Instrument Cases - Is Yours Damaging Your Instrument?

Instrument CasesAs many players know, our instruments travel just as much as we do.  Our instruments spend quite a bit of time being removed from and placed into their cases.  If you're investing in your instrument, be sure to invest in an instrument case that cares for your woodwind too.

Many instruments that come through our repair shop suffer from ill fitting cases.  Some cases can actually be detrimental to your instrument's safety.  Reoccurring problems on your horn (rods becoming loose, keys going out of alignment) might actually be caused by the way an instrument fits in the case. We have seen bent keys from cases fitting both too tight or with excessive movement.  If your current case is not fit to your instrument, be sure to attend to this issue.  Scratched plating and blemishes in the body of an instrument can be caused by a loose bocal, screwdriver or other items left in the case.  Consider a case with an outer zipper pouch to collect all of your accessories!  We're here to help and our sales team has many options to offer when considering updating your case.   Visit our online store to see our options for cases:  oboe casesbassoon casesclarinet casessaxophone cases.  We can also special order cases--call us for more details.

ANCIA Saxophone Quartet Festive Evening w/ Libby Larsen

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ANCIA Saxophone Quartet
Festive Evening with Libby Larsen

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Studio Z, 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200
St. Paul

Please join us for an evening of wonderful music by the ANCIA Saxophone Quartet. Libby Larsen will speak about her new composition for saxophone quartet, Confluence, commissioned by ANCIA. Delicious hors d'oeuvres and festive holiday refreshments will be available for your enjoyment. This is a fundraising event to support the creation of Confluence.
Confluence will be premiered at the World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, France, July 2015.
ANCIA has been an advocate for new music since the group's inception almost 25 years ago. We connected with Libby last year and discussed our mutual interest in working together.
About Confluence... One of the major themes of my work over the past 30 years is human relationship to our natural world. From 1983 to today, I have taken every opportunity I can to compose music which moves performers and listeners to think about themselves in relation to the Earth and their responsibilities as stewards of sustainability. For the ANCIA saxophone quartet, I have planned a work which deals with confluences of rivers. - Libby Larsen
Donations at every level are greatly appreciated. 
 
SUGGESTED DONATION LEVELS
$50
$100 (donors at this level will receive special mention in the score)
$500 (donors at this level will receive an autographed copy of the score and special mention in the score).
Please RSVP to info@anciaquartet.com
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND but would like to make a tax deductible contribution to the commission of Confluence, please click here to donate or send a check made out to "Springboard for the Arts" with ANCIA Quartet in the memo line to:
ANCIA Quartet
4811 35th Ave.
Mpls., MN 55417
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Contact us at info@anciaquartet.com

Choosing the Right Instrument

The staff at Midwest Musical Imports has extensive experience performing and teaching on our respective instruments, in addition to the sales we do every day. We want you to make an informed decision and purchase an instrument that will serve you well for years  We hope that these guide will give you a more clear picture of what we have to offer as you seek the right instrument for you. We are always happy to speak with you over the phone, so please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-926-5587. Click the appropriate link below for your instrument buyer’s guide so you can get started on your research.

Choosing the right Oboe or English Horn

Choosing the right Bassoon

Choosing the right Clarinet

Choosing the right Saxophone

Spring Savings!

Just in time for the arrival of Spring in Minnesota, we're offering up savings on Instruments, Bocals, and Accessories!  Check out our sale sections for oboe, bassoon, and single reeds for all of sale items!

And don't forget about our spring shipping rebate!  Now through May 31st, if you purchase an instrument from a trial we'll be happy to refund or apply your shipping toward the purchase of the instrument!

Our instrument specialists are always in the shop if you need to reach us for any reason - 800.926.5587.

Happy Spring!

Your Midwest Musical Imports Instrumental & Repair Teams,

Jessica, Trent, Steven, Jeff, Brandon, Eric, & Matt

Reeds and Weather

objuliepaul-reedThe weather in Minneapolis took an upward turn overnight last night. Our temperatures are now in double digits above zero for the first time in weeks! With a dramatic change in weather you might find a change in your reeds.

I don't know if anyone has come to any scientific conclusions on how reeds react to different weather changes, but for most of us we just know that when the weather shifts, so will our reeds. We just don't always know how they'll change. There are some things you can do to even out the bumps though. These tips might also help you when you travel to a slightly different climate or altitude than your home. Your Mileage May Vary.

Try soaking up your reeds briefly, then just putting them away. Give them a chance to adjust to the new weather pattern without stressing them by playing. You'll find they've acclimated to the new conditions the next day.

Long term, you can spend more days in the reed making process. I find that a reed that has some time to settle as a blank before beginning the finishing process, and given frequent but short playing sessions for the first week after finishing, will usually be more stable over weather changes (and last longer) than reeds made and finished in just a few short sessions. For single reed players, this translates to a gradual break-in process for new reeds out of the box.

For more tips, visit the Tips and Resources section of our blog.

The problem with metronomes...

MetronomeThere's at least a dozen jokes about metronomes, but they can be one of the most helpful tools for a musician to play with technical and rhythmical accuracy. There's more to using a metronome than just setting the metronome to performance tempo and attempting to keep up. Here are some strategies for using  metronome more effectively.

1. Start way slower than you think you need to. You'll clean up your fingering and embouchure technique greatly if you practice at VERY slow and controlled speeds. To make sure you're not speeding up, lock that metronome at a subdivided tempo and stay with it.

Read More...

