Very frustrated, I can’t seem to hold my violin right…


said: Oct 12, 2007
 3 posts

My daughter (4) will be starting Suzuki violin lessons in a week or so—I have had 3 lessons and have one more next week before she starts. I can’t get my violin hold right, however, and the teacher said she really hoped I would this week because we can’t proceed otherwise. I don’t know if she means me or me and my daughter too.

It is like my jaw isn’t long enough or something, I just can’t get the violin where it is supposed to be. I am overweight, so I have padded shoulders and am not using a shoulder rest, therefore (the teacher’s idea). I did get a lower profile chin rest (instead of the standard one that came with the rental violin) but that doesn’t help. My jawbone just hits the edge of the chin rest, I can’t hold it up without my left hand, I can’t get it far enough onto my should, etc.

I am feeling very sad and frustrated and just feel like giving up. Could I just be not-physically compatible with a violin, because of my weight (double chin, etc.).

Any advice, aside from lose weight :D ?

said: Oct 12, 2007
 1 posts

Is your teacher showing you how to hold it, but you’re having trouble getting set up by yourself?

said: Oct 12, 2007
 3 posts

Yes, but when she shows me, it still isn’t right, like it hurts and she says it shouldn’t hurt where it is hurting plus she says when I do get it around to where it doesn’t hurt by moving a bit, she says it isn’t on my shoulder. My jawbone is soooo sore today after trying and trying last night.

I guess the short answer is really no—she is trying but it isn’t working.

said: Oct 14, 2007
Suzuki Association Member
120 posts

I’m sorry you are frustrated holding the violin, and I’m sure you want to master this for yourself and so that your daughter can proceed. Here are some ideas for holding the violin. I have a short neck that isn’t terribly thin and a double chin. I still use a low shoulder rest. However, maybe you could use just a couple of cosmetic sponges stacked under the violin, held with a rubber band, on the side opposite the chinrest. This can balance out the violin so that it’s flat like a table when you have it in playing position.

The name “chinrest” is misleading. It really is a jawrest, and the chin rests partly on the chinrest and partly on the tailpiece in many people’s cases! If you try to hold the violin by placing your chin in the chinrest, the violin will not be on the shoulder, but more in the center of your body.

Ok, but how to hold it comfortably? You can put Dr. Scholl’s mole foam ove the edge of your chinrest to help. For some of my students I recommend something called a chin chum, which is a chinrest covering. However, it does add some amount of thickness, so that may not be a good option for you. If you place the violin on your lap, with the scroll pointing away from you, you can keep the violin level (keep it flat, without the scroll dipping down) with just your pinky finger. It’s a cantilever effect. Your head is much heavier than your pinky finger, so it will hold the violin just fine.

Try placing the button (at the bottom of the violin) on your neck between your earlobe and the center of your throat, more toward the ear than the throat, though. I suspect you just need a little extra padding under the violin on the side opposite your shoulder to level it out.

Ask your teacher to set the violin for you and ask her to describe her ideas very clearly. Every single body make up is different, so she should continue to try to help you find what works for you.

Good luck!

said: Oct 15, 2007
 3 posts

Thanks guys!
I had another lesson tonight and I think we solved the problem! NO chin rest and a HUGE shoulder rest instead. Funny but it works! I will post a picture when I get around to taking one and maybe you can tell me what you think!

said: Oct 15, 2007
Suzuki Association Member
120 posts

Phoebe, I would like to see a picture when you get a chance. Just goes to show you have to be creative when necessary.

Anna said: Aug 29, 2008
 145 posts

I went through years of not finding the correct position for my violin. I went to a master class by Ed Kreitman and one of the things he said is, your chest is like a wall and your shoulder is like a table, He got the child to rest the edge of the violin on a table and then with just the thumb as a counter lever on the chin rest, balance the violin parallel to the floor. Then he went to the wall with the child and held the violin up against the wall and they had to try and keep the violin from slipping with just the thumb pressing on the chin rest again….it was much harder and not really possible to stop the violin slipping. I personally, find it is much better when I stand really straight (think long tummy!) and I have my violin much more to the side than I ever imagined, really helps me. Hope this helps you too . :D

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