It was appropriate that the Tuning School was part of the Conservatorium, as the feedback from performers and teachers encouraged the acceptance of the "Triple Octave Tuning" here, while Japanese audiences favoured a safer "Double Octave Tuning".
A very important feature of the course was that a brand new piano was provided for each student. Over the training year, each piano was tuned for up to 4 hours each morning, 5 or 6 days a year. This way the graduate tuners were quite at home with new pianos, and their condition after the year was like the condition of a five year old piano.
This is in stark contrast with many other courses, where new tuners are expected to learn on old unsalable pianos.
The Conservatorium has over 150 good quality pianos. During the last semester they tuned all the instruments there including the Steinway, Bechstein, Bosendorfer and Yamaha concert grands.
Since the early eighties, with increased communications and interaction, tuning schools are becoming closer. There are still major differences though. The simpler style involving a rough temperament and octave tuning has been replaced by more sophisticated techniques, and the development of Electronic Tuning Devices has given rise to another major division among tuners.
In practice you come across pianos is various states of out-of-tuneness. Pianos which haven't been tuned for many years, pianos recently tuned but with a set of new bass-strings, pianos recently tuned but with the middle section collapsed due to weather changes. The ideal piano to tune is one which is tuned regularly, perhaps monthly, or every term. For teaching purposes we use a pattern similar to the ideal tuning: the piano is tuned up by 5 cents two or three times, and then down to the starting point, or 5 cents below. With a standardised tuning the learner is able to observe the reaction of the piano to the tuning and to perfect his technique.
The Japanese teaching method involved a system of discovery and reward for the individual, and an environment of cooperative competition among the class. The minimum amount of information was given for a new procedure, and if the student had a question, then it seems that the answer would have more meaning if he felt the need to ask the question.