Storing and Handling of Your Instrument

Storage Compartments

To protect instruments from theft and damage, it is recommended that each instrument have its own storage compartment. Large instruments should have large compartments near the floor, the small instruments should have smaller compartments above them. Each compartment should have a door covered with about halfinch wire mesh and it should be locked with a good lock. The wire mesh allows ventilation, especially desired for woodwinds. The lock protects each instrument from theft and places responsibility on the student to whom it is assigned. The student is given the key to an instrument compartment and this instrument is his responsibility. If he keeps it locked when not in use, it will not be stolen. Instruments left in open shelves to which any and all members of the band or orchestra have access are the responsibility of no one student. Instruments in open shelves mysteriously disappear sometimes, and it is difficult to place guilt.

Location of Storage

Considerations to keep in mind in locating storage for instruments are convenience to rehearsal rooms, band or orchestra rooms and auditorium, excessive dampness, excessive dryness. Try to locate storage compartments for large and heavy instruments, such as tympani, bass drums, bass horns, bass viols, harps, near the place where they will be used in the band or orchestra. Don’t, for instance, place the compartments for the violins ten steps from the front of the orchestra but ask the bass viol player to walk through two swinging doors and clear to the other end of the building to reach the bass viol compartments. Also, if possible, locate the rehearsal rooms for these larger instruments near their playing location in the band or orchestra and near their storage compartments. The less the large instruments have to be carted around, the better for the insrtuments and for the disposition of the players and director.

Watch Your Temperatures

Don’t store woodwinds, drums, violins and other string instruments in damp basements. Avoid placing them near radiators, hot air registers, or in hot attics or lofts. Strive for even temperature and humidity. A thermometer and humidity gauge are good investments. Try to maintain 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity as closely as possible. Avoid placing string instruments and woodwinds against outside walls, as they are liable to be subjected to wide changes in temperature. Avoid storing brass instruments near the heating plant. Fumes from the furnace are liable to corrode and tarnish the instruments.

Handling on Trips

Much damage to instruments can be avoided by observing some simple rules on systematic handling. Assign to the band manager and his crew all the work of transporting instruments. Train this crew so they will learn to put the heavy instruments on the bottom and the lighter ones on top, so they will know what side or end of a trunk or case to face up in order to give greatest protection to the instrument, so they will know how to pack a truck or car with instrument cases or trunks that will ride with the least shifting around and scuffing against each other. When entire responsibility is placed in these “property men,” traveling schedules will go more smoothly, fewer instruments will be left behind, and less damage will be done to them..

Musical instruments are as valuable as they are fragile. This means that for any musician who wants to travel with his instrument, a sturdy, protective case is a must.