In Summary - Musical Instrument Technician
Musical Instrument Technicians typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Musical Instrument Technician
Musical instrument technicians design, make, repair, maintain and restore musical instruments. As the work is highly skilled, it is usual to concentrate on a particular type or group of instruments. Typical specialisms include keyboards, strings or fretted instruments, woodwind, brass, percussion or electronic instruments.
Some technicians specialise still further by concentrating on reproducing and restoring period instruments.
The work varies according to the particular instrument being made. In order to make a new instrument, the technician designs an instrument according to a customer's requirements. They use their drawings and plans to help them cut, shape and put together materials such as metal, wood and plastic.
Other tasks may include:
- advising clients on the care and handling of an instrument
- finding faults in instruments
- replacing or repairing damaged parts
- using finishing techniques such as cleaning and varnishing
- tuning the instrument.
Some work may take a few days, while other work, for example restoring a fine instrument, may take more than a year.
Musical instrument technicians usually work in a workshop. They use a variety of hand and machine tools, and measuring devices. They may need to sell the instruments that they make. May also sell new and second-hand instruments and their spare parts as well as sheet music.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Play instruments to evaluate their sound quality and to locate any defects.
- Adjust string tensions to tune instruments, using hand tools and electronic tuning devices.
- Disassemble instruments and parts for repair and adjustment.
- Inspect instruments to locate defects, and to determine their value or the level of restoration required.
- Repair cracks in wood or metal instruments, using pinning wire, lathes, fillers, clamps, or soldering irons.
- Reassemble instruments following repair, using hand tools and power tools and glue, hair, yarn, resin, or clamps, and lubricate instruments as necessary.
- Compare instrument pitches with tuning tool pitches in order to tune instruments.
- String instruments, and adjust trusses and bridges of instruments to obtain specified string tensions and heights.
- Repair or replace musical instrument parts and components, such as strings, bridges, felts, and keys, using hand and power tools.
- Polish instruments, using rags and polishing compounds, buffing wheels, or burnishing tools.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interests - Musical Instrument Technician
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Practical skills are essential and a background in subjects such as woodwork, metalwork and electronics is very useful. You will need to be patient and pay attention to detail, because some work can be difficult and can take a long time to finish.
Although a high level of musical ability may not be necessary, you should have an ear for tuning and an interest in music.
Even though you might work alone, you must be prepared to discuss customers' requirements; you may need to adjust instruments in response to their comments. If you become a self-employed technician you will need business skills.
Entry Requirements - Musical Instrument Technician
Pay & Salary - Musical Instrument Technician
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 36k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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