Thursday, April 11, 2013

Teacher’s Repair Toolkit

As much as we would like to have everything work perfectly with our flutes all the time, well, you know issues are bound to arise – especially in teaching young students.  We recently caught up with Powell Flutes’ Marketing Manager, Christina Guiliano-Cobas, to talk about what she keeps in her teaching toolkit/emergency bag.  Christina maintains a studio of several younger players, so she delves into the toolkit quite regularly.

What’s in the bag?  Well, as you can see from the photo, she has a nice assortment of items that are handy for fixing small issues with student flutes.  So, let’s take a look at the items and their uses…
  • Band Aids – These are for the teacher and the students!  Students may need them from time to time.  However, when it comes to doing repairs, if you get scratched or poked with springs and screws, these are quite helpful.
  • Chapstick – Chapstick is great for cleaning piccolo corks and keeping them moisturized.
  • Cigarette paper – Great for cleaning pads, but it can also be used for making slight adjustments (small pieces would need to be cut).
  • Small pair of scissors – Great for cutting small pieces of the cigarette paper above, Teflon tape, and other purposes as needed.
  • Tweezers – Tweezers and flute repair go hand-in-hand, because everything is very small!  These are great for picking up bits of adjustment papers and corks, as well as any other small items.
  • Teflon tape – A great substitution for a tenon cork in a pinch, and also very handy in fitting headjoints and footjoints temporarily.
  • Pipe cleaners – Great for cleaning in between keys and even the inside of mechanism tubing.
  • Sharpie marker – Helpful in pointing out anything that really needs attention – especially to show your student what may need to be fixed (i.e. – circling dents).  Sharpie marker also comes off easily with alcohol.
  • Cigarette lighter – Good for heating floated pads when they need to be re-seated.
  • Nail polish – Slight marks can be used to help students properly align the headjoint, body, and footjoint.
Christina mentioned that when problems arise that need a quick fix, she explains the issues with the student.  This helps them understand their flutes and recognize any potential issues.  Because the emergency kit is for emergencies, it is also helpful in showing students what would need to be remedied when they take the flute to the repair shop.  As Christina says, “I always try to make quick repairs a learning opportunity for the student as well.”  Her emergency bag is also quite simple – it’s a Ziploc bag!  Some flutists have bags, some use small boxes…  What about you?  What’s in your repair toolkit?

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