Cold Weather Care For Your Musical Instrument

Hello from your local family owned and operated music store, Carl’s Pro Band.  This month we’d like to touch on proper care and preventative maintenance of musical instruments during the winter months.  The cold, dry weather we experience in the Midwest can be very detrimental to musical instruments if care is not taken to offset the weather’s effects.  The majority of all band and orchestral instruments are built from (or utilize) natural materials such as wood, cork, leather and felt.  These natural materials tend to fluctuate with weather and humidity changes, which can affect adjustment and regulation, and can also cause cracking in wooden instruments.

When dealing with any valuable possession, avoiding extreme temperature and humidity change is ideal.  However, the whole point of playing an instrument IS TO PLAY!  This requires instruments to be transported to and from school, lessons and performances.  Not to worry, with 60+ years of experience we have compiled a list of some simple actions you can take to help protect your instrument:

  • Keep the instrument in a well-insulated case or consider an insulated case cover.
  • o not leave the instrument in a cold vehicle for extended periods of time. 
  • When an instrument has been in the cold weather, allow it reach room temperature naturally before you begin playing.  Cold weather generally causes natural materials to shrink and heat causes them to expand, so if hot air is blown into a cold wooden instrument it will begin to expand, which is one of the primary causes of cracking.  Extreme cold can also cause brass instrument valves and slides to become stuck or “frozen”.
  • se a case humidifier to maintain proper humidity of your instrument while it is in the carrying case.
  • Use a reed case with a humidity control system, which will increase the lifespan and playability of wooden reeds
  • Use a synthetic valve oil or lubricant.  Synthetic valve oils do not evaporate like traditional petroleum based oils, and therefore, protect your valves for a longer period of time.  Carl’s Pro Band stocks the areas widest variety of synthetic oils.
  • Have your instrument professionally serviced when the major seasons change, or annually at a minimum.  The professional repair technicians at Carl’s Pro Band will attend to your instrument’s every need.  This includes oiling mechanisms, adjusting pads/corks/felts, annual Ultrasonic cleaning, applying bore oil to wooden instruments (which helps maintain proper wood conditioning), and much more.  State-of-the-Art Ultrasonic Cleaning utilizes a biodegradable cleanser which cleans brass instruments in a safe thorough manner.  Regular maintenance ensures that your instrument will be ready for whatever the ever-changing seasons bring.

Be sure to stop by Carl’s Pro Band for more helpful tips and advice or to schedule your instrument’s maintenance.  We also offer great pricing and availability of accessories, cases and instruments to fit every player’s ability and budget.  Trust our family to take care of yours!


802 N Morris Ave – Bloomington, IL | | 309.828.HORN