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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, November 13, 2006


The PMC Quick Note is a weekly service provided to all area directors.  It is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest.  The weekly Quick Note contains helpful tips and suggestions from area directors, spotlights on area college and university band programs, calendars of upcoming events, advocacy articles promoting music education, links to helpful web resources, and much more.  Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues.

The Midwest Clinic is Coming!

There are 35 days left until the 60th annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. The event will be held in Chicago from December 19-23. The Midwest Clinic website is very easy to explore and you can check out the following things:

Do You Know Why My Clarinet Won't Play? by Christopher Zello
This top ten list is an excerpt from a great article on clarinet maintenance by Christopher Zello. For more information, see the complete article on the Yamaha website. This article was used with permission from Yamaha Band.
  1. Use a handkerchief swab to clean out your clarinet after each use.

  2. Swab your mouthpiece separately. Remember the facing is delicate, so handle it with care. Remove any “build up” on the exterior. To clean the interior, soak the mouthpiece in lukewarm or cold water (never warm or hot water, as this will discolor the exterior) and a mild dish detergent. If you keep it clean, you won’t have to do this frequently - maybe once a year.

  3. Keep your clarinet and clarinet case clean. Remove all unnecessary items from your case, including medals, coins and other objects which can tear pads or bend keys. Wipe the keys and body with a soft cloth. Use a fresh paintbrush to remove dust.

  4. Keep your clarinet in a hard shell wood or plastic case. Many “light” cases lack sufficient padding to protect your clarinet if dropped or if you bump into something.

  5. Protect your reeds when not in use by storing them in a reed wallet. Protect your reed and mouthpiece by using your mouthpiece cap when the clarinet is not in your mouth.

  6. Do not stand your clarinet up on the bell. Use a peg or stand to hold it. Never rest your clarinet on a music stand!

  7. Use light cork grease on your tenon corks. Don’t use too much that it is visible or makes a mess, but enough that the instrument doesn’t “grip” unreasonably upon assembly or disassembly.

  8. Use a small drop of key oil every few months to keep noisy keys quieter. Using a needle point oiler, apply a small drop between the hinge tube and the post. Don’t forget to do this on ligature screws as well.

  9. Uniqueness of environment will influence the need to bore oil your wooden clarinet. Consult professional players or a repair technician for advice on whether or not you should use bore oil and how to apply it properly. Use of a humidifier in the case of a wooden clarinet is highly recommended in dry seasons and climates.

  10. Most importantly, if it has been over 2 years or you can’t remember the last time you had your clarinet examined by a woodwind repair technician, now is the time to take it in for a check-up. I recommend yearly check-ups after the initial inspection.

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center

Can we assist you with anything?  Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


(417) 882-7000
Bob Hopkins and Mike Brown
Springfield North (417) 862-2700 Burl Williams
Columbia (573) 256-5555 Robert Pitts
Joplin (417) 781-3100 Wayne Blades
Liberty (816) 792-8301 Ken Crisp


If you would like to submit material, make changes or corrections, give comments, or wish to be removed from this mailing list, please contact Eric Matzat.