Saxophone Forum

by historicsaxwhisperer
(644 posts)
5 years ago

Public School Music Programs. Who Really Cares !!

Now that I got your attention,


As part of my current job I am networking wherever possible. This has put me in contact with my local public school music department. I have been recruited to assist with the jazz program. In passing I mentioned, I refurbish vintage saxophones as a hobby. This turned into,


Within a day, the music director is dropping off two alto saxophone carcasses at my bank office that do not play. I was instructed to take my time. The school does not need them till the fall. Many parents simply cannot get approved for the credit program the local music stores offer for students to rent. These horns are what the school has to work with for those under priveledged students who cannot afford 40 bucks or more a month  to rent a cheap asian horn that will bend if you squeeze it too hard.

So I am looking at a very old Bundy in its old wood frame glitter case and a Bundy II in a newer used case. The cost of repair from any shop charging would be more than their value. The response from the best known repair outlet in Cincinnati has been to put new pads and cork onto these horns, but not do the real necessary repairs. So I have two altos with new pads that simply do not play.

How selfish can a repair shop be, in that they do work on an instrument, charge the school system, and return an instrument into the eager hands of a young student, just to become disgruntled at their feeble attempts to make the instrument play. How many disgruntled future players have just given up, while the music store keeps putting pads onto the same out of line instruments year after year. School after school.

Nice reputation they are building, but nobody seems to care.


So What I am doing is what I hope many of you repair guys would be willing to do. I am doing a complete refurbishing of these horns for the school at no charge. They may not be the prettiest horn in the school, but they will be the best player. These vintage American made horns still have music to perform. Then when it comes time for this student to step out and get his own Axe, they will call me.

Does anybody else CARE???


Does anybody else do this type of charity to your local schools? Unfortunately, the music program here in Cincinnati that asks for donated instruments in order to refurbish them for needy students on the classical radio station here in town is the same group that robs the school districts with their school owned instrument repairs. I truly think it is so they can skim off the vintage pro horns for themselves and feed the student horns back into the system.

To all those familiar with the Queen City. I must say, Mr "Rogers" is not my "Buddy".

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  1. by mijderf
    (282 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Public School Music Programs. Who Really Cares !!

    Wow, a lot of disturbing information in this post.  That local repair shop is ripping off the school system.  But I have to wonder, why is the school paying for repairs on horns that do not play correctly?  Kudos to you for doing this for the kids, but I am afraid that there might be no end to this for you.  The school system is not going to increase its music budget, and whoever is responsible for sending instruments out for repair, and then approving payment isn't doing his job, so it will be much easier for them to beg you for more free service.

    Maybe you could better serve the school system by taking over the outsourcing and payment for repair work.  You could find a different repair shop, and make it clear up front that you will be testing the horns before payment is made.

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    1. by historicsaxwhisperer
      (644 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Public School Music Programs. Who Really Cares !!

      Yes I did find it disturbing.

      My saxophone work is my relaxation, not my job. I will not be taking on additional work from the school. If they wanted me to play test returns from their repair shop and point out issues I felt should not have gone ignored, I would do that. I make double per hoour at my day job than I could make repairing student line horns for a school district.

      I dont do brass instruments. I cant play a flute or oboe well enough to justify repairing them, so I am just the saxophone guy.


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      1. by historicsaxwhisperer
        (644 posts)

        4 years ago

        Re: Public School Music Programs. Who Really Cares !!

        Its been a few months since I returned the schools altos to the music program.

        I had decided it was my duty to donate my time and effort and give the school back two nice playing altos. no charge to the school. As of today, I ran into the school music dorector who informed me not only were they impressed with the level of work, but they are being used regularly by students who could not afford an instrument.


        I was then told, the music repair connection the school uses, the same one most schools use here in Cincinnati, simply refused to work on the instruments. The level of work needed was more than the instruments were worth.

        Really?? This is the same music repair program that collects instruments every year, refurbishes them, and donates them to the less priviledged students. I guess since it was not during their classical radio time blitz refurbishing program, it didn't count for this situation. Why not?

        Anyway, I wish the big music store luck at collecting wonderful vintage saxophones for their own use, since they can simply say they needed too much work, and slide them onto the repair shop bone pile till nobody was looking. Then put them into their trunk on their way home after leaving the shop.


        I encourage anyone who has a talent to use it and give it away now and then.

        It feels really good.

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