Extreme Weather Strings

Let’s face it. String musicians normally don’t perform outdoors. But, occasionally you or your students may be asked to perform for an outdoor winter event. Recently, MENC member James Phillips and his students from Mt. Pisgah Middle School in Somerville, Tennessee, were asked to perform for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in their community. These tips will help protect you, your students, and the instruments from the elements:

  • COLD – Don’t store your instrument in a closed car, especially not your trunk. Don’t store your instrument near an outside wall in your home. Wear gloves right up until you perform. Consider buying those inexpensive hand warmers you see in stores. When making concert dress choices, think warmth first, appearance second.
  • WIND – Bring clothespins to secure your music. Avoid using wire music stands, which can easily blow over.
  • RAIN/SNOW – Don’t even consider bringing your instrument outdoors if there is a chance it may get wet. Major damage can be done to your instrument. It’s just not worth it. Consider using another instrument if this is a major concern. Put your music in clear plastic sheet protectors and then put them in a three-ring binder.
  • LIGHT – For those evening and night gigs, bring a battery-operated book light with sufficient lighting. Test it out beforehand. You don’t want to play in the dark. If you are playing in the middle of the day, you may have glare from the snow on the ground. Don’t be afraid to wear sunglasses.


Have experience performing in the cold weather? Share your stories and post your tips here.


— Nicole Springer, February 19, 2010. © National Association for Music Education.