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Bad Violin Habits to Break Now

Developing bad violin habits can affect the range and clarity of the notes you're able to coax out of the instrument. Along with creating a subpar sound, if you don't practice proper body alignment and technique, the result can be chronic injuries to the muscles and tendons that are being over-stressed.

A couple of ways to spot improper technique is to try playing in front of a mirror. You may be surprised to see your hands or arms doing something of which you're totally unaware. Working with a private violin teacher is another way to accomplish the goal, as he or she should be well-versed in appropriate body mechanics

Because it's hard to unlearn habits once they've become ingrained, it's important to address them as early as possible.

Old wooden road sign that reads Old habits, new habits

From bows to elbows

From the hold on the bow to the position of the elbow, the following are some of the most common bad violin habits observed in amateur musicians.

  • Banana thumb: Holding your thumb stiff and flexed against the bow can create unpleasant sounds. Instead, your thumb should be slightly bent, and no pressure should be exerted where it's tucked into the bow grace.
  • Stiff wrist: Keeping your wrist stiff while playing creates tension in the bow, and reduces your ability to hit a soft, clear note. Instead, relax your wrist and hold it flat at the top of the bow and bent at the heel.
  • Lazy elbow posture: Letting the elbow of the arm holding the instrument flop around while drawing the bow across the strings can cause you to play unwanted notes. Adjust your elbow according to the notes you're playing. For example, hold it high while playing on the G string, even with the violin while playing the D, and below it while playing the A.
  • Bow grip: When your grip is too tight on the bow, you're unable to use the entire bow. Practice loosening your hold and slowly drawing the bow all the way across the instrument with each note to get a fuller tone.
  • Knuckles: Placing the knuckles on the hand holding the violin too low can prevent you from reaching some of the high notes. Always keep your knuckles lifted.

It's not too late to correct these habits

Even if you've been playing for years, correcting bad violin habits is still possible. Instructors are trained to listen to the notes, while also observing any issues with your fingering, posture and alignment as they watch you play. You'll be surprised at how much your playing can improve when you get rid of a bad habit. And even more importantly, correcting the problem could help you avoid violin injuries.

At Johnson String Instrument, we can set you up with the best equipment and help you find a good instructor who can provide valuable feedback. Check the website today to view our extensive catalog of string instruments, sheet music and get connected with a top quality virtual teacher.

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