Posted by David on December 27, 2001 at 12:08:19:
In Reply to: grad school vs. tuba repair posted by Scott Norberg on December 27, 2001 at 00:58:44:
If your true goal/dream is to be a builder/repairer of tubas, then you need to pursue that dream. If you have a goal/dream to teach at the college level, then you need to get a doctorate and learning how to fix tubas can wait.
You will need to spend at least a full year learning how to repair instruments, if you want to be good at it. The best repair people know how to repair more than just tubas (no offense meant). I have repaired for the past 20+ years and fix far more bass clarinets and french horns than tubas. I do tuba building/repairing many times just for fun!
If you want to apprentice, count on many years to get good. You have to learn many different skills to be a good repair person. Let's see. In order to do brass repair you need to know a few of these skills: have some chemical know how so you can use lacquer stripper, nickel stripper, silver stripper(or at least able to read an MSDS or follow directions), learn how to remove the smallest dents with dent balls (brass or steel), use a plastic dent hammer, use a steel dent hammer, solder, clean off solder, buff, degrease, lacquer, use a dent machine. In other words, you need to know what to do in any given situation. And after learning those skills, you need to know how to estimate the cost of the job, charge for the job, communicate with the customer.
All of the skills mentioned take years to learn if you want to be the best at what you do. I'm not trying to scare you away. Just realize that playing, teaching, or repairing is just a "job" unless you really like what you do.
I learned repair at Allied Music years ago after getting a Masters degree and teaching at a major university for 3 years. You can do what you want as long as you really want it badly enough. Good luck.