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Here are a few tips on caring for your clarinet or saxophone that will enhance your playing experience. After all, when your horn is in tip-top playing condition you will have fun playing!
Swipe Out Excess Moisture
Clean your instrument after every playing session. Storing a wet instrument leads to pads that disintegrate and stop sealing the tone hole properly. Leaks mean that some notes will not speak properly or at all.
Another reason to swab out your instrument is to remove the moisture and cut the chance of bacteria growing inside the horn. Ever had a cold that won’t quit? In that case, make sure to wash out your mouthpiece with warm soapy water when you’re healing from a cold.
While I’m at it, remember to clean and dry out the mouthpiece after each playing session for the same anti-bacterial reason. You don’t need any special equipment for the mouthpiece. A small cotton handkerchief will serve nicely.
I recommend all students have a reed guard that holds at least two reeds. One benefit of using a reed holder is they allow the reed to dry flat while protecting the thin fragile tip from breaking.
A reed that dries curved or warped will not respond when you play on it because it is not making a seal with the ‘tip rail’ of the mouthpiece. The tip rail is the flat edge around the opening of the mouthpiece that the flat side of the reed lies on.
Short and Sweet
That’s how you keep your horn in excellent playing condition. Both keeping your clarinet and sax clean and dry and storing your reeds flat will go a long way towards better playing and more fun!