- Max Kuehn
If you’re interested in learning how to play the violin, you need to know how to hold a violin correctly. There are a few different ways to keep it, and each way has its benefits. The most important thing is to find a comfortable way for you that allows you to move the bow quickly. Experiment with different ways of holding the violin and see what works best for you. Read on for details!
What Is Violin Posture and Why Is It Important?
The way a violinist holds her instrument to the rest of her body is referred to as violin posture. The spine, legs (when standing), head, neck, chin, arms, and hands must all be in good alignment. Violin posture is, after all, a full-body effort.
Why Should You Hold Your Violin Correctly?
It’s crucial to hold a violin correctly for a variety of reasons.
One reason is that
Strain and damage can result from poor postures, such as a hunched back or shoulders, a collapsed wrist, or a twisted torso (to name a few instances).
Violin playing requires a lot of movement in your upper body, so it can cause a domino effect if one muscle is strained.
Precision and patience are required for good posture, but it is not rocket science, and if you constantly practice the right form, it will become natural and comfortable.
Remember that every violinist is different, with different body proportions and levels of flexibility.
As a result, the sensation of handling a violin correctly may vary from one person to the next.
Someone with larger hands, for example, will have a more extended reach on the fingerboard than someone with smaller hands.
This does not rule out players with smaller hands; instead, they will relocate to a different position to avoid overstretching their hands.
You can always make modifications without compromising good form if something about violin posture doesn’t come naturally to you.
When playing the violin, the golden rule is to avoid forcing your body into an uncomfortable position, building up tension and damage.
Let’s have a look at how to handle the violin correctly now.
Instructions for Holding a Violin
Step 1: Pick up the violin.
The first step is to take the violin out of its case by carefully pulling it up with your left hand underneath the top of the neck.
Before we elevate the violin to our chin, determine the proper beginning position.
Rest the violin’s neck below your first finger with your left hand facing up.
As seen in the image below, curl your fingers and hover them over the strings while resting your thumb on the outer-right-hand side of the neck, just below the pegs.
To loosely hold the violin in position, use your thumb and the crook of your first finger, as illustrated below.
Keep our thumbs and fingers in this initial posture when we elevate the violin to our chin.
Top Tip: Keep your fingernails short and clean to assist you in making proper contact with the strings when you play and keep strings clean.
Step 2: Raise the Violin to Shoulder Height
We will now raise the violin to our left shoulder.
Keep your left hand as close to the beginning position as possible, and lift the violin to rest on your collar bone, as illustrated below.
Don’t shift your chin just now; get used to the violin resting on your collarbone first.
The idea is to not use your shoulder muscles for anything other than resting the violin; you should not strain your muscles.
Lifting your shoulders to your ears and then back down to neutral is one exercise you may do to ensure your shoulders are not hunched.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that many violinists utilize a shoulder rest device to cushion your collarbone and clips underneath your violin.
The height of the shoulder rest can be adjusted to fit your body type. It’ll be obvious when it’s in the right spot because it’ll feel most at ease.
Step 3: Place your chin on the violin and relax.
You can rest your jawline and chin on the violin’s chin rest after your shoulders are in a neutral position.
Find a comfortable position, but make sure the chin rest is on the left side of your face and the violin is at an angle, as indicated below.
It’s vital not to use your jaw or neck muscles to grip the violin, just like we don’t use our shoulders.
If you clench your jaw, it will be difficult to swallow, becoming extremely thirsty.
Step 4: Examine the position of your left hand.
Now that you have the violin positioned correctly in your chin go back and double-check your positioning before moving on.
The violin should be placed in the same beginning position as before, slightly below your first finger, and then fastened on the left side edge by your thumb.
Consider this hand posture to be the violin’s cushion, where its neck rests.
Experiment with pressing your fingers down on the strings to see whether you’ve got it correctly. This will assist your hand in automatically discovering the right angle.
Your thumb should stay still because it’s only your fingers that press down on the strings.
Step 5: Positioning the Left Wrist and Forearm
We’ll examine your left wrist and forearm, which should be entirely straight.
You’ll undoubtedly notice that your wrist tries to collapse under the violin, but it needs to be straight and relaxed to play.
When we travel up and down the strings and stretch and flex those fingers, having it straight allows for optimum mobility.
Top Tip: Look in the mirror to make sure your wrist and hand are straight.
From your hand to your elbow, you should be able to draw a straight line.
Step 6: Double-check the form.
Relax your shoulders, jaw, right hand, wrist, and arm, and do a quick body check.
Try not to twist your body and keep your back straight as you face forward.
