After finishing my Masters studies in Tuba Performance, I enjoyed a playing career that included many opportunities to play with symphony orchestras (in The Netherlands as well as Australia), musical theatre groups, chamber ensembles and, for seven years, The Marine Band of the Royal Dutch Navy (one of the top military bands of the world). Through this extensive experience, I feel I completely understand the relationship a musician has with their instrument.
After moving to Australia, I decided to combine my experience as a musician with my other passion: ‘fixing things’. I have always liked working with my hands and with tools, and feel that this is my dream career.
I did my traineeship at the Billy Hyde brass and woodwind workshop in Blackburn. I feel very lucky to have learned so much from my mentors at that time: Jim Beringer, Peter Jerabek and Phil Noy. Since then I have worked very hard to improve my skills and knowledge; I have attended several brass and woodwind instrument repair conferences and visited workshops throughout Europe.
I feel, increasingly, that I successfully combine my experience as a professional player with my skills and experience as a technician. This, I believe, enables me to help players of every level get the best out of their instrument.
I came to Australia in 1972 and worked in a variety of jobs, ending with a job as a sales representative with Allan’s Music Print Wholesale division. During this time I took trumpet lessons from Lance Black who played with the MSO in those days. He got me interested in brass instrument repair, which was just as well since I would have made a very poor trumpet player.
I returned to the US for a few years, where I did a course in Band Instrument Repair at Western Iowa Technical College in Sioux City, Iowa. I returned to Australia in 1981 and started an instrument repair business in Bank Street, South Melbourne called Beringer Brass & Woodwind.
In 1991 I started a company called Bandstand Rentals that hired instruments to schools for use in their music programs. I moved to Bay Street, Port Melbourne in 1996 and remained there until I sold the business in 2003 to Musicorp. I worked for them in their store in Canterbury, which they sold to Billy Hyde Blackburn in 2005. I worked for them until 2011 when Daniël formed WindCraft Repair and I have been working here ever since.
I have wide knowledge and skills in the repair and service of all wind instruments but continue to refine those skills and learn more each day.
Robert de Groot
I joined WindCraft in 2017 and bring with me 17 years of experience and refined craftsmanship from the cabinet making industry. With qualifications in Joinery/Shopfitting/Stairbuilding, over the years my cabinet making role has covered a broad range of tasks such as custom-designing solutions, creating 3D computer models, programming and operating CNC machinery, and designing, building and installing bespoke kitchens and furniture pieces on both a large and small scale.
When not using the tools at work, in my spare time I love to build highly detailed, fine scale models (tall ships, aircraft, medieval castles and the like) that require loads of patience, precision and some much smaller tools..!
I am thoroughly enjoying applying the skills and knowledge (and endless patience) that I bring from my professional background and interests to my new field of expertise as instrument technician. The guidance Daniël and Jim provide is inspiring.
My musical background is in violin and I enjoy playing guitar whenever I can. I now take on the challenge of learning to play all brass and woodwind instruments!