Even When It Is Not Flu Season...
by, 09-27-2006 at 06:00 PM (165 Views)
You horn can hang onto germs rather effectively, so keep some basic rules in mind that affect health as well as how well the horn blows.
You should clean the mouthpiece FREQUENTLY with soap and water. This is obviously the best place for bacteria to cling and infect/re-infect you. If your moutpiece is not clean it can also cause some pesty infections or rashes around the mouth. I used to work with a French horn player who had to clean his mouthpiece every day with alchohol - otherwise he would develop sores on his lips.
Do you keep you mouthpiece in a mouthpiece case? If it is a vinyl case, you should clean the inside of the case as well. For cases lined with fabric... (I don't know of a way to clean those)
There have been documented cases where players are infected by germs/bacteria inside the leadpipe and tubing of the horn. Even though you don't come into direct contact with these areas, you may be inhaling some air that comes back from the instrument. Regular cleaning with soap and water will probably be sufficient in most cases.
The upside of having to do this regular work (to preserve your health) is that your horn will play better!