Holding the violin with just the head ?


said: Jun 10, 2010
 145 posts

I have a new 2 and 1/2 year old pupil. She has already managed to do the bow hold, in just a couple of weeks. I am finding it hard to get her to understand she needs to hold the violin with just her head. She dosnt I think realise what I’m asking her to do. Has anyone got some ideas on how I might get her to do it. I’ve balanced toys on the violin and asked her to swing her arms when holding the violin but she still dosnt do it.It just slides down!! :mrgreen:

Ruth Brons said: Jun 10, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

Try having a soft toy animal ask for cuddle into her neck for a hands-free hug!
When she can hold a soft toy there, then think about re-visiting the holding a violin there question.
Meanwhile, be sure Mom has lots of turns holding toys and violins too!

With the little ones I always keep in mind the “Sesame Street” approach—switching to the next activity quickly, while always looking for opportunities for imagination and play.

Ruth Brons
Bow Hold Buddies Bow Hold Accessories

said: Jun 10, 2010
 145 posts

Fantastic idea…. Thank you! I love your bow buddie.just been using it myself to try it out…..feels really good.

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 11, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Are you using a wooden violin, or are you using a foam or cardboard/box (”pre”)violin?

said: Jun 11, 2010
 145 posts

I’ve tried both sorts of violins.I put a wedged sponge shoulder rest on the violin, but the mum covered it with a sock cos she said her daughter gets eczema really easily.I think this might mAke the rest a bit slippery now tho.she’d also squashed the rest down so it’s not very wedged shaped anymore.it’s a good question actually because,I need to improve the shape of the shoulder rest too,so it’s still wedged shape,it needs to be more supportive.

Melissa said: Jun 12, 2010
3 posts

This might help:
When I was in Teacher Training, the teacher would have the student lie down on the floor and then she would lift the student’s head and tell her how heavy it was. The parent—or other child—if you were in a group class—would then be asked to lie down and the student would lift their heads—realizing that it was really heavy!
You will need to be careful that the young student doesn’t drop the head of the other student or parent abruptly! So it is done with careful teacher supervision!
When the student starts to hold her violin, she/he is reminded how heavy the head is. This works for 3 year olds. I don’t know about students 2 and a half.

Gabriel Villasurda said: Jun 12, 2010
Gabriel VillasurdaViolin, Viola
81 posts

It is not a downward motion of the head that keeps the violin up at the correct angle. It’s the INWARD or BACKWARD motion that creates a leverage.

I have children stick their neck out “like a goose” and then do the reverse “like a turtle”. This is first done straight ahead, but next we turn the head to the player’s left and repeat the “goose” and “turtle” motions.

Next I go through the steps:
1. turn head to side. Teacher/parent can get on that side so child’s attention is to the side.
2. child puts left palm on right shoulder
3. raise head just a little.
4. parent/teacher inserts violin all the way so that instrument is against the neck.
5. lower the head onto the chinrest.
6. “turtle” motion— pull head slightly backward, maintaining nose to the side.
7. hold without help for 10/20/30 seconds. Make sure the child breathes normally.
8. once comfortable, teacher can try gently to pull the violin out, child resists
9. then drop the left arm to relaxed, do arm swings, walk around, etc.

This leverage is why all chinrests are concave, so the chin doesn’t slip backwards.

Try it. Let me know how it works for you.

Gabriel Villasurda
Ann Arbor MI

said: Jun 12, 2010
 145 posts

This sounds very good.I’ll will try it next week and let you knowhow it goes.

said: Jun 12, 2010
 145 posts

Which shoulder rests do you recommend for this age group 2-3 yes old ?

Barb said: Jun 14, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
678 posts

I know a student who when she was younger used a floppy stuffed tiger as a shoulder rest! (Older than 2 1/2, though.) Here’s a picture on a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2932666066#!/photo.php?pid=199425&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=2932666066&id=592952784&ref=pf

Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Irene said: Sep 14, 2010
Irene YeongViolin
160 posts
Timothy Judd said: Sep 15, 2010
Timothy Judd
Suzuki Association Member
Glen Allen, VA
56 posts

Have you tried the head motion without the violin? You can ask her to put her feet in playing position and bring her arm up and “mime” the left hand without the violin, lining the elbow up with her left foot. Then practice turning the head “like a robot” keeping it straight and when the nose is lined up with the elbow and left foot, drop the chin. After repeating this many times you may be able to sneak the violin in there and allow her to get used to the correct posture.


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