David C. Stanwood RPT draws from a lifetime of experience in diversified fields including: Machine tool making, felt making, artistic photography, professional sailing and rigging, classical piano, and horticultural science. He received his degree in Photographic Science and Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology.
His life work began in 1978 when he received his certificate from Piano Technology department of the North Bennet St. School in Boston under William E. Garlick. The first question he asked was “if the action doesn’t feel right what can I do to change it?” The repeated lack of definitive answers to this question led him to research and develop methods for improving the feel of piano actions. A pivotal event in his career occurred in August of 1988, when Rudolf Serkin tested a Model D Steinway fitted with a prototype “improved” action. Serkin was favorably impressed and encouraged Stanwood to keep on his path.
Guided by evaluations of his work by top pianists, Stanwood went on to invent the “New Touch Weight Metrology”, a new system of units and measures that describes how each action part contributes to the feel of the action in terms of weight, leverage, and friction.
His crowning achievement is the discovery of “The Equation of Balance” This opened up a whole new field of study and practice, that of “Piano Touchweight Technology”, culminating in the creation of Precision Touch Design.
His work dramatically improves the quality of restored or rebuilt pianos and is also used frequently to improve new pianos and makes possible the customization of pianos in a way that was never before possible. Hundreds of concert pianos have been upgraded with Precision TouchDesign. His work also helps in the education of music students by improving the quality of practice pianos as well as performance pianos in Colleges and Universities, most notably the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
His work also continues to bring great benefits to pianists who suffer from injury or who are in a weakened state due to health issues. Most notably he helped the world famous improvisation artist Keith Jarrett when he was suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. His long range goal is integration of his component balancing techniques with the manufacture and rebuilding of pianos worldwide and the improvement of pianos everywhere.
Another long range goal is to integrate touch weight metrology into the curriculums of piano technology schools across the globe. His touch weight metrology is already a permanent part of the curriculum at the North Bennet St. School, and the Master of Arts in Piano Technology degree program at the Florida State University at Tallahassee. Stanwood volunteers a considerable amount of time to teaching in his profession. In October of 1990 he published “Factoring Friction with the Balance Weight System” in the PTG Journal. In June of 1996 he published “The New Touchweight Metrology” in the PTG Journal followed by a series of articles in 2000 that layout a whole new science within the discipline of Piano Technology. Stanwood is frequently asked to teach classes and seminars to piano technicians across the continent and in Europe. Since 1991 he has participated as an instructor at the Annual Institute of the Piano Technicians Guild .
His specialty also crosses over into public school programs were he has often been asked to teach young students how to understand algebra using the analogy of a piano key as a see saw and of an algebraic formula being equal when the see saw is balanced. This concept has been presented nationally on Public Television on the Annenburg network series on mathematics and also in a Canadian Science program which has been broadcast to every French speaking country in the world.
On June 1, 2007 Stanwood was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the North Bennet St. School for his contributions to the craft of piano technology. He lives and works at his home in the Lambert’s Cove area of West Tisbury, on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.