We read with interest the ‘Music Education Hubs: Instrument storage, purchasing and maintenance guidance’ report released by Strive for Arts Council England last month.
We are, first and foremost, delighted that our instruments are validated for use in educational settings throughout the report, both directly and indirectly. We wanted to share our thoughts on the key themes from the feedback which was kindly provided by the hubs that took part.
Cost vs Quality
Throughout the report, there is a feeling that by buying a plastic instrument to save on cost, you could be compromising on longevity and/or quality.
‘Those Hubs without funds to replace … instrument stock now face shortages. They are looking at cheaper alternatives such as plastic instruments and ukuleles, which do not have high repair costs, but will have a shorter ‘life’. ‘p13
In the tenth year of our instruments being used in classroom settings, we are thrilled to hear them still bringing the joy of music to children year, after year, after year.
‘ We have been using pBones, pTrumpets and pBuzz in our projects for over 4 years, culminating in our current Incredible Plastic Street Band. Our pInstruments have stood up to the worst a variety of kids can throw at them and still make a gloriously wonderful sound, changing their world for the better.’Leon Patel, CEO Global Grooves
At Warwick Music Group, we are proud of the quality of our instruments. We use automotive standard manufacturing facilities, and routine test our products to the highest standard; both for safety and manufacturing quality. Quality control is woven into every stage of the manufacture process, and we regularly test against prop 65 and REACH standards.
We drive these standards to ensure our instruments are consistently reliable and high quality, giving teachers confidence in providing their students with a great start to their musical journey.
Our innovative instruments, and the materials we chose to make them from, are designed to enhance the quality of students’ learning outcomes. For example, with brass playing it is important for beginners to develop good posture as early in their journey as possible – our super lightweight instruments enable this right from the start so that students can progress and enjoy their playing more quickly and effectively.
‘We love using pBones for young brass players as a starter instrument. Really inexpensive and light weight they allow building of good posture and holding technique.’Angus School of Music
Repair and Maintenance
‘ We now have a stock of pTrumpets and pBones … they also do not have the ability to be repaired in the same way as traditional brass instruments …, so we are predicting a smaller repair budget but larger spend on purchases when these are damaged.’Hub A, p28
We’re really pleased that there is recognition of our instruments low repair costs, as that is absolutely the case! However, it is perhaps less well recognised that our products can be repaired in a number of very simple ways.
For example, if a child sits on the bell of a trombone and cracks it, it is not economical for it to be replaced, however many cracks can be fixed using superglue! Other parts such as tuning slides, water keys and slide locks can all be replaced using our comprehensive stock of spare parts.
Our instruments are low maintenance and are designed that way specifically to help teachers in making the joy of music accessible and fun for students – especially in a whole class instrumental teaching environment.
Trombone slides don’t require lubrication, and neither do valves. When you put instruments away in July, they will function in exactly the same way come September making the start of the new year hassle free for both the teacher and their students, and ensuring you don’t have a set of unusable instruments languishing in the cupboard should circumstances change year to year.
Strategies for the Future
The report examines the challenges that Music Education Hubs are facing in managing musical instrument stock and highlights the transactional elements of purchasing versus quality and value.
Strategically our products are excellent tools for teachers to deliver learning to large groups and first access, whole class pupils. In addition, by investing in our instruments at the beginning of student’s musical journey’s, managers can consider releasing higher priced, more advanced instruments to those students who wish to progress further.
When making decisions about future investments, we also firmly believe that the relationship between Music Education Hubs and ourselves does not end at point of manufacture, or even purchase. We are committed to making the joy of music accessible and fun; we care about our instruments, the people who play them, and the people who teach with them and are here to support their journey in any way we are able.
Our excellent UK based customer service team, many of whom are musicians, parents and teachers, are passionate about helping our customers. Should there be any queries, our company policy of responding to customer enquiries during the working week within 24 hours, supports teachers and players every step of the way – we will do everything within our power to get your pupils playing again.
Last, but by no means least (and this isn’t covered in the report, but indulge us), as we work together towards our future of music making, we strongly feel that buyers should consider the impact they make on the environment with their decision making.
Our instruments are more sustainable to manufacture than traditional brass, can be reused and even recycled. They are high quality, long lasting, easy to maintain and are also great fun!
We are excited about what the future holds, and very much look forward to working in partnership with Music Hubs, to overcome barriers and turn challenges into success.