Must-have items???

March 11, 2016 at 07:32 PM · So I got to thinking as I ordered a music stand, a light for it, a practice mute and rosin that there was probably a bunch of other things I don't know about.

What things might be useful, necessary or even slightly beneficial?

I think we can include music books and just books about the violin in general as well. Anything that might be related to playing the violin!

For instance, I saw a violin hanger that was to be placed on the front of a stand. This seemed really cool on first blush, however, I could see it failing spectacularly as well.

Let's hear your thoughts on all the useful items you have discovered!


Replies (34)

March 11, 2016 at 08:11 PM · I would say tuner and metronome, but these tasks can be done by your phone.

As for a stand for your instrument, I have a "string swing" wall-mounted violin holder that I use to rest my violin during practice while I'm changing music, writing a lot, or whatever. It's very secure. The thing you describe sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. When I am done practicing my violin gets cleaned and goes in its case, closed and zipped.

I'm sure I'll be blasted as a spendthrift for saying so, but I really like the microfiber cleaning cloths that I get from Shar. They really do pick up rosin better than used tee-shirts or diaper material.

March 11, 2016 at 10:07 PM · You don't need a light for your music stand unless you're going to be playing gigs in semidarkness. You don't need a practice mute unless you live in an apartment or town house, or you travel a lot and need to practice in hotels.

NO to the violin hanger on the front of the stand. That sounds like a frontrunner for Worst Idea Ever. Put your violin in the case when you're not playing it, and close and latch the case if you're anywhere other than your own home-or even at home if you have animals and/or small children. Never never never do the classic youth orchestra trick of leaving your violin on the chair during the break, or worse yet, hanging it on the stand by its scroll.

Violin, bow, rosin, regular mute, cleaning rag, reliable case, music stand. Earplugs if you are seated in front of the brass or percussion. Cough drops are handy to keep in the case--ibuprofen or tylenol, too, and definitely a few #2 pencils with good erasers. Music clips if you are playing outdoors. Metronome and tuner can be downloaded for free on a smart phone.

March 11, 2016 at 10:13 PM · I have the violin hanger for the stand. Waste of money. It is so easy to slide the violin back into your case when not playing, just not worth the risk. Especially if you have pets in your house. ;)

Nice to have a mute but just don't use it unless you have to. Violins like regular use/vibration so muting it on a regular basis isn't a great idea. I create white noise with a fan in the hallway so my playing doesn't wake the kids. The extra motivation from hearing the violin in full volume is worth it I think.

March 12, 2016 at 12:14 AM · Great replies guys!

So I started playing in my community orchestra in October. We recently had the concert and it was my first one. I didn't necessarily need the light when we had our dress rehearsal but my stand partner is this amazing lady who is 80 years old. So she was having trouble seeing a couple times as the light was dimmed. So a few others had a light and I thought that it would be good to be prepared. I felt bad for her cause she was having TONS of trouble seeing.

I ordered the pirastro (sp?) Gold rosin. Idk what is good and not and I just figured that looked good. Haha. Maybe you guys can flame me for that decision and give me advice on what to get next time.

The stand I got was to replace my much loathed wire stand. Haha.

The cough drops and clips are good ideas! I have the pencils, metronome and tuner.



March 12, 2016 at 12:18 AM · While cleaning out a drawer the other day, I came across an isert from the box of a tabletop violin stand. (I don't have one, so no idea why I had the insert.) The insert warned that over time the rubber that protects the metal from the wood will make a permanent mark on the wood, ostensibly because it keeps the wood from breathing.

I have microfiber cloths courtesy of my luthier. She swears that they're better than cotton for wiping down the violin and strings. (I forget the reason she gave.)

I think we're getting into "what do you have in your case?" territory. There have been several long posts on that topic.

March 12, 2016 at 12:30 AM · Fair enough. Haha. I'll have to look them up!

March 12, 2016 at 12:53 AM · 1. Infinite supply of Isopropanol, to clean the strings, the chinrest and sometimes fingerboard.

2. A lot of Microfibre cleaning cloth

3. A stand.

I think a violin stand is nice to have to place the violin somewhere safe inbetween practices. As in, you're taking a 5 minutes water break, and don't want to put your violin anywhere else(taking the shoulder rest off and etc).

