Ocarina Maker Home

Ocarina Maker Table of Contents

How the Ocarina Business Started

How Easy Is Your Ocarina?

History of the Ocarina

Ocarina Styles

Making an Exceptional Ocarina

Hard Times In The Ocarina Business

Giving Up On The Ocarina Business?

The World Against You?

Enjoying Ocarina Entrepreneurship

Skills of an Ocarina Master

Pre Ocarina Master

Interesting Ocarina Places

Ocarinas and Health

Ocarinas and Holidays

Pets and Ocarinas

How Kids React to Ocarinas

Memorable Ocarina Kids

Misconceptions About Ocarinas?

Mountain Ocarinas Accomplishments

Mountain Ocarina Costs

Ocarina Learning Tips

Dreams for the Future



Ocarina Music

How did you get started making ocarinas as a business?

Well, let’s see… Growing up, I wasn’t familiar with ocarinas. In fact, until about 9 years ago, I’d never heard of one. I did love music, though, and as a kid I played the saxophone and a little blues harmonica. When I went away to college, my saxophone stayed behind, and I just never picked it up again.

As an adult, I started missing instrumental music, so over time I dabbled a bit in the tinwhistle, the recorder, I played the harmonica kind of seriously for maybe a year or so. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t stick with those instruments.

Then one day I was visiting Boston with my family –we had gone to the Children’s Science Museum-- and on the way back to our car there was this, uh, street vender, a Honduran guy, with his colorful blanket spread out on the sidewalk. So I stopped to talk to him, and he had these little clay things that I’d never seen before. He told me they were ocarinas, little flutes, and I was instantly smitten with the idea of a pocket-sized flute. I thought, "Wow! This is the instrument I've been looking for! A flute I can fit in my pocket and play anytime."

To me, it’s kind of like with my Palm Pilot. I use it because I carry it with me, and I thought, "Wow, it’ll be that same way with the ocarina." Well, sure enough, I really took to the ocarina even though that first one was so poorly made that I couldn’t even play a scale on it. But it got me started searching for a really good ocarina, and I eventually found some nice ones. I guess my disappointment, though, with the best one’s I could find was that they needed a little more range or a more fluid fingering pattern, and in general, they needed more sound because I wanted an instrument that I could play with other musicians.

I mean, here was the instrument that I wanted to, in a sense, dedicate myself to musically, but I felt like I wanted a really good one. So, I went through a period there of dreaming about making my own. I remember my wife saw me out in the barn one time just staring at a piece of wood with a far off look in my eyes, and she said, "Honey, what's up?" And I said, "Well, I was just thinking about how I could make an ocarina out of this piece of wood."

It's been quite amazing and inspiring to see the tireless dedication over the years that Karl has worked to develop a superb ocarina for his clients. Off the record... Karl is a bit of a tempered perfectionist, which has contributed to his tireless dedication to developing such an amazing ocarina and furthering ocarina science.

My chance to start prototyping came when I was I was taking some time off teaching Bilingual Ed. and Spanish to finish a Master's thesis. Actually, when I first started prototyping, my thought was to make just one really good ocarina for myself, but as I got more into it and saw what a complex task it was, what an exciting task, it kind of took over, and it wasn’t too very long before I started thinking about doing it full time. Sometime around New Year’s of 1996 was when my wife and I had a conference and decided we would give ocarina making a try.



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