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Instrument Maintenance, Care, & Cleaning

A Guide to Caring for Your Instrument

Instrument Maintenance: Welcome

Flutes

Flute Care/ Maintenance

Flute Care Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair.

  • Using your flute wand and cleaning cloth (silk or microfiber is preferred, but thin clean t-shirt material is okay), swab out your instrument after every use to save your pads.

  • Do NOT tighten your own screws. If you see one is loose, ask Mr. Moore. They need to be at certain tension to make your keys work correctly. If you adjust them wrong, your flute will not be able to play.

  • Check out this video at the right on flute maintenance. If you would like to oil your screws, please see Mr. Moore and do this TOGETHER:

  • Polish your finger prints/tarnish off your flute as needed. Polishing should happen weekly with silver plated flutes to prevent tarnish. If you notice brown streak-like markings, this is tarnish and will come off if you catch it early. Use a silver polishing cloth for this and rub until it goes away (it may take some extra elbow grease if it has been there for while!).

  • Sometimes, your flute parts will be hard to get together. You may use a little bit of tuning slide grease (used for brass instruments) to make it easier to put together. If you use too much, it will attract dirt and be even harder to put together! Do not use Vaseline or clarinet cork grease because this is not made for your instrument and will gunk up your instrument and make it more difficult to put together later. Be sure to use a cloth and clean off any extra.

  • Do you hear a sticky/suction sound when you press your keys down and they lift back up? This is dried spit that has some sugars in it (even if you clean out your mouth, your saliva has things in it). You can use the "paper trick!" Take a clean piece of paper to the sticky pad, stick the paper under the the pad, press the key down so it is touching the paper, and slowly pull the paper out. Repeat this until the key is silent or much more quiet.

  • On the mouthpiece of your flute, you will notice a ridged knob that can turn. Check from time to time that this is tightened all the way until it stops (don't crank on it). It will come loose from time to time. If it ever falls off, look for it and immediately let your teacher know. If it just spins and doesn't stop turning, it might need a check up! You have a cork inside of your flute, and this helps protect it. It is best to not mess with it, as it will affect the tuning of your flute. Want to learn more about your headjoint cork? Read here.

  • If you have been sick, you can use one or two sprays of the green alcohol minty spray that Mrs. Stevens has at the front of the room. It disinfects germs. Only use it if you need it. You can wipe off the excess with a paper towel.

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Oboes

Oboe Care/ Maintenance

Oboe Care Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair.

  • Swab out your instrument after every use to save your pads.

  • See how to properly use a swab in your oboe so it does not become stuck by watching the video below.

  • Do you hear a sticky/suction sound when you press your keys down and they lift back up? This is dried spit that has some sugars in it (even if you clean out your mouth, your saliva has things in it). You can use the "paper trick!" Take a clean piece of paper to the sticky pad, stick the paper under the the pad, press the key down so it is touching the paper, and slowly pull the paper out. Repeat this until the key is silent or much more quiet.

  • Always have 3 good working reeds that you ROTATE. When one breaks (even a chip can make things not work right!), get a new one (even if you have two more). Rotating them will allow them to last longer without "dying."

  • When breaking in reeds, it is best to do this during practice time and not during rehearsal time (especially not right before a concert!). A new reed will cause your mouth to get tired quicker! Spend 5-10 minutes a couple days in a row playing long tones (scales in whole notes or chromatic scales) to help the reed get use to being vibrated. Remember, new reeds are stiffer until you break them in. It is best to break in two reeds at a time so you are not always breaking them in. Once they are broken in, rotate them so they last longer (and number them so you can easily remember which one you use).

  • Do not play a reed with chapstick, lip gloss or lip stick. This will clog the pores of your reed and make it play poorer.

  • A new reed will need to soak a bit longer than broken-in reeds. Never leave a reed in water overnight (it could cause it to warp and work poorly). Be sure to put fresh water in your reed cup with every use and dump out each time you are done.

  • Be very careful with your reeds, as they are expensive and chip easily. A chipped reed really affects your sound and whether or not notes will work. Store your reed safely in a reed case (something more sturdy than the little clear tubes they come in) inside of your instrument case and NOT in your folder.

