Instrument technicians assist and support musicians before, during and after the performance to ensure the instruments and the connected equipment, the backline, are setup properly. They maintain, check, tune and repair instruments and assist with quick changes.
The following job titles also refer to instrument technician:
senior instrument technician
road crew member
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as an instrument technician.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Instrument technician is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Instrument technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to instrument technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of instrument technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of instrument technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of instrument technician.
- Manage consumables stock: Manage and monitor consumables stock to ensure that the production demands and deadlines can be met at all times.
- Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
- Understand artistic concepts: Interpret an artist’s explanation or demonstration of their artistic concepts, inceptions and processes and strive to share their vision.
- Tune instruments on stage: Tune instruments during a performance. Deal with the added stress and noise. Use equipment such as tuners or tune by ear.
- Repair musical instruments: Attach new strings, fix frames or replace broken parts of musical instruments.
- Safeguard artistic quality of performance: Observe the show, anticipate and react to possible technical problems, ensuring optimal artistic quality.
- Maintain musical instruments: Check and maintain musical instruments.
- Prevent undesired changes to sound design: Adapt your maintenance of sound equipment to prevent undesired changes in the sound balance and design, safeguarding the overall production quality.
- Perform technical sound check: Prepare and run a technical sound check before rehearsals or live shows. Check instrument setup and ensure correct functioning of the audio equipment. Anticipate possible technical problems during a live show.
- Work safely with machines: Check and safely operate machines and equipment required for your work according to manuals and instructions.
- Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
- Adapt to artists’ creative demands: Work with artists, striving to understand the creative vision and adapting to it. Make full use of your talents and skills to reach the best possible result.
- Prepare personal work environment: Correct settings or positions for your working instruments and adjust them before starting operations.
- Use communication equipment: Set up, test and operate different types of communication equipment such as transmission equipment, digital network equipment, or telecommunications equipment.
- Assemble performance equipment: Set up sound, light and video equipment on stage before performance event according to specifications.
- Translate artistic concepts to technical designs: Cooperate with the artistic team in order to facilitate the transition from the creative vision and its artistic concepts to a technical design.
- Work safely with chemicals: Take the necessary precautions for storing, using and disposing chemical products.
- Draw up instrument setup: Document musical instrument setup.
- Manage personal professional development: Take responsibility for lifelong learning and continuous professional development. Engage in learning to support and update professional competence. Identify priority areas for professional development based on reflection about own practice and through contact with peers and stakeholders.
- Work safely with mobile electrical systems under supervision: Take the necessary precautions while providing temporary power distribution for performance and art facility purposes under supervision.
- Work with respect for own safety: Apply the safety rules according to training and instruction and based on a solid understanding of the prevention measures and risks to your own personal health and safety.
- Use technical documentation: Understand and use technical documentation in the overall technical process.
- Maintain sound equipment: Set up, check, maintain and repair sound equipment for a live performance establishment.
- Prevent technical problems with musical instruments: Anticipate technical problems with musical instruments and prevent them where possible. Tune and play musical instruments for sound check before rehearsal or performance.
- Store performance equipment: Safely dismantle sound, light and video equipment after a performance event. Make sure the equipment is correctly stored away.
- Prepare instruments for performance: Set up, connect, tune and play musical instruments for sound check before rehearsal or live performance.
- Set up equipment in a timely manner: Make sure to set up equipment according to deadlines and time schedules.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of instrument technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Fit up sound on stage: Set up, rig, connect, test and tune audio equipment on stage.
- Tune stringed musical instruments: Tune any parts of stringed musical instruments that are off-key, by using various tuning techniques.
- Prevent fire in a performance environment: Take steps to prevent fire in a performance environment. Make sure the space complies with fire safety rules, with sprinklers and fire extinguishers installed where necessary. Make sure staff are aware of fire prevention measures.
- Advise client on technical possibilities: Recommend technical solutions, including systems, to the client within the framework of a project.
- Organise resources for artistic production: Coordinate human, material and capital resources within artistic productions, based on the given documentation e.g. scripts.
- Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
- Promote yourself: Market one’s own strengths in terms of skills and knowledge.
- Rewire electronic musical instruments: Rewire any lose wiring or solder any loose ends of electronic musical instruments.
- Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
- Document your own practice: Documenting your own work practice for different purposes like assessment, time management, job application etc.
- Tune keyboard music instruments: Tune any parts of keyboard musical instruments that are off-key, by using various tuning techniques.
- Tune up wireless audio systems: Tune up a wireless audio system in a live situation.
ISCO group and title
7312 – Musical instrument makers and tuners
- Instrument technician – ESCO