When you rent a band instrument for your child , you have chosen to enrich their life and their education. Research shows that music training improves spatial-temporal reasoning in even preschool children which is necessary for learning math and science . Kids who are involved in making music in their teenage years score 100 points higher on SAT’s than those who don’t. They also get along better with their classmates and have fewer discipline problems.
Below are some questions and tips on care of your instrument as well as more information about our rental program.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions
Q: How can i clean my child’s instrument? Can I use a metal polish?
Each type of instrument requires a different cleaning technique. The first line of defense is to prevent dirt in the first place. Wash your hand before handling your instrument. This alone will keep your instrument cleaner longer and applies to all of the band instruments. Never use a liquid or paste polish on any instrument!!!
Brass instruments. Trumpets, Trombones, Baritones and Tubas are all made of brass. During manufacturing, the brass is polished to a high shine and then coated with a lacquer. The lacquer protects the finish from corrosion and discoloration. The outside of the instrument only needs a polishing cloth designed for lacquer finishes. However any soft cloth will work. Some brass instruments are silver plated and are not lacquered. They require a cloth designed for plated finishes. These cloths will remove oxidation as well as shine the finish After some time, the inside of the instrument will require cleaning but that’s another question.
Woodwinds. Flutes, Clarinets, Bass Clarinets and the Saxophone family all require different methods. Flutes can have different finishes depending on brand and model. Silver plated flutes need a cloth for plated instruments to remove oxidation and to shine the silver. Other flutes may be nickel plated. They do not oxidize and only require a soft cloth to remove fingerprints and dirt. Saxophones are lacquer coated and require just a soft cloth to clean the outside. All woodwind instruments require cleaning the inside of the instrument. This is done every time you finish playing your instrument. Saxophones and Clarinets use a swab attached to a cord and weight, flutes use a rod that is threaded to a cloth. This must be done to avoid moisture buildup inside the instrument and on the pads. We can provide all of the accessories and cleaning supplies you will need and instruct you how to use them.
Violins and Violas. The string family of instruments require a soft cloth to wipe off fingerprint and dirt from most of the body. The area near the bridge where the violin is bowed can build up rosin dust. This may require a special cleaner form your music store.
Q: My child plays the clarinet. When do we need to change the reed? What size should we use?
Reed instruments such as Clarinets and Saxophones rely on the reed to produce the tone of the instrument. You should replace any reed that has cracks, splits or has pieces missing at the tip. Any of these conditions will cause the instrument to play improperly or not at all. Reeds are available in different strengths. This relates to the thickness of the reed at the tip. Reeds thickness is numbered from thin to thick. Beginners normally start on #2 reed which allows them to produce a tone easily. As they progress they should move to stiffer or higher number reeds to improve tone quality. Reeds are usually numbered in 1/2 steps. After three or four months they should be trying higher number reeds. This will improve their tone. We suggest students play on the reed they are comfortable with at school and practice with a stiffer reed at home until they are sure they don’t squeak or have intonation problems. Then upgrade to a higher number.
Q: How Can I remove a stuck mouthpiece on my child’s trumpet?
The simple answer is you can’t. Do not let anyone try to remove it. This includes you dad. Bring the instrument to our store and we will remove it. This is a simple problem that we see all the time. We have a special tool that can remove your mouthpiece quickly and safely. This service is available at no charge to you. To prevent it from sticking again, simply rub some candle wax on the shank of the mouthpiece and and wipe off the excess with a cloth.
Q: Why do my child’s reeds crack and split? How long should they last?
Proper care of the reeds will add to their life. Never leave the reed on the mouthpiece when your finished playing. This allows the reed to dry without keeping the tip flat. Remove the reed from the mouthpiece and return it to the holder it came in to dry. These holders keep the tip flat while drying. This will extend the life of the reed. Also using the mouthpiece cap when not playing the instrument can prevent bumping and catching the reed on hair or clothing. Reeds can last from 30 seconds to 30 days. Beginners will have more problems at first but will soon learn to make them last. We recommend buying a box of ten reeds when you rent your instrument. You should only give your child 2 reeds at a time. Keep the rest at home. Reeds are 20% off when purchased by the box.
Q: My child’s instrument stopped playing. What should I do?
Your child should first bring this to the attention of the teacher. It may be that the instrument has been assembled incorrectly. This can cause the instrument not to play properly. If the teacher can’t help, bring your instrument back to us. We will check it and if needed we will provide you with a free loaner instrument while yours is being repaired. The service is only available if you rented your instrument from us. When repaired we will call you and return your instrument to you. There is no charge for this service. Most instruments require minor adjustments or repairs and cost you nothing. Most repairs are caused by bumping or dropping your instrument. Some parts can be bent during assembly. Do not put anything in the case that doesn’t fit in the accessory compartment including books. These should be carried separately in a backpack.
Q: Our violin seems to go out of tune often. What can we do?
All of the string instruments we rent are equipped with fine tuners at the tailpiece. These are the only place the student should tune the instrument. Most tuning problems are caused by bumping and rough handling. Your teacher can adjust the pegs and reset the fine tuners for you. You can also bring the instrument in to the store and we will tune it and reset the fine tuners for free.
Q: We just got a violin from the internet and i doesn’t make a sound.
Instruments rented from a local our music store have been prepared for use before they are rented. Instruments from the internet were last seen by the guy who put it in it’s case in China. Your instruments needs to be setup. Most internet instruments do not have the bridge fitted or even in place. The bow has not been prepared for the rosin and the cake is smooth. You can bring the instrument into the store for necessary work. This fee is normally $30.00 to $45.00. We will also determine if the instrument can be put into playable condition or not. This should be done as soon as posable to increase your chances of being able to return the instrument for exchange or refund if it is found to be defective. Touching the bow hair with your fingers must be avoided. The oil from your skin will prevent the hair from gripping the string. The bow must have rosin to allow it to grip the string. We can prepare the bow and rosin for you at no charge.
Q: What should I do if my child wants to play a different instrument?
If after a fair trial period (3-4 weeks) your child wants to switch to a different instrument, you should bring the instrument and paperwork back to our store and we will arrange for an exchange. If the exchange occurs within the first month, all of your payments apply to the new instrument.