EPN Travel Services proudly presents: The Playing Tip of the Month!

Enter your warm-up, rehearsal, performance, or teaching tip for a chance to win a special prize from EPN Travel Services!

Winning Playing Tips will be published in School Band & Orchestra magazine.


My long-time sax repair man showed me a trick that has saved me a lot of money on pad replacements.

Unlike most paper products derived from wood pulp, USA paper currency is made of cotton and linen; it is strong and has a light texture perfect for cleaning pads without wearing them out. As soon as possible after playing my sax, I swab it out, wipe it down and then clean the pads with dollar bills. By inserting a crisp bill between a key and tone-hole, while gently pressing down on the key, passing a buck once or twice between the two will safely clean the pad and the hole while removing excess moisture. I take extra care with keys that rest in the closed position — they’re the ones that tend to stick — for those I usually leave a bill in place under the key when I put it away in the case. That further protects the instrument and provides handy dollars for the next cleaning. The five minutes I spend with this process has kept my instruments healthy, and is applicable to any woodwind. 

Mark “Smiley” Shenkel 

Professional Saxophonist 

Nashville, Tennessee 


On the Road

Do you have a story to tell about taking your school music groups on the road? SBO wants to hear about it!

Click Here to Submit Your Story

Directors who make a Difference

Do you know a fantastic K-12 instrumental music educator who is deserving of recognition in SBO?

Click here to nominate a director 

and tell us why he or she should be featured in SBO’s annual "Directors Who Make a Difference" report.

SBO Web Poll

Are you willing to carry a gun as a teacher?

Sign up for the SBO newsletter


Get the SBO App!

Get the latest issues on your mobile device!



College Search & Career Guide