Music Teachers National Association
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Woodwind Instrument Care


Like all instruments, a woodwind instrument need to be cleaned and cared for.

With proper care you can get several years of optimal performance out of your woodwind instrument.? Proper instrument care begins with daily care, then monthly and yearly maintenance.? The daily care is up to you, but there are some things you should leave to a professional.

Here are some things you can do yourself and things you should let professions do to keep your instrument clean.


Daily Care

1.?? ?When removing an instrument from its case, never pick it up by the keys!? Remove it by picking it up by a sturdy place without keys.
2.?? ?Be sure to rub all the joints with a soft cloth to remove any debris or build up.? For clarinets, apply a small amount of cork grease to the tenon corks.
3.?? ?Put the instruments together using slow back-and-forth twisting motions.? Never push or pull on the instrument when assembling or disassembling as this can damage the tenons (joints).
4.?? ?When tightening the screws on the ligature, be careful not to over tighten as this can also damage the instrument.
5.?? ?After you?re finished playing, pull a cleaning swab through all parts to remove moisture.? Remember to carefully wipe off the outside of the instrument as well to remove any oils caused by your hand.
6.?? ?Always store instruments in their cases!? Do not put anything else in the case as this can cause damage to the keys.

Monthly Care

1.?? ?Check all screws and pivots to see if they?re coming loose.? If they are, take your instrument to a repair shop to have them adjusted.? Do not try to adjust them yourself as this can cause over tightening and damage to the instrument.

Yearly Care

1.?? ?You take your woodwind instrument to a repair shop once a year to have your instrument checked.
2.?? ?If you never find anything wrong with your instrument during your monthly checks, it is still recommended that you have it checked yearly.? A professional might see something you don?t and repair it.
3.?? ?Yearly checks are necessary to ensure optimal performance of your instrument.

If you’re ever not sure about the proper instrument care, ask a professional to ensure no damage is done to your woodwind instrument.

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