Choosing the Best Saxophone Brands

ThBuffet Crampon Saxophonee first thing you’ll need to do is familiarize yourself with brands and models.  There are many different brands and models of saxophones and it can be a daunting task to wade through the sea of instruments available to the prospective buyer.  There’s endless amounts of information online but for many this can add to the confusion.  Enlisting the help of school teachers/private lesson teachers, local professionals and music store employees will help narrow down the search.  Once you’ve decided on a specific make/model or two you can then use the internet more effectively by reading reviews and gathering what you can from the manufacturer’s website to act as your own saxophone buyer’s guide.

You don't have to buy the most expensive instrument but you should always try to get the best instrument you can afford.  Nicer instruments with a reputable brand name tend to hold their value much better than the smaller off-brand variety.  Another factor may be the type of playing one chooses to do, you wouldn't want to bring your expensive professional model saxophone to marching band practice where it could be easily damaged.  If you're just beginning your musical journey it's best to go with a good student model horn for this very reason.

Read More...

Used Instrument Warranty

When it's time to replace a musical instrument, sometimes purchasing a brand new instrument may not be an option. Midwest Musical Imports is pleased to offer a wide selection of high quality used instruments that will fit your needs.  We also offer a 1-year maintenance and crack warranty included with the purchase of select used oboes, bassoons, clarinets, and saxophones!

Call our instrument specialists at 612-331-4717 for further information and trial availability!

Francisco Mela and Brandon Wozniak

I’ll be performing in a quartet with with NYC drummer (by way of Cuba) Francisco Mela (member of Joe Lovano’s US Five, McCoy Tyner, Esperanza Spalding) at the MacPhail Center for Music this Saturday, April 20, 2013,  at 8:00 pm.  Francisco tours much of the year with some of the biggest names in jazz and also leads his own group called Francisco Mela's Cuban Safari.  Local favorites Tanner Taylor (piano) and Graydon Peterson (bass) will round out the rhythm section.  We hope to see you there.

Francisco Mela
Francisco Mela

Francisco Mela is currently a favorite among elite jazz instrumentalists such as Joe Lovano (Us Five), John Scofield (John Scofield Trio), and Joanne Brackeen. He is a regular member of Kenny Barron’s working trio, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit.

His first opportunity to perform outside of Cuba came when Hernández was booked for an appearance at the Cancún Jazz Festival. In 1997, Francisco returned to Mexico to perform in Cancún with his own group, the MelaSon Latin Jazz Band. Then, a chance encounter with Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Pérez led him to a life-changing decision. “Danilo encouraged me to move to Boston,” Francisco reminisces. “He said, ‘Don’t worry. if you come to Boston, you’re going to end up playing with better people than me.’”

He initially planned to study at either Berklee College or The New England Conservatory of Music, but professional opportunities headed him in another direction. It wasn’t long before Francisco was the house drummer of Wally’s Café, one of Boston’s hottest jazz clubs. While honing his own sound as a jazz drummer and broadening his leadership role as leader of a quintet, he also had an opportunity to back such world class talent as Pérez, fellow Cuban Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and his longtime idol, drummer Roy Haynes.

Eventually, he started playing with music professors at Berklee. Then, one day, he received a call to teach at the prestigious institution. He currently balances a hectic schedule of appearances with the aforementioned pianist Kenny Barron, saxophonists Joe Lovano and George Garzone, bassist John Patitucci, and guitarist John Scofield. Francisco’s professional and artistic horizons continue to broaden as he collaborates with more and more musicians.

Ancia Saxophone Quartet - Sat. May 4th & 5th

Ancia Saxophone Quartet
Ancia Saxophone Quartet

The Ancia Saxophone Quartet  will be performing twice in the Twin Cities in early May. Details below.

Studio Z
Saturday, May 4, 7:30 pm (Talk with Jeff Herriott at 7:00 pm)
Works by Herriott, Sturm, Dove, Glass
Northwestern Building, 2nd Floor
275 East Fourth Street Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55101
Prices: $5 here or $10 at the door ($5 for students/seniors)

Weisman Art Museum
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 4:00 pm
Works by Desenclos, Glass, Dove, Dodgion, Carisi
University of Minnesota
333 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Free Admission!

The Ancia Saxophone Quartet was founded in 1990 as an ensemble dedicated to the creation and performance of new works for saxophone quartet as well as the performance of traditional saxophone quartet repertoire.

Save on Instrument and Bocal Trials!

Save on instrument and bocal trials!  Now through the end of May, if you purchase an instrument or bocal through us, we will refund your instrument trial shipping charge.  Please call our instrument specialists to set up a trial and for further information.

We currently have a great selection of new and used instruments available with Special Spring Prices!

F.Loree oboes - Standards & Royals (regular and AKs) now on special

Fox 333 oboes - Fox's Protege model, beginner plastic oboes

Fox 240 Bassoons - The Fox Renard (short Bore), one of the most popular selling bassoons on the market!

Wolf s2000 & Wolf 2000+ Bassoons - These hand-crafted, German made bassoons are gaining popularity.  In stock and on special!

Yamaha CSG Bb Clarinet

Bliss Bb Clarinets

Yamaha 221 and 321 Flutes

Yamaha 875 EXHG Soprano Saxophone

 

Other special instrument pricing available - contact our instrument specialists for further details

Whatever your instrument or bocal needs, we're here to help.  We're pleased to stock a wide selection of new and used oboes, bassoons, clarinets, and saxophones as well as a vast selection of new and used bocals for Bassoon and English horn!