The most important factor in maintaining the utility and longevity of any institution's pianos is the choice of piano technician. An institutional technician should possess the advanced skills and experience required to prepare pianos for public concerts, organize and manage a large inventory of instruments, deal daily with high-level pianists and educators, and be familiar with the techniques necessary for the time-efficient maintenance of practice-room pianos. An underqualified technician can contribute to an accelerated rate of deterioration and shorten the lives of the instruments under his or her care. Some fully qualified technicians, mostly manufacturer-trained, have no formal credentials. However, hiring a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) member of the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) ensures that at least a minimum standard of expertise has been tested for and achieved. (At the time of this writing, PTG is considering adopting a College and University Technician endorsement credential that would ensure that the credentialed technician has a minimum of the special skills required to work successfully in the institutional environment.) A good way to begin planning any institution's piano-maintenance program is to read PTG's Guidelines for Effective Institutional Piano Maintenance, available in printed form or as a free download from www.ptg.org.
Chris Solliday services the pianos at several institutions, including Lafayette College, Lehigh University, and East Stroudsburg University. He lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, and can be reached through his website at www.csollidaypiano.com.