Do you want to be a musical instrument maker/repairer? This career guide will help you decide whether this profession suits your career preferences and needs by providing useful information in regards to being a musical instrument maker/repairer.
First of all, a musical instrument maker/repairer is responsible for creating new musical instruments and repairing damaged instruments. Even though a lot of people decide to take this profession as a hobby their work is very important as they can work closely with professional musicians.
What Do Musical Instrument Maker/Repairers Do
Musical Instrument Maker/Repairer performs the following duties:
- Working with a range of materials including wood, metal, plastic, fiberglass to construct new instruments.
- Using traditional hand tools for working with wood or metal.
- Using electronic parts for modern instruments like electric guitars.
- Building new instruments.
- Repairing or renovating damaged or wore instruments.
- Replacing damaged parts.
- Improving instruments to produce a high-quality sound.
- Using finishing techniques such as polishing and varnishing.
Musical instrument makers-repairers usually work from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The numbers of hours they work heavily depend on the type of work they are doing. So if they are self-employed, they can choose their own working hours to meet with their clients and work from home. Alternatively, they could work in a workshop from home or visit customer’s homes to repair instruments on site e.g. Piano Tuner.
Since most instrument makers and repairers are self-employed their income varies widely depending on the work they can generate.
Average Annual Salary
Experienced Self-Employed Instrument Maker/Repairer
Up to £100,000
Salary source: myjobsearch
If craftsmen manage to build a globally recognised brand and make effective collaborations with popular music shops, their earnings could even reach up to £100,000 a year. On this note, musical craftsmen need to also calculate costs involved in necessary work materials such as crafting material, utilities and workshop rental.
While there is no set route to become a musical instrument maker or repairer in the UK, most professionals have mastered the skill through studying or working or even by doing both through an apprenticeship.
Although most are self-taught, many choose to obtain relevant qualifications and increase their crafting skills by studying at colleges and universities that offer a degree in Musical Instruments such as London Metropolitan University. The entry requirements are: at least two A level or equivalent level 3 qualifications that are relevant to music technology, media, arts, humanities subjects.
At this point, it is important to state that the ability to play an instrument is desirable but not essential, and depending on which instrument specialisation you want to focus on, you might need previous relevant experience or qualifications in basic woodwork such as cabinet making e.g. violin making.
Important Skills and Abilities
To be a musical instrument maker/repairer you need:
- Attention to detail, accuracy and precision.
- Knowledge of electronics when working with modern instruments.
- Patience and good concentration.
- Business skills if self-employed.
- Excellent woodwork and metalwork skills.
- A good appreciation of pitch and quality of sound.
Depending on the amount of time and effort they are willing to put into their musical instrument crafting ability, these professionals can progress into certain instrument specialisations such as piano tuner, violin making and repairing or focus on working with more traditional instruments that are popular in their country. Additionally they can gain access to networking and support by UK professional bodies such as:
- The Institute of Musical Instrument Technology
- National Association of Musical Instrument Repairers
- Pianoforte Tuners Association
- British Violin Making Association
A musical instrument maker/repairer can be hired by:
- Small Specialist Workshops.
- Music Shops.
- Music Instrument Manufacturing Companies such as Marshall Amplification, Lachenal & Co., Trace Elliot and Howarth of London.
If this sounds like something you want to do, why not check for available opportunities locally or abroad? You never know where your next career might take you!