Thursday, June 19, 2014

The "Play In"

Etudes and stand in the repair office for the play-in.
We were just about to visit with our Repair Technician, Rachel Baker, earlier this week, when we arrived at her office door and found it closed.-- with her inside the office practicing.  We waited a bit, and then a bit more, and after about 20 minutes, she packed up and left for the day.  Sadly, we missed the chance to see what was going on in the repair office that day, but we came back later to tell Rachel we enjoyed her practicing!

Not an official play-in, but a quick check on an alto.
Come to find out, Rachel was not practicing -- she was doing a "play in" after completing a repair.  She told us that this is normal for any repair she does involving pads -- replacing pads, shimming pads, or making any other pad adjustments.  The purpose of the play in is to make sure that everything is okay after the repair and that nothing has "shifted."  She told us that she usually does the play in for about 20 minutes because it is like a mini practice session, and any change in pad seating would happen after about 15 minutes.  She selects various etudes that allow her to play the full range of notes on the flute where every key will be pressed.

What happens if she discovers a problem during the play in?  Well, she told us that she would then set the flute aside and wait a day before making adjustments -- just to let the flute settle back in after being played.  She told us, "After a repair, if there is a problem, it should be for me -- not for the customer."  So, just as new flutes are played in during the finishing process, the same holds true for repairs.  Rachel makes sure that after a repair is done at her bench, she'll know that everything is functioning as it should once the flute is back in the customer's hands -- literally!

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