As the seasons change, so do the humidity levels that our flutes live in. Unless you have the virtually indestructable Aulos Stanesby model, you'll need to insure that your flute (transverse flute, baroque flute, traverso) stays in good playing condition.
That means a few things:
- Oil your flute, especially if you have not done so in a few months. I mean it. Seriously. Really. Oil. The flute. It needs it. Each flute maker has specific instructions on the type of oil you use. I recommend following those instructions.
- Take ten minutes and re-wrap your tenons (if they have thread and not cork, that is). Silk thread is preferred. As with outdoor equipment, long underwear, etc., the silk thread absorbs moisture and keeps it off of your nicely oiled flute. This in turn prevents swelling of the tenon which could lead to cracking, especially when folks get around to logging extra practice time before attending a week-long workshop where they could be playing for an extended period of time for several days in a row, or a concert. You only need to do this once or twice a year.
- Lubricate the tenons (and thread) before assembling the flute. Each time. Cork grease or something similar may be used (avoid animal-based products). I use a homemade concoction of raw linseed oil and beeswax. It works well but unless you are really good at home chemistry, I don't recommend this option. When my current batch runs out I'm just going to go out and buy some cork grease from the local music shop.
That's all for now. I'm looking forward to some blog dialogue (blog-alogue?) between the workshop participants and also to any questions anyone may have along the way.
If this is your first time at the workshop, I recommend the following earlier posts:
And for a few laughs (not funny at the time):
There are also photos of previous baroque flute and continuo player boot camps here too.