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NAPBIRT University - Oboe
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NAPBIRT University - Oboe

7/13/2020 to 7/16/2020
When: 07/13/2020
8:00 am
Where: NAPBIRT Technical Training Center
2026 Eagle Rd
Normal, Illinois  61761
United States
Contact: Bill Mathews

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*** This course is SOLD OUT ***

If you would like to have your name added to the waiting list for the next Oboe Course, please send an email to: or call the NAPBIRT Office: 309.452.4257.

Course Description

Oboe Week

In this week, we will pull back the veil on that ever elusive creature, the oboe, and shine a light on the mysteries surrounding this wonderful stubborn instrument. By the end of this course, participants will have a better understand of how the instrument works, basic maintenance, tuning issues, and how to handle idiosyncrasies particular to this instrument.

There are multiple ways cork pads can been prepared and installed, and we will explore as many as we know. Perhaps, come up with new ones. Different materials, their applications, and where they are best applied is part of the discussion.

One day will be devoted to crack repair in all its different forms, starting with why wood cracks in the first place. Hands-on traditional pinning (including making your own pinning wire) to carbon fiber pinning and how to make the repair work look completely invisible so instrumentalists will not be able to detect where the crack used to be.

To oil or not to oil? The question is when is it necessary and in what form; heated immersion or painted overnight? Bore oil recipes will be given for personal experimentation.

The order of adjustments screws and what to feel for when adjusting tension and pad height rounds out the week, with the added bonus of a formal play test pattern and reed resources.

Personal items required to bring with you:
  • Pliers---flat nose, round nose, spring, angle cutters
  • Screwdrivers---small, medium, clamp
  • Triangular solder scraper (NAPBIRT has some)
  • Feeler gauge
  • Pad slick
  • Poker (NAPBIRT has some)
  • Spring hook (small)
  • Raw hide mallet (small)
  • Needle files---round, and flat (NAPBIRT has some)
  • Cosmetic mirror or flat glass plate
  • Small bastard file
  • 4-6 oboes (student basic to full conservatory)
  • Personal oboe reed or Legere plastic reed
  • Two cotton shove-it swabs or turkey feathers

Other tools if you have:
  • Pad spinners
  • Pad punches
  • Adjustable pip removal tool
  • Rotary Leather punch
  • Tone hole facers
  • Kowalski drilling jig (NAPBIRT has one)
  • 1mm drill bit (extra long) MSC #:58584426
  • 1/56 drill bit (extra long)
  • Dremel barrel sander (coarse) (NAPBIRT has some)
  • Dremel tapered grinding stone (fine—10 or 12mm) (NAPBIRT has some)
  • Air torch (NAPBIRT has one)
  • Wood block (NAPBIRT has some)
  • Jewelers block (NAPBIRT has some)
  • Hand torch (NAPBIRT has some)

For more information or to ask questions, contact:
Melody Choplin:


Melody Choplin is a 1991 graduate of Red Wing Technical College and holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Oboe. She has worked as a technician and shop foreman for Pearson Music and Duncan Music Companies. She is well known throughout North Carolina as a highly skilled technician in both woodwinds and brasses.

Melody was the first repair specialist and instructor at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and held that position for over a decade. While there, she developed a comprehensive repair curriculum for band and orchestra directors. Her classes and clinics on instrument repair are designed to help music directors deal with day-to-day repair problems as well as maintenance, troubleshooting and how to work with repair technicians. She also worked with students as apprentices and helped launch their careers in the repair field. In 2013, she published a book on repair called, "Stuff Band Directors Need to Know", which is used as a text book as well as a resource for music educators.

Melody is a long time NAPBIRT member, clinician and is the current Region 2 Director. She owns and operates her own repair shop, Carolina Wind and Brass Repair in Clemmons, NC, and is an active performer in the community, playing with several groups. She continues to study, improving and adding to her skill set of repair. Melody lives with her husband and a rescue mutt or two.

Safety glasses are required for all NAPBIRT University courses.
If you do not bring your own, we will provide them.


There are many lodging options in the Bloomington-Normal Area. The hotels listed below are within one mile of the Training Center. However, you are free to use your favorite website search engine or mobile phone app to find a hotel of your choice.   (zipcode search: 61761)

Motel 6     309.452.0422
1600 N Main St
Normal, IL 61761

Holiday Inn - Normal     309.862.0101
8 Traders Circle
Normal, IL 61761

Super 8     309.807.5982
2 Traders Circle
Normal, IL 61761


  • The closest airport is in Bloomington, IL. Airport Code: BMI

  • There is a local Amtrak station in Normal, IL: - Station code: BNL

  • If you are flying into Chicago O'Hare or Midway airport and would like to get a bus shuttle, click on the following link:
         Destination Selection: Normal: Amtrak Uptown Station

  • Local Car Rental Information:   (details)

  • Other Choices such as Taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc:   (details)


You are welcome to ship any packages prior to your arrival. Send them to:

      (your name)
      2026 Eagle Rd
      Normal, IL 61761


Please read and understand the:   Cancellation Policy

  • All registrations are to be completed electronically using this website.
       (We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express)
  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You do not have to be a member of NAPBIRT to register. However, you will need to create an account with us in order to process your registration.
  • If you are a current member, make sure you are logged into the system. Otherwise, you will end up re-typing a lot of information that would automatically be inserted into the registration form.
  • If you are a previous member or you have attended a NAPBIRT clinic in the past, your name should already be in our database. Click Here to request your login information.

NOTE:   Seating is limited to 6 registrations.

Course Fee:   $640.00
Materials Fee:   $100.00
Total:   $740.00

*   Scholarships are available for this course.   Click Here for details.

By registering for this event, I give my permission for NAPBIRT, Inc. to use, without limitation or obligations, photographs, film footage, or tape recordings which may include my image or voice for the purpose of promoting or interpreting NAPBIRT programs and services.

I waive all claims for damage and/or loss to my person or property which may be caused by an act, or failure to act of NAPBIRT, it's officers, directors, agents, or employees and the hosts and clinicians. I understand that there are inherent dangers in working with tools and repairing instruments and I assume the risk of all dangerous conditions in and about such clinics and waive any and all specific notice of the existence of such conditions.

Clinic Etiquette:
Hand held audio recorders and still cameras are permitted providing that you do not disrupt the session and you have the permission of the clinician. Video cameras and other similar equipment are not permitted without advance written authorization from NAPBIRT.

Cellular phones and other electronic gadgets must be turned to OFF or SILENT during all scheduled events including tours, meals, and clinics.

Our goal is the free exchange of ideas and techniques. Please remember that the clinicians are your colleagues: feel free to ask questions and participate during clinics. Questions asked during clinics are often very valuable: be respectful of those asking questions, whether they are new technicians or seasoned veterans. We would also ask that you remember that there are different ways to achieve a desired end, and that not all technicians always agree on the same techniques or tools. If you find yourself in a position in which you disagree with the clinician, we would ask that you be respectful to the clinician and your fellow audience members and not be disruptive in the clinic.

*** This course is SOLD OUT ***

If you would like to have your name added to the waiting list for the next Oboe Course, please send an email to: or call the NAPBIRT Office: 309.452.4257.

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