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Career profile Instrument Repair Technician

Also known as Banjo Repair Person, Brass Instrument Repair Technician, Fretted String Instrument Repairer, Guitar Repairer, Instrument Repair Technician, Luthier, Mandolin Repair Person, Piano Technician, Piano Tuner, Stringed Instrument Repairer

Instrument Repair Technician

Also known as Banjo Repair Person, Brass Instrument Repair Technician, Fretted String Instrument Repairer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Artistic
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$23,930 - $60,890 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Repairing
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Mechanical
  • Fine Arts
Core tasks
  • Play instruments to evaluate their sound quality and to locate any defects.
  • Align pads and keys on reed or wind instruments.
  • Adjust string tensions to tune instruments, using hand tools and electronic tuning devices.
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What does an Instrument Repair Technician do?

Instrument Repair Technicians repair percussion, stringed, reed, or wind instruments.

In addition, Instrument Repair Technicians may specialize in one area, such as piano tuning.

What kind of tasks does an Instrument Repair Technician perform regularly?

Instrument Repair Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following 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.
  • Reassemble instruments following repair, using hand tools and power tools and glue, hair, yarn, resin, or clamps, and lubricate instruments as necessary.
  • Disassemble instruments and parts for repair and adjustment.
  • Repair or replace musical instrument parts and components, such as strings, bridges, felts, and keys, using hand and power tools.
  • Inspect instruments to locate defects, and to determine their value or the level of restoration required.
  • Compare instrument pitches with tuning tool pitches to tune instruments.
  • String instruments, and adjust trusses and bridges of instruments to obtain specified string tensions and heights.
  • Polish instruments, using rags and polishing compounds, buffing wheels, or burnishing tools.
  • Repair cracks in wood or metal instruments, using pinning wire, lathes, fillers, clamps, or soldering irons.
  • Shape old parts and replacement parts to improve tone or intonation, using hand tools, lathes, or soldering irons.
  • Mix and measure glue that will be used for instrument repair.
  • Refinish instruments to protect and decorate them, using hand tools, buffing tools, and varnish.
  • Make wood replacement parts, using woodworking machines and hand tools.

The above responsibilities are specific to Instrument Repair Technicians. More generally, Instrument Repair Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
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.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is an Instrument Repair Technician salary?

The median salary for an Instrument Repair Technician is $36,810, and the average salary is $39,770. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Instrument Repair Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Instrument Repair Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Instrument Repair Technicians earn less than $23,930 per year, 25% earn less than $29,270, 75% earn less than $47,970, and 90% earn less than $60,890.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Instrument Repair Technicians is expected to change by -3.8%, and there should be roughly 800 open positions for Instrument Repair Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$36,810
Typical salary range
$23,930 - $60,890
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-3.8%

What personality traits are common among Instrument Repair Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Instrument Repair Technician are usually higher in their Realistic, Artistic, and Investigative interests.

Instrument Repair Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Instrument Repair Technicians typically have moderate Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Lastly, Instrument Repair Technicians typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Instrument Repair Technicians typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Instrument Repair Technician tend to value Achievement, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Instrument Repair Technicians moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Instrument Repair Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Instrument Repair Technicians moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Instrument Repair Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Instrument Repair Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

What education and training do Instrument Repair Technicians need?

Instrument Repair Technicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Instrument Repair Technicians usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Instrument Repair Technicians

  • 3.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 25.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 27.4% completed some college coursework
  • 20.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 19.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 3.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Instrument Repair Technicians

Instrument Repair Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, mechanical, or fine arts knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Instrument Repair Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

Important Abilities needed by Instrument Repair Technicians

Instrument Repair Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Instrument Repair Technicians need abilities such as hearing sensitivity, arm-hand steadiness, and manual dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Instrument Repair Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Hearing Sensitivity
The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

Critical Skills needed by Instrument Repair Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Instrument Repair Technicians frequently use skills like repairing, troubleshooting, and quality control analysis to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Instrument Repair Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Troubleshooting
Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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