FREE Masterclass featuring John Konesky!

John Konesky, lead guitarist for the comedy rock duo Tenacious D will be holding a free masterclass at the Ray’s Midbell Music Learning Center, 4230 S Lancelot Lane on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 10:30am. Admission to the masterclass is free! John will be stopping at Ray’s Midbell before his performance with Sioux City Rockestra that evening.
Posted: September 05, 2014 at 4:11 PM by barretim

Stretch your repair budget!

Here are some money saving tips in poem form!

Save time at the end of class for students to empty the water out of brass and swab woodwinds before putting away.
Always keep saxophone and flute metal tenons and receivers clean and shiny—never use grease or oil.
Valves and casings on piston valve brass should be cleaned and stored dry (without oil) over the summer, case upright.
Encourage students to have instruments either in their hands or in its case at all times.
Posted: April 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM by barretim

Reed This!: Part 1 - What reed should I use?

Part 1. What reed should I use?
Welcome to part one of this four part series where we will discuss everything reeds!  By the end of it, you will be a reed guru!  In part one we will look at how to go about choosing what reed is best
Disclaimer: This article is written with single reed instruments in mind (clarinets and saxophones). Not all information in this article will be applicable to double reed instruments (oboe and bassoon).

Posted: March 04, 2014 at 10:24 AM by barretim

Repair Tip - Humidifiers and You

The cold air forces most of us to run our heaters this time of year.  Not only does this dry out our homes making our skin dry, but it can become hazardous to our wood instruments.  String instruments such as violins and cellos are not the only wood instruments affected by the drop in humidity, but all instruments made from wood such as clarinets, oboes, bassoons, guitars, mandolins, pianos and harps are going to be in danger of open seams and cracks. This can get even worse if your instrument storage area is anywhere near a heat vent or radiator in your home.  Musicians can help prevent cracks from happening by using an instrument humidifier.
Posted: January 06, 2014 at 4:36 PM by barretim

Repair Tip - Rods & Screws

Let's talk tech tips to help keep those instruments in the players hands. I may get a little basic for some of you that have been doing this for a while. So if you already know about these, celebrate your wisdom and bear with me. 
Woodwind keys are either held on by hinge rods, which go all the way through a hollowed out tube on the key, or by pivot screws, which have a point (usually conical) that goes into each end of the key. Let's use the analogy of a toilet paper holder for this since I assume everyone is familiar. Some holders have the tube that goes all the way through the roll and some have just the ends that go into the sides of the roll. Ta Da! Hinge rods and pivot screws. Since we don't have the added bonus of a springing motion that a toilet paper holder has, if either of these styles of key attachment become loose, it can cause major playing problems with the instrument. 
Posted: December 03, 2013 at 3:10 PM by barretim
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