You were judged in band by how quickly you could get your instrument out of the case and have it ready to go (by the other students, that is). One problem that always irked me was when I had to get the cork grease out and really work the corks over so I could get my clarinet assembled. I had a really nice Leblanc wooden clarinet that had a lovely sound. Or it would have with anyone but an 11-year-old making squeaking noises with it. I did learn to read music in band, however, so that was a skill that has served me well.
The other thing I learned about having a clarinet was cleaning it after every class. The cleaning cloth had a weighted string you dropped through the barrels and then pulled out the other end. Clarinets don't have a spit valve like trumpets do, so you have to clean them after every practice or performance.