Note by Note


Micaela Davidson, Section Editor

Many people around the community enjoy playing one instrument or another, and usually go to someone for lessons, but who do you go to when your precious saxophone breaks?

Instrument repair is not something most people think about until their instrument is actually broken. In fact, Ross Miller, a Woodland Park High School graduate from 2009, didn’t really think about it when considering careers and colleges, until after he went to Colorado State University for two years studying music education. It was after those two years that he realized he was very interested in the technical parts of music. The instruments and how they work.

He packed up and headed for the Minnesota State Southeast Technical School in Red Wing Minnesota to study instrument repair.

“It was neat to see how the instruments fit all together,” Miller noted enthusiastically, “It [learning] was tricky, and hard to remember. But it was all hands on, which was nice.”

Miller went on to explain that when learning how to repair, the students used the actual instruments, rather than just being told what to do. Through much practice, they understood the intricate details and really got the hang of fixing things.

When asked what his favorite instrument to repair was, after a long pause, he answered, “The clarinet, or the trumpet. The clarinet has lots of little pieces and parts that all fit together. It’s simple, yet… complicated. It’s ingenious how it all works together.”

What part did WPHS play in such a unique and interesting career choice?

“The school helped by providing opportunity,” Miller said, “I was involved in so many things, like the musicals, plays, marching band, and the Madrigals.” All of these things contributed to his initial choice to study music education, which eventually led him to instrument repair.

After nine months at the repair school, Miller had finished and headed back home. Upon his return, he found a job to start paying off his student loans.

“For now I am just being patient and making money before I return to chasing my dreams,” Miller explained.

His dream is to own his own repair shop. Miller realizes that he would need to gain more experience before opening his own, but that is his ultimate goal. Once he reaches it, you’ll know where to take your poor, broken saxophone when in need of some “TLC”.