Hold Violin Secrets: Tips on Staying Comfortable While Holding and Playing Your Violin

Like learning anything else in life, you have to get the basics of the violin down first. When you are learning to play the violin, one of the basics is how you hold a violin. Holding it incorrectly will give you neck and headaches, shoulder and arm aches, and fatigue. It will also be harder to glide the bow across. You should never have to fight your violin. The key is to learn how to hold a violin the correct way and relax. Here are the steps –

The most important thing is to make sure your violin is the correct size to fit you before you buy it. Violins are not one size fits all.

    • Keep straight to support your back properly. It doesn’t matter if you stand or sit to practice, you should keep your spine straight in order to support the instrument and you. Humping over will cause fatigue and sore muscles.
    • Rest your left jawbone on the chin rest, not your chin. The luthier (violin expert) should have already fitted the correct chin rest to your face so it feels natural. Don’t worry about clamping your jaw down on the instrument. The normal weight of your skull will apply plenty of pressure. Your neck should feel relaxed and not strained.
    • Now hold the violin perpendicular to the floor straight out in front and nestle it in that arch between your thumb and forefinger of your hand.
    • Turn your hand slightly upwards so your four fingers curl round the fingerboard.
    • Bend your elbow naturally so it forms a triangle shape with the violin.
  • Now, tilt the violin down and forward just a touch to rest comfortably on your upper body.


One thing to learn when holding the professional cello price is to keep your wrist down, not pushing it up. Until you are really secure in how you hold a violin, you will have the tendency to raise your wrist. In actuality, teaching you how to hold the violin really means learning how to not hold it. This is especially true for left-handed students. Violins come in both left and right handed holding. This relates to whether you hold the bow in your left or right hand, not the violin.

You should cradle the violin, allowing free movement. If you are insecure about dropping the instrument, you will raise your wrist and your shoulder to hold it in place. If you clasp it that way, you’ll get wrist aches, jaw aches and shoulder aches. It will also limit your bow hand movement.

Instead of holding your violin, the proper term should be to balance it instead. Your elbow will naturally bend the correct amount and the crook of your hand will rock the neck, allowing your fingers free movement. Just remember the violin is shaped the way it is to be balanced correctly to the violinist. When you hold a violin by balancing it, you will be more relaxed and confident.

What about shoulder rests? Some instructors insist beginners who have yet to learn how to hold a violin use the shoulder rest to protect their collarbone. This helps to immobilize the thumb so it doesn’t touch the violin. However, many renown violinists state they never learned with a shoulder rest or use one, even if playing for hours in concert, because it thwarts the violin’s full tonal sounds by up to one third. This is because the shoulder rest can prematurely halt the vibrations at the back of the violin’s base, the part under your jawbone. They also claim the shoulder rest can damage the violin, thus devaluing it. But student level violins are of less value anyway. Some instructors argue it is like training wheels on a bicycle. You use them until you have your “violin balance”. There are many varieties of shoulder rests, some rigid, some soft.

Trust your instructor to decide the right thing for you when it comes to learning how to hold a violin properly, whether or not to use a shoulder rest, and determining which size is best.

My name is Benjy Portnoy, and ViolinLessonsNow.com [http://www.violinlessonsnow.com/violin-techniques/] is a website that I set up to help people learn how to play violin. I first picked up the violin in third grade (many years ago), and it helped spurred my endless love for all types of music ever since.

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