The School of Piano Technology for the Blind, located in Vancouver, Washington, is the only school in the world dedicated to teaching piano tuning and technology to blind and visually-impaired students. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, the School is a licensed, private, non-profit vocational institution.
The School was founded in 1949 by Emil Fries, a blind teacher and tuner who had the vision to start a school that would teach blind and visually-impaired students the skills of piano tuning and repair in order that they could go on to earn a good living and enjoy independent, productive lives in a financially rewarding profession. Since that time, more than 300 students have graduated and gone on to successful careers in the piano tuning industry. While most graduates open their own piano tuning business, many also work for universities, music stores, and school districts.
Understanding the unique challenge of the visually impaired when learning a trade is critical. The nature of vocational training in piano technology for blind students requires high levels of individualized instruction to properly orient the student to new tasks and to the use of new tools. Adjusting, regulating, voicing, and repairing complicated instruments with 88 keys, hundreds of parts and infinite modifications using only hearing and a sense of touch to make delicate, precise adjustments is difficult to learn and even more difficult to teach. Our teaching staff fully appreciates these challenges as they too are blind and are graduates of the School.
Students from throughout the United States and 16 countries worldwide, including Israel, South Africa, Australia, Iceland, Guam, and Malaysia, have attended the school. Graduates are provided an opportunity to overcome challenges, defy expectations, and embark on a career path leading to independent living, personal growth and achievement, and serve as role models to other blind and visually-impaired people.