Violin Online: Violin Lesson One

How to Hold the Violin and Bow

Ready to play the violin? Follow these simple tips to hold your violin and bow,

(click on pictures to enlarge)


Violin Placement
  • Place the violin on your left collar bone (some violinists prefer the soft spot just behind the collar bone), and rest the left side of your jaw on the chin rest.
  • The violin is held horizontally (parallel with the floor) and is angled to the left of a straight forward position.
  • The elbow should be under the center of the violin.
  • The thumb should be opposite the first or second finger.
  • Maintain a curved, open space between the thumb and index finger (a backwards "C").
  • Keep the wrist gently rounded.
  • Avoid resting the wrist against the violin neck.
  • When standing, stand straight with feet shoulder width apart, and with relaxed knees. Some violinists recommend sliding the left foot slightly forward.
  • When seated, use a chair with a firm base, and sit up straight (soft sofas aren’t recommended). Some violinists sit towards the front of the chair, and prefer placing the left foot slightly forward.
  • Many violinists find shoulder rests helpful to hold up the violin, and there are a variety of shoulder rests available. Some violinists use round make-up sponges (attached with rubber bands), and others use shoulder rests that feel most comfortable to them. Visit our Music Store - Violin Shoulder Rests for sample styles.
Bow Hold
  • Relax your hand, slightly turn your wrist to the left, and let your fingers drop into place.
  • The tip of the bent thumb touches the frog contact point.
  • Fingers gently curve over the top of the violin bow stick.
  • The middle finger is opposite from the thumb.
Bow Placement
  • Good tone quality is achieved through proper bow placement, bow speed and bow pressure.
  • Slightly tilt the wood of the violin bow towards the fingerboard.
  • Place the bow on the string at the middle point between the bridge and the fingerboard.
  • Draw the violin bow in a straight line so the bow remains parallel to the bridge.
  • Loud sounds can be achieved with heavy bow pressure and by drawing the bow close to the bridge.
  • Soft sounds can be achieved with light bow pressure and by drawing the bow close to the fingerboard.
  • Keep the level of the arm and bow constant while playing on different strings.
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