I've recently been reading on-line about maggots, etc in wind instruments...
Recently many of our woodwinds have discovered maggots thriving in their mouth pieces.... (ewwww.) Has this ever happened to any of you? if so, what did you do about it?answer: Toss out reeds, clean mouthpieces very well, and keep them dry. Also, check cases and the storage room. Hopefully the pads are safe, but let everyone know that woodwinds have a lot of areas that promote maggot and bacteria growth due to lack of care.
Also, you can soak reeds in a half-listerine half water solution (use alcohol-free to reduce fumes) to prevent this (and to make reeds taste better)Haha, my band director once told me that when one of his students opened up her saxophone case for the first time in a good while, they looked at the neck and the mouthpiece and there were maggots crawling in them.
Then he said there was another time when they came back after Christmas break and there was a dead rat in one of he school sousaphones. It doesn't have a case, so it was easy for something to get in it.
Then this past year, I had a classmate that was eating while playing her clarinet, and I guess she had left her case open at some point, because when she opened it back up after about a month, there were cockroaches crawling around in it.I was at my local music store last night - a mom came in with her son's tenor mpc complaining that the reed wouldn't come off!!!! Can you see this one coming?
Her son had played that reed for more than a year without removing it. Needless to say, after it was pried off, bits of cane remained stuck to the mpc. The disgusting mess...
I can't continue.A friend of mine was teaching jr. high, and had a similar situation, except that when the reed came off ( it had to be removed because the student couldn't get any air to go through the m/p) it revealed a colony of maggots. Said friend lost his lunch.
One of the teachers here at U of North Florida actually calls this buildup "tone maggots." He doesn't loan his mouthpieces out very often because he's afraid they might come back clean, with all the "tone maggots" gone! Ugh.When I was in junior high school, many, many moon ago, I played a school horn which was stored in the band hall, and I kept my mouthpiece in my locker. One day when I took the mouthpiece out of the locker, a squishy plump earwig crawled out of it. Since that day I have washed my mouthpiece both before and after I play.A friend of mine was teaching jr. high, and had a similar situation, except that when the reed came off ( it had to be removed because the student couldn't get any air to go through the m/p) it revealed a colony of maggots. Said friend lost his lunch.Reminds me of grade school and junior high, where my band director would periodically hold mouthpiece checks. He would make all the clarinet and sax players remove their reeds and show him the back sides of the
reeds and insides of the mouthpieces. When he found one lined with greeny-browny-yellowy slime,with one hand he would hold it up at arm's length for the entire band to see and with the other hand he would hold his nose, while shrieking "Bleagh! Yllggghhh! Feh! Feh! Feh!" and other noises of Horror Unspeakable at the top of his lungs (excellent lungs; although short, stout and not athletic-looking, he was a walking one-man-band who could play any wind instrument), to the great delight of the kids. Alas, his scheme backfired somewhat, because some of the boys started competing for the honor of the most disgusting mouthpiece. They got very, very good at it.I was teaching at a junior high school south of Dallas and had a female student with the absolute worst tone. Upon removal of the reed (which she had played as long as she had the horn) I found that the mouthpiece was almost entirely full of bright red LIPSTICK! There was a tiny hole letting air through. It took a while to get it all out but man, what a difference. I gave her some reeds and told her to wipe her lips before playing in band.
She eventually moved to first chair that semester.After being out of town for a couple of weeks I assembled my horn to practice. I usually leave reeds on the mouthpiece, so before I warm up I saliva up the reed on the mouthpiece, then warm up. After letting the reed soak up the moisture I started playing and sounded very stuffy. A couple of seconds later I find my mouth full of FIRE ANTS. They apparently were fond of the cane but then quickly evacuated the premises when the reed started vibrating. I spit most of the ants out before they sung me, but a few managed to get me...When I was in junior high school, many, many moons ago, I played a school horn which was stored in the band hall, and I kept my mouthpiece in my locker. One day when I took the mouthpiece out of the locker, a squishy plump earwig crawled out of it. Since that day I have washed my mouthpiece both before and after I play.When we moved to our new house I packed my clarinet away in a brown moving box which I thought was thoroughly sealed. It took me a while to unpack everything... and since I don't play my clarinet as often as I used to it was one of the last things I unpacked. So when I finally opened up the case to look at the
instrument... my jaw dropped in disgust. Little dried up maggot carcasses were inside the case. Not only had those little suckers invaded my precious instrument they had eaten away the cork. Of course I did not play the instrument that night, and took it the next day to get it cleaned and repaired. I realized later that the maggots may have invaded the box which was sitting out in the garage.I've heard horror stories from conductors about beginning clarinet players leaving the mouthpiece, barrel, and reed assembled all the time, and finding mold / gunk / maggots inside the horn as a result.One girl in my county left her reed on all the time and one day she couldn't play at all. When they finally pried the reed off (it was stuck on there pretty good) she had maggots living in her mouthpiece. Fair warning! You have to stick the thing in your mouth, so keep it clean.