3rd Annual Clarinet Day

We are excited to announce our 3rd Annual Clarinet Day at MMI!  April 13, 2019 from 10am-5pm.

Jonathan Gunn -clarinet professor from University of Texas - Austin, will be our featured guest artist. Jonathan will performing a small recital and giving a master class event.

Masterclass Participant Request:
- Participants will be selected based on repertoire and age. 4 performers will be selected by the artist; all decisions are final.
- Submissions can be made through the link below or by emailing your name, age, contract information and selected repertoire to [email protected] by EXTENDED DATE April 1, 2019 5:00pm.

Masterclass registration link

New! Solo Competitions
Performances open to the public

Junior division - ages 14-17:
§ 1st place = $200 cash price

§ 2nd place = $100 cash prize

§ 3rd place - $50 in-store credit

Senior division - ages 18- 26:
§ 1st place = $500 cash prize and invitation to attend Buffet's Clarinet Academy in July!

§ 2nd place = $200 cash prize

§ 3rd place = $100 cash prize

Submission deadline for solo competition is EXTENDED DATE April 7, 2019 at 5:00pm

Submissions can be made through the link below or by emailing [email protected] with your name, contact information and repertoire.

Solo Competition link

No accompanist required.

Schedule of Events

10-10:30am: Jonathan Gunn Performance

10:35-11:05am: Relaxation and Performance Techniques: Jennifer Gerth and Karrin Meffert-Nelson

11:10-11:40am: Clarinet Maintenance and Crack Prevention: Tori Okwabi and Caleb Rasmussen

11:45-12:30: Audition and Performance Preparation: Scott Anderson

12:30-1:00: Lunch break

12:45-1:45: Junior and Senior Solo Competitions (Open to the Public)

1:55-2:35: How to play in tune: Intonation and Voicing: Sang Yoon Kim and Gabriel Campos Zamora

2:40-4:20: Jonathan Gunn Masterclass

4:30-5:00: Clarinet Choir directed by Rena Kraut

Free small repairs throughout the day and a small lunch will be provided.

Competition Rules and Regulations:
1. Prepare 5 minutes max. of music from the standard solo clarinet repertoire. If you have questions about repertoire please
email [email protected]
2. Accompaniment and memorization is NOT needed. (Piano optional)
3. Entrants must supply 1 copy of their music for the judges.
4. Proper performance attire is expected.
5. Limit of 20 entrants per division allowed. Therefore performers are selected on a first come, first served basis. A wait list will be created in the event of cancellations.

Tips from our Techs--Humidity Issues

 

Tip from head repair technician, Eric Anderson

Summer is that time of year when humidity increases and the wood body of instruments begins to expand.  This happens along the width and length of the wood grain affecting both the fit of keys, levers, and tenons.   When the wood expands in the summer months, woodwind instruments often don't fit together without a struggle, if they even fit together at all! We find that this issue is most prevalent during the first year of a new instrument's life, and especially prevalent in newer clarinets.

If this happens with your instrument to the point where abnormal force is required to take it apart, it's best to have an experienced repair technician take care of it.  A technician will be able to adjust the fit of the tenon cork, the exposed wood on the tenon, or sometimes both.  Ignoring the problem and blowing warm, humid air down your instrument will only make it worse!

The humidity will also make keys fit looser, but don't worry!  We never fit keys too tightly in the summertime because they will most likely expand in the fall/winter and potentially bind once the humidity drops.  Loose key fittings won't harm your instrument, they only cause them to be slightly noisier.  If you can live with the loose key fitting in the summer, great!  It should return to normal in the fall/winter.  If it is an issue for you, we can certainly fix it, and if we do, don't forget to come back to get the fit readjusted after the humidity changes.

If you ever experience issues with your instrument and don't know what to do, remember we are only a phone call away and are happy to help!!

Introducing our newest repair technician, Brian!

We are happy to announce that we have a new team member!  Brian DeGayner has joined MMI in the repair department.  He graduated from Southeast Technical in Red Wing with a diploma in band instrument repair in 2016. Prior to joining the repair team at MMI, Brian worked for Twin Cities Instrument Repair in Edina, focusing on flute and double reeds. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, and attends state and regional conferences. Brian spends most of his free time outdoors, or playing in local orchestras.

We asked Brian a few questions to get to know him better!

What got you started in repair? 

"After a few years of playing horn, I realized my love for working with my hands could be applicable to the industry. After talking with Greg Beckwith, I dropped everything and went to Southeast Tech in Red Wing."

What groups were you playing in prior to going to school for repair?

"I have played for several orchestras around Minnesota. Mankato Symphony, St. Andrew’s, Bloomington Symphony, Minneapolis Civic, Wayzata Symphony, and currently St. Paul Civic."

Any favorite pieces? 

"I love Mahler’s symphonies, especially 3, 4, and 5. Ein Heldenleben, Holst’s Jupiter, Sibelius....basically anything horn-heavy. Otherwise, I’m usually partial to playing in small ensembles, such as Daniel Baldwin’s Landscapes for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Piano, Martinu’s Quartet for Clarinet, Horn, Cello and Snare Drum, or Barber’s Summer Music."

What is your favorite repair to do?

I love a challenge. My favorite work to do is overhauling instruments: breathing new life into an instrument is very rewarding, and hearing an instrument I fixed on stage always makes me smile.

Any hobbies at home?

I would consider myself a maker. I’ve used my machining experience to make plenty of hand tools and a few machines to help with various projects. Currently, I’m refinishing my tool chest, painting models, and working on my jewelry making skills. I wouldn’t mind getting into watch and clock mechanism repair...

