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Career and Education Opportunities for Musical Instrument Mechanics in Seattle, Washington

For those living in the Seattle, Washington area, there are many career and education opportunities for musical instrument mechanics. Currently, ninety people work as musical instrument mechanics in Washington. This is expected to grow by 15% to about 110 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for musical instrument mechanics, which sees this job pool growing by about 0.1% over the next eight years. In general, musical instrument mechanics repair percussion, stringed, or wind instruments.

Musical instrument mechanics earn about $21 hourly or $44,480 yearly on average in Washington and about $15 per hour or $33,080 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for musical instrument mechanics are better than in the overall category of Specialized Equipment in Washington, and not quite as good as the overall Specialized Equipment category nationally.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a musical instrument mechanic. Musical instrument mechanics usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be a musical instrument mechanic if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Musical Instrument Mechanic

Musical Instrument Mechanic video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, musical instrument mechanics repair percussion, stringed, or wind instruments. They also may specialize in one area, such as piano tuning.

Musical instrument mechanics play instruments to review their sound quality and to identify any defects. They also repair or remove musical instrument parts, such as strings and keys, using hand and power tools. Equally important, musical instrument mechanics have to disassemble instruments and parts for repair and adjustment. They are often called upon to reassemble instruments following repair, using hand tools and power tools and glue or clamps, and lubricate instruments as needed. They are expected to examine instruments to identify defects, and to establish their value or the level of restoration required. Finally, musical instrument mechanics mix and measure glue that will be used for instrument repair.

Every day, musical instrument mechanics are expected to be able to note differences between sounds as they change tone and volume. They need to control and manipulate objects at a fine level of detail. It is also important that they control objects and devices with precise control.

It is important for musical instrument mechanics to solder or weld frames of mallet instruments and metal drum parts. They are often called upon to make wood replacement parts, using woodworking equipment and hand tools. They also adjust string tensions to tune instruments, using hand tools and electronic tuning devices. They are sometimes expected to polish instruments, using rags and polishing compounds, buffing wheels, or burnishing tools. Somewhat less frequently, musical instrument mechanics are also expected to adjust string tensions to tune instruments, using hand tools and electronic tuning devices.

They also have to be able to repair breaks in percussion instruments such as drums and cymbals, using drill presses or other hand tools and clean and paint parts of percussion instruments to maintain their condition. And finally, they sometimes have to repair cracks in wood or metal instruments, using pinning wire or soldering irons.

Like many other jobs, musical instrument mechanics must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Boat Mechanic. Repairs and adjusts electrical and mechanical equipment of gasoline or diesel powered inboard or inboard-outboard boat engines.
  • Commercial Diver. Work below surface of water, using scuba gear to inspect, repair, or install equipment and structures. May use a variety of power and hand tools, such as drills, sledgehammers, and welding equipment. May conduct tests or experiments, rig explosives, or photograph structures or marine life.
  • Household Appliance Repairer. Repair, adjust, or install all types of electric or gas household appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, and ovens.
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic. Repair, install, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.
  • Machine Repairman. Lubricate machinery, change parts, or perform other routine machinery maintenance.
  • Mechanical Door Repairer. Install, service, or repair opening and closing mechanisms of automatic doors and hydraulic door closers. Includes garage door mechanics.
  • Medical Equipment Repairer. Test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.
  • Millwright. Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings.
  • Motorcycle Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul motorcycles, scooters, or similar motorized vehicles.
  • Outdoor Power Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul small engines used to power lawn mowers, chain saws, and related equipment.
  • Rigger. Set up or repair rigging for construction projects, manufacturing plants, logging yards, ships and shipyards, or for the entertainment industry.
  • Vending Machine Mechanic. Install, service, or repair coin, vending, or amusement machines including video games, juke boxes, or slot machines.
  • Watch and Clock Repairer. Repair, clean, and adjust mechanisms of timing instruments, such as watches and clocks.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Musical Instrument Mechanic Training

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has a one to two year program in Musical Instrument Fabrication and Repair which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.