I actually have two stands:

1. Music stand hanger, although others may disagree, in the past year, I never had a sliding problem.

 photo IMG_0088_zpsmutkxctk.jpg

2. What is now a permanent Viola stand.

 photo IMG_0101_zpsfb6qo71e.jpg

the Music stand hanger, I wouldn't feel secure at all leaving my violin there for any more than 10 minutes, and the table violin stand, with the plastic piece to secure the neck, it feels very secure. I still keep my violin in my case for longer term because I know much my room temperature and humidity fluctuate in the winter. I live in a bachelor's apartment with one entire wall as window.

March 12, 2016 at 01:44 AM · I keep a pair of tweezers in each violin case to help when changing a string, particularly for coaxing the end of the A (usually black) into the hole in a black peg in the dark far recesses of the peg box. My fingers are too thick to comfortably do the job on their own without a lot of cussing.

A pair of miniature pliers to tighten the ring nut on the E-string tuner should it ever work loose.

A 2B or 3B pencil for marking up the music during a rehearsal. Also an eraser to cope with the conductor's change of mind.

March 12, 2016 at 01:53 AM · In addition to the above, I keep spare strings and nail clippers in my case along with a couple of dollars in case I need it.

March 12, 2016 at 02:29 AM · I disagree with Mary-Ellen on the stand light. As I've aged (I'm now in my early 40s), I've found that I need more and more light to read music comfortably, and the light makes a big difference in my eye fatigue. Thus far, I've wanted that light to be as bright and as broad as possible. (The top-end Aria lights are good for this.)

In addition to things already mentioned, I have a love for Post-Its. I use Post-It dots to mark spots in my music for practice or to remind myself to discuss a passage with my teacher. I use Post-It flags to mark repeats, cuts, and other things for pit playing, or to mark up music where I'm obliged to erase marks afterwards (rented parts for pit, most notably). I use Post-It tabs for miscellaneous notes to self. I keep all three in my case.

March 12, 2016 at 02:46 AM · Must have: violin, bow & violin case.

Nice to have: whatever you need (or want) along the way (please do not get me started, or the list will be very long)

March 12, 2016 at 06:27 AM · Yes, post-it's! I carry them in my bag. And I'll admit, I never heard of them mentioned in a previous post. But Lydia, you're talking about the version that is clear or at least transparent. Good idea.

March 12, 2016 at 06:40 AM · Yes. The flags have a colored end and then a transparent "tape". There's also transparent Post-It tape (like clear Scotch tape except using the Post-It adhesive).

March 12, 2016 at 07:32 AM · During the winter months the humidity in my flat drops well beyond 40 or even 30 percent, which is why I always keep some sort of humidifier (e.g. a little sponge) in my case - a real must-have for me.

March 12, 2016 at 07:34 AM · I'm 54....I just make sure that my studio at home is well-lit. The symphony provides stand lights when the stage is dark. I do own a set of stand lights, unfortunately the cheap ones, which I use for those late-in-the-day outdoor weddings when the sun is going down. An Aria stand light, which I agree is fantastic, must take its place in line behind two kids' college tuitions.

March 12, 2016 at 11:49 AM · I'm 75...I just make sure I have some chalk for when pegs start to slip. Oh, and if I'm expecting an out-door gig a couple of clothes-pegs are useful.

March 12, 2016 at 02:12 PM · Chinrest tool...

March 18, 2016 at 11:58 PM · I have the same violin/viola stand as Steven, Its angled in a way that the violin will not slip or fall and if you need to put the violin away there's the cover for the neck so it can't slide away no matter how much it would like :)

As for essentials, in my case I have..


chinrest tool



shoulder rest

pin to keep sheet music open

orchestral mute

practice mute


spare strings

cleaning cloth

cough drops

March 19, 2016 at 01:51 AM · If you're thinking of TAKING the ibuprofen, you MUST have a little something with you to eat before you take it. But, provided you stay within the 8 x 500mg/24 hour limit, paracetamol (tylenol) is less risky.

March 20, 2016 at 03:39 AM · greetings,

just my opinion but I really dont like violin stands, hangers or whatever. I belive it is very important to instill in students of any age the sacred nature of the violin and bow. It belongs in the case which is zipped up and put out of harms way when not in use. Most yoith orchestras seem quite happy to leave instruments on chairs during break times and so on and damaged instruments are the end result.

