In December, as part of my holiday gift to my students, I gave each of them a little eyeglass repair kit. The screwdriver was the important part, but they can do whatever they want with the teeny screws and nose pads! 😂
I have lost count of the number of times that students have had rods fall off their oboes, or weird things malfunction because a rod screw is loose. Even once a brand new oboe started playing funny because a rod screw was loose! So I decided that I was sick of it and everyone got a tiny screwdriver to keep in their case. Now they can solve some of their own problems just by checking their rod screws.
I imagine that you’ve had many similar experiences with most woodwind instruments. But, do your students know the difference between rod screws and adjustment screws? Here’s a quick guide you can give students about the two different kinds of screws on an oboe.
Rod Screws & Adjustment Screws
Rod screws generally run parallel to the body of the oboe. I describe rods as the long metal things that hold keys in place, and the screws at the ends of those things are the ones we want to keep tightened all the way. They get loose over time as the instrument is used. A good guideline is to check rod screws once a month to make sure they’re still tight.
As my middle school band director Mr. Barton always said: “You don’t want any worms!” (worms being rod screws sticking out).
Adjustment screws are always perpendicular to the body of the instrument, and they stare at you, just begging to be loosened or tightened. But beware! If an adjustment screw is turned even 1 mm the wrong way, the entire oboe could stop working.
And for your viewing pleasure, here is my video of the same information:
So, this week have your students check to make sure that their rod screws are fully tightened, and DON’T tighten or loosen an adjustment screw unless you know what you’re doing.
Until next week, I wish you tight rods and oboes that work!