LHS Kids Fixing Horns!
Back To School! I hear whistles of the football practice across the street. Students are entrenched in marching band maneuvers and getting ready for the football season. Other parents will have budding young musicians starting a band or orchestra program. For me it’s a busy time as I get ready to rent out many instruments to new players. But one of my favorite things during the school year that I really enjoy sharing with high school students is teaching them how to repair musical instruments. The Instrument Repair Apprenticeship Program is something I created a few years ago to provide students opportunities to learn and have hands-on experience as instrument repair technicians. They take apart and reassemble musical instruments. Five young men and women have participated over the years and some have been so proficient at re-padding a clarinet and ultrasonically cleaning brass instruments that they earned a little extra cash preparing the rental stock during the summer.
Imagine the shock on an apprentice’s face when I took an old trumpet or trombone bell and smashed it against the edge of a table. You’re probably wondering why in the world I did that. Well, to practice removing dents I had to have something dented. After the shock wore off, a few students went a little crazy and had fun making their own dents. When asked about their experience, they said it had caused them to look at their horn differently. They had a better understanding of problems that arise and they were more likely to get them fixed right away. When asked if they realized this could be a career, they said yes but had no idea how much schooling and practice it takes, and how hard it is to reassemble an instrument. The favorite thing they did? Smashing a horn!
Sharon Marrell, a Lakewood resident, owns Marrell Music and has been a repair technician for over 20 years.
Sharon owns Marrell Musical Instrument Repair. She is also the onsite repair technician. She offers rentals, repairs, sales of new and used instruments, and lessons.