Violin Tip of the Day
For Violin Students of All Ages
Practice and Rehearsal Tips.  Technique Pointers.  Violin Care Guidance. Exercises and Motivation for Violinists, Fiddlers or Anyone Interested in Stringed Instruments.
Today's Tip
I was raised just outside New York City, and played my violin in all sorts of orchestras and ensembles there.  But about 25 years ago my wife, my 2 violins and I moved to south central Texas. Recently 5 of us (we added a daughter to the family) moved about 260 miles north, and I was reminded about something I hadn't experienced much for 20 years.  It gets cold!

I've discussed the problems associated with violins and dry air, but there are problems with cold air and violins as well.

Violins are made of wood.  Changes in conditions make wood swell and shrink.  I know you don't see it, but it really happens!  The more often your violin goes from hot to cold (and vice versa) the more the violin changes size.  And that can cause problems.  Cracks in the wood and unglued joints can result.  That is one reason I recommend that you use a violin humidifier, but that only helps with the humidity change due to heaters and air conditioners.
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What about the cold?

Personally I have never had a problem with the cold, but I have always tried to follow several rules.

1.  Never carry your violin in the trunk of a car.  Frankly, it gets cold there.  Most trunks are not heated.  Try to keep the violin with you in the passenger compartment.  (A wise violin teacher I knew told me, "Don't put your violin someplace you wouldn't put a baby!")

2.  Don't expect to get the best performance from your violin the instant you bring it in from the cold! The violin is heating up.  Different parts of the violin are very subtly changing size and shape.  That makes tuning a nightmare.  Let the violin warm up before you attempt to play.

3.  Whenever possible let the violin warm up slowly.  Give your violin 5 or 10 minutes to come up to temperature; don't run in and set it next to a blazing fireplace (or directly next to a heating vent).  Gentle changes are always better than sudden ones.

While I love luthiers and violin repair people, I don't want to give them any more business than necessary!

Treat your violin with respect and it will provide you with music for a long, long time.
Here's a great practice reminder.  Put this magnet on your refrigerator.  Each morning turn it so the little fella is frowning. "No Practice Yet"  When you have practiced, turn him over.  (Move your mouse over the picture to see what happens.) "Practice Done!"  Great as a gift for ANY musician you know! Click here to check out this GREAT LITTLE MOTIVATIONAL TOOL!
Practice Magnet