Instrument Care: Winter Months!

Winter is here, and with the changing weather comes changes with your instrument. This post is for people who want to make sure their instrument stays safe and in good working condition with the changing weather. 

Wood Instruments: 

This includes woodwinds and string instruments 

  1. Do not leave it in the car! 
    This is the #1 biggest mistake so many people make with their instruments. While a wood instrument should never be left in any kind of temperature extreme, the winter will especially affect your instrument, and the wood can even crack if left in harsh conditions for an extended period of time. The best thing you can do for you instrument is to bring it inside every time you leave your vehicle. 

  2. Watch the humidity levels 
    It may not seem like a big deal, but fluctuating humidity levels will greatly affect your instrument, and it is best to have a humidity level of about 50%. In the winter, the humidity levels will generally drop, which means the wood could potentially become dry and brittle if not properly cared for. It is recommended to keep a humidifier in your case to regulate the levels within. These can be purchased at your local orchestral instrument shop, online, or through our admin staff. 

  3. Clean the rosin dust off your instrument (strings only!) 
    This is something that should be done each time you practice or perform, but it becomes even more important in the winter months with such drastic fluctuations in the environment. Purchase a microfiber or cotton cloth and wipe the rosin off the body of your instrument thoroughly after each use. This will prevent any damage to the varnish or wood of the instrument. 

  4. Keep your instrument away from vents or heaters 
    Your wood instrument should not cool or heat to any temperature too quickly, or it can dry out or damage the wood. Make sure you keep your case away from any vents in your house where you might store your instrument. 

  5. Take it to the shop! 
    This is important to do at least once a year, and before or during the winter is a good time to do it. If you find a good repair shop, they can examine your instrument to let you know if anything needs to be done to keep it in good condition throughout time. It could be something as simple as a bow hair change (for strings), or something slightly more complicated like an open seam or crack. It is always a good idea to check just to make sure everything is in good working order. 

Brass Instruments: 

  1. Do not leave it in the car! 
    Much like wood instruments, brass can be greatly damaged by extreme shifts in temperature, and it is best to keep any instrument out of the car in any weather. It is worth taking the extra moment to bring your tuba into the house to avoid permanent damage. 
     
  2. Wash your hands before playing 
    This is important for all times of the year. The oil on your hands can damage the finish of your instrument, so it is good to have clean hands every time you take it out, and wipe it down at least once a week with a soft cloth. 
     
  3. Minimize condensation 
    Every time you put your instrument away, be sure to swab it to keep moisture from collecting on the inside. With prolonged exposure to moisture, your instrument can become permanently damaged. This is also important for woodwind players! 

These are a few good tips on dealing with the harsh winter months as a musician. Along with these tips, make sure to take care of yourself during this season, because there can be no music without the musician to make it happen! 

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If you found these to be helpful and you want to learn more about different instruments, fill out our interest form! 

Blog Post By: Kayla Patrick 

Photography By: Alte Mo, Matthieu Johannon, Wim van 't Einde, Katy Belcher

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