Should I Leave it in the Car?

By Beth, Violin/Viola instructor at The Lesson Studio

When one plays a musical instrument, it is important to know not just how to play it, but how to take care of it as well. Almost all instruments are sensitive to heat, humidity, and general handling. This is especially true with violins.

The body of the violin is held together with a special epoxy. While we all know that it is glued together, what we often forget is that this glue is meant to break down at some point and let the instrument come apart. Why? In extreme temperature and/or humidity fluctuations, the wood reacts by expanding or contracting. In order to avoid cracks and further damage, the glue simply ‘lets go,’ allowing your instrument to come out unscathed, minus an open seam.

If you have an open seam on your violin, you need to take it to a luthier or repair shop as soon as possible. Playing on an instrument that has an open seam is dangerous, as the violin is not stable, and certain techniques could seriously compromise the violin structure and sound.

In order to protect your violin against open seams or other damage, it is important that you keep it in a stable temperature/humidity environment. Do not leave your instrument in your car for an extended period of time. What is an extended period of time? More than fifteen minutes. Heat and freezing cold can do equal permanent damage. In the picture on the left, the violin was left in a car, and the varnish melted, creating a wet, smeared finish. On the right, a violin cracked when left in the car. Both scenarios represent repairs worth hundreds of dollars.


The above damage to the violins is easily avoidable. Just treat your instrument like it is an animal or human. You wouldn’t leave a dog in a hot car for three hours in the summer, or your child in the car for an hour in the winter with no heat. Your violin is no different. Take your violin with you into the store, restaurant, or work. Most people won’t give you any trouble, and understand that an instrument is something to be protected. Your violin will thank you!!!

Beth Barnadyn, Violin Instructor at The Lesson Studio

Beth Barnadyn


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One Response to “Should I Leave it in the Car?”

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