There’s so much to keep track of when it comes to back to school shopping. Pencils, pens, notebooks, but what about music supplies? Whether you are preparing a 9-year-old novice to learn to play the violin or gearing up for your high school senior to perform one last concert series before they depart for college, there are plenty of items you can invest in to support your developing or intermediate musician.
If you’ve been at this for a while, much of this back to school list won’t surprise you, but it’s nice to get reminders. Plus, there might be one or two surprises you hadn’t thought of previously.
Back to School Checklist for Violin Players
Mileage on strings varies, based on the violinist’s skill level, usage and what type of string is played. For example, metal strings often last up to nine or 10 months while synthetic strings typically last up to six months. For students and less experienced violinists, steel core strings are popular for their stable pitch, easy tuning and affordability. If your student has never changed a violin string before, ask a professional at your local music shop to teach them.
For active and more advanced violinists, strings may last just a couple months before needing replacement. No matter the skill level, a violinist should always have at least one full set of replacement strings in their violin case.
Violin Case Inspection Time
While it’s common to inspect a violin at regular intervals to ensure it’s in good working order, some developing violinists tend to overlook the condition of their instrument’s case. If their case is cracked, it’s time to replace it. If you upgraded your musician’s violin recently to something fancier with a loftier price tag, it may be time to buy a nicer, more durable and feature-rich case that offers more protection for the instrument.
Whether you need to replace a cracked or broken case, or upgrade an existing one, avoid the lightest options because they tend to not offer much protection. The last thing you want to do is invest money for a case that will break easily and need replacing again soon. Pro tip: It’s also good to invest in a violin case that has some extra pocket space for storing sheet music and extra strings.
Sound recording is a critical tool for a violinist to track their development. There are plenty of sophisticated apps for smartphones that can record playing, but many schools ban cellphone use. To get around this, invest in a portable digital recorder that can be carried in your student’s violin case or backpack. Digital recorders are small, most are battery-powered, plus they are inexpensive — unless you invest in a top-quality audio system that’s capable of producing media — and they are dependable.
Don’t forget to buy a quality microphone that your developing or intermediate violinist can connect to their new digital recorder for best results.
Your violinist can best take advantage of their new digital recorder with studio headphones, which can also connect to a tablet, smartphone or computer. Studio headphones are cost-efficient compared to full studio speaker systems, and they are very portable, making them easy for travel.
Did you know rosin goes bad? While most rosin boxes don’t include an expiration date, it’s important to know most rosin lasts no more than two years before needing replacement. If the rosin is improperly stored, routinely exposed to high humidity or kept in a damaged container, that could reduce its shelf life further. A good rule of thumb is to replace rosin once every two years, at a minimum.
A Durable, Long-Lasting Bow
For developing violinists, having a high-quality bow is critical, and a great way to protect your wallet without sacrificing quality is to invest in carbon fiber. Five times stronger than steel, carbon fiber violin bows are crafted for a lifetime of use. CodaBow’s Prodigy bow is created by master musicians using industry-leading composite materials to craft a long-lasting tool that allows the violinist to transition from novice to intermediate to advanced levels, without having to change bows. The Prodigy even comes with a five-year warranty.
If your student violinist is transitioning to an advanced level, it might be a good time to match them with a more advanced carbon fiber bow to meet their growing needs. CodaBow’s Diamond Collection, backed by award-winning design and functionality, blends classic pedagogy with innovative technology allowing the musician to fine-tune their sound.
Help Your Violinist Give Their Best Performance
Interested in CodaBow? We offer seven-day, in-home trials to help violinists identify the perfect bow for their musical needs. You can also visit your local CodaBow dealer to try one of our carbon fiber bows in person.