Quick Fix Friday

Quick Fix Friday: Swab Your Instrument

This week’s Quick Fix Friday is a public service announcement reminding you to swab your instrument regularly!

I’m sure that by now, many of you have seen the report circulating on social media of the man who died from “bagpipe lung.” If you haven’t, you can read the story here. Basically, doctors were unable to determine why an otherwise healthy man was plagued by breathing and lung problems. After his death, they discovered that the bagpipe he played as a hobby contained fungus and bacteria. This isn’t an isolated case – another man with “saxophone lung” didn’t clean his clarinet for over 30 years. Luckily, doctors were able to isolate the problem before he faced the same fate as our bagpiper friend.

There’s a simple solution – swab and clean your instrument! I hope that most of my older and more experienced musician readers regularly swab and clean their instruments. For my younger readers, start practicing proper instrument maintenance now. It’s our job to remind our younger students, friends, family, or any other musician friends to pick up this potentially life-saving habit!

Other ways to prevent instrument-related sickness? Regularly replace old reeds, don’t share mouthpieces without sterilizing them, brush your teeth and wash your hands each time before playing and instrument, and take your instrument to a repair shop regularly.


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