How to Care for Your Violin

Your very own violin! Your violin is beautiful. That is how it is designed to be. It is also capable of making a good, sometimes great, sound. It needs to be looked after carefully, and treated with lots of respect.

The violin is basically made of wood - a hollow box, that has been stuck together with glue. It does not like extremes of temperature, or humidity. If it is too hot, it will literally melt and fall to pieces. So do not leave it next to a source of heat, or in direct sunlight, or in a car. At home it needs to be stored, in its case, in a room that is neither too hot nor too cold, neither too dry nor too humid. Keep it safely out of the way of young children's busy fingers - there are so many bits to pull at or prod - and out of the way of pets, who might like to scratch with claws, or bite!

When you take it out of its case, handle carefully, lifting out with one hand under the neck, and the other hand supporting it at the base (or on the chin rest).

When you put it back, do the same in reverse, being careful not to knock the edges at all.

When you close the case, do up all the clips and zips. This may sound obvious, but many times I've seen a violin packed away at the end of a lesson, the case then scooped up - and the violin falls on the floor.

While I was teaching at a High School in Singapore, one of my students was doing her GCSE Music Practical, and had to perform two pieces on her violin. The day before her exam, the tail piece on her violin broke, not an easy repair to sort out. So I agreed to lend her my (spare) violin.

Her Mother came to collect the violin from me in the morning, and said she would take it straight to the school. But she didn't - she went shopping first, leaving my violin in her car. This was Singapore - average daily temperature 35 degrees. When my student opened the case at school, later that day, to her horror, she found the violin in pieces. The glue of the neck of the violin had melted, and come away from the main body of the violin - so,it was all in bits like a DIY flatpack violin.. Unfortunately, at that time, it was not possible to get the repair done locally and the violin had to go all the way back to the UK for a major restoration.

Moral of the story - Never leave a violin in a hot car, and also, to any teachers out there, never lend your violin, spare or otherwise, to your students, however deserving the cause!

And then there is your bow, equally as important to care for properly, as your violin. But I will cover that separately in another blog.

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