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Money saved as shop class helps band

 

December 28, 2017

Justin Harris

PLAY ON - In order to effectively learn music, students must have adequate instruments to practice on. Shop teacher Mike Bruse and students recently assisted teacher Adam Craw's music department by performing repairs on student instruments. The gesture saved the music department nearly a thousand dollars.

Wherever a school district can save money, it is a good thing. And when that money can be saved because other departments can provide a service while educating students, that is all the better.

When Thompson Falls School District's band teacher Adam Craw had a need for some instrument repairs, he was not looking forward to the process of getting the instruments out of town for fixing. "It is always a bit of an ordeal when instruments go to the shop," said Craw, "our available instruments for students are limited; I'd hate to see a student go without."

Enter the high school shop class to save the day. Shop teacher Mike Bruse and students were able to use their knowledge of soldering brass to bring a few broken instruments back into the functioning world of school music. "They were pretty simple repairs," said Bruse, "but we had to know our limits. We don't have the know-how to fix woodwind instruments, but simple repairs on brass were definitely doable."

Bruse and the shop students were able to return multiple instruments to Craw's band room ready for play. "I wouldn't say they are good as new, these school instruments have seen better days. But they are playable again and that is what is important to learning music," said Craw, who noted that school band instruments full of dings, dents, scratches and bends is status quo for most schools.

Justin Harris

PLAY ON - In order to effectively learn music, students must have adequate instruments to practice on. Shop teacher Mike Bruse and students recently assisted teacher Adam Craw's music department by performing repairs on student instruments. The gesture saved the music department nearly a thousand dollars.

The amount of spit flowing through the brass from different students over the years is mind boggling, but when a spit valve on an instrument fails to properly operate the sound of the instrument is affected, as well. Tuning slides allow for the brass instrument to be lengthened or shortened by inches to bring the instrument in tune with the rest of the band. The need to tune is dependent on temperature, barometric pressure and humidity of the performance space. If the tuning slide is dented, bent or punctured then tuning is not possible. Little fixes like these make a big difference in a band's sound. The student could be the best trombone player in the state, but if the instrument is not in playable condition, that trombonist (through no fault of their own) can make that competing high school band sound like they have a fifth grade beginner in their midst.

"I am very thankful Mr. Bruse and the shop class was able to help out," said Craw, "If I had to guess, he saved us close to a thousand dollars in transportation and repairs." As public school funding consistently declines over the years, the departments that usually feel the pinch first are the arts and music. With legislative trends like that, teachers and districts find as many ways to save money as possible to keep those departments operable.

"We were just happy we could help out," said Bruse, "hopefully we can learn more as time goes on to help with more complicated repairs."

 

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