Violin Class
FAQ

On this page, you'll find important procedural information for the Lakehill Prep Violin Class and frequently asked questions. If you have any further questions, email me any time at contact@mandygraceguilfoyle.com.

Caring For Your Violin

Storage-

  1. Never store your violin in the car! The heat from sitting in the car could warp the instrument and a whole host of other things. Keep your violin (in its case) inside in a cool, safe environment.

  2. Don't leave your violin on a chair or table. If it isn't in your or your student's hands, make sure it is safely stored in its (zipped-up) case.

  3. When you put your violin in its case, make sure you take off the shoulder rest first. The shoulder rest can then be stored separately, whether in the case in an outside pocket or in some other bag.

  4. Loosen the bow before putting it away. You don't want the hairs to be so loose that they separate, but you don't want the hairs to be taught, either. Storing the bow while it is tightened will stretch out the bow hair, leading to broken hairs and making you have to get it re-haired much quicker.

  5. If your violin is in the case, always make sure it is completely zipped up! We don't want violins falling on the ground!

Maintenance-

  1. After playing with the bow, gently wipe the rosin off the strings with a clean cloth.

  2. Use the same cloth and gently wipe off the stick of the bow (not touching the hair!).

  3. You should only have to rosin your bow once or twice a week while your student is still a beginner. We will rosin our bows in class, so that should be good for the week of practicing at home. If you find that they are having trouble making a sound with the bow, it may need rosin, especially if they are practicing a lot. Your student will learn how to rosin their bow in class.

Important Violin Rules!

  1. Never touch the bow hair. Ever! The oils from our hands will ruin the hair.

  2. Don't touch the strings in the space below the fingerboard and above the bridge. That is where your bow goes, and the oils from our hands can ruin the strings at that spot.

  3. Never place your violin bridge-side down. The bridge is not glued down, so if it falls down, Ms. Mandy will have to fix it for you.

  4. Don't touch the tuning pegs at the top of the violin! Eventually, your student will learn how to tune with the tuning pegs, but for the first semester at least, don't touch them. If you do, you might break a string!

  5. Always be gentle with your violins and your violin equipment. Treat it like your friend. :)

  6. Please don't let younger siblings play with your student's violin. Your student will learn how to specially take care of their violin, and their younger siblings may not know how to treat their violin gently.

Oh no! My violin broke. What do I do now?!

  1. Broken string

    1. It happens! Let's say your student plucked too hard, or a sibling played with the tuning pegs and the string broke. If that happens, carefully put your violin back in its case and let Ms. Mandy know. The place where you rented your violin will be able to get you a replacement string, and either they or Ms. Mandy can replace it for you.​

  2. Crack​​

    1. If your violin has a crack, whether from the weather or dropping it, same as above; carefully put it back in its case and let Ms. Mandy know. Cracks will have to be repaired by the violin shop where you got it from, by a trained luthier. Contact your violin rental shop and let them know what happened, and they will tell you your next steps.​

    2. In this case, if your student does not have a violin during class because it is at the luthier being repaired, they can still come to class and learn without their instrument!

  3. Broken bow hair

    1. This is very common, don't worry! If a student plays really hard with the bow, sometimes a bow hair can break. If a single bow hair breaks, don't pull it off! You risk pulling out all the bow hairs if you do that. With scissors or a pair of nail clippers, cut off the bow hair, leaving about half an inch hanging off.

  4. My violin is out of tune!

    1. No worries! Eventually, your student will learn how to tune their own violins. Since I cannot tune everyone's violins every day, just do your best with it out of tune and Ms. Mandy will tune it during Monday's class. Especially in the beginning, it's ok if it goes a little out of tune during the week.​

  5. Anything major- fingerboard fell off, chin rest fell off, etc.

    1. In the case of major breaks, always let Ms. Mandy know and contact your violin rental shop as soon as possible! They will take care of the violin for you. Never try to repair it yourself. There are special tools and materials that luthiers use for violins.​

      1. For example: don't ever use super glue on your student's violin! (Yes, that actually happened in one of Ms. Mandy's classes once!)​

Practicing

  1. How long should my student practice?

    1. At this beginning stage, I like to think of it in repetitions instead of minutes practiced. See how many times they can play their practice assignment! For reference, I find it best to stick to their age in minutes practiced.

      1. Example: Student is 7 years old, and plays as many repetitions as they are able to in 1-7 minutes per day.​

  2. How many days a week should my student practice?

    1. Aim for daily practice or every other day! As they say, practice makes progress. If your student isn't able to practice during the week, they will quickly fall behind in Violin Class. We will learn how to practice in the first couple of weeks of class.​

  3. Spirit Sticks and Practice Charts

    1. Your student will get a fun practice chart- after each repetition of their practice assignment, students can color in one acorn for each repetition of their assignment.

      1. Example: Student plays Song #4 in the book 3 times, so they get to color in 3 acorns.​

    2. Once the page of acorns is fully colored in, the student wins a Spirit Stick keychain they can put on their violin case!

  4. Do I have to be involved?

    1. At this young age, I do ask that there is a grownup involved in their practice at home. ​

      1. Ways a grownup can help:​

        1. Make sure the student is handling their violin properly.​

        2. Encourage the student to keep going, even when things get hard!

        3. Make sure that the student isn't fibbing when they color in their acorns.

        4. Notice any issues the student may be having that they wouldn't notice themselves.

The most important rule is to HAVE FUN and make beautiful music!