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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Cleanliness instrumental for music school

In a music room resembling your grandmother’s over-packed closet, music sophomore Nick Cohen goes to an old shelf built into the wall and selects a scuffed-up trumpet case.

“This trumpet, for example, we would soak it in a bathtub and that gets all the grime out of the tubing,” Cohen said while opening the case to reveal a shiny trumpet. “It’s kind of weird for people who have not heard of doing that, but it’s been normal for me ever since I started playing a brass instrument.”

Cohen is one of three musical instrument technicians at the UA assigned to check out and clean instruments from the School of Music’s collection, estimated to be worth more than half a million dollars. The school’s senior technical director, Deon Dourlein, came up with this total during their last evaluation.

“There are a lot of instruments we house, so this job is dreadfully important. We rely heavily on the students and couldn’t do without it because we usually host about 300 concerts a year.”

Some instruments stored by the School of Music include those used by the Pride of Arizona marching band. Cohen, who has played trombone with the marching band, said he enjoys working somewhere that caters to his in music.

“I like to hire at least one person for the semester who has had some experience in the marching band at the UA,” said Dourlein, who typically keeps a waiting list of people interested in the job of instrument technician. “We usually host some of the bigger instruments like tubas in the stadium, so when the student is familiar with the site, it helps out a lot.”

Aside from your common marching instruments, technicians are also in charge of checking out not-so-common antique or model instruments dating back to the Renaissance period.

“We have a collection of these instruments that are usually checked out by early music groups or professors who are tying to use them for various ensembles,” Cohen said. “When I got the job and was shown some of the stuff we have, I was really surprised over the variety we had and who was using them.”

Part of the instrument technician’s job is also serving the students. According to Dourlein, one of the requirements for a student majoring in music education is to know how to play common brass, woodwinds and percussion instruments. It is the technician’s job to provide these students with instruments to use for their classes and to help answer any questions the student might have.

Cohen, who started the job three weeks ago, said the experience he is receiving as a technician is forcing him to see how other instruments work.

“I’ve never played a woodwind instrument before, like the clarinet or saxophone, but people come in and ask questions about them, so I then have to learn that knowledge in order to help them,” Cohen said. “It’s great because the people I am normally working with are usually my friends from just being a music major. It has been good having a job where I would normally be wanting to spend my time at anyways.”

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