Making Music Happen: A Profile of Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners
Musicians bring songs to life for ears around the world. But they can only do so if their musical instrument is working the way it should. Repairers and tuners of musical instruments make sure pianos, guitars, saxophones, and more work properly and sound great. This can be a wonderful career that lets people meet different music makers in many different locations.
Repairers must figure out the problems with an instrument that is not working properly, and determine what parts need to be replaced. They must know about all the parts, big and small, that make up an instrument, including strings, bridges, felts, keys, and more. Tuners work on the pitch of the sound that comes out of each instrument. They make sure that the sounds match the music notes they are supposed to play. Repairers and tuners work at shops, or travel to homes, concert halls, and more in order to work on instruments of all sizes.
Most people in the industry are piano technicians and focus on that instrument and its strings. According to the Government of Alberta, the average salary for the career is $42,713. One may start out making around $17.41 per hour, and work their way up to an hourly wage of around $25.62. Many people work for experienced repairers and tuners or take training programs in order to be qualified for the job. Employers usually look for people who have graduated high school. There are not many training positions with employers compared to the number of people looking for work, so it can be hard to find opportunities. After years of working for an employer, people in the field can eventually do work for major concerts or even work on rebuilding high-quality pianos.
The duties of repairers and tuners might take place in a shop, factory, school, music store, or someone’s home. Those who work for an employer will have a regular 40-hour work week. Some may choose to be self-employed and go to homes and places with instruments that need fixing; this would mean a different schedule every week. Repairers and tuners get to meet many different people and help talented musicians create music that makes players and audiences happy.
Repairers and tuners usually focus on one type of instrument, and this can include string, bass, or percussion instruments. They often lift heavy equipment or instruments, and must make sure their hands and ears remain healthy in order to do their job. It is important that they get along with the musicians they help and fellow repairers and tuners, as they are working closely together to get the job done.
Young children learning music in school, music teachers helping others discover the joys of music, and talented musicians playing for large audiences all depend on their instruments. Musical instrument repairers and tuners help to make sure that pianos, guitars, organs, and more are working and ready to be played by people of all ages. This can be a very challenging and rewarding career, and one that does not take many credentials. Those interested in this field should start studying music and becoming familiar with instruments they want to focus on. Repairers and tuners may not be the ones on stage or in the classroom, but they play a very important role in making music happen.
Government of Alberta. “Musical Insturment Repair Technician.” https://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo/occupations-in-alberta/occupation-profiles/musical-instrument-repair-technician/
Mywage.ca. “Musical instrument makers and tuners.” https://mywage.ca/home/career/canada-job-salary/canada-musical-instrument-makers-and-tuners