Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meet Randy Derge

Meet Randy Derge- Senior Instrument Repair Technician

Q. Where did you go to school? 
A. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Washington County for two years before attending a one year band instrument repair program at Southeast Technical in Minnesota. I have been repairing instruments for 35 years and have grown very comfortable with repairing both brass and woodwind instruments.

Q. What is your favorite instrument?
A. My favorite instrument to repair and modify is the saxophone. I am constantly amazed at the design, function and variety of these instruments as well as the  possibilities they present. However, I enjoy working with all the brass and woodwind instruments that I come across in my profession.

Q. What do you love about working at Instrumental Music Company?
A. Working at Instrumental Music Company truly is a pleasure for me. I take pride in being a part of a locally owned business with a friendly, family-like atmosphere.

Q. Do you do anything with music outside of Instrumental Music Company?
A. Unfortunately I do not currently play any instruments myself, but I enjoy listening to many different styles of music in my free time.

Q. What is your advice for beginning musicians?
A. The most important advice I can give to new musicians is simply practice, practice, practice. Private lessons are also very helpful. It takes a long time to master an instrument, so do not give up. Music is something you will enjoy for your whole life.

The Third Oldest Instrument to Make Music

Author: Pat Scasny- IMC Representative, Retired Green Bay Public School Instrumental Music Teacher

After the human voice and the drum, what instrument is considered to be the third oldest instrument to make music?

Throughout history, what instrument has been made of bone, wood, ivory, plastic, glass, resin, nickel – silver, silver, gold and platinum?

What instrument has a head, a body and a foot?

If you answered the flute to all three of these questions, you are either a really good guesser or a music history genius!

In its most basic form, a flute is simply an open tube which makes its sound similar to blowing across the top of a pop bottle.  This reed-less woodwind instrument produces a sound by blowing air across a hole in the head joint of the instrument producing a vibration of air at the hole.  The air must be directed at the correct angle and speed or else the air in the flute will not vibrate. A flute player can change the pitch of the sound produced by opening and closing holes in the body of the instrument thus changing the length of the tube. 

The Western concert flute is the most common variant of the flute.  It is a transverse or side-blown instrument most commonly made of metal or wood.  This type of flute is used in many ensembles including concert bands, military bands, marching bands, orchestras, flute ensembles and occasionally jazz bands.

The standard student flute is usually a closed –hole (plateau keys) instrument made of nickel with silver plating.  Advanced or professional flutists tend to play an open-hole instrument made of more expensive materials such as sterling silver, silver/gold and even platinum. 

If you are interested in renting or purchasing a flute for a beginning student or upgrading to a better instrument, come to the Instrumental Music Company, 2908 Ontario Rd, Green Bay WI 54311 and try a flute from our fine selection of Yamaha, Pearl, Jupiter or Gemeinhardt instruments.

Just one more bit of trivia. If you play the flute, you have something in common with George Washington, James Madison and Leonardo da Vinci.  These three famous men played the flute too!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Meet Patrick Yagiela

Meet Patrick Yagiela- Band Instrument Repair Technician

Q.  Where did you go to school?  What was your degree in?
A. For my bachelor’s degree I studied Music Education at Saginaw Valley State University back home in Michigan.  In 2011, I completed the two-year band instrument repair program at Western Iowa Tech before starting here at Instrumental Music Company.

Q. What is your favorite instrument and why?
A. I’m a big fan of Irish traditional music so my favorite instrument is probably the flute.  In Irish traditional music the flutes are mostly wooden and have very few keys compared with modern flutes and both of those aspects enhance the rich, velvety tone of the instrument.  Either that or the uilleann pipes.

Q. What do you love about working at Instrumental Music Company?
A. I really enjoy the people I work with.  Each person really has a unique background and experience.  Chuck is so knowledgeable about vintage saxophones, mouthpieces and accessories, and Randy remembers all kinds of features that were present on older models of brass and woodwind instruments.  Sometimes I just find myself struck by just how much they know.

Q. Do you do anything with music outside of Instrumental Music Company?
A. My wife Melissa and I both play saxophone and are community members at the Silver Lake College Wind Ensemble.  I’m also in the process of arranging the tunes from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for a jazz quartet to perform at a friend’s coffee shop around Christmas.

Q. What is your advice for beginning musicians?
A. Be patient with yourself, and be honest.  Playing an instrument can take some time to build your ability to where you want to be and it doesn't happen overnight.  Sometimes it can be frustrating when you don’t feel you are making the progress you want to make, we all feel that way from time to time, but take a step back, set a goal for yourself and work there bit by bit.

