Hi! My name is Chris Plaisted and I do instrument repair for Veazie Community
School and other schools throughout Penobscot, Piscataquis, Hancock, and
Washington Counties. Kids, you might know me as Mr. Fix-It! As a former music
teacher, I love being able to help kids keep their band instruments in great shape so
they can get the most from their band experience. Approximately 80% of the repairs
I see in schools on a daily basis are caused by lack of maintenance (Kids, here’s a
great vocabulary word! Maintenance means taking good care of your instrument.).
Below are a few tips to help you with the maintenance of your instrument:
FLUTE -- Use your cleaning rod and a cleaning cloth after each time you play.
CLARINET &SAXOPHONE -- Use your cleaning swab after each time you play.
Grease corks using cork grease (not chapstick, that’s gross!) any time your clarinet is
hard to put together or the corks look dry; usually that means at least once per
week. NEVER LEAVE YOUR REED ON THE MOUTHPIECE! That can ruin the reed and
make it moldy. YUCK! Take the reed off mouthpiece after each time you play.
TRUMPET -- Oil your valves with valve oil any time they feel sticky, or at least
once per week. Use slide grease on the tuning slides when they become hard to
move. If valves, slides, or mouthpiece become stuck, STOP! Do not try to un-stick
them yourself. I have seen trumpets completely torn apart and permanently ruined
by people trying to un-stick mouthpieces, slides, and valves. Please tell Mr. Arell
immediately, he has special tools to help this in a safe way. If that doesn’t work, I’ll
come to school and take care of it with my professional repair tools.
TROMBONE -- Oil your slide with slide oil every day you play. Use slide grease on
the tuning slide if it becomes sticky. If either slide becomes stuck, STOP! Do not try
to un-stick them yourself, this can cause damage without the proper tools. Please
see Mr. Arell immediately.
DRUM -- Never put anything on top of your drum that is not a drum stick!
Remember it is an instrument, not a table. If you put something on top of a drum
that doesn’t belong there, it can rip the drum head and then you won’t be able to
use the drum until I can replace the drum head.
ALL INSTRUMENTS -- Should be cleaned once per month with the help of an
Instrument Care Kit. If you don’t have one, look at buying one from a local music
store. This comes with all the tools and instructions needed to keep your instrument
clean and in good working order. They are usually very affordable at less than $15.
If you have any questions on how to take care of your instrument, please see
Mr. Arell. He does a great job at helping kids learn how to take care of their
instruments. With proper maintenance, an instrument can literally last a lifetime and
beyond. Take care of your instrument, and it will take care of you! Thanks for
reading, and I look forward to hearing the Veazie band this year!