If you hold the violin upright, your back will be straight; nevertheless, you will automatically slouch over if you let the violin point towards the ground.
Consider the violin an extra body part that will keep you from stooping, grasping it too tightly, or tensing anything when you’re playing it.
You can acquire your violin bow once you’re ready!
How To Hold A Bow Violin
Before we go any further, let’s take a brief look at handling your violin bow correctly.
Tighten the bow hair with the screw at the end of the bow, if necessary, until it is no longer sagging and the hairs form a straight line.
The bow hair should have some wiggle room and not be too tight. Add some violin rosin on the bow hair to make it easier for your bow to glide over the strings.
Start by shaking your right hand to loosen it up, then pick up your bow with care, keeping it loose and floppy.
Your thumb should be on the bow’s facing your side, with your other fingers lightly resting on the opposite side.
Your thumb and third finger should be nearby but not touching, and your fingers should be spaced naturally and comfortably.
Because pulling the bow across the strings necessitates mobility in the right hand, it’s crucial not to grasp too tightly.
Curl your fingers over your bow and support it with your thumbs on the other side.
You can now attempt to use the bow on the strings.
Choose a string to play with and place the bow flat on it, right in the middle of the bridge and fingerboard.
As you draw the bow hair over the strings, maintain it flat and in this intermediate position.
Don’t worry if you produce a scratchy noise at first; this is very natural as you become used to this motion.
Make sure you’re not grasping anything too tightly, whether the violin or the bow.
Common Mistakes in Violin Bow Holding for Beginners
Have you followed these steps but are still having trouble getting it right? Perhaps you’re making one of these typical bow-holding errors.
Palm and Wrist Relaxation
Have you perfected your grasp, but your hand still hurts after all of your practice? Keep an eye on your palm and wrist when playing; they shouldn’t feel rigid or forced. Just like your fingers, keep them smooth and relaxed.
Keeping the Violin Bow in the Correct Position
Have trouble keeping your bow in place while playing? Don’t be concerned! It’s fine if your hand adjusts to how you handle your bow naturally. Your fingers will generally be lovely and curled during downstrokes and somewhat lengthened during upstrokes.
Noises that are scratchy
Is your bow making scratchy noises as it moves around on the strings? Keeping the bow precisely straight on the string is the key to minimizing scratchy noises. Make sure the bow is in contact with the string at the exact location where the bridge and fingerboard meet.
You can start learning alternative bowing techniques once you have a decent bow hold and a good understanding of the variables that produce a nice tone.
Wrist Bending Isn’t a Good Idea
Your wrist may desire to bend to compensate because your hands’ muscles aren’t yet accustomed to the bow hold. Maintain a neutral wrist position that is relaxed and flexible.
Itzhak Perlman’s 4 Good Violin Habits
Itzhak Perlman, a world-renowned violinist, thinks that correct violin technique starts with a holistic physical approach to the instrument. As a teacher at the Juilliard School and in his performing career, he puts his theories into practice.
Excellent posture and mechanics are the foundations of good habits. Make sure you’re gripping the violin and bow properly and that your arms and hands are moving smoothly and efficiently. It will become a habit if you practice with a stooped posture and bad mechanics frequently.
Make it a habit to always play in tune. When learning something new, go slowly enough to make sure you’re hitting every note.
After increasing the pace, keep it in tune by using fingerings that are comfortable for your hand. If your fingerings demand you to extend and strain, you run the chance of landing in the wrong location, which could become a habit. Please stick to your fingerings after you’ve decided on them.
Pick good bowings and stick with them. It’s crucial to know when you’ll go up-bow, down-bow, slur many notes together, play staccato, and so on so that you may feel confident in your motions.
When practicing, it’s critical to pick the bowings and fingerings carefully and stick to them. You will learn the piece faster if you do not change the bowings and fingerings once you have found the ones that feel comfortable. You will also learn the piece faster if you need to relearn it.
When fixing errors, play the correct version more often than the incorrect version. If you do the same error again, it doesn’t count as a repetition. The correct version must become a new habit for you.
Is It Painful To Play The Violin?
A tight, stiff grip on your violin or viola will eventually cause pain in your neck, shoulder, arm, and back. Because the physical strain degrades your dexterity, deflates your tone, and limits mobility, the quality of your playing will suffer as well.
What Does A Violin Hickey Entail?
Violin hickeys, also known as fiddler’s neck, are red marks that form on the necks of violinists for various reasons. The duration of practice time is one of the most prevalent causes for these spots to form, making them a badge of distinction for amateur and professional players.