No matter how much your instrument cost, it’s important to take care of your flute.
Whether you have a low-end student flute or a handmade solid gold masterpiece, proper cleaning, handling and maintenance is vital to keeping your flute in good playing condition.
Always hold your flute at the top of the middle piece where it joins onto the head joint, never on the middle piece where the rods could be bent. The rods are very delicate and can be easily bent, which could then cause the keys not to close completely and your notes won’t speak properly.
When you need to set your flute down while you’re still playing, such as taking a break during a rehearsal, don’t leave your flute sitting on the chair, or even worse, on the music stand. Your flute could easily be bumped off and come crashing to the floor.
I also advise against putting your flute on one of those flute pegs. Again, your flute could easily be bumped into or kicked over by someone passing by.
When it’s time to put your flute away, it’s vital to dry the inside out thoroughly. Here’s what I do:
Take the head joint off and pull a cleaning cloth through the middle and foot joints. Do this several times until you can see that it’s dry.
Take the middle and foot joints apart and push through one of the orange and yellow pad savers. Important! Don’t store these inside your flute! The point of the pad saver is to dry out the inside of the flute. If you keep it in the flute, the moisture is still there. I see people do this all the time and it drives me crazy!
Okay, now it’s time for the head joint. Gently push the pad saver into the head joint. Not too hard so as to push the cork at the end of the head joint. This will get some of the moisture out.
To remove the rest of the moisture, take a dry, lightweight cloth. Start twisting it at one corner and stuff it into the head joint. Continue twisting and stuffing the cloth until you can see it in the embouchure hole. Gently push the rest of the way until you reach the cork.
Take the cloth out and repeat this process with another corner of the cloth that is dry. By the time you do that, the mouthpiece should be dry.
If you find that this doesn’t get the head joint dry, you might want to do this again with another dry cloth.
After the inside of the flute is dried out, I wipe off the outside with a piece of ultrasuede to get all the fingerprints off. I hate putting my flute away without wiping off the outside because the next time I take it out, it will be all sticky. For me it’s like eating off of dirty silverware.
Be very careful at all times when handling your flute. It’s very delicate, especially the rods and tenons.
This might seem like a very tedious process, but it’s worth the time and effort to keep your flute in prime condition.
When it’s time for maintenance, take your flute to a competent repair technician. By no means should you try to do anything with the flute yourself! This could damage it.
If you take care of your flute properly, it will serve you well for years.