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Welcome to the world of violin-playing fellow violin enthusiasts! As a professional violinist, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to master the art of holding the violin correctly.
But fear not, with some careful illustrations and a little discussion, we can make it easy-peasy.
Now, let’s talk posture – it’s the foundation of your violin playing. You want to make sure you have a well-balanced and relaxed posture.
Don’t worry if you’re struggling with it at first, even advanced violinists can still struggle with bad habits and poor posture. But keep at it, and soon enough, it’ll become second nature to you.
I want to emphasize the importance of having the correct posture when playing the violin. I’ll be sure to tell you why.
First, proper posture allows you to play in tune, which is essential for any musician. Plus, when you hold your instrument correctly, you can maintain eye contact with other musicians and the conductor, which is necessary when playing in an ensemble.
But that’s not all. Proper posture also allows you to read the sheet music while playing, which is an excellent skill to have as a musician.
Finally, and most importantly, good posture promotes healthy habits and helps prevent long-term injuries.
Playing the violin requires fine motor skills that can be challenging to develop, significantly when injured.
So it’s crucial to take care of your body and posture to play for a long time without damaging yourself.
Remember, music requires repeated actions, and if you don’t have the correct posture, you can hurt yourself and be out of commission for weeks or even months.
Take a look at the video below to say good bye to struggles when holding your violin!
Here are 4 important facts that will help you ensure proper physical alignment and control of your instrument.
First things first, keep your spine aligned! Whether you’re seated or standing, it’s important to maintain an upright posture. When seated, choose a chair with a firm seat and sit towards the front half of the chair, aligning your left foot slightly in front of your right. When standing, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and remain loose and flexible from your knees up through your neck.
Keep the violin parallel to the floor. This is your home base posture, and it’s important to keep the bottom of the violin resting on or near your left collarbone. The left side of your chin should lean downward to steady the violin. If this feels uncomfortable, don’t worry, just try repositioning until it feels more manageable.
You can make use of chin rests and shoulder rests. Chin rests are pretty much standard on modern violins, while shoulder rests are an additional piece of equipment that can be incredibly helpful in maintaining the right posture over long periods of time. Although it’s possible to play without a shoulder rest, it can cause discomfort and push your body into unnatural contortions, which can lead to injury. So, it’s always advisable to use shoulder rests.
Last but not least, make sure your left hand is supported but not rigid. Center your left elbow beneath the midpoint of the violin (including its neck). Your left wrist should be curved towards the fingerboard, but not too rigidly. Your hand should also be curved into a “C” shape, with your thumb and index finger serving as opposite ends of the “C.”
So there you have it! Following these four simple steps will help you hold your violin properly, which will allow you to play in tune, read a score while playing, and most importantly, prevent long-term injuries that can result from poor posture. Remember, music performance requires repeated actions, so it’s essential to take care of your body.
Now, you might think it’s as simple as just placing it on your shoulder and playing away, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
First things first, the violin should rest on your collar bone and be supported by the shoulder and the weight of your head.
The gentle weight from the head, with a relaxed neck, stabilizes the violin on the collarbone.
Don’t forget about the chin rest, which not only protects the top of the violin but also adjusts for the length of your neck.
To make sure the violin strings are held parallel to the floor, you’ll need a shoulder pad fitted to fill the slight space between the back of the violin and your shoulder. But remember, the shoulder pad should not prevent the violin from resting on the collarbone, and it shouldn’t be used to compensate for the length of your neck. In fact, a frequently overlooked function of the shoulder pad is to provide friction so that the violin neither pivots too easily nor slips off the shoulder.
Now, you might need to briefly hold the violin by increasing the weight of your head on the chinrest to free up your left hand, but ongoing support of the violin shifts constantly between your left shoulder, jaw, and left hand, with contact with the collarbone remaining constant.
And one more thing, low-density foam pads in minimal contact with the back of the violin will not adversely affect the sound of the instrument, so don’t be afraid to use them if you need to.
Let’s talk about shoulder pads and chin rests! Finding the right combination can make all the difference in how comfortable you are when playing violin.
First, let’s focus on the shoulder pad. If you have broad shoulders and they’re not sloping downward too much from your neck, you may not need much of a shoulder pad at all.
On the other hand, if your shoulders slope more or if you have a thinner build, you might need a thicker pad or shoulder rest to keep the violin in place.
The important thing is to make sure there’s enough friction to keep the violin from slipping off your shoulder. Sometimes a non-skid pad can do the trick, even if it’s not very thick.
Now, let’s talk about chin rests. The height of your chin rest is what matters most, not the thickness of the shoulder pad or rest.
Your neck length is the key factor here, which is the distance from the midpoint of your collarbone to your jaw. The chin rest height should accommodate this distance.
