The Art of Bowing: Techniques for Producing Beautiful Sound

Step 1 – Installing a Shoulder Rest

Before explaining exactly where you will hold your violin a good instrument to use is what is called a shoulder rest. This tool is placed on the back of the violin towards the lower bout to aid in comfort when holding the violin. There are many different types of shoulder rests you can buy, but if you want to go cheap a long nylon sponge can work just fine. You can attach the sponge by applying a rubber band to the bottom of the professional violin and the left corner edge of the back.

Step 2 – Where to place the violin

The violin should be held in your left hand and placed on top of your left shoulder on top of the shoulder rest. Your chin will rest on the base of the instrument on top of what is called the chin rest. The chin rest is a black, oval shaped piece that is used to make the instrument easier to hold. The violin should fit securely between your chin and shoulder, and you should be able to hold the violin without any hands.

Step 3 – Thumb and Hand Placement

Your left hand will help hold the instrument and be located at the neck of the instrument. Your left thumb should be placed directly to the left of the fingerboard, which is the long black piece in the middle of the violin. The thumb should be about a half inch width apart from the very end of the fingerboard. As far as how high your thumb should be, it should be exactly level with the height of the fingerboard and not any higher or lower.

Step 4 – Wrist Position

One of the most important and most difficult parts of holding the violin has to do with the wrist position. Many beginners want to rest their wrist on the back of the violin which is improper technique. Even though it seems easier this way, the wrist should not touch the violin at all and be totally straight up and down when holding the violin. This will take practice and awareness by the player. The biggest reason for this is that having the wrist free allows you to play different notes up and down the violin freely and in tune.

Step 5 – Posture

The violin can be played either sitting down or standing up. Either position you should keep the violin parallel to the ground and straight in front of you. It is easy to get lazy and play with the violin angled downwards or to either side but it is best to follow these guidelines. When standing up you should keep even weight on both your feet and have them should width apart. When sitting down it is a good habit to sit on the edge of the chair and sit straight up.