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Northridge | Valley Focus

Banding Together in Search of Instruments

September 30, 1997|KARIMA A. HAYNES

Say you have an old trombone that's been collecting dust since you graduated from high school. And what about that violin you bought for your daughter, who now says she wants to be a ballerina?

You know you're not going to use the instruments any time soon, but you don't want to throw them out, either.

Don't despair. Big Valley Music has launched a band instrument drive in an effort to get quality woodwind, brass and string instruments into the hands of young musicians at a reasonable price, said store owner Carole Ozanian.

Parents of student musicians often pay $22 to $60 per month to rent a new trumpet, Ozanian said. If they intend to buy the instrument, she said, they could pay up to $600.

Used instruments are far more affordable, Ozanian said, renting for $15 to $19 per month and selling for about $300.

The number of students participating in school bands and orchestras has increased in recent years, said Ozanian, who has worked with elementary, secondary and college music departments for more than 20 years.

"This is an effort to meet the flood of demands for lower-priced, quality horns," she said.

The music store will accept instruments as a charitable donation, Ozanian said, or purchase instruments from owners at a nominal fee. The instruments will be restored by on-site repair technicians and then either rented or sold to aspiring musicians.

Ozanian is quick to point out that "used" should not be confused with "cheap."

"A beginning musician needs a quality instrument so they will be encouraged to practice and to continue playing," she said. "If you learn on something bad, you'll have problems with getting the right sound and developing a good technique."

Instruments can be brought to Big Valley Music, 8541 Reseda Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

"Retrieve that trumpet from under the bed. Rescue that flute from the back of your closet," Ozanian urges. "There is an enthusiastic new musician just waiting for the chance to become the next Wynton Marsalis, Herb Alpert or Benny Goodman."

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