Violin practice

I really must do some. As you can see, I’ve procrastinated by putting up a blog post about procrastination 😉

Haven’t really played for about six weeks and I have to lead a small orchestra on Friday. Hope I still know how a violin works!

Later: Well the first thing that happened was an unpleasant surprise. I’d evidently put the violin away in a hurry the last time I played–which was at a friend’s leaving party–forgetting to wipe the rosin from the strings. And then six weeks’ hot weather had stuck it on very firmly. I can’t say how unpleasant it is trying to play with sticky strings.

So, out with the surgical spirit. This cleans rosin off amazingly well, using up a chunk of practice time, but see warnings

Finally, practised some three-octave scales, on a very medical-smelling violin, to try to calibrate my fingers. Reassured that my left hand still knows how to play; a bit disappointed that my right arm seems to have forgotten that it’s supposed to be friends with the bow. But that’s fine. I’m sure they’ll have made friends again by Friday.

Warning 1: surgical spirit may be good for removing rosin but it’s also good for removing violin varnish; I’ve met several teachers who have at one time or another had a pupil get the wrong idea and make the discovery. Keep it well away from the body of the violin. It’s OK to use it to use it on an ebony fingerboard; that’s unvarnished to start with. Not sure about cheaper fingerboards; I think they’re stained to look like ebony, and the surgical spirit might dissolve the staining.

Warning 2, which is less obvious: surgical spirit should just contain methanol and ethanol. So several months ago I assumed that if I went to buy some, that’s what I would get. Well, It Ain’t Necessarily So: I had a choice between Surgical Spirit Ph. Eur. from Boots, and Superdrug Surgical Spirit from Superdrug, where I went first. Out of curiosity, I checked the ingredients, and saw: “Castor oil 2.5%” in the Superdrug version. Castor oil!!!. Definitely not what you want on your violin strings. So check the ingredients.

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