The "Little Flute" is Not a Little Thing

Author: Pat Scasny- IMC Representative, Retired Green Bay Public School Instrumental Music Teacher

During the summers of my high school and college years, I played with my hometown’s community band.  Our biggest performance of the summer was always the 4th of July and the most memorable piece played during that concert was John Philip Sousa’s, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”  The highlight of that march came when the entire flute section, switching to piccolos, stood to play that famous obbligato as the rest of the band played the familiar patriotic melody.  John Philip Sousa, America’s legendary bandmaster, may have had the greatest influence in introducing the piccolo to the public through his exciting march.

Piccolo is the Italian word for “little.” The complete name for the instrument is “flauto piccolo” which means “little flute.”  The piccolo is approximately half the size of a flute and made up of two parts.  Usually made of nickel silver, sterling silver, plastic or grenadilla wood, the piccolo is the highest pitched member of the woodwind family, playing notes that are one octave higher than its relative, the flute.

The piccolo is mainly used in an ensemble, often being heard in marching bands, orchestras, chamber ensembles, and even jazz bands.

As a former beginning band teacher, one question I would sometimes get from young students was, “why can’t I play the piccolo?”  Though small in size, the piccolo is more of an advanced instrument.  The flute is the preferred starting instrument because the piccolo does have some challenges with embouchure formation and tuning.  Once the student has a good foundation and understanding of the flute and has played the flute for a few years, the piccolo can then be attempted.  Some basic techniques learned on the flute can be transferred to the piccolo.
In selecting a piccolo, one must consider in which type of ensemble you will be playing.  The silver -bodied instruments have greater projection and therefore are more suitable for marching band.  The wood and plastic instruments have a mellower tone and may be more appropriate for symphonic or concert work.

If you are a flutist with the desire to learn the piccolo, please come to the Instrumental Music Company, 2908 Ontario Rd. Green Bay, WI 54311 and try out one of our Yamaha, Pearl or Jupiter piccolos.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Meet Steve DeVillers

Meet Steve DeVillers- Co-Owner of Instrumental Music Company

A Green Bay native, Steve graduated from Preble High School and from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a BM in Music Business. To further his education, Steve attended Yamaha Sales Mastery seminars at Yamaha's corporate headquarters. During the day you will find Steve out on the road making his daily stops at area elementary, middle and high schools. In his free time, Steve plays trumpet in many local musicals and music groups and enjoys summer weekends on his boat in Door County. He is currently manager of the Green Bay City Band. 

Contact Steve at: sdevillers@musicimc.com

The Year of the Trumpet is About to Begin!

Author: Pat Scasny- IMC Representative, Retired Green Bay Public School Instrumental Music Teacher

It was the start of another school year and as usual, I had just finished my instrument presentation to a new group of potential 5th grade band members.  It was now time to begin the fitting process which involved having the students try the instruments that interested them the most.  I showed them how to form the correct embouchure (mouth formation) and then they would try to make a sound on the mouthpiece and eventually the instrument itself.   I would listen for a good sound and the ease in which the student produced the sound.

After the students tried the instruments they wanted, I would ask which instrument was their first choice.  To my amazement, the instrument that 35 out of 100 students chose that year was the trumpet.  The year of the trumpet was about to begin!

The trumpet is made of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc.  It is the smallest member and therefore the highest pitched instrument in the brass family.  Though relatively short and compact compared to other brass instruments, the trumpet contains about 6 ½ feet of tubing.  The tubing has a cylindrical bore meaning that the diameter of the tubing remains consistent throughout the length of the tubing.  This is what gives the trumpet its bright and vibrant sound.

A sound is produced on a trumpet by vibrating or “buzzing” the lips on a cup shaped mouthpiece.  Tightening or loosening the lips produce the higher and lower tones.  The use of the three valves changes the amount of tubing that is used and therefore increases the number of notes that the trumpet can produce.

The trumpet is found mostly in bands.  Concert bands, marching bands and jazz bands are the most common ensembles, but the trumpet is at home in the orchestra as well. It is a versatile instrument that can play from classical to rock, jazz, polka and even country music.

In choosing a trumpet, it is important to consider the age and skill level of the musician as well as the kind of group and music being played.  Whether your musician is a 5th grade beginner, a progressing middle or high school student or an accomplished professional, IMC has an instrument for you.  IMC carries three of the most popular brands of trumpets, Jupiter, Yamaha and the made in America (Wisconsin actually), Getzen brand.  

The year of the trumpet did end on a “good note”.  I had all 35 trumpets play a portion of Jeremiah Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” (easy version of course) for the spring concert.  It was awesome!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Meet Chuck Iken

Meet Chuck Iken- President of Instrumental Music Company

Q. Where did you go to school?
A. I went to Ashwaubenon High School and attended University of Wisconsin- Green Bay for college. 

Q. What is your favorite instrument?
A. For a solo instrument, Piano because you can play complex chords and passages. For an ensemble instrument, I like the Baritone sax because I like the raspy bass sounds it produces. 

