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  • Writer's pictureMicaela Murphy

Instrument Care-- How to take care of your violin or viola

Regular Maintenance

Your instrument will need a yearly check up from your rental shop or a trusted Luthier to ensure that there are no open seams or cracks in the violin, which affect the instrument’s sound. Strings need to be replaced at least once a year, and the bow will need to be rehaired once a year.

Rental agreements often cover rehairs, string replacements, and regular maintenance.


How to Keep Your Instrument Clean

  • Before playing, wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them well.

  • Don’t eat, drink anything, or chew gum while playing or touching your instrument — food substances or liquids could damage the wood!

  • Never put your instrument in water or any other liquid; don’t get it wet or use soap to wash it. Instead, use a soft cloth (microfiber) to clean your instrument after you practice.

  • Most chin rests and fingerboards are made of ebony wood; you can use a small amount of pure alcohol to clean them periodically. Wet a soft cloth or cotton square with the alcohol and apply it very carefully; be sure not to get any alcohol on the body or the bridge of the instrument. Never apply alcohol directly to the surface of your fingerboard or chin rest.


How to Keep Your Instrument In Good Condition

  • Store your instrument, bow, and shoulder rest in the case immediately after playing; make sure that each part is in its correct place. Don’t force the case shut!

  • Take off the shoulder rest/sponge

  • Loosen the bow hair before storing the bow

  • Wipe your cleaning cloth under the strings to get rid of residual rosin.

  • Always put your instrument in the case when you’re not playing it.

  • Always make sure the case is closed securely.

  • Don’t decorate your instrument with stickers or draw on it — only your teacher should put tape or stickers on your instrument.

  • Always walk – and never run or jump – when carrying your instrument. Make sure to have your instrument in rest position when you are walking.

  • Keep the instrument away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

  • Never leave your instrument in the car.

  • Establish boundaries with friends and siblings — don’t let anyone touch your instrument besides yourself, your parent, and your teacher.

  • If the instrument becomes damaged (cracked wood, broken strings, etc), call your rental store or luthier! They will help repair or replace your instrument.

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