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Wind Instrument Care & Maintenance

Supplies, Accessories & Maintenance – Wind Instruments

**Very Important for ALL Instruments** Always refer any repair needs (no matter how minor they may seem) to a qualified instrument repair technician. Many times a well-meaning family member (including one who may be quite skilled with tools) has ended up causing a much more extensive (and expensive) professional repair to be necessary after trying a home repair. Often what may seem to be a "horrible calamity" is something that can be handled rather easily and somewhat inexpensively by an experienced repair technician.   Musical instruments and their components are made out of very special materials and are held together with particular types of glue (not available at any home improvement store).  DO NOT use home products, like superglue or WD40, on musical instruments!


Clarinet and Saxophone players are expected to provide their own reeds, which can be purchased at a local music store for roughly $3 a reed, or just under $30 for a box of ten depending on the brand.  A student should have at least 3 reeds on hand at all times.  Reeds should be kept in their plastic covers when not in use – if properly cared for, a single reed can last a couple of months.  Reeds come in different sizes.  The softer reeds (1 ½ - 2 ½ ) are good for younger students – they are easier to play on, but they produce a weaker sound, and they also tend to play out of tune.  A student who has been playing more than 2 years (with consistent practice) should think about moving to a 3 or a 3 ½.  At the beginning level, the brand of reed is not terribly important, but more advanced players usually experiment and find a brand that they like.


Refer to this document for proper reed placement and care.


Clarinets and Saxophones also come with other accessories, including an instrument case mouthpiece, mouthpiece cap, a ligature, a swab, a neck strap (saxophone) and an end cap (saxophone) these items will be included in the school loaned instruments


Oboes and Bassoons also require reeds, although they are more expensive ($10-$15 each) and require even greater care.  Serious oboe and bassoon students eventually learn to make their own reeds, however young students can purchase factory made reeds at any music store.


Flute players have only the instrument itself instrument case, a cleaning rod, and perhaps a cleaning cloth. 


Woodwind  instruments should be swabbed at the end of every use.  All reeds *must* be removed from the mouthpiece and stored in a safe container.  Saxophones should use their end caps to protect the open end of the body that attaches to the neck.  Clarinet and saxophone payers should also periodically clean out their mouthpieces.


Brass Instruments:  All Brass instruments (trumpet, trombone, baritone, horn and tuba) will come with a case and at least one mouthpiece.  Brass players should also carry valve oil or slide grease in their cases, also available for purchase in any local music store. 

Brass players should be careful not to push their mouthpieces in too tightly, lest they get stuck.  They should also keep the mouthpiece from being dropped – despite being a solid piece of metal, they are susceptible to being dented along the rim, which can make them unplayable.  Trombone players should use the lock mechanism when not playing to keep the slide from falling off.