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Local shops like H&H and Music and Arts are alright for getting something that you need right away, but many times they mark up prices significantly.   I haven't bought anything from H&H or Music & Arts in years because of the better prices available from other retailers like Woodwind & Brasswind (wwbw.com) and Frederick Weiner Music(weinermusic.com)

Consumables:

Particularly useful are consumables like reeds. Here is a comparison of H&H's website price for a box of traditional blue box Vandoren reeds versus WW/BW:
H&H- $34.62 WW/BW- $25.99

What I encourage students to do, with regards to reeds, is piggyback reed orders with friends at the same time so there is only one shipping charge. (or even free shipping, in some cases)


For mouthpieces, it is generally a similar story.  At the moment, I can't find the price for a Selmer C* on the H&H website.  When I wrote up this information a few years ago for parents, the price on H&H was $130, as opposed to  WWBW's price of $95. Nowadays, WW/BW price for a Selmer C* is around $130, so I cringe to think what H&H probably charges.

Also, unless things have changed at H&H in recent years, they will not allow you to try mouthpieces before buying. You are stuck with what you get. With places like WW/BW, they will let you order multiple mouthpieces and refund your money when you return the ones you don't want after trying them out for a set length of time (with a minimal restocking fee).
Another on-line retailer who usually has similar prices and good service is Muncy Winds (muncywinds.com), though I have to admit that I usually stick to WW/BW.


Sheet music

 

Houston is sorely lacking when it comes to finding sheet music.  H&H and such shops rarely have much except what the school band programs use or the books from which the high school Region etudes are selected.  And When I've had students order through them, they often end up with the wrong music, after waiting an insane amount of time for the special order to arrive.

 

I use two places for all my sheet music purchases:

Luyben Music (luybenmusic.com)  Kansas City

Luyben is owned  by a clarinetest and is where I have ordered music for years.  They are one of the largest sheet music distributors in the country. If they don't have it in stock.  They can usually have it within a couple of weeks.  Only when I've ordered rare foreign publications  or music by off-the-wall publishers have i run into them not having what I was ordering in stock. Luyben does not have an e-commerce site.  Ordering  from them will require a phone call or e-mail and giving a credit card number by whichever method you contact them.

Eble Music (eble.com) Iowa City-- Now in Bloomington, Minnesota

Eble, like Luyben, is one of the biggest music distributors in the country.  They've been around for ages. Their staff are incredibly knowledgable and helpful.  They also rarely don't have something in stock that I have ordered, and get things quickly when I have had to get something special ordered.  Eble does have a good web store with easy search.

 

For at least 50 years, Eble was located in Iowa City, Iowa.  Just this year (2014) the owner retired and sold the business to another music company.  I have yet to order  from them with the new location and staff, but I'm sure they are just as reliable and helpful as before.  Their website seems to be unchanged other than a message informing visitors of the change in ownership.

When I need to have students order a book or piece of music, I will often check on Eble's site first to see if they list it on their catalog, and provide the exact page and item number so they can be sure to get the right thing.

 

With both Luyben and Eble, If they have it in stock, I always have it in my hands in under a week: usually just a few days.

There are a couple of other places I use in certain special cases, but Luyben and Eble take care of 99.99% of my sheet music needs.


Instrument Repairs

 

I've not had very positive experiences/reports about the Music & Arts in the Woodlands.  I have been extremely happy with the repair work of David Sheppard at the H&H on FM 1960.  He is a saxophonist himself and takes great care to do the best job possible.  I trust him with my rare and complex instrument, so I have no hesitation recommending him to students for repairs.  The number for the shop is (281) 580-8000.  It is great to have such a fine repair person so close to home.  The only two other decent repair techs I know are both a good 45-minute drive from Spring.