• Care for your instrument

    To help you maintain your instrument as the year goes on and to save money on repairs, here are some tips:
    Brass Instruments:
    Give your instrument a bath at least once every 2 months.  Here is how to do it:
         1. Make a bucket of warm, soapy water.
         2. Take out your valves first (make sure you don't mix up parts and you know
              which valve is which).
         3. Take out your slides.  Set them in the water to soak. 
         4. With a cleaning "snake", clean out the insides of each slide tube (lots of soapy
             water).  Use a cotton cloth to wash the outside of the slide.  Then rinse off
             with warm water and set it on a towel to dry.
         5. Clean out each valve at a time (cotton cloth on the outside, "snake" through
             the holes).
         6. Remember to clean your mouthpiece.
         7. After it is dry, put proper slide grease on the slides and then valve oil on the
    NOTE: Clean your mouthpiece out daily (or at least once a week).  Also check for cracks or bends in the tube or weld joints.
         1. Never put water on a woodwind.  It will damage the pads.
         2. You can wash out Clarinet mouthpieces and barrels or Sax mouthpiece 
             in soapy water.  This should be done daily. 
         3. Flute mouthpieces and connecting points can be wiped with rubbing alcohol. 
         4. You can not do much cleaning to an Oboe (alcohol can be used to clean reed).
         5. All Woodwinds should go to the shop for regulation every 6-8 months.  The
             store will simply adjust pads, rods, springs, and cork to make sure things
             are running correctly.  This is preventive maintains.  If you don't do this
             regularly, your instrument will eventually break down from wear.  The only
             thing that can be done at that point is a complete overhaul and that can be
             more expensive. 
         6. Once a month, you should tighten loose connector screws with a small
             screw driver.
          7. For all reeds, students should have 2-3 reeds in use all the time.  They should play
             reed 1 for a day,  then reed 2 for the next day, reed 3 for the third day, back to reed 1.
             This allows the student to have good working reeds and break in new reeds (takes 2
             weeks to break in a reed) as they need them.
          8. Get rid of broken reeds.
         1. Protect your heads of the drums by storing the drum in a case.
         2. If you need to adjust the tension on a drum head, the lug nuts need to be
            tighten in a cross direction on the drum head (or you will split the head). 
            If you need help, contact your music store or me. 
         3. Don't set the bell on their side.  This bends connector pins and then the bell
            will not play properly.
         4. Clean your sticks off at least once a week.  Rubbing alcohol will work.
         1. You can wipe strings and bows with a little rubbing alcohol to keep them
         2. Make sure your strings are in good shape (no breaks or bends in the metal). 
             Replace them as need.  Keep in mind it takes about 1-2 weeks for a string
             to stretch-out.
         3. Keep a humidifier on them during the cold, dry winter months.  This prevents
             the instruments from cracking in the cold.
         4. Check bridges.  They will warp and will need to be replaced.
         5. Make sure you have extra set of strings as they can break at any time.
    General issues:
    1. Don't set your instrument on slides, keys, rods or pins.  Place them on an
        instrument stand or in the case if you need to set them down.
    2. Never pull on something that you don't know what it will do.
    3. If something breaks, take it to the shop or bring it to me.  Sometimes, it may
        look easy to fix, but if it is not fixed correctly or in a certain way, it can damage
        something else.
    4. Parents: Make sure you have the instrument serial number and make/model
        numbers for the instrument.  That should be give to your insurance company
        in case it is stolen or damaged in an event (like house fires).
    5. Clean out mouthpieces daily or every other day (at least). This will help keep students healthier.
    Basically, take care of what you own. It is an investment.  If you have questions, please contact your music store or me.  Thank you