Q. What do you love about working at Instrumental Music Company?
A. I enjoy the challenge of maintaining inventory for our customer's needs. I also love seeing an OMG moment when a client I'm helping tries a product (instrument, mouthpiece, etc.) that I recommend and they are amazed that this product can help them play better and sound better.

Q. Do you do anything with music outside of Instrumental Music Company? 
A. I played in back up orchestras for numerous entertainers including The Four Tops, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis and the Manhattan Transfer. I played in the Green Bay Packer Band from 1978-1992 and I currently play in the CP Telethon Orchestra. 

Q. What is your advice for beginning musicians?
A. Keep playing, the longer you play, the more fun you will have. Playing an instrument is something you can enjoy for the rest of your life. As golf is to sports, so is playing an instrument to art. 

The Violin Recital of a Six Year Old

Author: Pat Scasny- IMC Representative, Retired Green Bay Public School Instrumental Music Teacher

Last week I attended my godchild’s violin recital.  She approached the stage, turned to the audience and with pigtails flopping, made a profound bow.  She looked so professional as she placed her instrument in playing position, lifted her bow and began her performance. Mary Kate is six years old and has been playing the violin for almost two years.  I was impressed with the progress she had made since I last heard her play but even more impressed with the confidence and poise she displayed while performing.  This was an amazing feat for a usually shy six year old girl.

Did you know that the violin is one of the most popular instruments for children? One possible reason is, unlike band instruments, stringed instruments come in a variety of sizes to accommodate smaller hands and arms. At six years old, Mary Kate is playing on a 1/16 size instrument.  Within a few months she will move to a 1/10 size violin.  We call these smaller versions of the 4/4 or full-size violin, fractional sizes.  The most common violin sizes are: 4/4 (full-size), ¾, ½, ¼, 1/8, and 1/16.

There are two ways in which your child can be fitted for a violin. One is by age and the other is by arm measurement.  Using the age method, you will get an approximate size for your child.  For instance, I have found that many of my 10 year old students usually fit a ¾ size instrument.  I also have had students with longer arms and bigger hands that needed the 4/4 (full-size) instrument as well as some very small 10 year olds that played the ½ or ¼ size violins.  The more accurate method of fitting is by arm measurement.   With the left arm and hand fully extended out perpendicular to the body, the arm is measured from the neck to the middle of the left palm.  Having the correct size violin will allow your child to be more comfortable while playing, improve hand positioning and help your child to play the correct notes.

If you have any questions concerning the proper fitting of a violin for your child or need assistance, feel free to stop in at IMC, 2908 Ontario Rd. Green Bay, WI.  Whether you’re interested in our convenient rental program or purchasing a new or used violin, all of our instruments are IMC certified and teacher-preferred, brand name instruments.

By the way, Mary Kate’s enthusiasm for the violin has rubbed off on her 4 year old sister, Therese, who will be starting violin lessons soon!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Saxophone 101- Before you Buy

The saxophone tends to be one of the most popular instruments. It is so coveted that band directors usually recommend starting aspiring saxophone players on clarinet because of its ease of transition to sax and the initial lower cost. Most beginners start with an Alto Sax but a few will start on the larger, lower pitched Tenor Sax. 

When considering a purchase it is very important to take into consideration the quality of the instrument.  It is important that the sax plays in tune with itself and equally important that it plays in tune with others. 

Think you can handle the sax?  
IMC carries the most popular band director recommended brands: Yamaha and Jupiter, which have stood the test and proven themselves to be worthy of their high ratings and recommendations.  IMC has quality used and new saxes starting at just $695.00 including IMC’s exclusive one year of maintenance coverage.  In addition, new instruments are covered by manufacturer’s 5 year limited warranty.  

Get your start on saxophone today with a great instrument from Instrumental Music Company!  If you already have a saxophone, please have it inspected by an IMC technician to make sure that it is in optimum playing condition. Estimates are always free.

Meet Kevin Baker

Meet Kevin Baker- An Instrumental Music Employee

Q. What is your position at IMC?
A. I am a bookkeeper at IMC. 

Q. Where did you go to school? 
A. I attended UW- Green Bay and UW- Steven's Point. 

Q. Do you do anything with music outside of IMC? 
A.  Outside of IMC I am the drummer and manager of the regional band Boogie and the Yo-Yoz. I also teach private drum set lessons. 

Q. What do you love about working at IMC?
A. IMC is a very comfortable place to work. We are always straight with our customers and don't trick them into paying more than they should for our products. It is also nice going to work each day to be surrounded by music. 

Q. What is your advice for beginning musicians?
A. My advice to beginning musicians is to get as involved as possible. Don't limit yourself to just learning how YOUR instrument works. Learn music inside and out. What the other instruments are doing and why. Learn the theory of writing music and you will become a better reader of it as well as a better all-around musician.

Stop into IMC to meet Kevin and the rest of the team and learn more about Boogie and the Yo-Yoz here