  • If your reed turns black, you must throw it away. This is MOLD! If you have this problem often, we need to figure out a different solution to how you store reeds. Be sure you try to get as much water off the read as you can before you store it so it has less of a chance of getting moldy.

  • Do you have a wooden oboe? (Most beginners have plastic ones). NEVER leave it in the car or outside. Extreme temperature changes will cause the wood to crack. 

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Bassoons

Bassoon Care/ Maintenance

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life!

  • You should have a cleaning wand with a cloth on it or a swab with a string to pull through in your home bassoon and in your case at school for your school bassoon. Whenever you're done playing it, take the pieces apart and stick the wand in each, taking the moisture off the inside of the bassoon.

  • You only need to swab out the wing joint (smaller of the two top pieces where your bocal connects) and the boot joint (the bottom of your bassoon). These are the only two locations that spit will settle in your instrument. Carefully use your wand

  • Always have 3 reeds that you ROTATE.

  • Do not play a reed with chapstick, lip gloss or lip stick. This will clog the pores of your reed and make it play poorer.

  • When breaking in reeds, it is best to do this during practice time and not during rehearsal time (especially not right before a concert!). A new reed will cause your mouth to get tired quicker! Spend 5-10 minutes a couple days in a row playing long tones (scales in whole notes or chromatic scales) to help the reed get use to being vibrated. Remember, new reeds are stiffer until you break them in. It is best to break in two reeds at a time so you are not always breaking them in. Once they are broken in, rotate them so they last longer (and number them so you can easily remember which one you use).

  • A new reed will need to soak a bit longer than broken-in reeds. Never leave a reed in water overnight (it could cause it to warp and work poorly). Be sure to put fresh water in your reed cup with every use and dump out each time you are done.

  • Be very careful with your reeds, as they are expensive and chip easily. A chipped reed really affects your sound. Store your reed safely in a reed case (something more sturdy than the little clear tubes they come in) inside of your instrument case and NOT in your folder.

  • Is your reed starting to turn black? This is MOLD! If this is happening, be careful not to put it away too wet, make sure where it is being stored allows it to get some air so it can dry out, and get a new reed. There is no making a reed come back from mold (and it can make you sick).

  • Always be careful with your bocal, the metal piece with your reed attached to it. This bends very easily.

  • Store your "boot" (leather strap that attaches to your boot joint to help hold it up) or neckstrap for your bassoon in your case or in your instrument cubby so you do not lose it.

  • Store your reed in your case as well so you do not lose it. Never leave your reed on your bassoon, as someone can bump into it and break your precious and expensive reed.

  • Do you have a wooden bassoon (most of the time they are plastic but the REALLY nice ones are wood!). There are some special things you should do when dealing with a wooden instrument. NEVER leave it in the car or outside. Extreme temperature changes will cause the wood to crack. From October/April, you will want something with moisture in your case (a Damp-It or orange peels). Your wood will become dry and can crack.

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Clarinets

Clarinet Care/ Maintenance

Clarinet Care Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair.

  • Swab your clarinet out after every use to save the pads over time. Do not pull the swab through the mouthpiece (through barrel and instrument body only). If you want to dry out your mouthpiece, stick your finger in your swab and put your finger in the top of the mouthpiece.

  • Why swab your clarinet?? Find out in the video below:

  • How to properly swab your clarinet (don't worry about purchasing their specific swab.). See this in the video below to the right. Do this 3 or so times. Do NOT go through the mouthpiece. Take your swab around your finger and wipe off extra moisture on mouthpiece if you are worried about it.

  • Always have 3 reeds that you ROTATE so you don't have to worry about your reed "dying" or having to break in reeds all the time. When you break one, or one dies, automatically still break in a new reed to have 3 at all times.

  • Do not play a reed with chapstick, lip gloss or lip stick. This will clog the pores of your reed and make it play poorer.

  • When breaking in reeds, it is best to do this during practice time and not during rehearsal time (especially not right before a concert!). A new reed will cause your mouth to get tired quicker! Spend 5-10 minutes a couple days in a row playing long tones (scales in whole notes or chromatic scales) to help the reed get use to being vibrated. Remember, new reeds are stiffer until you break them in. It is best to break in two reeds at a time so you are not always breaking them in. Once they are broken in, rotate them so they last longer (and number them so you can easily remember which one you use).

