We’ve had mild weather so far this season, but those hot, humid days are right around the corner. Many of you are out of school for the summer, and perhaps taking advantage of some opportunities to perform or practice outside. Many community bands in the area host outdoor concert series, which is great, but it does come with some extra necessities as far as taking care of your instrument. Here are a few tips to ensure that your instrument doesn’t suffer in the heat.
1. Always make sure to store your instrument away from heat and direct sunlight. In the summertime, this means avoiding leaving it in your car for long periods of time. Car interiors can get very hot, and while short times exposed to heat might not make a big difference, over time it can actually start to melt the glue that holds the flute pads in place. They may come unseated or fall out completely. As you probably know, having new pads installed in a flute is quite expensive, so avoiding temperature extremes will definitely save you money in the long run.
2. Keep a polishing cloth handy. When the temperature rises, we sweat, and when we are holding an instrument, that moisture gets transferred to it. Over time, this can start to erode the plating on the flute and pit the metal, especially if your skin pH is higher naturally. For this reason, I suggest keeping a simple polishing cloth (untreated) on your music stand or close by to wipe down your hands and instrument occasionally. This will also help prevent slippery fingers!
3. Speaking of sweat…some people find that their lower lip and chin area becomes very sweaty during outdoor practices and performances, making it nearly impossible to keep the flute properly placed on the chin. We sell lip plate patches in the shop to help alleviate this problem. They adhere to the lip plate and are safe for the instrument.
If you have any other summer tips, please share them in the comments!