For any classical music performer, their instrument is an integral part of their artistic and personal life. Because many young artists value their instruments greatly but may not know how to properly care for them, we aim to assist you with this article.
The instrument is probably the most cherished object in the world for a musician. We can easily state that it is part of a classical music performer’s life and even defines them. However, often the instruments that artists own are considerably old, and for this reason, maintaining them becomes a real challenge for some.
Whether we’re talking about string instruments or wind instruments, made of wood or brass, instruments have certain sensitivities and require the full attention of the owner, especially because for the vast majority of young artists, they represent the sole source of income. In this context, you must constantly check the condition of your “partner” in your musical career.
Although there isn’t enough space in this article to detail the care for each instrument, we want to provide some basic and general advice to ensure they don’t suffer and can meet any challenges that arise on stage.
Temperature significantly influences an instrument, whether it’s an antique or a new one. We know from Physics classes that any material expands when exposed to high temperatures and contracts when exposed to low temperatures. The materials instruments are made of are no exception to this rule, so you should avoid exposing your instrument to extreme temperatures. Additionally, it must be protected from sudden temperature changes that can cause serious issues, especially for wooden instruments, where cracks can appear due to abrupt temperature changes.
Humidity is also a critical factor for your instrument. Many instrument cases today are equipped with humidity gauges to maintain an optimal level. Wooden instruments are the most sensitive to high humidity, but they also suffer from very low humidity since wood continues to work over time and undergoes changes due to humidity levels. Even brass instruments are not exempt from humidity issues, as their mechanisms can become stuck in high humidity or low humidity conditions. So, don’t forget to check the humidity inside your instrument’s storage case and the room where you practice or store your instrument to ensure it is not affected by humidity levels.
Keep your instrument clean at all times! Even if you might think that a little dust won’t harm your instrument, you’re mistaken. Dust and impurities can significantly affect your instrument, from damaging its components to altering the sound in the case of wind instruments when impurities accumulate inside and come into contact with the moist air you blow through. However, you must be very gentle when cleaning your instrument to avoid causing more harm, and you need to ensure it’s cleaned thoroughly without missing any parts.
Be cautious about the materials and substances you use to clean your instrument! Many classical music performers want their instruments to shine when they are on stage. However, it’s essential to remember that each material used to make instruments has different properties and doesn’t tolerate every material or substance when it comes to cleaning. Fortunately, today, we have a specialized industry for instrument maintenance, and products for cleaning and maintaining instruments are readily available in specialty stores. Seek advice from the store assistant, who will recommend the right product, and read the manufacturer’s recommendations for its application.
In the hope that our advice has been helpful and useful to you, we aim to see instruments in the future that retain their qualities over time and become true gems in the interpretation of classical music.