows a lot more about the test and can help you in procuring tools or make a list of what else you may need in your tool kit.
#4 Borrow a stringing jig to practice splicing
Splicing is a crucial part of the exam. If you do not pass this portion of the exam, it may be outright impossible to pass.
I don't believe that all chapters have a stringing jig, so you may have to ask around for one.
If you are crafty, you can try to replicate The Best Stringing Jig for Piano Tuning.
#5 Read the Book: Piano Servicing, Tuning, and Rebuilding
In between all of the aforementioned tips included above, you should actively be reading this book until there are no pages left unturned.
One of the most helpful sections is memorizing the parts of an upright and grand piano action. This will come in handy and make you sound like you know a lot more when you can speak to the names of even a few of the parts of a piano.
#6 Ask to schedule an exam
Scheduling exams takes time and usually costs an extra fee unless you get a scholarship from your local chapter.
If you do not schedule soon enough, then it may be a few months too late for passing the exams within the timeframe of a single year.
It's best to inquire about scheduling an exam so that you can "get a feel" of the timeframe of when the next exam may be offered.
*You may take any exam at the Yearly conventions. Beware that scheduling may interfere with completing all 3 exams during one convention.
#7 Attend the Annual Convention
Complete the written exam at your first convention.
This may sound intense, but if you do all of the following steps you will more than likely get a passing grade.
While I'm not advocating for just sliding by. Taking the exam is a learning experience alone, and nothing prepares you better than standing up to the challenge.
Thank you for reading. FYI, thankfully, I was able to pass the RPT exams within one year of making my first phone call to inquire about how to become a piano technician.
Thanks to the unending generosity of my fellow piano technicians with their time, expertise, and willingness to invest in me, I was able to pass the exams less than 1 year since I first called to ask a piano tuner.
The day I passed my last exam was February 14th, 2015. Valentine's Day.