Once you turn your passion for playing the viola into a career, you’ll start to travel with your beloved instrument wherever you go. Most violas range from 12” to 16 ½” in size which is more handy compared to other string instruments such as guitars and cellos.
Traveling with a musical instrument requires careful handling and storing because of its fragility. It can easily be damaged with humidity and other unexpected situations like bumps and extreme pressure.
Traveling by Land
Violas are easier to carry with short trips compared when traveling abroad. While it is more convenient to place your viola in the car trunk, it is better if you keep the instrument with you inside the car. The trunk has a higher exposure to heat and humidity that’s why it is not advisable to place it there.
Before traveling, make sure that the strings are loosened, as well as the bow hairs, to prevent it from contraction damage. Invest in a sturdy case that fits your viola to protect it from potential damage.
Traveling by Air
A professional viola player may not stick around the town. You might need to fly from one state to the other or even go to a different country. You have to consider a lot of things when traveling using air transportation than by land.
First, you have to be knowledgeable of the airlines’ policies in bringing musical instruments. Some may consider your viola as a part of your carry-on luggage and some may not. If they allow you to put it on the overhead bin or under your seat or in front of you, the better. You would want to see it and protect it with all your might when there is turbulence, rather than putting it on the airplane cargo, not knowing how it was secured.
Whether you can keep it with you in your seat or not, you may also consider adding pads or bubble wraps to your case. Wrap the instruments carefully or fill up spaces inside the case with soft padding for protection. Also, airlines’ security policies would require their personnel to check what’s inside your viola case. If you can’t be with them while they are opening it, how can you make sure that they know how to properly and safely unbox your case? You may want to leave a note with instructions on how to handle your instrument and how to open your case properly.
Befofe you leave the house to travel, whether it’s a simple gig or an international event, make sure that you have all that you need – from your string instrument to your must-have accessories. Prepare a separate storage for your music sheets, shoulder rest, and rosin as it should not be placed together with your other things. Lastly, always secure these essentials with a luggage tag with your name and contact details in case it goes missing. Traveling with a musical instrument is a challenging but fulfilling experience especially when you are able to perform to a new place with a new crowd using your beloved viola.