Piano Technology Program - University of Houston
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The Moores School of Music Apprenticeship in Keyboard Maintenance and Piano Technology is an intensive program to develop the skills, techniques, and real-world expertise for piano and keyboard technicians. Participants of 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.



Participants will work in the Moores School of Music on its array of practice instruments, manage assigned shop projects, receive private lessons in piano tuning, and engage in group lessons and masterclasses on several other topics related to the field. The Moores School of Music provides an active environment with over 200 keyboard instruments in over 300 performances each year. Technicians commit to:

  • A minimum of 20 hours a week throughout the year, generally comprised of 8 hours of lab apprenticeship, 2 hours private lessons, and 10 hours solo tuning and keyboard maintenance tasks
  • Present several lectures in topics related to the materials learned
  • Achieving Registered Piano Technician ratings with the Piano Technicians Guild

Upon successful completion of the three-year program, apprentices will receive a Certificate of Completion.

COST: $15,000.00 per year, payable in flexible installments. Scholarships and merit-based aid are available. Housing is not available on campus, and participants will additionally need to acquire a campus parking permit.

A TYPICAL DAY: Apprentices can expect to start their day in the practice rooms and offices of Moores, tuning and repairing pianos that have been assigned to them. Their afternoons are spent in our restoration facility working on project pianos and getting one-on-one instruction in repair methods and tuning.

In their third year, exceptional participants may be assigned to their own concert halls to work with artists and maintain performance instruments.

Most technicians are connected through our program with external contracts with local piano dealers, manufacturers, and private clients for additional experience and paid opportunities.


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



  • 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
  • Harpsichord and fortepiano tuning
  • Harpsichord and fortepiano moving



  • 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
  • Damper system installation
  • Soundboard design and installation
  • Fore-Finishing – the art of installing and designing new keyboards
  • Voicing and hammer felt manipulation
  • Touch weight design
  • Organ tuning
  • Concert etiquette and working with artists




With over 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 executing fine specialty work on instruments.

The Moores Instrument Restoration Shop features machinery rarely found outside of a factory, including a factory designed in-piano pinblock drill, a soundboard press, GrandWorks stations, and cutting-edge equipment and machinery for all other woodworking and instrument processes. The facility is equipped with a complete woodshop and a separate shop floor for clean processes like stringing and regulation.

Within the college, practice rooms are set aside for piano and organ tuning to allow technicians the opportunity to practice on a variety of instruments in a setting designed specifically for tuning.



Corbin Sturch, RPT:

Corbin Sturch is a Concert Piano Technician who works with the University of Houston as Head Piano Technician and Technical Instructor and the Interlochen Center for the Arts as the Arts Festival Piano Technician. Corbin specializes in the Steinway & Sons methodology for the care and upkeep of concert grand pianos and performance instruments, and in the training of Apprentice Piano Technicians and semi-professional Piano Technicians who seek to expand their skill set. Corbin believes that it is the sole duty of the Piano Technician to make the instrument the best it can possibly be for a performer, and that the collaboration between the artist and technician allows for the perfect marriage of the performance capabilities and artistry of the piano in performance.

Corbin has worked with several notable artists and groups as a technician including such pianists as Barry Snyder, Roman Rabinovich, Joseph Moog, Michael Coonrod, TJ Lymenstull, Jerome Lowenthal, Julie Cheek, Sarah Cahill and many others; the performers Steve Martin and Martin Short, Paula Robison, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, The Capitol Steps, The Mauchley Duo, Vox Luminous, Dorrance Dance, and Daniel Martin Moore; the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, DaCamera Houston, Performing Arts Houston, the Amarillo Symphony and Oberlin Baroque Orchestra; and such festivals and series as the Interlochen Arts Festival, the International Piano Festival (Houston), IPR's "In Studio A with," and "Live From IPR's Studio A," and NPR's "Skyline Sessions."

Corbin is a factory trained piano technician with training from Steinway & Sons New York, Mason & Hamlin, and with additional training concerning manufacturing practices on instruments from Steinway & Sons Hamburg, Shigeru Kawai, Kawai, Baldwin and Yamaha. Corbin has spent hundreds of hours studying professional tuning, regulation and voicing with such master technicians as John Cavanaugh, Robert Murphy, Jessica Masse, Kent Webb, Eric Schandall, Dan Harteau, Patrick DeBeliso, Thomas Malone, Justin Holcombe and Ken Sloane; and additional training in historic instrument manufacture and tuning methods from Robert Murphy and Kathie Stewart. Corbin holds an Artist Diploma in Piano Technology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is a Registered Piano Technician with the Piano Technician's Guild. Corbin is regularly in demand as a clinician nationally on topics of piano and instrument technology and continues to work to expand technical training availability across the country.

Jim Kozak, RPT:

Jim Kozak is a Concert Piano Technician who works with the University of Houston as the Associate Director of Piano Technology. As a technician Jim has worked with the Houston Symphony, DaCamera Houston, Performing Arts Houston, the Houston Grand Opera, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and is the house technician for the Hobby & Wortham Centers of Houston, and in terms of clientele has worked with every major performing artist in from the last 35 years in his time on the stage. Jim is a Registered Piano Technician with over 50 years of experience and has been a featured instructor at several local and national clinics for Piano Technology. Jim is recognized as a Yamaha Concert and Artist Technician with training from the "Little Red Schoolhouse program."

Marselis Renner:

A second-generation technician, Marselis grew up in Holland training as a piano technician and master cabinet maker. Marselis works with students on the finer aspects of high detail woodworking and belly design.


Individuals interested in applying to be part of the apprenticeship must submit their applications through the Moores School application portal GetAcceptd. In the application, 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. Any interested individual, even without prior experience, is encouraged to apply – applicants with little to no experience are still given equal consideration based on potential.

Letters of recommendation from other piano technicians are encouraged but not required.

Applications are reviewed starting in the spring for fall admission. Applications are due by April 1 of each year.

After an application is received it will be reviewed by the lead technicians. Following a review of applications, interviews and technical reviews will be conducted with selected applicants.

Those selected past the interview process will be invited to join the apprenticeship starting in the fall of that year.

group photo


James Romig (2022) - Head Piano Technician and Piano Technology Instructor, Fort Bend ISD

Luke Valette (2023) - Associate Piano Technician, Rice University Shepherd School of Music

Robert Wilkinson, RPT (2024) - Director of Instrument Services and Piano Technology, the Eastman School of Music

Hayden Forsythe (2024) - Associate Piano Technician, Rice University Shepherd School of Music