WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Have you ever wondered what happens to a flute, a trombone, or a violin when it goes kaput?

Now introducing instrument repair technicians, or perhaps they should be called instrument surgeons. A handful of the repair techs work at Wichita’s Senseny Music Inc. They are responsible for fixing about 5,000 string or woodwind instruments annually.

“They are just mechanical wonders,” said Sensent Music President and Owner Lori Supinie.

Senseny Music has four full-time and two part-time repair techs on staff. They are tasked with assessing an instrument’s problem, recommending a realistic repair, and performing the necessary work. The work can be a minor tweak or a major overhaul.

“We have seen everything. Food, I am sure the repair techs could tell you about some pretty gross things, but mostly we have seen instruments that have been through tornadoes, we have seen instruments that dad thought he could fix with tools in the garage, and that’s not necessarily the case,” Supinie explained.

The technicians work primarily on student instruments and school-owned instruments. School districts from as far away as Garden City rely on Senseny Music to keep their band and orchestra instruments in tip-top shape.

“This is just a critical service for school bands and orchestras that the kids have instruments that play. That’s when they are going to be successful. To have something that doesn’t play, that’s when they are going to give up,” Supinie said.

How does one become an instrument repair technician?

Don’t worry, we had the same question, so we asked the technicians themselves. Some said they got into it by mistake others said they planned the career move.

Anthony Pressnell joined the team in 1995 after working as a band director for a number of years.

“I was looking for something else to do, and I like working with things,” said Pressnell. “So I found a guy who was willing to train me. It took me about two months to convince him, and that’s how I got here.”

Pressnell is joined by repair technicians Aaron Stewart and Michael Poorman. Stewart, 27, attended the Band Instrument Repair program at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing, Minnesota.

His passion comes from years of playing instruments himself.

“Kind of a funny story. In high school, I couldn’t get my low C to work, and I used, like, an assortment of percussion tools, or percussion mallets to try to bend it back into place, and I remember thinking, once I got it working again, I was like, ‘You know, I could do this,'” Stewart laughed.

Stewart works on mostly woodwinds, piecing together clarinets, saxophones, flutes and the occasional oboe or bassoon.

“I love it. It’s incredible,” he said. “I try to go above and beyond with all of my repairs because I know when a kid can play his instrument and he plays it well, you know, they enjoy it more.”

Poorman, 33, echoes that sentiment. He joined Senseny Music Inc. in 2015. Pressnell trained him.

“I have just kind of found a love for it, and I like working with my hands and figuring out problems with mechanical devices and stuff,” said Poorman.

No matter how they got their start, each technician told KSN it’s a rewarding job they have grown to favor.

“Nine times out of 10, the kids come in, and their key is bent by this much, and the whole thing doesn’t work, so all of a sudden, you are able to kind of perform magic for them in a way. It’s pretty cool,” Poorman said.

“If we fix it and we get it going good, then they enjoy it more, and they stick with it longer,” Stewart said.

Senseny Music was founded in 1978. It sells a variety of merchandise, and offers music lessons and instrument repair.