I have a pretty standard metal concert flute. What is the correct strep-by-step procedure for after I finish playing it? I am already drying it but want to make sure I haven't missed anything.
Dry the inside and use a separate, soft cloth to wipe down the outside. This removes oils and residue left by your fingers (and lips :-) ), thus helping maintain the instrument's finish.
I would recommend always disassembling for two reasons. First, it's much safer in its case rather than being left (assembled) somewhere else. Second, you will want to clean the joint surfaces now and then as well, to avoid the risk of binding.