Welcome to Art's Article for the Month of:
Well, the school year is almost over, and it's time to start preparing for the summer months.  That's a time that we need to be looking at some things as violin students as well.

First, let's make sure that we prepare our instruments for the months ahead.  For many of us that means that our violins will be exposed to some fairly harsh conditions.  Rapid temperature changes are not good for our instruments.  The extremely low humidity in houses which are heavily air conditioned also take a toll on the instrument.  We need to make sure that we have adequately prepared our violin cases and arranged for storage in proper locations. 

As far as a storage location, what I like to say is that if you wouldn't want to be there, your violin wouldn't want to be there either.  Attics are not a good place for instruments at any time, but especially not in the extreme heat of summer.  Don't carry your instrument around in your car trunk.  Moderate temperatures are much kinder to violins than the extremely hot conditions in attics and trunks.

Our violin cases should be properly protected against extremely low humidity.  Be sure that you have a humidifier of some sort.  They are not very expensive, and the damage they can prevent can be substantial.

The second area that I would like to address is goals for the summer vacation.  Now is the time to talk with your teacher about what expectations should be over the summer.  Even if you are not in a traditional school program, it is quite common for things to slip just a little during the summer months.  Cooler evenings seem like a good time to relax rather than play the violin.  If you are a child, or have one, vacations loom.  Chances are good that unless you are extremely serious, or are a professional musician, things are going to be a little bit lax over the coming months.

Now is the time for you to speak with your instructor.  Questions you should ask may include things like:
What specifics should I work on over the Summer.  Are there specific pieces that you would like to see me play by the time the Fall rolls around again.
Are there any repairs that need to be made on my instrument?  Since you will probably be less likely to play over the Summer, now would be a good time for the instrument to be out of your possession for a short period of time.
Are there any cultural experiences which occur during the Summer that I can take advantage of?  Music camps of all sorts abound during this time.  Perhaps you can attend a camp where you will actually return to studies in the Fall even stronger than you are now.  Reinvigorated!  Maybe a new focus as you discover chamber music or bluegrass!  Some towns have Fourth of July celebrations at which they invite all sorts of local musicians to play.  Maybe you and your colleagues could take part in that somehow.  All sorts of exciting things can occur between June 1 and August 15!

Summer can be an
EXCITING time to play violin!  Take advantage of it!