Based out of Burlington, North Carolina, John Blythe is the South District Repair Manager for Music & Arts. He’s been a repair tech with Music & Arts for 11 years and oversees 8 repair shops and 25 repair techs. Read about the man who may be doing the body work on your next sax repair.
You have over 30 years of instrument repair experience. Do you remember the first moment you felt the calling to repairs?
It was in my ninth grade year. I took my alto sax apart over the weekend and tried to put it back together. I was always building models when I was a kid and was interested in how things came apart and went back together. So, it seemed like the thing to do. If my memory serves me correctly, it took me three weeks to get it all back together and playing! During my sophomore year, the local college offered a one-week repair class for directors on emergency repairs. My band director got me in the class and I was hooked after that! After graduating high school, I was fortunate enough to land a job as an apprentice under a repair tech at a local music company. I’ve continued to learn the trade attending NAPBIRT clinics, on the job training, and learning from fellow technicians for the past 36 years.
What instruments do you specialize in repairs?
What qualities or skills do you look for when hiring new repair techs?
What distinguishes your team from local competition?
What are the most common repairs you see from schools?
I bet the new Director’s Fix Kit is a great solution for some of those smaller repairs. You were instrumental in the early conception of this. Why did you believe so strongly in the product?
You are known for your clinics. In fact, you won the Dick Rush Award for outstanding clinic at the 2011 National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technician Conference. What is the key to giving a good clinic?
Where can educators and other repair techs learn about upcoming Music & Arts repair clinics?
- Interview by Renier Fee