The beat continues after Cape Coral music store closes

Michael Wenzlaff has been a major force in facilitating music in Cape Coral and throughout our region for over three decades. Although its impact has recently waned, in part because of the business challenges brought on by the pandemic, it has continued to help people keep pace.

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He reluctantly closed his First Note Music store on Del Prado Boulevard about a year ago, where he ran a thriving music education, repair and rental business that at its peak had 15 teachers and more than 200 students. The Wisconsin native currently repairs instruments at Saint Michael’s Church and Lutheran School in Fort Myers, where he is the school’s music teacher and conductor, and rents instruments from his Pine Island home .

Michael and Christy Wenzlaff of First Note Music portray a portrait at St. Michael's Church and Lutheran School.

He meets clients to exchange rental or repaired instruments at the Cape Coral School of Music and other spots.

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Some of the more common fixes he makes are adjusting crooked keyboards on saxophones and other woodwinds; allow the valves of trumpets and trombones to operate more smoothly; replace strings and correctly tune guitars; and repairing bridges and returning violin sound poles to their optimal position.

“This is all to ensure maximum functional quality so that each instrument achieves the right notes and the right tone,” he said of his precision work, using both high-end tools and devices. standard and modern technology. “It’s a labor of love.”

Michael Wenzlaff of First Note Music repairs a flute in his shop at St. Michael's Church and Lutheran School.

He also pays attention to appearances.

“Sometimes there is cosmetic work involved, like smearing bumps or cleaning the surface of an instrument,” he said.

Michael Wenzlaff of First Note Music repairs a saxophone in his shop at St. Michael's Church and Lutheran School.

Although he could play virtually any instrument, the trumpet was his first love. He has met the renowned trumpeter and conductor Al Hirt on several occasions. “He was communicating with some of my students, which was very exciting for them,” he said.

Wenzlaff graduated from the Allied Band Instrument Repair School in 1980. He practiced his trade in Charlotte and New Jersey before moving to Cape Coral in 1986. He became the owner of Educator’s Music in 1990 and partnered with American Music (now Music & Art) as a repair technician.

He met his wife Christy, a certified music teacher, while playing trombone with the Hafenkapelle Band at the German American Social Club in Cape Coral in 1993. They married two years later.

Michael Wenzlaff of First Note Music repairs a violin in his workshop at St. Michael's Church and Lutheran School.

The couple incorporated as Baroque Instrument Repair in 1998 and repaired instruments for Lee and Collier County schools, opened their first First Note Music store in North Fort Myers in 2001, a moved to Cape Town in 2004, then to its next location 13 years later.

At one point, Michael volunteered as a light and sound technician for the Cultural Park Theater.

Christy, who taught music at Pine Island Elementary School and currently manages the administrative side of First Note Music and teaches music in Saint Michael, looks at the bright side of recent changes.

“It’s a blessing with all the ups and downs that we are still able to work together,” she said.

Michael Wenzlaff of First Note Music repairs a saxophone in his shop at St. Michael's Church and Lutheran School.

More information

What: First musical note

Connect: 239-573-3636; Firstnotemusic.net; [email protected]

Alice P. Darby