It’s important to note that the angle of the violin when resting on your collarbone means the distance from your collarbone to your jaw is actually greater than the thickness of the instrument.
If you feel like you need a higher shoulder rest, it’s important to be careful. Adjusting the rest to be higher can tilt the violin more toward the E string side, which is not ideal.
This can end up lifting your jaw and causing tension. So, it’s important to find the right combination that works for your body type and provides you with a comfortable and relaxed playing experience.
Holding the violin correctly is essential for playing comfortably and avoiding injuries. From experience, I can tell you how important it is to have a solid foundation. So, let me tell you more about how to support the violin with your left hand.
The neck of the violin should rest gently against the base knuckle of the first finger of the left hand.
This base of the finger provides most of the support for the violin’s neck, with the thumb providing gentle counter pressure so that the violin does not slip down into the web of the thumb.
The side of the thumb should lightly contact the neck of the violin across from the first or second finger. This way, the violin is supported but not held tightly by the left hand.
In addition, the jaw and collarbone establish two stable points of contact with the violin. And the base of the left index finger and the side of the left thumb establish two more points of contact with the instrument.
By combining these four contact points, you’ll be able to support the violin comfortably while playing.
Remember, the violin should rest lightly on the collarbone and the jaw should rest gently on the chin rest. And the left hand should support the violin without gripping it tightly.
With the proper technique, you’ll be able to play for hours without any discomfort.
Let’s talk about how to practice holding your violin correctly so that you can play comfortably for hours.
First things first, the violin should be resting on your collarbone, supported by your left hand and shoulder. The chin rest is there to protect the violin and adjust the distance from your jaw to your collarbone.
So make sure you’ve got that chin rest fitted properly! I find that flatter and simpler chin rests tend to be more comfortable.
And if you’re worried about the collarbone feeling uncomfortable, try using a non-slippery cloth to cover it up.
Now, onto supporting the violin with your left hand. The neck of the violin should rest gently against the base knuckle of your first finger, with the side of your thumb lightly touching the neck of the violin across from your first or second finger.
Your left index finger provides most of the support for the neck, while the thumb provides gentle counter pressure to prevent the violin from slipping.
You should also have four points of contact with the violin: your jaw, collarbone, base of the left index finger, and the side of the left thumb.
Take some time to simply hold the violin with these contact points and walk around slowly. Pay attention to your balance and posture, and note how easy it is to hold the violin in this manner.
Remember, the violin should be supported and held as gently as possible. Any extra pressure from your thumb or jaw may increase stability, but it greatly increases tension, which is not good for your playing.
Don’t worry too much about the weight of the violin. It’s actually quite light, weighing in at about one pound.
Your left hand should exert less than six ounces of force to hold up the neck of the violin.
What’s important is that you have a balanced body and learn to support your partially extended left arm with relaxed shoulder and back muscles.
Let’s talk about a common mistake that many players make when holding the violin.
It’s understandable to feel like the violin might slip away, but we often grip the instrument too tightly, both with our jaw and our left hand.
But fear not because with proper support, you won’t have to hold on for dear life.
So, first things first, let’s get comfortable just holding the violin in a gentle and relaxed manner, using the four contact points of the jaw, collarbone, left index finger, and left thumb. It might take a bit of practice, but you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to hold the violin with minimal effort.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can start sliding your left hand up and down the neck of the violin while maintaining those four contact points. As you move up into higher positions, your thumb will need to come under the neck for support and to allow your hand to reach further up the fingerboard. But remember, always keep it light and gentle – you don’t need to grip too hard!
By the way, did you know that the average adult arm weighs around six to ten pounds, while a violin with a foam pad only weighs about a pound?
That means the force needed to hold up the violin is less than six ounces! So it’s essential to have a well-balanced body and relaxed shoulder and back muscles to properly support your arm and the violin.
So go ahead, give it a try and see how comfortable and easy it can be to hold the violin with proper support. Happy playing!
We’ve covered a lot about how to how the violin, but one thing needs to be stressed more: building a solid foundation technique and learning the basics properly.
It’s the key to unlocking your full potential as a violinist and achieving your musical goals. That’s why taking lessons from a qualified instructor is so important.
They can guide you through the learning process and help you develop the proper posture, technique, and musicality.
Online violin lessons are a fantastic option if you prefer to learn from the comfort of your own home. You’ll get access to a structured curriculum and receive personalized instruction from experienced and passionate teachers. And the best part? You can do it all without leaving your house! So you don’t need to worry about commuting or finding a suitable time to fit in your lessons.
So, if you’re ready to take the first step in becoming a violin master, look no further than Music 4 Humans. Our instructors are top-notch and dedicated to helping you achieve your musical dreams. So, start your musical journey immediately.Sign up for online violin lessons today and experience the joy of playing beautiful music!
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