Tip-Top Shape

By Daniel Yang, Violin, Instructor at The Lesson Studio

ImageKeeping up with the maintenance of an instrument can be a lot of work! Pianos have to be tuned, violins bows need to be rehaired, and clarinets need new reeds and diligent cleaning. Have you ever seen a professional give your instrument a physical? It is quite amazing the amount of checks and balances one can do with a piece of metal or wood.

Have you ever wondered why, of all things, we use horsehair to draw a sound out of a stringed instrument?  Why not cheap cloth or rope? Also, we rub tree sap on the hair! This helps to grip the strings; however, over time it can cover the instrument in white powder. This residue should be wiped off with a soft cloth after every practice. Horsehair can break, wear out, or get dirty, and as a result, it can become difficult to make a nice clean sound. Attempting to practice on an instrument that is out of shape can be like trying to play with worn out, broken toys. As we age and mature, we lose interest in our daily activities and need to keep it fun and exciting…and new!

After a nice long vacation, it’s exciting to buy all the cool back-to-school gear. New backpacks, notebooks, and clothes give us the tools and confidence to learn and engage in school activities. Put the same energy into the maintenance of your instrument! Just like wanting to play catch after getting a shiny new baseball mitt, you’ll probably want to practice and make music right after caring for your cello or guitar.

Keep it fresh!


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