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How to choose a Woodwind or Brass Instrument for my Child

L&HChildren are fickle.  They like the latest craze, fad or gadget going.  However, if they see and hear you playing a musical instrument from a young age you are more likely to pique their interest and desire into learning an instrument.  Music is fun, requires concentration, determination, perseverance, dexterity and it has been proven that children who play an instrument are more confident, more mature (yes even for a musician!) and playing an instrument apparently make them smarter! What’s not to like?

Choosing an instrument for your child is difficult.  So how do you choose a woodwind or brass instrument for your child? More importantly, it shouldn’t be the parent who chooses the instrument – it should be the child.  If you have any musical talent yourself then play your instrument in front of your child, let them hold it, try and get a note out of it, listen to and feel it. They will ask lots of questions so answer them all and be encouraging.  Talk about your experiences and how much fun you’ve had playing with other musicians and experimenting with different music.  Try and play recorded music around the home as much as possible of all different genres.  Ask them what instrument they are interested in, if they don’t know, a visit to a music shop would be a good idea so they can see the range of different instruments on offer.

Don’t make the mistake of buying the most expensive instrument in that particular range – they may not like it!  But equally don’t buy the cheapest on offer as the quality and playability will be more difficult and the child will lose interest quicker.  Most music shops offer a rental scheme whereby you can try the instrument for a short time and see how your child gets on, how committed they are to practising and whether they like it.  Some rental schemes will take off the monthly payments from the final purchase price if you wish to proceed.

Great starter instruments are: FLUTES: fairly easy to learn once the technique is in place. RECORDERS: buy a plastic one to begin with as professional wooden recorders can be expensive. CLARINET: a little bigger to hold but once mastered other options are available such as bass clarinet, bassoon or oboe. SAXOPHONE: normally start with an Alto saxophone as they are the most common saxophone. If they like it they can change to a tenor sax, bari sax or the smaller soprano sax. TRUMPET / CORNET: smaller children are best learning the cornet first as the bell is less heavy and easier to hold but older children can start on the trumpet. TROMBONE: this is a slightly different brass instrument as it has a “slide” to obtain notes rather than rely on valves.

Whatever woodwind or brass instrument your child chooses, encourage them!  They will need to spend a lot of time practising and the early days will often sound like a cat being strangled but it does get better!  Being part of a team in an orchestra or band when they are older will be well worth all the hours spent practising and learning to read music!  There’s no better feeling than playing music and, if they are good enough, it could well be a fulltime or part-time career for them in the future, taking them all over the world and meeting some amazing people!

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Dent Removal

Phone pics 150509 289

“It must have got dented in the case”Phone pics 150509 297

“The music stand just fell on it”

“I only put it on the floor for a second”

Minor dents and dings happen and are inevitable with brass instruments.  A few minor dents won’t seriously affect or change the overall sound Phone pics 150509 292or playability of your brass instrument,Phone pics 150509 296 however, if there are too many, or if the dent protrudes inwards more than 1/3 the diameter then this could cause a change in pitch, stability, tone and general playability.  Ideally there should not be any dents in brass instruments at all but that would be extremely unrealistic for both students and professional brass players.

If there are any dents in the mouthpiece shank, leadpipe or initial bore then these dents will affect the brass instrument considerably and will need to be repaired by a dent removal expert  to get the best out of your instrument and improve your personal performance. With trombone handslides both the inner and outer slides are easily bent so if you feel any dents at all whilst playing then this will need repairing to improve the performance of your brass instrument.

Many people try to remove dents and dings themselves but, if you don’t really know what  you are doing, dent removal yourself can cause further damage to the brass instrument and will require even more expert repair work and be more expensive.  Most dent repair work can be done easily and inexpensively – if caught early.

BrassWindFix have over 15 years experience of specialist dent removal and would be pleased to quote for any work required.

