Dallin Crump


Yesterday evening I started practicing some scales on my clarinet and something felt off. I discovered that one of the key mounts was loose and negatively affecting the function of several keys. I could try to repair it myself, but I'm no expert and wouldn't want to make the problem worse or break something else inadvertently. Also, it's been a very long time since I had my clarinet serviced by a proper repair technician who checks all the corks, pads, screws, etc. to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. It's probably best for me to take it in for repairs and maintenance before I start seriously playing it again.

So now I have to find a reliable repair person or shop with a good reputation, and that's not always easy, especially living in a semi-rural area.

Years ago when I lived in Phoenix and played the clarinet every day, I found a reliable musical instrument repairman through word-of-mouth. He worked out of his home and was among the best at what he did. I need to find another guy or gal like that.

This is just a little setback. I am going to try to be persistent and get back to playing again, whatever it takes.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 42) #music #hobbies

Tonight I played my clarinet for the first time in a couple years. I was ashamed that I had to get the vacuum out and clean off the layer of dust that was caked to the outside of the case, having sat in my closet untouched for so long.

But as soon as I found a good reed and was able to produce that clear, warm, earthy tone that only the clarinet can make, it was like meeting an old friend. I was relieved to discover that I still had “the stuff”. My technique is rusty and I need to build back the endurance in my embouchure (the shape my mouth makes on the mouthpiece to produce sound from the reed), but a good foundation is there. It felt great to play.

So I ordered a few things:

  • Cleaning swab – “nasty” does not adequately describe the state of the cleaning swab I just threw away. This is an essential accessory, as it is important to clean out the condensation from the instrument before you put it back in the case.
  • Reeds – a woodwind player can never have too many. I have a decent supply. I went through all the ones I had from two different makers that have been my go-to brands: Mitchell Lurie and Vandoren. Of the ones I had on-hand, the Mitchell Lurie were better and more consistent overall, but I found a few decent Vandoren. I ordered more Mitchell Lurie. Hopefully they're still as good as they were 17 years ago.
  • Neck strap – the full weight of the clarinet typically rests on your right thumb. I have always had issues with my right hand getting cramped and fatigued from this, and it negatively impacts my dexterity in that hand. A clarinet neck strap attaches to the thumb rest so that the weight is supported by your neck instead of your thumb. I have wanted to try a neck strap for quite some time and there's no time like the present.

I'm hoping to get some momentum going with regular practice and learning some musical pieces and etudes I have on-hand. And with the holiday season approaching, I might even have some opportunities to play in some small ensembles. That would be neat!


#100DaysToOffload (No. 40) #music #hobbies

Like many of us in the year 2022, I spend most of my weekdays on a computer. It's how I work to support my family.

But then what do I do in my spare time? Most of the time, I get on my computer. I watch TV shows or Movies, play video games (Minecraft these days), listen to music, catch up on social media, write blogs, etc. I do read books, spend time with my family, and other non-digital things, but my current ratio of connected to disconnected free time is extremely skewed towards connected.

So I've been trying to remember what I did in my spare time before I had unfettered access to a computer. That was a long time ago. I watched TV and played video games, but I didn't have a smartphone and I had to share a computer, so I wasn't “connected” nearly as much as I am now.

So what did I do? Mostly, I played musical instruments. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a band teacher at a high school or community college. Music was life. I took piano lessons as a young child, picked up the clarinet in 4th grade, saxophone in 7th grade, and continued through 2+ years of community college. Concert band, jazz band, marching band, pep band, solo & ensemble, jazz combo – if there was any kind of instrumental music thing going on, I was a part of it.

Then, I reached a crossroads and decided to go a different direction. Music suddenly wasn't the focus of my life. I sold my saxophone (a lovely Selmer Mark VI tenor) because it was sitting neglected in a closet and I felt an instrument of that caliber must be enjoyed and shared. Plus, I needed the money. I haven't played my clarinet in years. In more recent years I've picked up the Penny Whistle (aka Irish Whistle or Tin Whistle), Recorder (not the cheap plastic ones from elementary school, a nice professional wooden one), and Native American Flute. I've played here and there at church or community concerts, but I haven't diligently practiced or tried to increase my proficiency on any instruments in a good 15 years or so.

I've missed playing. I've missed performing regularly. Music is the language of the soul and I've always enjoyed expressing myself and uplifting others through it. So if there's any “disconnected” hobby I need to pick up – or return to – I think it's got to be playing music again.

I feel like I want to get really good on my whistles, recorder, and flute. And I've been thinking for a while about finding a good piano keyboard that I can have in my office – maybe even on or next to my desk – so I can just play and tinker and work stuff out by ear like I always used to do. I'd just go to the piano and play. Sometimes for a long while. It was a great outlet. Maybe I'll even buckle down and force myself to practice playing written music on the piano.

I'll be thinking of other disconnected hobbies I can pick up, too, but picking music back up seems like the obvious place to start.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 37) #music #hobbies #intentionism