Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Want to Fix Instruments When I Grow Up

Sometimes people will come into my shop and ask if they, or a son or daughter, should get into band instrument repair or not. BIR (band instrument repair) is a good job, but it is not for everybody, so I procede to ask some questions. Are you patient? Do you have a good mechanical mind? Do you enjoy working with your hands? Are you content to be alone or do you need people around all the time? Are you able to live on near poverty wages? After I ask these and other questions, usually, they have decided for themselves that BIR is not for them. That is okay though, because there are only so many BIR technicians needed in each city. Sometimes someone is still interested. If he is, I am happy to help in whatever way I can. I will tell him about the 5 colleges with BIR courses. Also, an apprenticeship is a good idea in some cases.

The 5 colleges that I know of that have BIR courses:

Souteast technical College in Red Wing, Minnesota (formerly Red Wing Technical College)

Western Iowa Technical College in Souix City, Iowa

Renton technical College in Renton, Washington

Keyano College in McMurray, Alberta

South Thames College in London, England

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Someone Is Looking Out For Us Band Instrument Repair Technicians

It is hard to believe that there is a trade association for Band Instrument Repair, but there is. It is called National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (or NAPBIRT for short). You have to take a deep breath bofore saying it. They have continuing education classes at varios locations around the country and a once a year national conference that is quite well attended. They also send out a magazine called "The Technicom". If you want to find out more about NAPBIRT you can go to their website .

Friday, July 9, 2010

Please Take a Number... And Wait In Line

It has been a while since I posted. Summer is the BUSY time at my shop. As soon as school is out for the summer, all of the band directors bring in their piles of school instruments that have been played (and often abused) all year. There are 58 instruments on the to-do pile right now. Because they are school instruments, a lot of them are large instruments. It is quite difficult for my poor customers to fit in my shop. Today someone came into my shop with 13 mostly large instruments. We had to move and stack other instruments before we could get his instruments to fit in the shop.
I will have to remember this in April and May when there is not much to do at my shop.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What Is In Your Instrument Part 2

After writing my last blog post, I remembered two other interesting things that I found in instruments. One time I bought an old C melody saxophone and I later found a wasp nest in it. Thankfully it was vacant. I heard of another one but I did not see it for myself. A community band in the area had a sousaphone with a small corn plant growing out of it.