Violin and Bow Placement

When learning how to hold the violin and bow properly, beginners should be able to identity the different parts of the violin by name.

This diagram provided by Soaap Music identifies the different parts of the violin and bow.

Violin Placement
With the correct placement, the violin will be easy and comfortable to hold.

  • The violin is held horizontally (parallel to the floor) and is angled to the left.
  • Place the violin on your left collar bone, and rest the left side of your jaw on the chinrest.
  • Many violinists find shoulder rests helpful to hold up the violin, though it is not necessary. Usually, beginner violinists use round make-up sponges that are attached with rubber bands to the chinrest for added comfort.

Bow Placement
The correct placement of your bow is vital for creating the best tonal quality.

  • The wood of the bow should be tilted slightly toward the fingerboard.
  • The bow should be placed on the string between the bridge and fingerboard.
  • For louder sounds, apply heavier bow pressure and draw the bow closer to the bridge.
  • For softer sounds, use a lighter pressure with the bow and draw it closer to the fingerboard.
  • Your arm and the bow should always be kept level when playing on different strings. This is by far the hardest thing to master with bow placement, but with practice you will master it!

This video clip of Fred Carpenter from The Violin Shop provides an excellent example of the tips above. Also, note how Carpenter holds the violin itself.

Posture
Whether you are standing or sitting, good posture is necessary.

  • When standing, stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart and knees relaxed.
  • When sitting, sit up straight toward the front of the chair or whatever object you are sitting on. Sitting on a hard surface, like a chair, will keep you balanced as opposed to a soft surface, such as a sofa.
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