Your instrument is an expensive and delicate piece of equipment. It is important to take proper care of your instrument so that it will always be in top playing condition. With a little bit of TLC you can count on years of musical enjoyment from your AXE! (A term musicians use to describe their instruments).
Make sure your case is latched securely and carry your case top facing in like your director taught you. Don't carry extra stuff in your case...music books, coins, very thick cleaning cloths, etc. can cause damage over time. Never drop an instrument even when in the case.
Brush your teeth before you play. Don't drink sugary snacks or eat food while playing. If you do, some will end up in your instrument and can cause lots of damage as well as make your instrument smell bad!
Too much heat or too much cold can cause serious damage to your instrument. Rain can cause all sorts of problems so never let your instrument get wet.
These procedures, if followed regularly and carefully, can help an instrument work well and stay out of the repair shop. If at any time your horn needs repair first talk to a band director and then AS SOON AS POSSIBLE take it to a music store to be fixed.
Brass Care Tips
Trumpets and trombones should be thoroughly cleaned once every other month. All mouthpieces should be cleaned every other Monday. If you are sick please clean your mouthpiece every day to help not reinfect yourself.
Woodwind Care Tips
Clean the outside of your woodwind instrument after playing with a soft cloth to remove fingerprints and watermarks. Do not give your woodwind instrument a bath! This will damage your instrument.
(It is OK to give the mouthpiece a bath if you are a clarinet or saxophone player...cool water and mild dish soap only. Never clean a mouthpiece in boiling water).
Always dry the inside of your instrument with a thin silk swab. Your director will show you how to do this. It is important not to let your instrument sit overnight full of water!
Take care of your reeds by using a reed guard. Always store reeds off the mouthpiece, and remove the mouthpiece from your instrument at the end of the day. If you do not do these things, your reeds and your mouthpiece will mold.
Keep at least four playable reeds and rotate your reeds by playing a different reed every day. It is OK to rinse reeds off in water once or twice per week, but don't leave them soaking for too long.