So much depends on this simple instruction:
Float your violin up.
Many would-be-violinists play with the violin pointed downward, in a slumped position. Not only does this look bad to an audience, it leads to bad playing. In order to achieve good balance, tone, and intonation (playing in tune), the violin must not sink down.
Some good reasons to float the violin up
- When you hold the violin high you have a better chance at playing with a good ringing tone. When the violin stays in a high position where the bow can sink down into the strings, gravity does the work! This creates a richer, fuller sound.
- It is also easier to play in tune, since the left wrist is left free, allowing the fingers to fall freely onto the strings, rather than getting stuck around the violin's neck.
- You’ll play with better posture. When your violin is high, you stand or sit taller. This allows more freedom to be expressive, to move the bow, and be energetic with your playing, and it is healthier. You are only as old as your spine.
- You'll play with less tension. When you squeeze the neck, slouch down, and constrict the chest and shoulders, you introduce tension. The muscles contract, and this causes tightness and a decrease in agility. This not only decreases musicality and expression, it can lead to injury!
- You'll develop better shifting and vibrato, as well as fast playing, since your left arm and hand are free to move more.
ACTIONS FOR THIS WEEK
1. Play in front of a mirror. You can teach yourself a lot by looking at the position of your violin and bow in a mirror.
2. Watch your scroll. Keep the scroll pointed straight out. Think of the violin as being parallel with the floor.
2. Point the scroll at something eye level. Pick out a point in the room that is just about eye level. Put a finger puppet or stuffed animal on a shelf or dresser, or use a colored clip or sticker on the top of your music stand.
3. Hold the body. Always be sure to hold the body of the violin when placing it on your shoulder (see diagram.) This will automatically land the violin higher.
4. Balance a marble. Set a marble between the D and G strings, resting against the bridge (bow-side of bridge). Raise the violin high enough to keep the marble there for 3-10 seconds.
5. Balance a toy. Set a soft block or toy animal on the body of the violin while playing Twinkle or a scale.
Remember: Don’t let the violin sink down!
Let it float up into a nice balanced position, and you’re on your way to more beautiful, relaxed playing.