What to Do After Cold or Flu (all woodwinds)

It’s that time of year, and wow, it’s been a doozy!  In particular, flu has been really bad this year, and lots of students have been missing classes and lessons.  Stay home, drink lots of water, and REST!  

OK, so you’ve been sick, but now you’re feeling better and ready to start playing again.  Those new reeds you were playing on when the sore throat started?  It’s possible for them to re-infect you.  Do you have to throw them all away and start over?  And your mouthpiece has been sitting all warm and cozy in the cap from the last time you played it.  What do you do about that?  No worries - here’s a 30-minute fix. 

Clarinet & Saxophone

You’ll need:

  • a bowl
  • water
  • Listerine (it must be antiseptic, not anti cavity so most other mouthwashes won’t do)
  • paper towels
  • a clean mirror or other flat, glass surface
  • dish soap
  • a soft sponge or paper towel

Let’s get going:

In your bowl, mix one part water to one part Listerine.  Gently place your reeds into the solution and let soak for about 10 minutes.  While the reeds are soaking, get your mouthpiece and wash under COOL running water, using dish soap and scrubbing gently with the paper towel.  (Clarinet students, try not to get the cork on the mouthpiece wet.)  Rinse thoroughly and dry with another paper towel, then set the mouthpiece upright on the paper towel and allow to air dry completely - 15-20 minutes.

When ten minutes are up, take the reeds out of the Listerine solution, very carefully pat dry with a paper towel, then set on the mirror to dry.  It’s also a good idea to run your reed guard through the dishwasher - just put it in the silverware basket.  It wouldn’t hurt to wash your swab, either.  Zip it into a laundry bag or tie into a pillow case and toss it in with a load of clothes.

When everything is dry, you’re done!  Glad you’re feeling better, and happy practicing!  

 

Flute

You’ll need:

  • rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tips or cotton balls
  • a damp paper towel

Let’s get going:

Dip a cotton ball into the rubbing alcohol, then clean the lip plate, making sure to go over the entire area and as far under the plate as you can get.  If needed, dip the cotton ball in alcohol again, then scrub the inside of the embouchure hole.  Next, use the damp paper towel to go over the entire lip plate, then set aside to air dry.  It wouldn’t hurt to wash your swab, either.  Zip it into a laundry bag or tie into a pillow case and toss it in with a load of clothes. When everything is dry, you’re done!  Glad you’re feeling better, and happy practicing!

 

Double Reeds

You’ll need:

  • a bowl
  • water
  • Listerine (it must be antiseptic, not anti cavity so most other mouthwashes won’t do)
  • paper towels
  • a clean mirror or other flat, glass surface

Let's get going:

In your bowl, mix one part water to one part Listerine.  Gently place your reeds into the solution and let soak for about 10 minutes. When ten minutes are up, take the reeds out of the Listerine solution, very carefully pat dry with a paper towel, then set on the mirror to dry.  It’s also a good idea to wash the water cup you use to soak your reeds.  It wouldn’t hurt to wash your swab, either.  Zip it into a laundry bag or tie into a pillow case and toss it in with a load of clothes.  When everything is dry, you’re done!  Glad you’re feeling better, and happy practicing!