Trevor Head: Training in Musical Instrument Repair

Brass and woodwind instrument repair courses
at
Llangunllo School: The School in the hills (est. 1985)


What is covered on a course: Course itinerary






Brass Instrument Repair (foundation) course

The bottom bow has been removed from this Euphonium to facilitate dent removal. This is one of the many topics covered during the Brass Instrument Repair (foundation) Course.

Below is a typical itinerary for this course:


Brass Instrument Repair (foundation):  Course itinerary



Monday
    
  • Metals used in the construction of Brass Instruments
  • Soldering equipment: different types and their uses
  • Health and safety issues when soldering and polishing
  • Solders and fluxes: theory and practice. Soldering sample brass pieces
  • Demonstration: dismantle, re-assemble and polish a small instrument section.
  • Polishing techniques: hand and high speed polishing machine
  • Practice de-soldering, soldering and polishing techniques
  • Introduction to bell dent removal

Tuesday
 
  • Silver soldering
  • Piston valve overhaul: to include manufacturing processes
  • Valve slide and tuning slide overhaul: dealing with jammed valves and slides.
  • Further dent removal: bell flare and bell-pipe
  • Making and fitting water-key corks and springs

Wednesday
 
  • Silver plating demonstration: to include an introduction to theory, and safe working practices
  • Removing solder from silver- plated surfaces
  • Removing dents from curved instrument sections using ball-irons and dent balls

    Thursday

  • Patch making
  • Rotary valve servicing. Acid pickle and other cleaning methods
  • Trombone slide construction and repair
  • General repairs

Friday

  • Suppliers for materials and spare parts
  • National association of musical instrument repairers (NAMIR)
  • Complete any outstanding repairs
  • An opportunity to purchase a selection of repair materials

The above itinerary is intended as a guide only; the order of delivery may vary, and extra work may be included.


Repairs to instruments brought to the school will be undertaken each day, in-between demonstrations and course work. Every effort will be made to complete them. This will of course depend on the severity of the damage, relevance to the course and the time available.


Relevant health and safety issues will be dealt with throughout the course. 


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Woodwind Instrument Repair (foundation) Course




The clarinet tenon is being clamped whilst glueing.


A student (right) with the course tutor Keith. This is typical of a repair undertaken on the Woodwind Instrument Repair (foundation) Course. 


Below, is a typical itinerary for this course:



Woodwind Instrument Repair (foundation): Course itinerary



Monday


  • Introduction
  • Clarinet – parts of the instrument, materials used in manufacture
  • Repair tools
  • Removing key-work
  • Removing pads and cork (regulating and tenon)
  • Screw and rod removal
  • Cleaning – body, pillars and bore
  • Key-work – cleaning silver plate, nickel plate and nickel
  • Use of the polishing machine and safety
  • Ragging
  • Make a pad setter
  • Discussion of possible or encountered problems with above


Tuesday


  • Re-cork tenon joint
  • Spring replacement
  • Pad fitting and seating
  • Fitting regulating corks
  • Regulating instrument, key height etc
  • Re-aligning bent keys
  • Correction of binding and loose key-work
  • Loose joint rings ( plastic and wooden instruments )
  • Discussion of possible or encountered problems with above


Wednesday


  • Types and use of soldering equipment
  • Soft solder demonstration and practice
  • Silver solder demonstration and practice
  • Flutes – parts of the instrument and manufacturing materials
  • Removing key-work
  • Pad removal
  • Cleaning of key-work, body and bore
  • Use of a flute mandrel
  • Straightening bent body
  • Dent work and tone hole damage



Thursday


  • Foot and head joint sleeve expansion
  • Head cork replacement
  • Make and fit trill key bumpers
  • Pad replacement and seating
  • Regulation and removal of double action
  • Re-fitting of key-work

Friday


  • Transferable skills from this course to date
  • Dent removal practice
  • Solder practice
  • Finish outstanding work
  • Silver plating demonstration (Keith)
  • Suppliers of repair materials and spare parts


The above itinerary is intended as a guide only. The order of delivery may vary and extra work may be included.


Repairs to instruments brought to the school will be undertaken each day, in-between demonstrations and course work. Every effort will be made to complete them. This will of course depend on the severity of the damage, relevance to the course and the time available.


The school will subsidise the cost of materials used to the value of £5 for each student. Amounts over and above this must be paid directly to the tutor at the end of the course.


Relevant health and safety issues will be dealt with throughout the course.