My Work Is My Play And My Play Is My Work!
I’m a professional musical instrument repair technician! And one of the few women in the world that does this kind of work.
How I got into this profession was a path that began as kid, yet not knowing it until I was in college. I look back at the things I did and see I was headed towards this career the entire time. As a kid I had always been fascinated with taking things apart to see how they worked. At age seven I was asking Dad for the old clocks, telephones (we’re talking rotary phones - to give away my age a bit) to take apart. I used Dad’s tools to make toy boats that I would float in the creek in our back yard. Then wondered why they floated so lopsided in the water since I had no concept of weight distribution as I made them.
AS I playing flute in school I was examining the mechanics of it and would figure out and fix small problems that occurred. Although during high school my goal was to become professional flutist and the mechanical talents were set aside. So off to college studying music…then criminal justice…then back to music… and by my senior year I didn’t know what I wanted to do and definitely not interested in playing my flute anymore…Mom and Dad were thrilled! Ha, the last thing they wanted to hear I’m sure!
The one thing that did interest me my senior year was a band instrument repair course the school offered for budding band directors, not that I wanted to be a band director, it was all about fixing instruments for me! That’s what hooked me after taking that course. I soon took other repair workshops, started buying tools and teaching myself how to repair. At that time there was only one band instrument repair school in the US that was in Minnesota. Also at that time I didn’t know it existed. So many of us were self taught – just the nature of the beast years ago. I was fortunate to work for a band repair tool manufacturer where I learned more repair techniques from some of the best techs. Fate intervened because that place is what Ford is to cars. Ferree’s Tools is the first and biggest company to supply tools for the band instrument repair trade. I had no idea it existed when I moved to Battle Creek, MI. It was only because my step dad was transferred to Battle Creek and I went because I wanted a change of scenery having lived in Ohio all my whopping 25 years of life. Working there was a gold mine of experience!
After moving back to Ohio I taught lessons at a music store in Alliance and after a year, thought my payments for room rent could be better spent opening my own music store, repairing instruments, giving lessons and selling accessories. It had been a dream of mine years previous and I looked forward to the day it would happen. Well it seemed like the right time. When I opened, repair business was good; lessons were great, retail – well with my lack of business skills, let’s just say I wanted to give the store away. Not a good business plan for making money. So I closed the store after a year and a half and moved to Cleveland to be closer to a choral directing job, and taught music lessons from home. At that point I wasn’t doing much repair.
So as fate happened, one day as I driving, I saw a music store and the person with me said, “Hey, you should see if they need someone to repair their instruments.” I’m a spontaneous person so I went in and asked if they needed anyone to repair instruments. The owner thought it was so strange I popped in because he explained he was having difficulties with the current tech who fixed his instruments and he was not happy. So he was thrilled to see me and wanted to give me a chance. Many music stores don’t have in-house technicians and have to farm out the repairs to technicians like myself. That store was the beginning of the successful career that I enjoy every day as working on musical instruments. Eight other music stores in the Cleveland area were added over the years. Some have closed and some are still with me.
Eventually business was so great that I moved my home based business to the current store front on Madison. It’s been 3 years since we opened our doors and what I enjoy most about my work is educating people about their instrument and getting to know so many residents in Lakewood. That’s why it’s great to own a local business. It allows time to get too know people. It’s a privilege to be in conversations with people about what they are up to in there lives. I couldn’t have chosen a better place to locate my business!
My work is my play and my play is my work!
Sharon Marrell, a Lakewood resident, owns Marrell Music and has been a repair technician for over 20 years.
Sharon owns Marrell Musical Instrument Repair. She is also the onsite repair technician. She offers rentals, repairs, sales of new and used instruments, and lessons.