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The Basics of Caring for and Maintaining Your Instrument

Updated: Jul 5, 2023


It’s important to care for your instrument and maintain it properly. If you do so, not only will it stay in good condition for longer, but it will also sound better. When you take proper care of your instrument, you’ll get more enjoyment from it and strengthen your connection to it, deepening your love of music. This is true whether you’re a seasoned musician or a beginner.


There are different ways to care for different instruments. Here are some tips.

Caring for String Instruments

Since most string instruments are primarily made of wood, it’s important to protect them from environmental concerns. Two of the most important are temperature changes and humidity changes.

  • Drastic temperature changes (such as going from hot to cold) can break joints or crack the wood in your instrument. If you keep your string instrument in a properly insulated case, the risk of this happening is reduced.

  • Avoid storing your instrument in the car on hot days, since being left in extreme heat or direct sunlight for an extended period can damage the glue that holds the instrument together or weaken or damage the joints.

  • Wipe down the strings and the bow with a microfibre cloth regularly. This will remove excess hand oils or rosin. This buildup can make the instrument sound poor.

  • Don’t forget to clean out the instrument case because dust and dirt can build up over time.


Caring for Wind Instruments

While each instrument has its specific type of care needed, some tips apply universally to all wind instruments.

  • When you’re not playing, store your instrument securely in its case. Do not keep other items in the case, such as sheet music or reeds. These can move around and damage your wind instrument, and they may also prevent the case from providing proper protection.

  • Keep the instrument clean by using a soft polishing cloth. Wipe it down regularly to remove dirt and fingerprints from the exterior. Never use polishes or pastes.

  • Use a swab to remove moisture from the inside of the instrument after playing. The process for doing this is slightly different for each wind instrument. Your instructor can help you understand the treatment needed.


Caring for Brass Instruments

Brass instruments are a diverse group of instruments that require specific care. One of the common issues with these instruments is that they are susceptible to dings and dents caused by bangs, drops, and other physical actions.

  • Do not place your instrument in an area where it can be kicked or tripped over - ensure it’s kept in a safe place.

  • Never stand your instrument on its bell. Store it with its valves up and place it properly inside its case when not playing.

  • Some brass instruments have piston valves while others have rotary valves. Piston valves need to be oiled about once a week to keep them working properly. Rotary valves don’t require as much maintenance, but they tend to be more complex and intricate, so speak to your teacher for assistance.

  • Trombones have delicate slides which need to be cared for properly. Even small dings can prevent proper slide action, so handle your instrument with care.


Contact Allegro Music School Today!

Music lessons are a great way to express yourself and enjoy a new skill. If you are looking for a music school in Ottawa that fosters education and will empower you and help you explore your musical passion, contact Allegro today! Call us at 613-837-6040 or contact us online for more information or to book your music lessons today.


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