Let’s get real for a second. Being a musician can be gross sometimes. Using the same mouthpieces and equipment for hours every day is germ-a-palooza, and let’s not even get started on spit valves. Here are a few suggestions to make 2016 a cleaner and more sterilized year for musicians.
- Wash your hands. Not only will this keep you from getting sick, but it’s also a good way to protect the spread of grime from your hands to your instrument.
- Brush your teeth. You know what’s worse than dirty hands? Blowing half-eaten food particles from your mouth into your horn.
- Clean your swab. When was the last time you laundered your swab? My point exactly.
- Clean your case cover. How many dirty floors has your case cover touched in its lifetime? Throw your case cover in the wash with your swabs.
- Take your reed off your mouthpiece when you’re done. Not only will it dry and warp, but if you leave it on long enough, mold and bacteria start to form.
- Swab and clean your instrument after each use (and regularly during extra-long practice sessions). It seems obvious, but many younger students forgo this step in their haste to be done practicing. Want more incentive to swab? Don’t end up like this man who developed “saxophone lung” after years of not cleaning his horn.
- Don’t share reeds. Too bad if your friend forgot their box of reeds at home – it’s not worth risking the spread of germs.
- Sterilize shared equipment. If you want to try your friend’s mouthpiece, sterilize with a disinfectant spray. If you are testing equipment at large conventions, make sure that vendors are sterilizing equipment between every use.
- Don’t smoke. Not only is this terrible for your lungs (and general health), but the smoke and chemicals from cigarettes isn’t good for your instrument.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!