  • Is your reed starting to turn black? This is MOLD! If this is happening, be careful not to put it away too wet, make sure where it is being stored allows it to get some air so it can dry out, and get a new reed. There is no making a reed come back from mold (and it can make you sick).

  • Never leave your reed on your mouthpiece when you are done playing. This will warp your reed and make it not play (and possibly grow mold!) Always put it in your plastic reed guard when you are done.

  • Purchase a mouthpiece patch for the top of your mouthpiece for your teeth to sit on. This will prevent a groove from forming due to your teeth digging in. It also makes it more comfortable to play!

  • Have you been sick lately? Clean your mouthpiece! Watch the first  video below. Don't use dish soap on a rubber mouthpiece (most of you have plastic ones--expensive ones are rubber) as it will make it turn colors. If you have the Yamaha 4C, you can use a little soap, but the vinegar method works best!

  • If you want to kill extra germs, use a spray or two of the green mint alcohol spray at the front of the room on your mouthpiece. Only use one spray on your reed--it can dye it green on accident.

  • Do you hear a sticky/suction sound when you press your keys down and they lift back up? This is dried spit that has some sugars in it (even if you clean out your mouth, your saliva has things in it). Take a dollar bill to the sticky pad, stick the dollar bill under the the pad, press the key down so it is touching the dollar, and slowly pull the dollar out. Repeat this until the key is silent or much more quiet.

  • Do NOT pull a swab through a mouthpiece. It can rub away important parts of your mouthpiece (even though they suggest to use a swab in the video).

  • Do you have a wooden clarinet? There are some special things you should do when dealing with a wooden clarinet. NEVER leave it in the car or outside. Extreme temperature changes will cause the wood to crack. From October/April, you will want something with moisture in your case (a Damp-It or orange peels). Your wood will become dry and can crack. I usually use a viola one in my case. You must moisten the internal sponge every other day or so. Wipe off the outside so it is not dripping into your case. Purchase a Dampit here.

  • WOODEN CLARINETS ONLY: Ask me for a lesson of how to oil your wood using specific bore oil (or almond oil) as seen in the second video below.

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Oiling the Clarinet Bore

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Bass Clarinets

Bass Clarinet Care/ Maintenance

Bass Clarinet Reminders:

  • We have you use a bari saxophone swab for bass clarinet as they are more convenient. Use just as the above video does, but down the curved metal neck of bass as well as down the straight top joint of the bass clarinet, as far as you can go.

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair.

  • You should have a cleaning wand with a cloth on it in your case. Take your clarinet apart and be sure to swab out the inside carefully whenever you are done playing.

  • Store your reed in your case as well so you do not lose it (NOT your folder or on the floor). Never leave your reed on your instrument when you are done playing, as someone can bump into it and break your precious and expensive reed. It will also get moldy and warp, making it unplayable if you do this.

  • Always have 2 reeds that you ROTATE so you don't have to worry about your reed "dying" or having to break in reeds all the time.

  • Do not play a reed with chapstick, lip gloss or lip stick. This will clog the pores of your reed and make it play poorer

  • Purchase a mouthpiece patch for the top of your mouthpiece for your teeth to sit on. This will prevent a groove from forming due to your teeth digging in. It also makes it more comfortable to play!

  • Have you been sick lately? Clean your mouthpiece! Watch the clarinet video above. Don't use dish soap on a rubber mouthpiece (most of you have plastic ones--expensive ones are rubber) as it will make it turn colors. If you have the Yamaha 4C, you can use a little soap, but the vinegar method works best!

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Alto & Tenor Saxophones

Alto & Tenor Saxophone Care/ Maintenance

Alto/Tenor Saxophone Care Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair (keys down).

  • If your neck is hard to put on your body of your saxophone (and you checked that the little screw is unscrewed some, but it still won't go in easily), you can take a little trombone slide cream from the red bucket at the front of the room and rub it on the lighter metal on the neck that goes inside the body of your saxophone (ask if need help). Don't have big chunks--think of putting chapstick on, and wipe off any excess.

