Back to Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners details

Musical Instrument Repair - Overview


Musical instrument repair programs prepare people to build, repair, and maintain musical instruments. Students learn to clean, tune, and repair all types of instruments. They also learn to instruct customers in tuning and caring for instruments.

A musical instrument produces beautiful sounds, and it is also a beautiful piece of work in its own right. Everyone knows you cannot play one without a lot of training. But you also need specialized training to be able to repair one.

When Stradivarius built violins, he did not have power tools and electronic tuners. But musical instrument technicians nowadays still do much of their work according to time-honored methods. They use many hand tools. They use an artist's eye when selecting wood to fashion into parts. They brush on finishes with loving care. It's significant that the technicians who build and repair stringed instruments often call themselves by the old-fashioned term "luthier."

If you want to learn this craft, you may very well follow the time-honored method of apprenticeship. You learn by working with a master technician. You start as a helper and gradually learn the more complex tasks and techniques. This is the most common way to learn to repair stringed instruments.

For band instrument repair you are more likely to be taken on as an apprentice if you have already studied in a formal training program. These programs often take about two years to complete. A handful of proprietary schools offer them. But even after you have completed such a program, you are still generally considered a beginner at this trade. You need additional apprenticeship experience to become an accomplished technician.

Pianos are sturdy instruments and are not paraded around football fields at halftime. So they do not sustain damage very often. However, they have so many strings that they need regular tuning. That's why most piano technicians concentrate on tuning and a few additional minor repairs. A class to teach the necessary skills for this kind of work can take about six months. A small number of proprietary schools offer such a course. A few offer classes that teach how to do more extensive overhauls to the workings of a piano. Such a class may take the better part of a year. But, like the band instrument repair programs, it is only the beginning of your mastery of this craft. You probably need an apprenticeship to become highly skilled at rebuilding pianos.

Between classes and apprenticeship, you can expect to spend from two to five years learning your craft.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Back to Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners details