Smart Ideas: Revisited

Six Reasons Why Maintaining Musical Instruments is Crucial
Performing regularly scheduled maintenance on your musical instrument is a fundamental step that is sometimes overlooked despite its importance. Because if it is not properly maintained, each note will suffer in its own right. The care with which you handle your instrument is directly proportional to the care with which you play the instrument. Let’s look at four primary reasons why keeping up with the maintenance of your musical instrument should be seen as practically inseparable from the actual act of playing the instrument itself.

Function: When properly cleaned and maintained, every instrument performs at its peak. This extends beyond the realm of sound into the realm of gameplay. For example, a string instrument that has been improperly set up will often have high action, making fretting more difficult and, consequently, much more difficult or completely impossible to play with fluidity.

Similarly, a worn or dirty tonehole pad may cause a small stickiness, affecting the instrument’s ability to be played. This may affect the way you play. It is impossible to overstate the adaptability of human beings, and occasionally a musician may adjust by picking up undesirable habits or altering their playing style without even realizing it to get around the mechanical problems that an instrument is having.

Sound: The sound quality of an instrument is improved by keeping it clean and in good repair. Vibration is the essence of music, and a musical instrument is purposefully crafted to produce audible waves. A decrease in an instrument’s vibratory potential will result in a weaker sound produced by that instrument. Even a barely audible decline in sound quality may affect how you, as the instrument’s musician, hear and react to your music as it is being played in a piece.

Imagine someone wearing glasses that have gradually grown filthy over time or a home with a view of the ocean whose windows have become somewhat dusty; when the glass is cleaned, everything instantly shines, and one wonders how you could have ever tolerated that lack of clarity. The same holds for sound. The degradation process is sometimes imperceptibly gradual; hence, we frequently get used to a tiny muffle, rasp, or scrape in our sound quality. The clarity of your playing will come directly from your ability to make your instrument sing as clearly as possible.

Value: Few people who consider themselves musicians acquire an instrument to resell it later or exchange it. First and foremost, we learn so that we can play. But the fact is that we usually end up selling an instrument in the future, whether it is to finance an upgrade or because another instrument has won over our musical heart. If the instrument has been well maintained, it will not only keep its worth but, in certain situations, gain in value. The never-ending cycle of artists from the past, present, and future, connected by instruments that travel through hands and time, all made possible by careful maintenance, has an almost lyrical beauty.

Durability: Age may be a friend to an instrument, particularly ones that employ tonewoods to make music and gain greater capacity to vibrate through time. This is especially true of stringed instruments. On the other hand, the celebrated ancient Stradivarius violins are not so much about the wood as they are about Antonio Stradivari’s skillful building of them. Only through careful upkeep was this level of skill able to be preserved. This is true for all types of musical instruments: the better any instrument is, the closer it is to its original state, and the only way to achieve this is by preventative maintenance.

To summarise, if you repair your instrument, for instance, your orchestra, and you are in Chandler, AZ, playing more and better, you’ll sound better and maintain both more valuable and more of your hard-earned money. Not only that, but let’s be honest here: instruments that look and sound better are more appealing to play. So be cool: maintain your instrument.

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