If you just bought your own violin, you will want to make sure to take the best care of it so that it stays in the best playing condition and always looking new and shiny! First and foremost, try to keep your violin in its case and in a safe place when you’re not playing it. While traveling with your violin, keep it away from too much sunlight, this might mean bringing it into the grocery store rather than leaving it in your car. The glue that keeps the wood pieces of your violin together is very sensitive to heat, and even the rosin in your case could melt if it gets too hot.
Don’t Smash Your Violin
Also, while carrying your case, whether in your hand or with backpack straps, try to avoid bumping it against anything to protect the bridge from breaking and the soundpost from falling down. However, if it does happen by accident, it should be easy for your local music store luthier to replace the bridge and reset the soundpost so you can quickly get back to practicing for your Orlando Violin Lessons!
Taking Out Your Bow
Before you take out your violin to practice, make sure your hands are clean and you have everything you need: an armless chair, a stand (unfolded and set up, if necessary), your music, and a sharpened pencil. When you are ready to pick up your violin and bow, make sure to hold the violin by the neck, and the bow by the frog, careful not to touch the bow hair. Even though your hands are clean, your fingers still have natural oils on them that could make the bowhair look dirty. The hairs might already look dark near the frog just from our proper bowhold while we play, which is perfectly fine.
Future Rehairing Your Violin’s Bow
Eventually you will want to get your bow rehaired (about once a year), so that you get the best tone from your bow and in case you lost a lot of bowhairs. Hairs can tend to break as we play, just try to cut off the other side with either scissors or nail clippers as pulling the loose hair out can cause all of the hairs to come out, or even break the whole bow. Also, some cases have bow knobs that the bowhairs often get stuck in, if that happens, try to gently untangle the hairs so that the hair and the knob stay intact.
The Do-Not-Touch List
Along with the bowhair, there are a few more parts of the violin to be careful not to touch: the pegs, the bridge, and the fine tuners. These may also be stressed again by your Orlando Violin Lessons private teacher, but it never hurts to be reminded when it comes to taking care of your precious violin! Of course, when we take out our precious violin from the case, we do not hold it from the pegs or the scroll, because the pegs could turn and either loosen the strings or even pop the strings. Unless you have been taught to tune your strings, you should not touch the pegs. For the same reason, we do not touch the fine tuners because it will make the strings go out of tune.
When your teacher decides you are ready, he/she will be able to help you learn how to tune your own strings so that you can fix them when they sound “weird”. Another part to be careful with is the bridge, since it is not glued down to the top of your violin, it can move and even fall down. Just like we try not to bump into anything while the violin is in the case, we definitely do not want to bump into anything while holding the violin.
Cleaning Your Violin
A good habit to make to keep your violin looking new is to wipe it down using a clean, dry cloth (or even a piece of an old shirt or rag) before packing it up. After all of my lessons, there is always rosin dust under the bridge and on the fingerboard. In addition to those spots, you will want to wipe down the strings not only by the bridge to clean the rosin off, but also by the nut to clean the oils left while putting your fingers down on the strings. You can also wipe the stick of your bow in case there is rosin dust on it. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to clean your bowhairs, so do not worry about that, just remember to loosen your bow before putting it back in your case (tip goes in first!). It would also be a good idea to cover your violin in your case with either the velvet cover that came in your case (or a clean handkerchief), just to keep the rosin on your bowhairs from falling on your nice and shiny violin! >