Mini Lesson #3: 5 Tips for Holding The Violin in Playing Position

practice tips violin students May 15, 2020

Hey everyone,

Today we're covering violin hold, something that a lot of beginners struggle with. 

So many issues— including poor sound or intonation, wrist pain, inability to shift or vibrate—stem from issues with the violin hold. 

A lot of people feel discomfort or even pain when they first hold the violin. This is totally normal and just takes a little self-discovery to find the posture and settings that feel comfortable to you.

So here are my 5 tips for holding the violin in playing position!


1. Find Your Shoulder Rest & Setting

Everyone’s body is different, and you need to find the shoulder rest that works best for you.

  • Make sure the shoulder rest is attached properly and pointing in the correct position. 
  • Raise or lower the height to suit the length of your neck
  • Make sure the shoulder rest is flat against your collarbone and sacrum when in playing position. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the foam and your chest.


2. Stand Up

Especially important when we are learning to play from a resource on a computer screen or tablet is to take note of your body position. Standing up is the first and best thing you can do to immediately improve your overall posture!


3. Posture

  • Square your shoulders and space your feet a hips-width distance from each other
  • Keep your head up when holding the violin
  • Point the violin scroll to 10 o’clock and keep it horizontal to the floor, or angled slightly up.


4. Use your jaw to keep the violin in place 

It’s called a chin rest, but we actually use the “jaw”

  • Turn your violin to the side 
  • Use the bony part of your jaw to hold by hooking it on and over the side of the chin rest. This will give you a better grip without losing posture points.
  • Make sure not to tilt your head over to the side, using your cheek or chin.


5. Keep Your Left Hand Loose and Free

  • Make sure you’re not relying on your left hand to hold up the instrument! 
  • Practice keeping your violin in playing position and letting go with the left hand altogether, without letting the violin slip out from under your jaw.
  • While you play, make sure you don’t let go with your jaw and shoulder. This can happen when we’re focused on the music that we slip into bad habits!


Do you have another violin hold issue that I didn't cover? Let me know in the comments!


Happy practicing,


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