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How to Get Perfect Violin Posture

You’re slouching; don’t roll your shoulders; sit up straight! How many times did your parents admonish you to fix your posture as a kid? Annoying as their concerns may have seemed back then, it turns out they were doing you a favor. Practicing correct posture during childhood can help prevent issues with flexibility, joint pain and range of motion later in life. And gaining an awareness of how you’re holding yourself is also beneficial to learning the perfect posture for playing the violin.

No two people are built exactly alike, meaning there will be slight variations in how you hold and play your instrument. Following specific postural guidelines, however, will help you get the best instrument tone and make playing for long periods of time easier on the body. When you spend time practicing the correct posture, your body eventually develops “muscle memory,” and proper alignment also becomes the most comfortable position.

Woman playing a violin

Follow These Steps

While we recommend working with a teacher to learn about proper posture, the following is a set of pointers on the ideal violin posture for a musician who is seated.

  1. Start with your feet positioned, heels together in a “V” shape; then pick your right foot up and step it slightly back. Your left foot becomes a guide for how you will angle your violin.
  2. Sitting up straight, turn your head enough that your nose lines up with the left foot. Drop your chin and place the violin so that it’s also aligned with your left foot.
  3. Hold your spine straight and relax into this position; you should be able to keep the violin steady using only your chin.
  4. Lift your left arm and align the elbow with the left foot and the violin. Your hand should be curved loosely around the fingerboard. If you find yourself getting too stiff at this point, drop your hands, shake them out and start again.
  5. Finally, practice lifting your right arm and dropping your wrist to allow the fingers to hang in a relaxed, slightly curled position. This is how you will hold the bow.

Practice Makes Perfect Posture

Don’t worry if you don’t have proper positioning down the first time you attempt it -- or even the 100th. Repetition is the name of the game. You also don’t need to learn it all at once; work on one element at a time until you’re ready to incorporate the next. The more you deliberately walk through the steps and practice proper alignment, the more it will become part of you. Eventually, you won’t even have to think about perfect posture while playing violin, it’ll be second nature.

Since there are no physical differences between the fiddle vs. violin (simply a different name by which the same instrument is known, based primarily on the style for which it is used), the same basic guidelines on posture apply. With patience and practice, you can use the techniques above to learn the proper way to play the instrument no matter what type of music you prefer.

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