Importance of regular maintenance

Whether you’re a rock musician or playing in an orchestra, playing for studio bands, playing on the street, or even simply playing in your spare time at home, cleaning your instrument is important.

Cleaning your instrument keeps your instrument sounding and looking good for far longer and increases the lifespan of the instrument. It helps you avoid repairs with just a little effort.

Tarnish

Tarnishing occurs when the metal parts of your instrument react with the air. This will eventually lead to a metal sulfide reaction that creates a darkening or sometimes even a green coloration on the outer surface of your instrument.

A good example of this can be found with the Statue of Liberty in New York. It’s made of copper, and when new, it shone beautifully in the sun. Over time copper reacts with the sulfur in the air and turns green. This was the intended result with the Statue of Liberty, but not your instrument.

Brass and silver instruments like trumpets and flutes are prone to discoloration without regular cleaning. Protecting your instrument from tarnish is as easy as a quick wipe all over with a specialized metal polishing cloth.

Don’t let your instrument get you sick

According to a study published by Delta Dental “54% of woodwind instruments tested had Bacillus bacteria.” In 1957, an article in the British Medical Journal reported the “rapid spread of tuberculosis within the ranks of a military band” was caused by the infected musicians blowing tuberculosis pathogens onto their bandmates. In 2001, a 15-year-old Norwegian baritone player struggled with recurrent pneumonia. When the musician traveled to the US and didn’t play her horn, her condition improved. Upon returning home and picking up her baritone again, the pneumonia returned. In 2015, The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps had to cancel their performance at a championship game due to a “rapidly progressing, self-limited viral illness amongst the membership.”

Disinfect your instruments regularly and only use our own instrument to avoid becoming sick. We carry a few disinfectants for instruments here at the music shop.

Neglect

Neglect of an instrument is the major cause of wood warping, metal rusting, and dozens of other complications. You can help avoid this by cleaning regularly. If your instrument already has stuck keys, old parts, rust, erosion, or dust buildup, it’s time to visit us for a free examination. We’ll go over your instrument at no charge and give you ideas on what needs to be done, and what can wait.

How to Disinfect Your Instrument

When it comes to string instruments, percussion instruments, and pianos or keyboards, most of the bacterial risk can simply be avoided by cleaning your hands before and after use thoroughly. However, when it comes to brass and woodwind instruments, this risk becomes more difficult to avoid.

Disinfectant spray is available at our shop which is perfect for use on wooden reeds, and mouthpieces of all types.

Clean Your Case

Without a decent, sturdy case, your instrument is at risk. If there are stray parts, bottles of oil, loose picks, and other items floating around, they will get stuck in weird places and will eventually cause avoidable damage. We fix cases, and offer new ones of all kinds. If we don’t have it in stock, we can special order almost anything. 

Count On Us

Eventually all instruments need some TLC. Count on us for all levels of instrument care and repair. We have three repair techs available for all sorts of repairs. If the repair is not something we do here in the shop, we can recommend you to a qualified service tech. Call (603) 356-9890 or email service@northconwaymusic.com for more info.

Warm Up Techniques From Local Musicians – Building Your Routine

There are so many ways to warm up on different instruments, and each players methods are unique. It can be hard to develop your own warm up routine, and we get it. So, below we’ve compiled a list of different warm up routines/methods from local musicians, just for you.

Brass Instruments

  • Randy Ouellette, Trumpet Performance and a Brass Instructor:
    • Breathing and stretching exercises
    • Mouthpiece buzzing and air movement exercises
    • Long tones
    • Flexibility Exercises
    • Scales and range studies

Woodwind Instruments

  • Justin Fisher, Saxophone Performer
    • Body stretching exercises
    • Begin blowing hot air through the instrument to warm it up, then long tones
    • Slowly beginner to move my fingers, get faster bit by bit
    • Trying multiple reeds to make sure that they have good sound and are not ready to be thrown out
    • My whole warm-up takes about 10 minutes

Percussion Instruments

  • Edward (Ed) McPherson, Drum Instructor and Performer
    • Allow your arms and wrists to go limp and shake them out.
    • Stretch out your fingers and arms. I like to hold my arms out perpendicular to my body and spread my fingers so my hand is open flat, fingers pointed to the sky.
    • Slowly make a fist with each hand and then spread your fingers again. Do this several times.
    • Keep your arms straight and gently pull the fingers of each hand back towards your body without overextending them.
    • Get your sticks and give your practice pad or snare drum a few good whacks with each hand. If you are at a drum kit, do the same for every drum and also with your feet. Focus on being as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
    • Now take any exercises or rudiments you’ve been working on, and play them at a slow tempo with both your hands and your feet. It’s more important for you to be relaxed than for the exercise to sound particularly good. (Note: Incorporate unison notes between the feet and the hands into this step. This is important because it will feel different on every kit, and will change even if you set up your own kit slightly differently than you’re used to.)
    • Now you can just mess around for a minute or two, and you should be good to go.
    • It is worth mentioning that the longer it’s been since you’ve played, the longer it will take to warm up.
    • Stay loose, and have a good time!

 

Introducing Edward!

If you haven’t been in the store lately, you may not know that we have a new drum teacher! Edward, or Ed, McPherson is an intelligent and talented drummer. He’s been a drummer since he was 12 years old. He currently performs with several local groups as both a drummer and a composer.

His band Marvel Prone released their second album (the first to feature his playing!) “She Hits Me” on May 1, 2020. 

Besides frequent performances at seacoast venues such as The Stone Church, Edward has also performed at well known New England music festivals icluding UNH Solarfest and the Trichomes’ Trichomania, as well as lesser known events such as Hellfest in Lebanon, ME, and Freedomfest in Durham, NH.

Ed is currently taking private students of all ages and experiences through North Conway Music Center. Give us a call at (603) 356-3562 to find out more about a lesson with Ed!

Casio Town

We are ecstatic about the variety of Casio Keyboards we have in store right now! Let’s take a look at all the wonderful options.

The Casiotone CT-S200

These cool little keyboards are great beginner keyboards. With over 400

tones and 77 rhythms, as well as a Dance Music Mode that offers 50 additional rhythms, this keyboard is versatile! Plus, it has a super cool handle built into the keyboard, and it’s so lightweight that you’ll want to carry it around (plus, it has the option to function on batteries alone!). This keyboard comes in red (pictured) as well as black.

Casio’s CT-s300

This keyboard is the step up from the CT-S200. With all the same great tones and rhythms, as well as portability. The CT-S300 model comes with velocity-sensitive keys, to take the next step in realistic playing.

 

Casio’s CT-X700

 

This 61-key portable arranging station is perfect for someone just getting into making

music. With 600 tones, 100 arpeggiators, 195 auto-accompaniment rhythms, and 161 songs, this keyboard is ready to jam. Don’t forget about the recording abilities on board, or the easy MIDI connection for getting your wonderful music into your computer.

Casio’s CDP-S150

This stage piano is a wonderful step in the world of electronic pianos.

With weighted keys and velocity-sensitive electronics, this feels like a real piano. No sounding like a telephone or anything crazy like that, just realistic piano tones (including a harpsichord, a grand piano, and an electronic piano).  This piano also features Duet Mode, which is excellent for lessons or practicing with friends.

 

Come on by to check out the wonderful selection of keyboards we have. For any questions, feel free to give us a call at (603) 356-3562. We hope to see you soon!