The First Instrument Your Tried Isn’t Working For You-Now What?

There are so many types of instruments, it’s hard to choose one. Whether you’re playing what your friend plays, or choosing something you love the sound of, sometimes it doesn’t work out. But don’t worry! It’s totally okay for it to not be a perfect match.

I started playing violin in 5th grade. I loved the sound of the instrument, and it was fun at first, but I quickly learned that string instruments were not my thing. I found myself dread

ing practicing, and playing it in lessons just didn’t make me happy. One of the best things my parents have ever done for me happened at that point; they told me I could switch instruments. For some reason the sound of the clarinet peaked me interest. I started lessons at school, and it was awesome! I enjoyed practicing, even when it was hard. I played clarinet for a few years, then took advantage of my wonderful band teachers at the middle and high school, and I tried a bunch of the instruments the school owned. I soon found myself wanting to play bassoon, and a few years later the trombone. It took me from 5th grade until my sophomore year of high school to find the trombone, and it’s my main instrument now. Although I loved many of the instruments I tried along the way, it took me awhile to find the one that was right for me.

As a student, my advice is to talk to your band teachers; they are there to help you, and more than likely have an instrument you can try. I’ve never met a teacher that wasn’t excited to see a kid want to learn another instrument. They are one of your greatest resources, especially if renting multiple instruments from a rental company isn’t in the budget.

To parents, having reflected upon what my parents did for me, my advice is to encourage your child to find the instrument they love. It’s hard to have put money and time into one instrument, and not have it work out, but you have resources to help you out with that. We have instruments here your child can give an initial play test, and their band teachers might have an extra instrument laying around for your kid to try. The best thing my parents did for me, throughout the years, was to encourage me to keep searching. They asked other parents, neighbors, and family members if they had or knew someone who had an instrument I could borrow if renting one wasn’t in the budget. They encouraged me to be the forger of my own music trail by investing $8 here or there on method books that are targeted at students teaching themselves. If you have questions about resources, or are unsure how to get an instrument in your kid’s hands, come talk to me or anyone at the store. The chances are we’ve been in your situation, or know someone who has been, and we are more than happy to help you help your child.

In the end, I want to remind you that it’s okay if the first instrument you try isn’t the one for you. Of course you should give it a worthwhile try to ensure it’s not a dislike due to a slight bump in the road, and you should try and find out if there is a way to try other instruments before switching, but it is totally okay. I did it, and so many other people I know did it too! If you want to try out an instrument you’re thinking of switching to, come in and sit with me! We can play together, or you can try it out in our private practice room. No matter where you are headed in your musical journey, I want to help. I’ll see you soon!

The Importance of COA’s for Woodwind Instruments

What is a COA?

A Flute Undergoing a COA

The abbreviation “COA” means a Clean, Oil, and Adjust. In length, this means that your woodwind instrument is going to have all the keys taken off. I’ll then clean and polish the interior and exterior of the body, as well as all the keys, hinge rod tubes (the place the rods go in), screws, and rods. This cleaning removes any old oils or dirt that could cause the keys not to work as freely or smoothly as they should. I’ll then assemble the instrument, oiling the rods and screws, adding or replacing any felts or corks as needed, and making any key interaction adjustments needed. When your instrument is all clean and oiled, not only will it’s fingerprint-free finish polishing make it look nice, but it will play with a faster touch response, and smoother movement.

A Saxophone on the Bench for a COA

A COA is common maintenance, occurring every 3-4 years, depending on the player. It’s important to know that this cleaning can become necessary in the instrument’s ability to play throughout its life. Without regular cleanings, rods and screws can freeze up, and keys (as well as the body) can start to deteriorate. Cleaning your instrument helps it live longer, play better, and look swell in the process.

How Long Will I be Without My Instrument?

COA’s are a common maintenance procedure, and can usually be turned around anywhere from 2 days to a week (depending on the lineup at the bench). Please allow the appropriate time for cleaning your instrument before you need it.

For more information on COA’s or to see if it’s right for you and your instrument, please bring it by for us to look at. Every instrument is different, and will be evaluated before determining if the COA is right for it. Our evaluations are free and done in shop, so drop by anytime. Thanks for learning with me, and I hope to see your horn on my bench soon!

 

A Music Center Blooms in North Conway

In 2008 we had the idea that a full service music center would be a nice addition to the North Country of New Hampshire. We did some research, asked some musicians, and founded North Conway Music Center in a little 800 sq.ft. storefront on the North side of town.

From day one we were busy. Thanks to such strong and growing community support, we needed more space. In 2013, having completely outgrown the initial space, we moved to a new upgraded location right on the strip in North Conway.

Our 4,000 sq.ft. space in the Red Barn Center hosts teaching studios, our repair center, rental spaces, lots of new and used instruments and all manner of accessories.

Among our many services, we repair acoustic and electric instruments, we buy and trade used instruments, appraise musical instruments, offer school band instruments and sound systems for rent, and much more.

Please come visit us and find out why so many folks have found us to be knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and convenient! We’re open 7 days a week right between SeaDog Brewing and Dunkin’ Donuts on the strip in North Conway. Call us at (603) 356-3562 or email us. We welcome your questions and comments.

Synthetic Vs. Petroleum Valve Oils – Which Should I Use?

You’re in the store, staring at the wall of oils. There’s Hetman’s, Superslick, Holton, Yamaha, an abundance of oils. But which one is right for your horn? And how do you know? There are easy answers for these questions, but let’s dive in to the reasoning behind those answers.

Synthetic Molecules
Petroleum Molecules

There are many reasons to switch to a synthetic oil, some being that it will last longer in your horn (gumming up much less, allowing you to go longer between cleanings), and it will stay consistent and stable, even when exposed to different temperatures. The reason behind this stability can be found in the molecules. In petroleum oils the molecules vary in size, allowing the oil to break down at different points, creating a sluggish feel in your oil even just days after it’s applied. With same-size molecules the breakdown process happens all at once, and much longer after application than the petroleum based. This creates a long-lasting, stable, and reliable feel in your valves. Overall, a bottle of synthetic will not only last longer than a petroleum bottle, but will feel better, longer.

Here’s some of our favorite brands of synthetic valve oil. Come on in to learn the differences! Nicole would love to discuss all our oils, and find what’s best for you.

Hetman Light Piston Oil
Yamaha Synthetic Valve Oil
Superslick Valve Oil with Silicone

Information and images sourced from the Yamaha Corporation of America and Yamaha Corporation