Environmental changes can affect the wood of your string instruments. Sudden temperature drops or increases can cause the wood to become brittle or crack.
Warm temperatures can damage the glue that hold your instrument together, or even make it melt. This can result in broken joints on your string instrument. Avoid leaving your instrument in a vehicle for extended periods of time.
Wipe down the strings with a clean cloth or soft, non-abrasive flannel. This will increase the lifespan of your string and will keep the fingerboard free of rosin.
Avoid leaving your instrument in areas that are too dry. While too much moisture is a bad thing for wood, it needs some moisture to keep its shape. Without slight moisture the wood can crack.
On the topic of moisture, a wooden instrument should never be exposed to excessive humidity. Too much moisture can cause the wood to warp, which can cause the necks to become uneven. This can even affect the glue holding it together.
Caring for Brass Instruments
You will want to thoroughly clean your brass instrument at least once a month, but cleaning the mouthpiece at least once a week is highly recommended.
You can clean the mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush and a little bit of soap and warm water. Make sure the water is not scalding hot, as this could affect the finish of the instrument. Gently dry the mouthpiece with a clean cotton cloth.
Always brush your teeth before playing a brass instrument. Most sediment in mouthpieces come from food particles leftover after eating.
Make sure to wash your hands before playing a brass instrument. Oil and dirt from your hands can make the finish on your instrument wear off or become damaged.
Never stand the instrument on its bell. You should always store the instrument with the valves up as to not damage them or the finish of the instrument.
Similar to string instruments, you should never store brass instruments in extreme temperatures or leave them in a vehicle for extended period of time.