Playing Musical Instrument

Playing a musical instrument can help nourish, cultivate, and increase intelligence in children, but playing a used instrument also can pose a potentially dangerous health risk.

Used woodwind and brass instruments are heavily contaminated with a variety of bacteria and fungi, many of which are associated with minor to serious infectious and allergic diseases. Many children participate in their school's band ensemble and often the instruments they play are on loan. Most of these instruments have been played by other students, and without the proper sanitation, bacteria and fungi can thrive for weeks and even months after the last use.

The yeasts on the instruments commonly cause skin infections around the mouth and lips ("red lips"). Because these instruments come into contact with the mouth, they're a breeding ground for bacteria. The same growth of bacteria is seen in dentures, athletic mouthguards, and toothbrushes. This makes sterilization of instruments extremely important.

To avoid transmission of bacteria from instrument to player, parents and students should frequently wipe the surface of the instrument that comes into contact with the skin and mouth. The instrument should be taken apart for thorough cleanings on a regular basis.