If you have ever spent any time around a string repair workshop, you would no doubt have heard about the importance of setting up violins, cellos and double basses correctly.
People do not necessarily know that when an instrument arrives at a music store, it is not automatically ready to be played. Usually you would receive the ‘body’ of a violin, for example. From there it would still be necessary to fit a bridge, adjust the pegs, measure and fit the sound-post, adjust the nut and replace the supplied factory strings with a quality set of strings.
This work needs to be carried out by a trained professional who can execute these often intricate and specialised jobs for the set up. A well set up instrument may then be deemed ‘playable’.
Most school music departments would not be fortunate enough to have this level of expertise available among their staff. After all, it is a completely different field of work from being a tutor who provides lessons and the all-important fun of how to play the instrument. Therefore, whether the school purchases the string instruments or advises the parents where to purchase them from, it is important that students be provided with quality instruments that have been well set up. This in turn will also help your tutors by enabling them to do their jobs and just get on with the lesson!
Without the proper set up of string instruments, there will be tonal and intonation issues. The teacher may not only find it difficult to tune the instrument but also to maintain this tuning throughout the lesson, creating frustration and causing precious time to be wasted. Most importantly, the student will lose interest quickly as playing the violin will just seem too hard!
Playing the violin is hard, but without a properly set up instrument, the perseverance required to continue learning cannot be expected from any student.
For some vital information on the subject check out this link:
HOW TO: Setup a Violin Professionally – The Sydney String Centre