Violin Tips: How To Hold A VIolin Or Viola Without Tensing Up (How To Play The Violin Or Viola)

Violin Tips: How To Hold A VIolin Or Viola Without Tensing Up (How To Play The Violin Or Viola)
Tension in the neck, left shoulder, left arm and back can conspire to deflate your tone, stifle technique and cause debilitating health problems. Violin teacher Laurel Thomsen demonstrates how to play the violin or viola without tension. For more tips on violin technique, see our other “How to Play the Violin” videos on this channel and visit us at


  1. Hi, what kind of should rest you have there? I have a kun, but still not
    very comfortable with it.

  2. I’m SO glad I found your video! I have been playing for over 30 years and
    just recently have developed severe neck and shoulder pain. I would be
    very interested in having you look at me hold my violin and make
    suggestions as to what might help me.

  3. Thank you for this video, it’s been very helpful for getting a shoulder
    rest actually designed for my physique, and left hand positioning.
    However, I am having trouble with chinrests and I live somewhere without a
    real live music shop. Is it possible for you to tell me what brand of
    chinrest you use, since your jaw shape also seems to resemble mine?

    Thank you

  4. I tried so much to hold my violin, but it just slides off. I have to push
    it really hard with my chin and shoulder and it hurts really much. I tried
    with towel and t-shirt under it, but same problem. Then I took my shirt off
    and it finally stays but I would like to play with my shirt on :,D Also big
    problem is that chinrest hurts my chin. Is it okey just take it off and
    play without it?

  5. I’m a teacher and have been trying to find ways of explaining the posture
    and the violin fitting to students and this really helped. Thanks a lot for
    a very clear and informative video.

  6. I’ve had a viola for well over three years now but I never got round to
    learning how to play because I couldn’t find the money for lessons. Well, I
    did sometimes try to just get it into position and aimlessly pluck at the
    strings but not really playing. Tonight I had my first lesson and now I’m
    home again I’ve continued fooling around with it but I honestly can’t find
    a comfortable place to hold it. Whatever I do, if the shoulder rest feels
    right, I can’t get my chin around, I have to really grip hard or contort my
    neck or stretch my neck to even get above the chin rest. But if I start at
    the chin rest there’s no possible way to get the shoulder rest right
    without again a lot of gripping and tensing up and basically hurting
    myself. I’ve tried at least a billion settings for the shoulder rest and I
    know that (without the viola) it can lie comfortable across my collarbone.
    I really want to learn how to play this instrument but I can’t really
    practice if I can’t even hold the thing. I’m frustrated nearly to the point
    of crying. Who’ll save me?

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! There are a lot of beginner videos that
    seem to gloss over a lot of these little details that are important to
    people (like me) who want to learn without paying for lessons. By
    explaining WHY we need to hold the violin/thumb etc in a certain place and
    what happens if we don’t, and showing how the mechanics of the body have an
    impact you’ve make it a lot easier to actually find the correct positions.
    Those extra details and instructions make all the difference. :D

  8. wonderful video. thanks. i have left arm pronation problems due to a radius
    break many years ago. cannot get to g or multi finger d string notes. any
    suggestions. for exercises?

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