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A note from the owner -  Claire Bownds

Having grown up playing for various Amateur Dramatic societies from the age of 14, I've always had a passion for Woodwind instruments. As a student, my budget for instruments was tight so I learnt to trawl eBay, looking to see what sold well and researching makers and models to understand the history of the most popular instruments. 

Never for a moment did I consider, that my passion for bargain hunting and a borderline mastermind knowledge of clarinet makes and models, would ever become a career! 

I studied for my Music degree at the University of Surrey where I met Alex Allen, the owner of 'Clarinets Direct' - one of the largest second hand clarinet dealerships in the UK. Alex kindly gifted me a few junkyard clarinets to practice repairing and I was off! 

After continuing on my classroom teaching career path and obtaining my PGCE at Roehampton, it took me 3 years to pluck up the courage to get some formal education in the art of woodwind repair. With much encouragement from my close friend Nick Planas (whose father Ted was an incredibly inspirational figure in the woodwind repair/performance world), I took a leap of faith and boarded a plane to Spain to begin training with my fantastic teacher and mentor, John Coppen. The rest as they say, is history! 

I initially ran the repair business part-time alongside my teaching practice and decided to pursue it as a full time career in September 2019, moving into my workshop on the Crawley Mill Industrial Estate in 2021. The workshop is now undergoing expansion as we develop a hireable rehearsal/teaching space and create a shop front.

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