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Guitarist learns violin

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Joined: 12 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:16 am    Post subject: Guitarist learns violin Reply with quote


I've been a guitarist for many, many years, self-taught and have decided to learn violin. I'm using my wife's violin as she hasn't played for a while and prefers singing.

My initial problems are the comfort, or lack of, in terms of holding the instrument. I find that it swivels round which I understand is quite a common beginners problem so I'm unsure if this is to do with the shoulder rest, an Artino one, or something else.

Could the rest be the wrong shape? I have a long neck and slim narrow jaw, if that's useful. The chin rest also seems to be awkward. It looks fairly standard.

Of course it may be that I'm simply holding it wrong or I'm not used to it yet, so any advice would be gratefully received.


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Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 509
Location: Mt. Elgin, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a big question and topic not easily covered. Approaches range from only
left hand/arm support all the way to only head support and combination of
both in between.

Swiveling is actually not a problem, as many people think. The shape of the
chinrest or shoulder rest is also not the problem. The real problem is the
proper balancing of muscles - weight and tension for left arm, shoulders and
around the neck. Once discovered, you could pretty well play with any chin
or shoulder rest.

As you correctly said, one needs to be comfortable to play.

Since you have long neck, I would at least start with a regular Kun style
Original shoulder rest.

The height of the rest can be adjusted to fill more or less gap between the
back of the violin and the area aournd your collarbone. If done correctly,
your violin should suspend in mid-air by just the support of the weight of your
head alone, without swiveling (and both of your hands are resting down at
your sides).

It's very important that you don't clam down your chin on the chin rest. The
mere weight of your head should be sufficient, almost like you are sleeping
on your chinrest. This will prevent any sores on your chin and eliminate any
tension and pain in your neck muscles.

Practice this hold as often as you can until you are comfortable. You should
be able to swing both arms side to side while your violin is suspended in
mid-air. Only after you are comfortable with this exercise and have no
tension are you ready to lift your left hand/arm to play. This technique will
eliminate any muscle tension and pain around your left shoulder, and you
would be able to play for a long time without getting tired.
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