So, you just got your violin. You've had a lesson and you're well on your way to becoming concert master. But how do you take care of it? It's a very delicate instrument and it's not cheap, so you need to make sure that it gets what it needs. Well, here's a few tips on how to keep it sounding beautiful.
You learned it in science class. When things get hot, they expand, and when they get cold, they shrink. The violin is no exception and is a very sensitive instrument. When the violin gets too hot or too cold very quickly, it will cause the strings of the instrument to go out of tune. Sometimes it can cause the violin to pop a string too. This is especially bad because it costs money to replace it. However, if your violin goes out of tune, don't try to tune it yourself unless your teacher has already instructed you on how to do so. Beginner violinists often break their strings by winding them too tight when tuning.
Even if it's just 10 minutes. Never leave your violin in the car for any amount of time. As a continuation of the first point, the car can get really cold in the chilly months. But what's more, if you leave your violin in the car during the summer, you might as well throw it in the oven too when your grandma bakes a turkey. It is terrible for the instrument and can even cause your violin to fall apart.
You love your cats and your dogs. You better love your violin. They just don't go well together. Always keep your violin away from your pets. They will not be as kind to it as you are.
The violin is not a floor mat or chair cushion. I see it all the time. Someone is just going away for a little bit and they just set it down for a moment. But then someone else walks by and accidentally nocks it off the seat.
Your violin won't make a sound without. Rosin is the sticky stuff that you put on the bow in order to actually play the violin. After every hour of playing, try to rub all of the horse hair on the bow with rosin about four times. This will help you keep a good sound without applying too much rosin.
Never touch the bow hair (horse hair) with your skin. There are oils in your skin that the horse hair soaks up. When the horse hair is loaded with this oil, it no longer lets the rosin stick to it. This creates dead spots in your bow where it doesn't make sound and the only way to fix this is to get your bow rehaird.
Always be careful not to tighten your bow too tight when you tighten it. If you tighten it too tight, then the natural curve of the bow will start to disappear. This can cause the bow to warp or even worse, break. A good rule-of-thumb is to see if you can stick a no.2 pencil between the stick and hair of the bow. If the bow grabs the pencil, then you have a good tightness.
When you play, you will start to see a white power substance build on the strings, face of the violin, and the stick of the bow. This is normal. It is just rosin falling off the horse hair and collecting on your instrument. However, you don't want to leave it there. When you finish practicing, be sure to wipe it off with a clean cloth. This will protect the varnish on the violin face and the stick of the bow. It will also help your strings last longer before you need to replace them.
It may seem okay to just lay your violin down in its case without actually putting it away when you're finished playing. This is usually a bad idea though. If someone bumps the table or accidentally pushes the case, it could be catastrophic for your instrument. It doesn't take very long to pack it up, so make sure that you do.
When you finish playing and you pack everything away, make sure that you loosen the tension in the horse hair of your bow. If tension is left while it is stored away, your bow will start to warp over time. The bow will no longer be straight and this will make it much harder to control the bow and work on bowing techniques. Take time to loosen it.
Finally, your violin has a personality. It has emotions and holds grudges. If you really want your violin to sing, then give it a name that fits.
All in all, love your instrument and treat it with care. If you do this, it will love you back and sing to you. Keep on practicing!