  • You need to swab out your saxophone every time you are done playing. This will help keep your keys from getting sticky/make them last longer. Do not pull the swab through the mouthpiece (through body of your alto only).

  • Do you hear a sticky/suction sound when you press your keys down and they lift back up? This is dried spit that has some sugars in it (even if you clean out your mouth, your saliva has things in it). You can use the "paper trick!" Take a clean piece of paper to the sticky pad, stick the paper under the the pad, press the key down so it is touching the paper, and slowly pull the paper out. Repeat this until the key is silent or much more quiet.

  • Always have 3 reeds that you ROTATE so you don't have to worry about your reed "dying" or having to break in reeds all the time. If you break a read or one "dies," automatically break in a new one and ROTATE.Do not play a reed with chapstick, lip gloss or lip stick. This will clog the pores of your reed and make it play poorer.

  • Never leave your reed on your mouthpiece when you are done playing. This will warp your reed and make it not play (and possibly grow mold!) Always put it in your plastic reed guard when you are done.

  • When breaking in reeds, it is best to do this during practice time and not during rehearsal time (especially not right before a concert!). A new reed will cause your mouth to get tired quicker! Spend 5-10 minutes a couple days in a row playing long tones (scales in whole notes or chromatic scales) to help the reed get use to being vibrated. Remember, new reeds are stiffer until you break them in. It is best to break in two reeds at a time so you are not always breaking them in. Once they are broken in, rotate them so they last longer (and number them so you can easily remember which one you use).

  • Is your reed starting to turn black? This is MOLD! If this is happening, be careful not to put it away too wet, make sure where it is being stored allows it to get some air so it can dry out, and get a new reed. There is no making a reed come back from mold (and it can make you sick).

  • Purchase a mouthpiece patch for the top of your mouthpiece for your teeth to sit on. This will prevent a groove from forming due to your teeth digging in. It also makes it more comfortable to play!

  • Don't forget to clean your mouthpiece (but don't pull a swab through like they suggest!) It can damage your mouthpiece.

  • Have you been sick lately? Clean your mouthpiece! Watch the video below. Don't use dish soap on a rubber mouthpiece (most of you have plastic ones--expensive ones are rubber) as it will make it turn colors. If you have the Yamaha 4C, you can use a little soap, but the vinegar method works best!

  • If you want to kill extra germs, use a spray or two of the green mint alcohol spray at the front of the room on your mouthpiece. Only use one spray on your reed--it can dye it green on accident.

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Baritone Saxophones

Baritone Saxophone Care/ Maintenance

Bari Saxophone Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair (keys up).

  • Use the bari swab stick on the upper part of the instrument every time you are done playing. This is stored in your case. This will keep it playing nicely for a long time and keep us from spending a lot of money in repair.

  • Empty out the spit valve every time you are done playing.

  • Always have 2 reeds that you ROTATE so you don't have to worry about your reed "dying" or having to break in reeds all the time.

  • Use a mouthpiece brush with slightly warm (NOT hot) soapy water if you notice white grime accumulating in your mouthpiece.

  • Never leave your reed on your mouthpiece when you are done playing. This will warp your reed and make it not play (and possibly grow mold!) Always put it in your plastic reed guard when you are done.

  • Purchase a mouthpiece patch for the top of your mouthpiece for your teeth to sit on. This will prevent a groove from forming due to your teeth digging in. It also makes it more comfortable to play!

  • Have you been sick lately? Clean your mouthpiece! Watch the video above. Don't use dish soap on a rubber mouthpiece (most of you have plastic ones--expensive ones are rubber) as it will make it turn colors. If you have the Yamaha 4C, you can use a little soap, but the vinegar method works best!

  • If you want to kill extra germs, use a spray or two of the green mint alcohol spray at the front of the room on your mouthpiece. Only use one spray on your reed--it can dye it green on accident.

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Cleaning Woodwind Mouthpieces

Trumpets

Trumpet Care/ Maintenance

Trumpet Care Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair.

