With the pandemic days stretching on in endless Groundhog-Day succession, I find that issues of violin maintenance are sneaking up on me.
For example, when was the last time I changed my strings? When was the last time I had my bow re-haired? It's hard to remember in this haze of samey-same days, but I think it was two months ago. That is, two months before lockdown. Wait, that's more than a half-year!
I also have to pay attention to my students' instruments - for example, they keep growing and thus needing larger instruments! And have any of them changed their strings in all this time?
For my students who have needed larger violins, some have purchased them online (thank you Shar!), while others have had to make special appointments with the local violin shop to trade in their instrument for a larger one (and thank you Metzler!). Several went for quite a long while with a much-too-small violin, just because the logistics were so difficult.
When it comes to strings, I still have the index card in my case, which says when I last changed them. Yes, it's now time, but without as much orchestra playing, I probably can push the date. Same story with my bow - it is certainly around that time, but when does it get urgent enough for me to figure out the new logistics?
When it comes to my own strings, it's easy enough. I can just order the strings online and put them on when they arrive. It's more difficult with students. For example, it's a little harder for me to tell, over a Zoom lesson, if a certain string is beginning to go false. A few students (or their parents) can change their own strings. For the others, they have it done at the music store, or I do it for them.
I have helped students with violin maintenance during this pandemic - they drop the instrument at my door, then I text when it's ready, and they come get it.
And then sometimes there are wacky things that go wrong. One student's chin rest fell off. After a long attempt to put it back on, involving coaching from me over Zoom, finding household items to use as tools and getting a parent involved, we realized it was actually broken, in a subtle but terminal way. With most local music stores closed at the time, it took a while to find the chin rest online, get it ordered, and have it delivered. Thank goodness it came with the tool to put it on, and the student and his parents got the job done.
How is your instrument doing? Is it due for some maintenance? Do you need new strings? A bow rehair? Is something broken, and needs fixing? Please pick the answer that reflects your instrument's most urgent need (if it has one), and then tell us about it in the comments. You are also welcome to tell us about any adventures you've had during this time, when it comes to getting repairs and maintenance.
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