Many people have questions about holding a violin correctly, especially if they choose not to use a shoulder rest. Here is a question from a student to her violin teacher:
Holding a violin is still a problem to me. Like you, I believe it is better not to use a shoulder rest in order to be able to move more freely. However, my violin keeps slipping down the side of my thumb. I am reading and practicing the “six lessons for violin” course by Yehudi Menuhin, but have no idea how to keep the violin from slipping. I would be very thankful for any advice.
Before attempting to switch to holding a violin without the shoulder rest, here are some things you may want to keep in mind. First, you will be using different muscles that are not as strong as they need to be at first. To keep from straining yourself, you should use an electric timer and not allow yourself to practice for more than 15 minutes without a break of 3-5 minutes. This is the most important thing to remember when switching how you hold the violin.
Avantages to play the violin without violin shoulder rest
Holding a violin without a shoulder rest will allow you to play better in tune with less practice. It will also allow your sound to become richer, deeper, and more natural. Finally, it will allowy you to play with less tension and become almost immediately more comfortable.
So why doesn’t everyone switch back to the way the violin was meant to be held?
The reason is simple – there aren’t enough people that still know how to hold the violin up without a shoulder rest and fewer that know how to teach it, so everyone is left to learn how to hold it up by themselves.
To make it easier, here are some simple tips you can use:
Step one is to make sure that the violin is sitting on the collarbone and centered with the tailpiece going right into the neck (picture 1). The chin should be placed on the chinrest and apply enough pressure to hold your violin. (picture 2)
Step 2, make sure the strings of the violin are parallel to the ground so that the violin points up a little.
Finally, it is important to emphasize that the shoulder should not support the instrument but the collarbone should. By being aware of this difference, you will avoid having back pains and coordination problems.