What do you do about long fingernails?

Barb said: Feb 14, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I did a search, and see some discussion here: https://suzukiassociation.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1255&hilit=fingernails

Any new ideas since 2006? :)

I remember being 11 and having my cello teacher trim them at the lesson—she always cut them so short that they hurt so I learned to make sure they were cut before lessons!

I really don’t want to do that in this day and age—the thought of what could happen if I accidentally cut a child’s fingers…

I have heard the excuse, “They grow so fast,” but that really isn’t an excuse for not checking them just before the lesson or being in the habit of clipping them the night before the lesson is scheduled. No one’s nails grow so fast that they are fine when leaving home and too long at the lesson.

I have considered that if they come with long fingernails we forgo any use of the left hand since good technique is impossible with long nails, and work on bowing with open strings for the entire lesson. Seems like a logical consequence.

What do you think?

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Grace said: Feb 15, 2011
 Violin
110 posts

I hand the kid or the parent the nail clippers and let them cut the nails! I tell them to just cut the 4 left hand ones. But if they want to spend (waste) 5 minutes of their lesson cutting nails, that is their choice.

Michelle said: Feb 16, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
25 posts

I keep an old pair of nail clippers that doesn’t work very well in the studio. If they arrive with nails that are too long I also hand the student (or the parent if they are younger) the clippers and let them have at it. It’s a time consuming and frustrating experience to use my nail clippers and wastes enough of their lesson time that they generally learn their lesson about coming with short enough nails in the future.

Now available in blog form.

Barb said: Feb 16, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Thanks, folks.

I have one student who is 8 whose parent cannot stay with him. When his nails are too long (his parents leave this responsibility to him) and I call him on it, he asks if I have nail SCISSORS, and I don’t.

I like the idea of an old pair of difficult-to-use clippers. :) Maybe if they especially frustrated this young student who probably doesn’t know how to use clippers he would learn?

By the way, if I were to provide the clippers, I’d probably also ask them to clip outside so that the clippings don’t get into the carpet.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

said: Feb 17, 2011
 24 posts

I keep nail clippers in my son’s case in the same compartment with the rosin. Maybe you can make that suggestion to your parents. That way if we haven’t trimmed them down enough I can do it while we are waiting for the student before to finish with their lesson.

Joan King said: May 20, 2011
Joan King
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
1 posts

Whatever you do, please don’t share nail clippers. You never know who has what these days. Sure, I’ve done it in the past, and so did my teacher. But if should be any kind of bodily fluid (saliva, blood, tears) on those clippers, there is a chance of infection. There are hepatitis viruses that survive hours, even days, on hard surfaces. If there is blood from cutting hangnails or cutting the nails too short, and then use the clippers on another child without using an autoclave, there is a chance, albeit small, that HIV or HCV could be passed on to the next children. And if the kids have hangnails… Why take a chance?
And no, alcohol doesn’t kill HCV. Sharing nail clippers is a no-no, just like sharing razors or toothbrushes.

At our last party, I gave all the kids nail clippers, and told them to keep them in their case.

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