Always wash your hands before practicing! This is for germ prevention as well as for the preservation of your instrument.
Do not use lotion before playing. The oils can hurt the wood of a guitar or the metal of the flute and make playing/holding your instrument more difficult.
The following are instrument-specific suggestions for practicing at home:
- Always brush your teeth before practicing, especially after eating! Otherwise, food particles will blow into your flute and onto the pads, causing them to become sticky. If there is no time, then at least rinse your mouth out with water before playing.
- When you set your flute down, always lay it down with keys facing the ceiling. Never lay your flute down on the keys, as this will bend them and accelerate the need for repairs.
- Sanitize the lip plate of your flute regularly with a rubbing alcohol swab.
- Make sure your bench is close/far enough from the piano and that it’s at the right height. Additionally, have your feet rest on something so that they don’t dangle off the bench.
- Make sure your body is relaxed. Ask yourself: Do you have good posture? Are your knuckles hard? Are your shoulders/arms/hands/fingers relaxed?
- When taking a break during practicing, always put the guitar back in its case, and zip or buckle the case, whenever you need to leave the room, even if it’s just to use the restroom! It’s too easy to step on, trip over, and pick up an unlocked case (causing the guitar to topple out) and damage the instrument.