  • Empty your spit valves (you have two) as needed throughout rehearsal (one or two light puffs of air to get the spit out but don't puff so heavily that you get a sound--you should just hear a little air go through your instrument). Most importantly, don't forget to empty your spit valve at the end of rehearsal so that moisture doesn't sit in your instrument for a long period of time, causing internal damage to your metal over time.

  • Oil valves once a week or as needed (remember, don't take them out all the way and only put "teardrops" on the silver part and not in the holes. NEVER take more than one out at a time because you risk putting them back in the wrong holes). Watch a video on how to do this below and to the left.

  • Have you greased your slides lately? Review how to do this with the middle video above.

  • If your 3rd valve tuning slide doesn't move (the one with the ring), you need to get this fixed! If you are missing the ring for this, you must purchase a new one. This is VERY important for the note "D" or "C#" as you should always pull it out when playing those notes (we learn how to do this fourth quarter of 7th grade year, and it is something you should do from then on in music and scales!).

  • If your valves or mouthpiece gets stuck, see Mrs. S. Do NOT force a stuck valve.

  • Clean your mouthpiece with a little bit of warm soapy water and a mouthpiece brush. Check the video way down below.

  • If you want to kill extra germs, use a spray or two of the green mint alcohol spray at the front of the room on your mouthpiece.

SAFELY Give your Trumpet a Proper Cleaning Bath!

  • Have you given your trumpet a bath (BE CAREFUL, watch full video and use my tips before doing this)?

  • Do not do this without watching the video. If the video does not work, talk to me first.

  • Take all the valves out (be sure they are numbered 1, 2, 3-- if they aren't, write it on a piece of paper and set it on the paper so you know. 1 should be the valve closest to your mouthpiece), slides and valve caps. Watch the video on how to do this below.

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How to Grease your Trumpet Slides

Instrument Maintenance: Video

How to Bathe your Trumpet

Instrument Maintenance: Video

French Horns

French Horn Care/ Maintenance

Horn Care Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair.

  • If you hear spit stuck in your horn, carefully take out your tuning slides one by one and turn them upside down to empty out (this may require turning of the tuning slide for the water to come out all the way). Never take more than one tuning slide out at a time because you risk putting them back in the wrong locations (yes, that affects your horn!).

  • At the end of rehearsal, do a quick check of each of these so moisture does not stay in your horn overnight because this can cause long term damage to the metal. If they are hard to pull out, be sure to put on some tuning slide grease with your finger and wipe off excess.

  • See how to properly oil rotary valves on our double French Horn in the video above.

  • Have you greased your slides lately? See the video below to remind you how to do this.

  • Be very careful with the strings on your rotary valves. If you try to force a stuck valve down, you will stretch out and break the string. See Mr. Moore if your valve is stuck.

  • Clean your mouthpiece with a little bit of warm soapy water and a mouthpiece brush. Check the video way down below.

  • If you want to kill extra germs, use a spray or two of the green mint alcohol spray at the front of the room on your mouthpiece.

  • If your mouthpiece becomes stuck, see Mr. Moore for the mouthpiece puller.

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How to Properly Grease French Horn Tuning Slides

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Trombones

Trombone Care/ Maintenance

Trombone Care Reminders:

  • Tuning Slide Cream is different than tuning slide grease. Tuning slide grease is used on the small slide by the logo on your trombone (by your head). Tuning slide cream is used on your tuning slide. You can also use slide oil on your main slide as well.

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor under your chair.

  • Be especially careful not to damage/dent/ bend the outer or inner slide. These parts are very fragile and easy to damage, and even the smallest dent can dramatically affect the action of your slide or render it completely unusable.

  • NEVER trust your slide lock. Always hold your slide grip. The slide lock should be considered a 'back up'.

  • Empty your spit valve as needed throughout rehearsal (one or two light puffs of air to get the spit out but don't puff so heavily that you get a sound--you should just hear a little air go through your instrument). Most importantly, don't forget to empty your spit valve at the end of rehearsal so that moisture doesn't sit in your instrument for a long period of time, causing internal damage to your metal over time.

  • Don't push your spit valve with anything other than your hand because you risk bending your slide or spit valve mechanism. However, if you can't reach your spit valve, see Mr. Moore.

  • Put slide cream on your main slide often to keep it moving easily. A little cream goes a LONG way. Watch the video above!

