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!

Emily Brebach Oboe & English Horn Masterclass

 

You're invited!! FREE!!

Mini-recital
Masterclass
Reception following the class
Large selection of oboes and English horns for trial
Free small repairs

Emily Brebach joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra playing English horn and oboe in the fall of 2012.

Ms. Brebach, a Philadelphia native, has performed with several orchestras throughout the United States, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Houston Symphony.  In past summers, she has performed at the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Des Moines Metro Opera, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Aspen Music Festival. Prior to joining the ASO, Ms. Brebach held the position of English horn and oboe with the Sarasota Orchestra.

Ms. Brebach holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, and studied with Louis Rosenblatt, James Caldwell, Robert Atherholt, and Robert Walters.  She is an Artist Affiliate Instructor of Oboe at Emory University, a faculty member of the Atlanta Symphony's Talent Development Program and maintains an active private studio in her home.  Ms. Brebach has also given masterclasses and reedmaking seminars at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Florida State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of South Carolina, and the North Carolina School for the Arts. She spends her summers in residence at the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC, as English horn and oboe as well as artist faculty.

We look forward to seeing you at this great, FREE event!!  RSVP here!

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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Nicholas Daniel Oboe Masterclass & Recital

We are thrilled to welcome internationally renowned artist and chamber musician, Nicholas Daniel for a Masterclass and recital here at Midwest Musical Imports on Saturday March 25th, 2017 from 2:30 -5:30 pm!

Mr. Daniel will give a brief recital and then work with several area college students.  The event is jointly sponsored by Marigaux Paris and Midwest Musical Imports.  We will have Marigaux oboes to play before and after the event. We will also have a reception with snacks post masterclass.  Please join us for this wonderful opportunity to hear and work with this amazing musician!

Nicholas Daniel – Oboe and Conductor

Nicholas Daniel’s long and distinguished career began when, at the age of 18, he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. As one of the UK's most distinguished soloists, he has become an important ambassador for music in many different fields. In recognition of this, he was awarded the prestigious Queen's Medal for Music.

Nicholas has been a concerto soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras, working under conductors such as Edward Gardner, Sakari Oramo, Roger Norrington, Jiri Belohlavek, Mark Wigglesworth, James MacMillan and Mark Elder. In addition to his experience in Baroque music, he has premiered works by composers including Harrison Birtwistle, Henri Dutilleux, Thea Musgrave, John Tavener, James MacMillan and Michael Tippett. His recording of oboe concertos by Vaughan Williams and MacMillan was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Premiere Award in 2016.

He is oboist with Britten Sinfonia and Artistic Director of the Leicester International Festival. He teaches in the UK and in Germany, where is he Professor of Oboe at the Musikhochschule, Trossingen

He made his conducting debut at the 2004 BBC Proms with Britten Sinfonia. He has conducted many projects with the orchestra over 20 years, including many new works, and recently conducted orchestras in Finland and Norway.

An active chamber musician, Nicholas is a founder member of the Haffner Wind Ensemble and the Britten Oboe Quartet, whose debut disc will be released on the Harmonia Mundi label early 2017. He also regularly works with the pianists Charles Owen and Julius Drake, and with the Carducci and Vogler String Quartets.

Nicholas plays a Marigaux 901 FSC model, the first Oboe anywhere in the world to be certified as fairly traded by the Forestry Stewardship Council.

www.nicholasdaniel.co.uk

Oboe Masterclass Led By Peter Cooper - Videos

Back in September, we were very fortunate to host Colorado Symphony Principal Oboist and Marigaux Artist Peter Cooper for a masterclass event.  We had 5 amazing student participants, instruments and accessories, and a day full of oboe.  Here are a few videos to share from the event.

Vincent Persichetti's Parable for Solo Oboe - Michaela Helms, oboe

 

Ralph Vaughan Williams Concerto for Oboe - Jenni Neuski, oboe

MMI Exclusive Sharpening Steels

Now in stock and ready to ship, the Dual-sided sharpening steels for reed knives have returned!  After a long hiatus, we began working with a new manufacturer approximately 8 months ago and have finally created a product which is of the highest standards for our customers.  The micro-grooves are just fine enough to remove an ultra-fine layer of metal from your knife while the smooth side of the rod will add a very fine edge which is extremely sharp.  We have spent a great deal of time with our manufacturer in production to ensure that every detail is perfect and we can present to you a product that we stand behind 100%!

These steels will be exclusively distributed through Midwest Musical Imports.

Check them out in the webstore or you can give us a call in the shop at 800.926.5587 to get yours!

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.

From the Pros - Nathan Hughes, Principal Oboe Metropolitan Opera, Faculty The Juilliard School

Midwest Musical Imports has always held close relationships with many prominent solo and orchestral players throughout the world.  Whether they're trying instruments, hand-selecting instruments for sale, purchasing accessories, or just stopping in for a visit we are always pleased to work with these phenomenal musicians.

In our oboe department we work closely with a number of players who hand-select instruments and are always willing to offer tips and advice for any aspiring oboist. Nathan Hughes, principal oboist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Oboe Faculty at The Juilliard School, is one such player that which we have a close working relationship with here at Midwest Musical Imports.  Considered to be one of the leading orchestral players as well as a sought after pedagog, Mr. Hughes' experience and expertise as a player and performing artist is highly valued and we are grateful for the partnership we share with him!

In a recent series of videos produced for the New World Symphony, Mr. Hughes offers advice on a variety of subjects ranging from articulation, phrasing, and audition preparation.  We'll be featuring these videos over the coming months as part of an information resource for oboists!

Video #1 - Double-Tonguing

video courtesy of the New World Symphony Orchestra

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