Specialist Dent removal of all brass instruments including: Trombones, Tenor Trombone, Bass Trombone, Alto Trombone, French Horn, Lower Brass, Upper Brass, Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bari Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Trumpets, Bb Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet, Eb/D Trumpet, Baroque Trumpet, C  Trumpet, Contrabass Trumpet, Cornet, Soprano Cornet, Bb Cornet, Bb Soprano Cornet

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Caring for your Flute

fluteIt is really important that you know the basics in caring for your flute.  Ideally you should ensure your flute is serviced once a year by a qualified flute technician or repairerBrassWindFix offer two main levels of service:   General Service: designed to keep the instrument in good playing condition or our Full Service: designed to keep your instrument in premium working order, preventing unwanted problems occurring during everyday use. In addition, we also offer re-corking and re-pading for woodwind instruments.  We offer expert advice on what level of servicing is needed on an individual basis so you can be sure you get the right level of service for your instrument.

In between annually servicing your flute you can help with caring for your flute and maintaining the instrument to ensure it is always in good working order.

INTERNAL FLUTE CLEANING

You will need a soft cloth and cleaning rod to wipe the inside of your flute after each use, ensuring that the rod is gently pushed through the length of the instrument, paying particular attention to the head joint. It is important to ensure that all moisture is removed.

OUTSIDE FLUTE CLEANING

All you need to maintain the outside of your instrument is a silver polishing cloth wiped over the surface once every week to keep dust from settling in the joints.  You should avoid all types of silver polish and do not immerse your flute in water to clean it.

To avoid any damage to your flute it is recommended that you place it on a foldable flute stand and never be tempted to rest it on a music stand!

If the worst happens, and you drop or damage your flute, then BrassWindFix offer an instrument repair service for all woodwind and brass instrumentsPlease do not try and fix the flute yourself – you can cause further damage and it will make any repairs more expensive than they need to be.  With over 15 year’s experience of instrument repairs and servicing you can be assured that BrassWindFix has the knowledge and experience to repair and service woodwind and brass instruments at the highest quality whilst maintaining extremely competive prices.

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BrassWindFix on Facebook

facebookYou’ll now be able to find the latest news, updates and special offers available from BrassWindFix on Facebook.  As the social media networks increase in popularity we felt it was time we also joined as it’s a great way to let everyone know about our latest special offers, discounts, instruments available for sale, brass and woodwind accessories as well as advice on caring for your instrument in between servicing and repair!

So, if you want to keep up to the minute and take advantage of any deals then please “like” our page.  It’s simple to do.  Click on BrassWindFix on Facebook and click on the “like” button.  Every time we update the page with news or offers, you’ll receive a notification so you won’t miss out!

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Second-hand Brass Instruments for Sale

BrassWindFix have several second-hand brass instruments for sale in our shop.

Bach-Strad-180ML37-Trumpet-(1)Bach Strad 180ML37 Bb Trumpet.  These instruments are regarded as the benchmark when it comes to professional level trumpets and are popular the world over.  This example is in great condition and is only a couple of years old, consequently there is no lacquer wear and this trumpet is in excellent working order providing a high level of performance.B&S-Bb-Cornet-(1)

B&S Bb Cornet.  This instrument is a very good quality student instrument manufactured in Germany.  It is in excellent condition and fully checked prior to sale. King-3B-Silver-Sonic-Tbn-(3) It comes complete with a case and B&S 7C mouthpiece.

King 2103 “3B” Silver Sonic Trombone.  The instrument Olds-Valve-Trombone-(3)is in excellent condition and fully checked prior to sale.  It comes complete with case and Jiggs Whigham 1A mouthpiece.

F.E. Olds & Son Valve Trombone (Fullerton, Calif).  This rare instrument (C. 1971) is in excellent condition and fully checked prior to sale.  It comes complete with a case which has space for an additional slide section (not included), 2 x mouthpieces (Olds 2 & JP606) and a marching lyre.

All second-hand instruments sold by BrassWindFix are fully checked prior to sale in our own brass & woodwind repair workshop so you can be confident of a quality musical instrument in full working order.

Delivery is via courier service and is INCLUDED in the price (*UK Mainland only).

If you require further information or would like to arrange to come and try the instrument at the BrassWindFix premises in Wrington, near Bristol, then please contact us.

