Handling an Instrument
Violins, Violas, Cellos, Bass, and bowed instruments in general are extremely fragile, one should always keep this in mind when holding, performing or practicing on one. It is recommended that you wash your hands when handling an instrument or bow, our fingers are home to various germs and natural oils that may potentially harm the varnish or stain the bow hair. We advise that you take any sort of jewelry off prior to playing, to avoid possible scratches or dents on your instrument. When walking with an instrument be sure you hold it close to your body for further protection. Your instrument should be put away in its designated case with its blanket or instrument bag to protect it from possible damage. Make sure you secure the zippers or latches on your case. Above all DO NOT let anyone, other than your instructor, play or tune your assigned instrument.
The cleaning and polishing of an instrument should be left to a professional Luthier, certified repair man/woman, or string shop personnel. Do not attempt to polish your instrument as you may damage the wood, color, or varnish of your instrument. Refrain from applying alcohol, water or furniture polish. Cleaning a bowed instrument with water may hinder its acoustics and may result in an open seam. You are allowed, however, to wipe the dust and rosin off from the body of the instrument or strings with a soft cleaning cloth.
Storage and Temperature
A bowed instrument is happiest inside its case where the temperature is not extreme. Under no circumstance should you leave your instrument inside a car unattended. Wooden instruments enjoy being in a controlled environment, meaning that they dislike places where it is excessively hot or cold. Excessive heat or direct sunlight may cause the varnish to blister or soften. In extreme cases, the heat may cause the instrument to become out of tune and result in the un-gluing of the top plate of the instrument. Instruments left in really cold conditions may result in pegs unwinding and/or a grain crack, due to dry weather, humidity, and the shrinking of the wood itself.
Although an integral part of learning how to play a bowed instrument, tuning can also be a tad scary and tricky at first. This is why we recommend that you leave all tuning to your school music teacher or private instructor. Beginners should refrain from touching the pegs; strings are expensive and over-tuning might result in breakage. If you have an uncontrollable desire to learn how to tune your instrument ask your music advisor to teach you how to use the fine tuners, they are user friendly. You should consider purchasing an electronic tuner for precise tuning results. If your music instructor is unable to help you tune your instrument bring it to your local Violin Shop for further assistance.