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Musical Instrument Repair Technician

Musical instrument repair technicians maintain and repair musical instruments including keyboard, brass, wind, percussion, and stringed instruments.

Also Known As

Band Instrument Repair Technician, Instrument Repair Technician, Piano Technician, Pipe Organ Repairer, Violin Repairer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Other Repairers and Servicers (7445) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Repairers and Servicers (H535) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other repairers and servicers (7445) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other repairers and servicers (7445) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other Repairers and Servicers

2006 NOC: 7445

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating hand, power and specially designed tools to service products and equipment; may calibrate products using hand tools

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to test and adjust repaired products to ensure that they work properly; and in performing routine maintenance

innovative

Interest in inspecting products to determine repairs required

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Piano technicians make up the majority of musical instrument repair technicians. In general, they:

  • Diagnose problems with faulty pianos, which may involve partially dismantling them for inspection
  • Make mechanical and structural repairs
  • Adjust the touch and recondition the action
  • Rebuild pianos, including repairing cracks in the sound board and restringing
  • Tune pianos by adjusting the strings

A piano problem may have its source in the many wooden, steel, iron, ivory or felt parts. Some pianos have humidity systems to help them stay in tune and protect them from extreme conditions.

Pipe organ repairers work on pipe organs in churches and concert halls. Pipe organs create sound by forcing air through flue pipes or reed pipes, which range in size from 17 centimetres to 10 meters in length. In general, pipe-organ repairers:

  • Tune pipes
  • Perform regular maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the pipes
  • Locate and correct problems in organ components, such as slides, valves, keys and air channels or the electric wind-generating equipment

Pipe organ repairers also may install new pipe organs. The installation process may take months and require the installer to work in cramped locations.

Although pianos, pipe organs, electronic organs and synthesizers all have keyboards and look somewhat alike, their mechanisms are quite different. Therefore, few repairers are qualified to work on more than one type of instrument. Electronic instruments generally are repaired by technicians who are familiar with electronic components.

Brass instrument repair technicians repair brass instruments. In general, they:

  • Solder broken joints and parts
  • Remove dents in brass tubes and parts
  • Buff and relacquer dull and tarnished brass
  • Align valves, rotors and slides
  • Replace missing parts

Wind instrument repair technicians repair woodwind instruments. In general, they:

  • Replace pads, corks, felts and springs
  • Align pads and keys
  • Restore mechanical action to parts
  • Repair cracks in wood instruments
  • Remove dents in sax and flute bodies and keys
  • Solder posts and parts

Senior technicians may make custom repairs and modifications, and restore instruments to better-than-new condition.

Band instrument repair technicians repair brass, woodwind, and some percussion instruments.

Violin repair technicians build and restore stringed instruments such as violins, violas, cellos and double basses. In general, they:

  • Make minor repairs, such as repairing or replacing worn parts or strings
  • Restore or reconstruct cracked or broken instruments

Restoration often is more challenging than building a new instrument. The challenge is to ensure that, after restoration, no evidence of repair remains.

Guitar repair technicians adjust and repair acoustic and electric guitars and basses, and may work on mandolins, banjos, ukuleles and other fretted stringed instruments as well. In general, they:

  • Tune and intonate instruments to standard or alternative tuning
  • Diagnose problems with faulty instruments
  • Install electronic pickups or pickup systems in acoustic and electric instruments
  • Repair, upgrade or modify existing pickups
  • Repair or replace worn or damaged frets
  • Restore or reconstruct cracked or broken instruments
  • Replace missing parts or, if necessary, construct and fit replacement parts
  • Refinish instruments

Depending on the size of the shop or repair centre, music instrument repairers may have additional responsibilities, such as customer service or general cleaning duties.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Musical instrument repair technicians work in shops, factories, music stores, homes and public buildings, such as schools, churches and concert halls. Those employed in factories work a standard 40-hour work week; those who are self-employed set their own hours and may work evenings and weekends for the convenience of their customers. Band instrument repair technicians often take time off during the winter and work long hours during the summer months to repair school instruments before September.

Lifting up to 10 kilograms is routinely required. Some lifting up to 25 kilograms may be required.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Musical instrument repair technicians need:

  • Good manual dexterity and physical stamina
  • Patience and perseverance
  • Keen hearing
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • The ability to make delicate adjustments

Those working in shops must be able to get along well with others because they often work in close quarters for long periods of time.

Musical instrument repair technicians should enjoy using tools and equipment to perform tasks requiring precision. They should also enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work and finding unique solutions to problems.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Other repairers and servicers

2011 NOC: 7445

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 66 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 28, 2021 and Sep 21, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Organized
Inspect products to determine the requirements for repair
Repair or replace defective or worn parts and components
Long term benefits: Group insurance benefits
Test and adjust repaired products for proper functioning
Calibrate products using hand tools
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Health benefits: Health care plan
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

Depending on the type of instrument, most musical instrument repair technicians learn their craft by working with experienced repairers for several years or by taking related training programs. Employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have Grade 12 or equivalent education. Courses in mathematics, physics, industrial arts and music are a definite asset. Bookkeeping courses are helpful for those who want to establish their own businesses.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Aspiring musical instrument repair technicians may find it difficult to obtain a training position. Manufacturers and dealers with service departments have limited numbers of training positions, and private repair technicians often are too busy to train someone new or are not busy enough to warrant hiring someone. Most employers prefer to hire those who have previous related experience or formal training in the field.

Most piano technicians work primarily for private owners. Advancement may take the form of specializing in concert work or in rebuilding pianos.

The musical instrument tuning and repair business is very competitive. Starting a new repair business may require a sizable investment in specialized tools and supplies, and mistakes can be very costly. It is strongly recommended that inexperienced instrument repair technicians work in larger full-service shops before attempting to set up their own businesses. Maintaining other sources of income until businesses are well established also is recommended.

Experienced repair technicians employed in factories, large music stores or repair shops may advance to supervisory positions.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 7445: Other repairers and servicers occupational group, 79.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 7445: Other repairers and servicers occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 77 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Inexperienced trainees may be paid minimum wage (or work as a volunteer in return for training) and their wages often remain low until they are qualified to work independently. 

The earnings of independent repair technicians gradually increase as their businesses grow and level off when they have as much work as they can handle. Their fees vary greatly depending on their area of expertise, reputation and business skill.

As of June 26, 2019, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour for most workers. For more information, see Minimum Wage.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other repairers and servicers

2016 NOC: 7445
Average Wage
$24.58
Per Hour
Average Salary
$51,302.00
Per Year
Average Hours
39.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 7445 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $33.00 $19.67 $18.00
Overall $16.00 $34.85 $24.58 $24.50
Top $18.00 $45.00 $28.93 $28.50

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Manufacturing
Wholesale Trade
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Business, Building and Other Support Services
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
61%
61%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
43%
43%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
15%
15%
Vacancy Rate
4%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Canadian Association of Piano Technicians website: unisonus.ca

National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians website: napbirt.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 05, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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