Piano Technology Program - University of Houston
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The Moores School of Music Internship in Keyboard Maintenance and Piano Technology Program is an intensive program to develop the skills, techniques, and real-world expertise for piano and keyboard technicians. Students enrolled in this program will explore the design, construction, and maintenance of grand and upright pianos of several makes and models. The technician will gain the experience and continued training necessary to work in a college or university setting, on concert stages, or high-level residency programs.

Internship

Students will work within the Moores School of Music on its array of practice instruments, manage assigned shop projects, receive private instruction in piano tuning, and engage in group lessons and masterclasses on several other topics related to the field. The Intern commits to: 

  • a minimum of 20 hours a week during the academic year, generally comprised of 8 hours of class/lab, 2 hours private lessons, and 10 hours solo tuning and keyboard maintenance tasks. 
  • present six 15-minute lectures in topics related to the materials learned 

Upon successful completion of the two-year program, the interns will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Modules

To provide a more comprehensive training experience, the internship is broken into four modules that focus on the different areas of piano technology: tuning, regulation, restoration and concert work. 

TUNING

REGULATION

  • Tuning hammer technique 
  • Unison tuning 
  • Introductions to tuning with a fork and with an Electronic Tuning Device (ETD) 
  • Octave Tuning 
  • 4th /5th / 3rd Tuning 
  • String replacement 
  • The partial series and tuning theory 
  • Invoice creation 
  • Piano moving 
  • Piano design and parts 
  • Grand regulation steps 
  • Upright regulation steps 
  • Hammer filing and mating (Pre-requisite to later voicing) 
  • Pinning 
  • Bushing 
  • Website design 
  • Harpsichord and fortepiano tuning 
  • Harpsichord and fortepiano moving 

RESTORATION I 

RESTORATION II - CONCERT TUNING 

  • Complete piano stringing, including string leveling and alignment. 
  • Bridge design and replacement 
  • Damper felt selection and installation 
  • Dampp-Chaser installation 
  • Case repair 
  • Shop project management 
  • Case finishing (poly, stain and matte repair) - offsite 
  • Voicing and hammer felt manipulation 
  • Damper system installation 
  • Touch weight design 
  • Organ tuning 
  • Concert etiquette and working with artists 

 

Additional Opportunities:  External contracts with local piano dealers and private clients will be made available to students to earn additional experience and network. 

How to Apply

Individuals interested in applying to be part of the internship should email Mr. Corbin Sturch at chsturch@uh.edu to express interest. In the email please include a letter explaining your interest, and a copy of your current resume listing any experience you may feel is relevant to this field of study.  Letters of recommendation from other piano technicians are encouraged but not required. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. After an application is received it will be reviewed by the faculty.  Following a review of applications, in the spring interviews and technical reviews will be conducted with select applicants showing promise. Those selected past the interview process will be invited to study starting in the fall of that year. Any individual interested even without prior experience is encouraged to apply – applicants with little to no experience are still given equal consideration based on potential.

Faculty

Corbin Sturch
Head of Keyboard Technology and Curator of Organs 

Jim Kozak
Master Piano Technician

piano

Facilities

With almost 200 keyboard instruments within the college, the Moores School of Music features a complete piano restoration shop equipped with the latest machinery and technology for rebuilding pianos and doing the fine specialty work on instruments.  Additionally, within the college is practice rooms set aside for piano and organ tuning practice to allow technicians to be able to practice on a variety of instruments in a setting designed specifically for tuning.