It has come to my knowledge that I have neglected to instruct my students, in some cases, in some of the most basic aspects of clarinet care and maintenence. Probably the most useful tip I can leave with you is the best way to apply cork grease.
First, you must understand that cork is a natural substance and needs to be conditioned and cared for on a regular basis so that the corks provide an airtight seal under the tenons of the joints of the clarinet.
Cork grease should do this job: often it does not! Many times, a cheap and slippery, goopy substance, cork grease gets applied to the corks superficially.
One of the best cork greases on the market today is The Doctor Slick cork grease, which you can gick up at the San Diego County Music Exchange for around $3 or $4.
It conditions the cork very well and lasts a very long time.
Now, how to apply it? When to apply it?
It's good to have an old rag to wipe your fingers off, or a paper towel. You should dab a generous glob of cork grease onto the tenon cork and rub it into the cork with your fingers until it is worked in and the cork is smooth, but not too slick.
Repeat this step often if your clarinet is brand new, the corks have been replaced, or the clarinet sticks together.
One of the best things to do for your corks is to grease them lightly after you are done playing so that they remain conditioned, and will not crumble in disrepair.