Breaking in your new clarinet can be the most important step you take in the prevention of developing wood problems over the life of your instrument. I recommend following the below procedure to ensure the best chance of a “slow change” that your clarinet will need to maintain optimum performance and lesson the chances of checking or cracks.
1. Play the instrument for only 5 minutes at a time for the first week. You can do this several times in a day but be sure to allow the wood to rest and air dry in between playings.
2. After the first week, add a minute of play time a day to each session until you reach about an hour .
General Care & Maintenance
1. Always swab to remove excess moisture from the bore of your clarinet. I recommend a microfiber swab as they are lint free and easy on the wood.
2. Avoid extreme and rapid changes in temperature. The optimal temperature for a wood clarinet is 65° to 75°. In general, always allow the clarinet to return to room temperature before playing.
3. Maintain a consistent relative humidity in between playing sessions. The ideal humidity for wood clarinets is 45% to 55%. There are several methods for this ranging from in room humidifiers to in case systems.
4. Occasionally, wipe down the keys after playing with a micro-fiber or other lint free cloth. This removes the acids and oils left on the keys by your fingers and will help prevent premature wear or tarnishing.
5. If you are to store your clarinet for a long period without playing it, place your case on end so the tubes stand vertically. This will help prevent the wood from settling into the bore which will cause the shape to become elliptical as opposed to cylindrical.