How to hold the violin
Lean how to hold the violin properly with this how to guide. Follow these simple steps and easily learn how to hold the violin. Remember that this is just a resource and you should always consult your private violin teacher about how to hold the violin.
Here are some things to remember.
- It is important to hold the violin in a way that allows the left hand to be free.
- The proper shoulder rest can make a huge difference when learning how to hold the violin. Learn about choosing a shoulder rest here. Shop for shoulder rests here.
- The Chin Rest also plays a role in learning how to hold the violin. Call Your Music Supply at (800)761-2585 if you would like to learn more about choosing chin rests.
- Every person is different and each body is unique so holding the violin changes from person to person
After choosing the proper shoulder rest and chin rest it is now time to learn how to hold the violin:
1 – First, place the violin on your shoulder pointing straight out to your left. Settle the shoulder rest so that it rests evenly from the shoulder to the chest. See picture.
2 – Hold the violin in place with the head by placing the jaw in the chin rest (the name chin rest is a misnomer when the violin chin rest should be called the violin jaw rest).
Note: The violin should be parallel with the floor.
Here are some steps to use when teaching young students to hold the violin:
These steps to hold the violin also include steps for a solid foundation and good violin posture. These are just suggestions gathered from many different Suzuki teachers. See our references here.
1 – Start out in rest position.
Start out with the violin student’s feet in rest position (feet together) See Pic. The violin is tucked under the right arm without pressing on the bridge. See Pic The bow is held in the right hand (bow hand) using an “alligator mouth” See Pic Then have the student take a bow (bending over at the waist to look at the toes for approximately 3 counts). Have the violin student get a good bow hold before moving the violin to the shoulder in the next steps.
2 – Move the violin to the shoulder.
Use the following 4 steps to have to student move the violin from rest position the playing position on the student’s shoulder.
- Get a good grip. Have the student get a good grip on the violin with the left hand (violin hand) . It can be easier to place the thumb on the back of the violin and grip the top of the violin at the violin shoulder that is closest to the floor. It is ok to place the finger across the fingerboard and strings if the student can get a more secure grip.
- Move the violin out. Next, the student should point the left arm straight out to their left side bringing the violin along to hang toward the floor.
- Turn the violin up. Simply have the student rotate their arm so that the violin points up toward the ceiling.
- Place the end button in the ear. Violin students might laugh when asked to put the end button of their violin in their ear, but this helps align the violin with the shoulder. The violin end button is placed at the left ear before being lowered to the student’s shoulder in the next step.
- Lower the violin to the shoulder. Now ask the student to lower the violin straight down until it is resting on the shoulder. Sometimes it will be necessary to more the violin around a little until it settles into place with the shoulder rest making full contact with the shoulder and chest.. The proper shoulder rest will make it so that this step is like placing a puzzle piece, the shoulder and shoulder rest should fit together comfortably when they hold the violin.
- Drop the hand, Don’t drop the Violin. Lastly, make sure that the head is the only thing holding on to the violin. With the jaw in the chin rest holding the violin in place, have the student drop their left hand and hold the violin in place with not hands at all. Playing games at this point with help strengthen the violin hold. (Counting to 10 etc.)
Watch this video about how to hold the violin