There are many reasons to properly maintain a student instrument, including protecting your investment as well as preserving the instrument's sound quality.
Part of the responsibility of the both the parent of a student violin player and the violin teacher, is to teach the student to properly care for their violin. Keeping a violin clean and protected from harsh conditions will keep the violin sounding its best and keep the student interested in playing. It's just as vital for student violins to be properly cared for as a fine, professional violin.
The violin is best protected in its case …
When not being played, the violin and bow should be stored in a case. Your student should remember to loosen the bow and remove the violin shoulder rest before placing the violin in the case. The best cases both latch and zipper closed. This adds double protection from picking up the case and having the violin and other contents fall out. Students should be reminded to always latch and/or zip the case when the case is closed. Cases are important violin accessories and you do not want to go too cheap, even if they house less-expensive student violins. A good case protects the violin and bow from extreme temperatures as well as from bow bugs, which can damage the hairs on a bow.
Protect the violin from extreme temperatures …
The violin should be protected from any extreme temperatures or humidity. This includes not keeping a violin in a hot car (or a cold car, for that matter!). Violins should never be left in direct sunlight, close to windows, heaters, radiators or heating and air conditioning vents, even when the instrument is in its case. Instruments should also be protected from extreme humidity. Experts recommend that violins, in their cases, are best stored at room temperature with a humidity level of about 40 to 50 percent. Violin Dampits can greatly help in protecting the instrument’s wood from the humidity.
Keep the violin clean and dust free …
After each playing, all of the violin’s surfaces should be wiped down in order to avoid a buildup of rosin, dust, fingerprints and perspiration. You can purchase special soft violin cleaning cloths from almost any online violin store or local violin shop. These wipes are made of fabric that is untreated and microporous. These cloths are machine washable and reusable.
If your student cleans his instrument with a cloth after each use, the use of polishes and cleaners will not be unnecessary.
Use the cloth to wipe excess rosin off the strings. Wipe down the chin rest the fingerboard under the strings. Place the violin under the light to see fingerprints. Wipe the fingerprints off in the same direction as the wood grain of the instrument.
DO NOT use alcohol, household cleaners or furniture polishes to polish the violin. When it’s time for polishing, take the violin to a violin shop for a good cleaning, especially if there’s already a large buildup of rosin or grime. Otherwise, if you have to use liquid, simple water will suffice. If your child has a teacher, the teacher may be able to assist in showing the student how to wipe down the violin.