Below are the instruments that are taught in the band program along with a basic description of how each one is played and basic maintenance tips on how to keep your instrument in good condition.
The flute is an instrument in the woodwind family, but, unlike the clarinet and saxophone, the sound is produced by blowing across the mouthpiece, much like you would if you were blowing into a coke bottle. Click Here to hear what the flute sounds like.
Caring for Your Flute
Cleaning the Inside of the Flute As you play, your flute collects moisture from your mouth throughout the inside tube of the flute. If you do not clean this moisture out after each playing session, it can accumulate in your keypads and cause air leaks. To clean the inside of your flute, take a corner of your cleaning cloth and pull it about 3 - 5” through the slit of your cleaning rod. To keep from scratching the inside of your flute, twist part of the cloth around the top of the rod and carefully push it through the body piece of your instrument. Be careful to twist the rod as you clean, so that the metal of the rod does not contact the inside of your flute. Do the same for the head joint and the foot joint.
Cleaning the Outside of the Flute WARNING: NEVER (ever!) USE SILVER POLISHES ON YOUR INSTRUMENT! In fact, it’s wisest to leave any major cleaning to a professional. Silver polishes, even polishes that claim to be safe on silver instruments, are not meant for the flute. Not only do polishes strip precious silver from the surface of your flute, but they ruin your keypads and can badly damage the metal of your key system. The entire flute can be seriously damaged in this way.
The clarinet is a reed instrument and is part of the woodwind family. The sound is produced by blowing air through the instrument past a reed (small piece of shaved bamboo). Different notes are produced by cover open holes on the body of the instrument. Click Here to hear what the clarinet sounds like.
Caring for Your Clarinet
Cleaning Drying your Clarinet Did you know that you are not actually Cleaning your clarinet? What you are doing is Drying it. Clarinets do not like moisture. Pads will deteriorate sooner if they are wet and the clarinet will get moldy after a while. Especially, its not a good idea to place a wet clarinet into a closed case. It can not breath or dry out. In order to remove moisture from the inside of the clarinet you must use a swab. Pull-through swabs come in different styles but they do the same thing, They remove the moisture from the instrument.
Pull-through swabs have a weight on a string that is dropped through the instrument and when it comes out the other side you simply pull the swab through the instrument several times. Simply just remove the Mouthpiece after playing. Let the weight drop through from the Barrel end to the Bell end. Pull gently because the swab has to clear two metal tubes in the inside of the clarinet. If you pull too hard and too fast the swab can get stuck and tear. Hold on to the weight at the Bell end and pull the swab through the instrument.
The alto saxophone is a reed instrument and is part of the woodwind family. The sound is produced by blowing air through the instrument past a reed (small piece of shaved bamboo). Different notes are produced by cover holes on the body of the instrument. Click Here to hear what the alto saxophone sounds like.
Caring for Your Alto Saxophone
Use cork grease on your saxophone as little as possible. When you do apply cork grease you will need to rub it into the cork. When properly used, cork grease should allow you to assemble your saxophone without using excessive force.
Do not leave the reed attached to the mouthpiece. This will shorten the life of the reed and cause it to collect germs.
Wipe off your fingerprints from the keys after every use. A clean, non-treated cotton cloth will work the best. If you do choose to use a treated polishing cloth be sure that it is for the proper finish. Using the wrong treated cloth could cause scratches.
After you finish playing or practicing, use a swab to clean & remove moisture from inside your saxophone’s body and neck. Drop the weight end and string of a swab down the bell, turn the instrument upside down so the weight falls through the body and pull the swab through to remove moisture. Under each key is a soft pad that will deteriorate if left wet, making your saxophone harder to play. Avoid eating, soft drinks & chewing gum while playing to help keep the inside of your saxophone clean. Clean your mouthpiece after each use with a mouthpiece brush and warm water. DO NOT clean the instrument with water.
Please do not leave your neck strap attached to your instrument while in the case. Always store your instrument in its case with the lid closed when not in use. This will prevent any excess tarnishing and lower the risk of damage. Do not put anything (including sheet music) inside the case with your instrument that does not belong. Closing the case with extra contents can cause damage to the delicate keys. Also, make sure that all the latches are securely closed before transporting your instrument.
The trumpet is an instrument in the brass family. The sound is produced by buzzing your lips into a cupped mouthpiece. Different notes are produced by tightening and loosening the amount of the buzz while pressing down three valves in different combinations. Click Here to hear what the trumpet sounds like.
Caring for Your Trumpet
The trumpet is a very delicate instrument. Any damage to the outside of the horn can keep it from playing properly. Keeping the valves on the trumpet moving freely is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourinstrument playing well. The valves (see Fig. 1 at right) slide inside the valve casings with precision so, even the slightest dent can cause them to rub, and therefore move slowly OR STOP MOVING ALTOGETHER. Even something as small as not putting the trumpet down gently can cause damage.
To keep the inside of the valves moving smoothly you should oil them every time you play. Your teacher should instruct you how to do this within the first few weeks of the class.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE MOUTHPIECE IF IT BECOMES STUCK. If it does stick, take it to a technician immediately for removal. NEVER try to remove stuck parts with pliers or hammers! The reason for this is that the welding joints on the instrument are more likely to break before the mouthpiece comes loose.
Always store your instrument in its case with the lid closed when not in use. This will prevent any excess tarnishing and lower the risk of damage. Do not put anything (including sheet music) inside the case with your instrument that does not belong. Closing the case with extra contents can cause damage to the valves or dents. Also, make sure that all the latches are securely closed before transporting your instrument.
The trombone is an instrument in the brass family. The sound is produced by buzzing your lips into a cupped mouthpiece. Different notes are produced by tightening and loosening the amount of the buzz while moving the slide in or out to different position. Click Here to hear what the trombone sounds like.
Caring for Your Trombone
Daily Care Great care is needed when handling your trombone. The smallest bump or dent in the slide can cause problems with its proper movement. Due to the precision needed in adjustment of the slide, repairs are time consuming and costly, so Be Careful!
The slide needs to be lubricated on a regular basis.
Apply a small amount of slide oil or cream to the boot area
(see Fig. 2 at left) of the slide as needed. The boot is at the very end of the slide, so be careful not to allow the slide to slip off the trombone.
Occasionally a mouthpiece will become stuck in the trombone. If this happens don't try force to remove it - this can cause major damage to the instrument. Take it to a repair shop or music store to have it removed. Most shops do not charge for this service.
After you are finished playing make sure you remove any excess moisture from the inside of the trombone by opening the water key and blowing through the instrument. Carefully wipe off the outside of the trombone to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.
Always store your trombone in its case when not in use, this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not place books or folders in the case, this can bend slides and cause problems.