The act of correctly placing and removing the instrument from the case as a psychological prelud eqnd end to pratice is of some significance.

We also need patience, humility, curiosity and a gold plated butt. I thin most of thes ecan be found on ebay.



Ps you shoild certainly read as many books as possible about violin playing. They take precednent over gadgets

March 20, 2016 at 06:24 AM · A stand light is a must. As we get older the dots tend to fade on the page ! The ceiling light in my room is behind me and my head casts a shadow on the music. It is a small bedroom and there is no way to rearrange the furniture so that the ceiling light would be over the music.

I leave my violin set up with its shoulder rest on a book shelf as I have no pets and no children. That way it is always ready to go.

March 20, 2016 at 02:55 PM · Aside from the basics, I have invested in the Simon Fischer books (Basics, Practice, Scales). I am working still on early Suzuki material with my teacher but reading the Fischer works is opening doors in my thinking very quickly - so these are my most useful must-haves right now.

Although I do admit getting an older Wittner metronome (tons of character and works like a charm) has been fun and useful for tempo/rhythm consistency.

March 22, 2016 at 07:44 PM · A tuning fork. I've had mine for years and haven't yet had to change the batteries.

A nail clipper. Not only is it good for trimming broken hairs (don't pull them out!), but it's a life-saver if I notice my nails are too long just before a concert.

March 22, 2016 at 11:31 PM · tuning fork takes batteries?

March 29, 2016 at 07:25 PM · Only if you have one of those newfangled models.

July 15, 2016 at 04:33 PM · Charlie, "if I notice my nails are too long just before a concert" ...

What are teeth for?

July 22, 2016 at 10:19 PM · Leaving rough edges that I'd be obsessively chewing on all night. The nail clipper comes with a file so I can make my nails as smooth as my playing (I wish).

July 24, 2016 at 08:28 AM · extra pair of strings and nail files... oh and a little sand paper

July 24, 2016 at 08:04 PM · Well, I had a nail clipper in my violin case from the time I started teaching children in 1964. Came in handy for myself sometimes too.

July 24, 2016 at 08:32 PM · I just read through the thread again...and joking aside:

Chinrest tool.

(So I lied). I just rethought through my years of carrying around the violin and really, I suppose it depends a bit in how you travel (by car vs. by subway), and where you travel to (rehearsal hall vs. outdoor gig).

In addition to the chinrest tool I have an electronic tuner. Just recently I started keeping a spare set of reading glasses - my eyes are aging as well and I can't see the music with my new progressives properly. So over time your 'must haves' will change a bit too.

That's it! I keep a pencil in my music bag, I probably should have one in the case as well...

...might be some cat hair in it too...but not on purpose...

July 24, 2016 at 11:57 PM · Eye-glass repair kit, earplugs, and a second stand for storing all the in-process music you are working on (also for holding Dr. Beat or your phone for tuning/metronome apps). Add a folding chair for practicing sitting down (if you play in an orchestra, at least part of your practice time should be sitting).

July 24, 2016 at 11:57 PM · (duplicated somehow... )

July 25, 2016 at 02:51 AM · I have a lot of things, some junk I don't need, others stuff I think I need.

I have 2 rosins, one I purchased and the other a friend gave me.

I have 2 cloths for string cleaning.

A metal practice mute and a rubber practice mute- the reason for this is I live in an apartment with an incredibly annoying neighbor. I would say 9/10 practices are without a mute because I hate using the mute. However, if I find I am working through a passage for practice and am either repeating it several times or am struggling with it, she will bang on our adjacent wall. Additionally, the lease states that musical instruments are not to be played. This is not enforced as there are many musicians in my building, but just in case, I have my metal mute.

I changed my pegs, tail piece, and chin rest so I have the originals in my case.

I have a pencil.

I have my shoulder rest.

I don't have spare strings, but I do have a tube for spare strings.

I have two tuners that I never use because I use my phone now. When I bought the tuners, smart phones were not a thing.

My violin and bow.

Finally, I have my music in my case.

I think that is all. There's a lot in there!

July 25, 2016 at 02:59 PM · A Baroque bow, wig, and powder for period performance.

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