You’ve mentioned your love for the outdoors...

I go hiking and camping as much as I can, year round. I am an Eagle Scout (Troop 494, White Bear Lake, 2009), so I basically grew up outdoors. My family moves a lot of timber every year, and I hunt and fish whenever I can.

 

Please join us in welcoming Brian to MMI!  We are so happy to have him part of our team!

Richie Hawley Clarinet Masterclass

You're invited!  

 

We are excited to host Richie Hawley on Saturday, September 30th from 2-4pm!  The class will be held at Midwest Musical Imports in our recital hall.  Please join us for this free and incredible clarinet event!
Mini-recital and masterclass
Reception following the class
Try our custom set-up clarinets hand-selected by Richie
Mouthpieces, barrels, reeds, and more available for purchase
Free small repairs

 

Richie is the professor of clarinet at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston and serves as the teaching and performing clarinet artist at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.  A Buffet-Crampon artist, Mr. Hawley performs on the Tosca model of clarinet. He is also a D’Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist and Clinician, and plays exclusively on the Reserve Classic reeds and mouthpieces which he helped to develop.
Learn more at:  www.richiehawley.com

 

We look forward to seeing you there!!

Virtual Tour of Our New Location

We absolutely love our new location and think you will, too!!  The store has doubled in size!!  We've added practice/lesson rooms, a recital hall, increased the size of our repair shop and sales floor.  Please stop by for a visit!  We'd love to show you around!

Our repair staff working hard in the new repair shop!

Our new recital hall with seating capacity of 60!

One of our new teaching/practice studios!

A street view of our new space.

We look forward to welcoming you in the store soon!

Thank you for attending our grand opening celebration!

I would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone that came to our grand opening celebration! For those of you that came, emailed, sent flowers or called with your best wishes, we are extremely grateful. Below are some photos from the event.

A big thank you again to our generous sponsors/vendors: Buffet-Crampon, Fox Products, Loree, Puchner, Heckel, D'Addario, Peak, and Clark Fobes.

We look forward to many more events and please keep an eye on our calendar for updates!

Best wishes,
Jessica Nelson, General Manager

Owner and founder, Mike Aamoth gets a thumbs up after the Friday night reception from long-time customer, David Braslau.

Katie with customers at the Friday night reception.

Friday night reception.

Friday night reception.

 

Friday night reception.

Eric thanks a customer after work in the repair shop.

Our first customer during the celebration on Friday!! Jessica with her friend and oboist, Siri Garnaas

Friday was repair technician, Matt Reich's birthday! We surprised him with a cake.

Julie Gramolini William, Chris Marshall, and Greg Williams, of the MN Orchestra during their trio performance
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Welcome Richie Hawley!

We are excited to announce our collaboration with Buffet-Crampon artist and Rice University's Richie Hawley!  Richie is currently the Professor of Clarinet at the Shepherd School of Music in Houston, TX.  He is a highly sought after performer and teacher and we are honored to join forces with him!  Our current plans are to send Richie to the Paris Buffet-Crampon factory in September to hand-select high quality instruments.  His goal is to find instruments that are versatile for any player!

“I’m very excited to be working with MMI to hand-select instruments. There are few shops that can combine an excellent selection of instruments with specialists who can tailor their instruments to your needs.  The folks at MMI are fun, knowledgeable and are guaranteed to give you great service!” -R.H.

Once the instruments arrive at our store they are professionally set-up to ensure that they are in top playing condition for trials.  This includes changing critical pads, adjusting tone holes and spring tension.  You will be amazed by the difference our changes make!

We have a great variety of clarinets in stock including the new Tradition.  The instrument is easy blowing yet the depth of the sound is not compromised. These instruments are a must try!  We also have a great selection of Eb, A and Bass clarinets.  Our Prestige and Tosca bass clarinets  are always in stock!

Our generous 7-day no deposit trial system also allows you to take up to three at a time!  Call us today to set up a trial and feel the difference in our clarinets!

Richie Hawley. Buffet pallet

(Richie at the Buffet-Crampon factory in Jacksonville)

Richie with repair

(Richie working with our repair specialists)

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.

Introducing the Selmer Présence Clarinets

We have two brand new Bb Selmer Presence clarinets by SeleS in stock and ready to go out on trial.  Selmer has finally manufactured a great professional clarinet at a more affordable price so contact Brandon at [email protected] or 1(800)926-5587  if you would like to give them a try.

Selmer Présence clarinets

Selmer says:

Henri SELMER Paris unveils, under the new brand SeleS, a never before seen clarinet called Présence.

Thanks to its innovative bore design, this clarinet has unique acoustic qualities that provide ease of emission, exceptional homogeneity and above all an instrument that is easy to play.

The sound of the Présence clarinet is a mix of harmonic richness, and timbre; essential characteristics to the instrument. Also, the research done on the position and size of the tone holes has given this clarinet unrivalled intonation.

Specially designed keys, as well as new key orientations and positions, provide unmatched mechanical precision and response combined with player comfort.

Selmer Présence clarinets are available in B-flat and A with two keywork finishes available: silver and nickel. An E-flat lever is also available as an option.

The grenadilla wood is selected, delicately worked, naturally treated, lacquered and waterproofed for a protection and finish at the top of its class. This clarinet comes equipped with Valentino pads, preferred by many clarinetists and recommended by experienced repairers for their seal, stability and durability.

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