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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College
MSC Southeast

Band Instrument Repair Skills Guide

Recommended High School Level Background Courses

  • Band, solo, and small ensemble experience
  • Reading Comprehension 
  • English Composition 
  • Public speaking 
  • Algebra I 
  • Algebra II 
  • Geometry 
  • Trigonometry 
  • Computer Basics 
  • Business basics (accounting, keyboarding and finance) 
  • Industrial Arts (metal shop, particularly metal lathe work)


Basic Skills in the Program and on the Job

Technical Learning

Band Instrument Repair (BIR) technicians draw from a number of disciplines to diagnose, repair and troubleshoot the many problems that occur with music instruments. It is a craft that combines vision, mechanics, and touch that requires applying knowledge and skills specific to music instruments that are informed by the courses listed above. Skills such as expertise in your chosen instrument, time management, reasoning, and the ability to follow instructions are also important to the BIR program. The learning that takes place in the MSC Southeast BIR Program always has these goals in mind. 

Reading and class preparation

Students in this program must learn the language used in Band Instrument Repair. You must be able to relate the accompanying texts to applied repair tasks and follow a detailed sequence of instructions to complete your projects. Our manual is written at a college level and it is expected that you come to class having not simply read an assignment, but retained the content to the point where you could be tested on it.


The ability to speak and write clearly is important in the BIR program. All students in this diploma program are required to take one diploma level English or Communications course. Also expected is the ability to write a legible, understandable repair description and invoice, and be able to document work processes to convey to differing clientele such as a supervisor, peer technician or customer what was done and why. Employers expect graduates to speak and write at a college level.


All students in the diploma program will take at least one diploma level mathematics course. Band Instrument Repair requires problem solving skills that are greatly enriched by the rigors of learning mathematics. Specific applications include measuring diameters, lengths, thread diameters and pitches and determining tolerances. 


Good understanding of computers, the internet, common programs utilized in business (word processing and spread sheets) is important for success in Band Instrument Repair. BIR's Associate of Applied Science degree option requires a social media development/management course; the Diploma option does not.

Industrial Arts

While not critical, a background in Industrial Arts will help you gain an edge in the fabrication and modification of parts - a common task associated with instrument repair.

Business Basics  

The Band Instrument Repair program at Minnesota State College Southeast focuses on education for employment. The more you arrive at college understanding how a business operates the more you will be able to grasp the expectations placed upon you as an employee and shape your learning accordingly. . BIR's Associate of Applied Science degree option requires an accounting course as well as a small business development course; the Diploma option does not.

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Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment base on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


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