My Training and Background


Piano KeysI graduated from Bethel University at St. Paul MN, in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in music and philosophy.

Piano Training

My early piano training was with Francis Hunt, a local Chicago Piano Tuner.  However it was my 10 month apprenticeship with Mr. Virgil Smith, RPT that set me apart as a fine piano technician.  Mr. Smith maintained the pianos at Orchestra Hall in Chicago for many years and is recognized and honored world wide.  In 2002 he received the prestigious Golden Hammer award from the Piano Technicians Guild.  I assisted Virgil in the care and maintenance of the many pianos at  the Moody Bible Institute here in Chicago during my apprenticeship.

Piano Technicians Guild

I continue to upgrade my skills through the many classes offered through the Piano Technicians Guild at the local and national conventions.  In 1995,  I completed the testing required to win the coveted title of Registered Piano Technician of which there are fewer than 3,000 in the US and Canada.

Stanwood Precision Touch Design

In 2002 after attending a week long class with piano action designer, Mr. David Stanwood, RPT, I became a licensed installer for the Stanwood Precision Touch Design.  This design is an aftermarket upgrade that will totally renovate any piano action and take it to it’s highest performance level possible.


I am the house piano technician at The International House at the University of Chicago, where I regularly tune for classical and jazz venues.  I also maintained the pianos at Harper College in Palatine for three years. Harper College boasts two 10 year old Steinway concert grands that are maintained in top condition. Visiting artists are invited to choose which piano best meets their needs.

Teacher at Chicago City Colleges

For over 25 years I taught English as a Second Language two nights a week for City Colleges of Chicago.  Although I am now a full time piano technician, I am proud of my long association with City Colleges.


Dr. Janice Larson Razaq
Immediate Past president, Illinois State Music Teachers Association
Vice President, American Matthay Association for Piano
Director of Keyboard Studies, Music Department, William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, IL

Ron Johnson has been an expert and reliable piano technician for me at my home and at my college studio. His tunings are first-class, and even more important, he can repair broken keys, mall-functioning pedals, etc., with assurance and confidence. He recently replaced the hammers on my Steinway “D” at my home studio to excellent results. At the college he maintained, repaired, tuned and moved many pianos, both uprights and grands. He is meticulous and takes his time to see that he gets the job done correctly. I recommend Ron to do any piano technician work that you may need.

Gerald Rizzer, Artistic Director and Pianist of The Chicago Ensemble

Ron Johnson has been tuning the Steinway grand piano for The Chicago Ensemble’s International House concerts for many years, always with careful attention to what is needed. He recently did additional work on the piano, beyond tuning, with the result that it sounds better than ever before in the Ensemble’s 39 year association with International House!
Gerald Rizzer, Artistic Director and Pianist of The Chicago Ensemble

Steve Nixon, Jazz pianist- performer and teacher.

Ron is the consummate professional. Not only does he know his stuff but he is punctual, patient, and meticulous with his work. I am a professional piano player and teacher. So, as a result I’m real picky with who tunes my pianos!
I was thoroughly impressed the first time I hired Ron by his ability to fix all kinds of little things that needed work on my piano. He really went above and beyond. I highly recommend Ron.

Mary Britzius

Ron Johnson is an artist and a true professional . He has maintained my 1956 McPhail baby grand for years. He is prompt, tidy and a joy to have in my home. After tuning , Mr. Johnson will play a song or two on the piano to make certain that all is as it should be – a real treat for those who have never heard their own pianos played by someone else.