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

Vancouver, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for musical instrument mechanics. Currently, ninety people work as musical instrument mechanics in Washington. This is expected to grow 15% to 110 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for musical instrument mechanics are expected to grow by about 0.1%. In general, musical instrument mechanics repair percussion, stringed, or wind instruments.

Musical instrument mechanics earn about $21 hourly or $44,480 annually on average in Washington and about $15 hourly or $33,080 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Specialized Equipment, people working as musical instrument mechanics in Washington earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Specialized Equipment nationally.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree as a musical instrument mechanic. Given that the most common education level for musical instrument mechanics is a post-secondary certificate, 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 Vancouver include:

  • 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.
  • Millwright. Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings.
  • Watch and Clock Repairer. Repair, clean, and adjust mechanisms of timing instruments, such as watches and clocks.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Musical Instrument Mechanic Training

Emil Fries Piano Hospital and Training Center - Vancouver, WA

Emil Fries Piano Hospital and Training Center, 2510 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661-4323. Emil Fries Piano Hospital and Training Center is a small school located in Vancouver, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 8 students and an admission rate of 50%. Emil Fries Piano Hospital and Training Center has a two to four year program in Musical Instrument Fabrication and Repair which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.