  • Put tuning slide grease on your top tuning slide of your trombone (usually where your logo is, by your head), often so it slides easily. We use this to tune our instrument! If this tuning slide doesn't move, you need to send it in to get fixed. Do this in the same method as your main slide.

  • Clean your mouthpiece with a little bit of warm soapy water and a mouthpiece brush. Check the video way down below.

  • If you want to kill extra germs, use a spray or two of the green mint alcohol spray at the front of the room on your mouthpiece.

  • Scrub your slide by giving it a bath to keep gunk from forming inside. Don't forget to grease your trombone after doing this (but not too much grease!) Watch the video on how to do this below:

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Give your Trombone a Bath!

Instrument Maintenance: Video

Euphoniums & Tubas

Euphonium &Tuba Care/ Maintenance

Euphonium/Tuba Reminders:

  • Do not leave your instrument on your chair or stand (even if it is "just for a second") or standing straight up on the floor next to your chair. Accidents happen VERY easily, and damage to your instrument can be very costly AND you have time lost with your instrument when it is in the shop. Protect your "baby" and guard it with your life! If you have to set it down, and are unable to put it away in it's case (which is what you SHOULD do...), carefully put it on the floor (laying down, and not on its bell).

  • Empty your spit valve as needed throughout rehearsal (one or two light puffs of air to get the spit out but don't puff so heavily that you get a sound--you should just hear a little air go through your instrument). Most importantly, don't forget to empty your spit valve at the end of rehearsal so that moisture doesn't sit in your instrument for a long period of time, causing internal damage to your metal over time.

    Clean your mouthpiece with a little bit of warm soapy water and a mouthpiece brush. Check the video below.

    If you want to kill extra germs, use a spray or two of the green mint alcohol spray at the front of the room on your mouthpiece.

  • Watch the video above about oiling valves (keep instrument upright instead of sideways like he does to help get the oil into your instrument), greasing tuning slides, and cleaning your mouthpiece.

  • If you empty your spit valve but there is still a spit sound, carefully one by one remove your tuning slides and turn them over to see if any spit falls out. You may want to grease these tuning slides if they are hard to move.

  • If your tuning slides are hard to move, grease them lightly with some tuning slide grease (a little bit goes a long way). Watch this in the care video above.

  • Gold instruments will get fingerprints on them. Simply grab a t-shirt type cloth and buff them off. If you see fingerprints or brown tarnish on your silver school instruments, polish them off with the silver cloth in your case (no cloth? see me!).

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How to Clean a Brass Mouthpiece

Instrument Maintenance: Video

Percussion

Percussion Care/ Maintenance

Percussion Reminders:

  • Always cover up mallet instruments, put mallets away, and turn the snares off when you are done. Uncovered mallet instruments get dust inside of the pipes and make the sound duller. Mallets left out get lost or damaged. Snares buzz when other students play if they are left "on" and can be annoying.

  • Do NOT put items on or lean on the xylophone or marimba. If you continually do this, Mr. Moore will have to spend HOURS replacing the entire string that holds the bars suspended on the instruments like the video above.

  • Yarn mallets and Felt mallets (timpani) need to be handled with care so the soft mallet lasts a long time. Do not handle the ball with your hands. This causes the yarn or felt to fray and it doesn't play as well. When too much of the yarn rips apart, the mallets no longer work to their best ability. Be very careful when putting these types of mallets into your stick bag. Mallets can be rewrapped if we learn how!

  • Be careful when hitting our drums, as the drum heads can break! Watch the video below on what it is like to replace the drum head.

  • Drums actually need to be tuned (not just the Timpani!), at the end of the video where he replaces the drum head, you can see all the different ways to tune a drum head. You want all corners of the drum to be the same tightness so the pitch sounds the same.

  • From time to time, check the nuts around the snare drum head (they look like a hexagon and surround the top of the drum and the bottom of the drum). They can become loose or even fall out! Get a "drum key" and tighten in a star pattern.

  • Be careful when using your drum sticks on the rim of the snare drum. If you overdo it, the wood will get "chewed" by the metal and chunks will come off. This can cause weak spots in your sticks and make them break!

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