Use of wood rosin

My son has a peanut and tree nut allergy. He will be playing the viola this fall. When reading, the information sheet I noted that the bow has to be rubbed with " wood rosin". When looking up rosin, I noted that Rosin," also called colophony or Greek pitch is a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers." Also, as "glycerol ester (E445) it can be used as an emulsifier in soft drinks.

Does anyone have experience with using these tree products? Thanks!!

By raye on Tue, 09-17-13, 18:30

Absolutely, DO consult an allergist, but I don't think rosin is in the same category as tree-nut or peanut allergies. However,I have a personal recent history with rosin due to my extremely sensitive lungs. I bought a beautiful old violin, had it worked over and enrolled in an adult beginner violin class this summer, without knowing I would be using rosin each session! When I did the initial rosining of my bow (about 30 strokes on the rosin block the first time the bow is used) I immediately got a reaction causing bronchitis with its accompanying cough, so I had to drop out of class before it began. I was so sad so I researched the subject and found that there is a non-allergic rosin that should not cause a problem. I bought some and so far, so good. I am playing with self-teach books at home now and plan to get a private instructor. In my research, I found that at least one strings INSTRUCTOR had a severe allergy to rosin, also, and she requires all her students to use the non-allergenic type. The non-allergenic (or hypoallergenic) rosin is called "Geipel Violin Rosin, Hypoallergenic, made in Germany," and I got mine online through Amazon.com, but I see it can be ordered from music stores, as well. Another note: I read from some string musicians that it is not necessary to make more than 2-3 strokes on the bow with the rosin each session, whereas, I had first read it should be 30 strokes each time - wrong! And, if you have your child wear a face mssk while doing the quick rosining, and stand outdoors so the dust (if any with the artificial rosin) does not fall in his breathing area indoors, he will probably do fine. But it would help if all the students in group classes used hypo (non) allergenic rosin! It is my opinion that, although one can have a terrible sensitivity to tree saps (I cannot breath turpentine, varnish, etc. without getting bronchitis right away), this is, I believe, totally different from nut allergy. Again, ASK HIS ALLERGIST before beginning string classes which require rosin use. I hope this has helped!

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By loriradakovich on Tue, 09-17-13, 12:31

While my kids (both of them severe peanut and tree nut allergic and also have seasonal allergies) haven't played a string instrument, they have been exposed to pine sap with no problem except the sticky aspect. They have also handled pine cones many times. I'd talk it over with your allergist (and you could have him tested for any allergies to pine/conifers if you haven't already) and definitely have him exposed to it before playing the instrument at school. I had been worried over renting used instruments (Trumpet and percussion)and what they clean them with. It's always good to talk with the music store also (Mine gave me a brand new carrying case and percussion set for my child and only charged me the used price because THEY wanted to be certain all was safe:)
Good Luck!

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