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Woodwind & Brass Spares

BWF-SparesBrassWindFix have recently been organising and cataloguing our extensive range of spare parts for Woodwind & Brass musical instruments.  As a specialist workshop catering for all aspects of woodwind & brass repair, it is essential we have a large selection of spare parts in stock, so they are readily available whenever we need them to complete a repair.  Brass instruments regularly need replacement valve springs, valve felts, valve guides, waterkey springs, waterkey corks, trigger springs, rotary valve bumpers, rotary valve string/cord and trombone slide bow bumpers.  Woodwind instruments routinely require replacement pads (skin pads, leather pads, cork pads), key corks, key felts, springs, tenon corks, saxophone crook corks, saxophone neck receiver screws & flute headjoint corks.  We even carry replacement mute corks in stock!  Occasionally, when unusual or rare parts are required which are not normally stocked, we can usually source these within a very short timescale.

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BrassWindFix Shop Expansion

BWF-Workshop-120313BrassWindFix are keen to provide the highest possible service for our customers.  For this reason we are constantly expanding our range of woodwind and brass instrument accessories, all available to purchase from the BrassWindFix online shop or direct from our workshop in Wrington.  We stock a large selection of clarinet and saxophone reeds including the brands Rico, Rico Royal and Vandoren.  We also have a large selection of cleaning and maintenance products for all woodwind and brass instruments including valve oil and trombone slide lubricants.  So if you need a music stand fast then look no further, BrassWindFix are always happy to serve you.

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Another Satisfied Customer!

thank youIt’s always nice to get feedback on our work, we received this email following a recent Yamaha tenor saxophone repair: –

“Thanks so much for the wonderful service that you’ve just done on my tenor.  It has never sounded so good.  And I can get the low notes so easily.  You are brilliant!  Many thanks.      Annie”

Thanks Annie, we’re glad you’re pleased with our work.

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Brassed Off!

brass bandThis weekend (9th/10th March 2013) sees the annual West of England Regional Brass Band Contest held at the Riviera Conference Centre in Torquay.  Known as the “English Riviera” Torquay always holds a warm welcome for the competing bands.  The five sections will be held over two days, with the Fourth, Second and First section bands performing on Saturday, and the Third and Championship bands doing battle on Sunday.  This is one of the eight qualifying competitions held across the United Kingdom for the National Brass Band Finals.  The lower section finals (sections 1-4) are held in Cheltenham in September, and the successful Championship Section qualifiers are invited to compete in October at the Royal Albert Hall in London, for the opportunity to be crowned the National Brass Band Champions of Great Britain.  UK Brass bands are made up of the following instruments: –  Eb soprano cornet (1), Bb cornets (9), Bb flugel horn (1), Eb tenor horns (3), Bb baritone horns (2), Bb Euphoniums (2), Bb tenor trombones (2), bass trombone (1), EEb Tubas (2), BBb tubas (2), percussion and of course the conductor!

It promises to be a fantastic weekend of competition and BrassWindFix would like to wish all competing bands the very best of luck!

The competing bands in the Championship section are: –

Aldbourne, Bournemouth Concert Brass, Brunel Brass, Camborne Town, Chalford, Flowers (Gloucester), Lydbrook, Mount Charles, Sherborne Town, St Dennis and Woodfalls.

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A Busy Day of Repairs!

BrassWindFix have had a busy day of woodwind musical instrument repairs today.  First there was a set-up on a Selmer Prelude student alto saxophone for a customer in Portishead.  Then we serviced a Yamaha YFL211 flute for a customer in Congresbury – these instruments are still regarded as the best student flute on the market and we would certainly endorse this.  If these flutes are serviced regularly they will carry on almost indefinitely providing many years of music-making.  Finally we worked on a Bundy tenor saxophone which needed a basic service to put it into playing order.  This was for a regular customer from the City of Wells.

Just an average day in the BrassWindFix workshop in Wrington, between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.

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Alternatively email... repairs@brasswindfix.co.uk