Tension issues in violin playing:
Many of us have experienced tension in violin playing, perhaps it has crept in over time or has always been there. Without doubt it’s one of the most frustrating things to deal with in playing the violin, primarily affecting our arms, hands, fingers, but also affects our shoulders, back, neck and head. Tension in any part of the body can also set off a chain reaction, so it’s necessary to address the source of the problem.
Although this is a complex issue it can be improved if we re-think how to learn to play the violin. It has often been said that playing is ‘all in the mind’, and this is the essential message in dealing with tension, after all we are training our brains to send the correct message to our muscles to be able to play. It’s important that we don’t send the wrong messages, which is unfortunately very easy to do.
Here are some basic steps for keeping your neck, back and shoulders relaxed whilst putting the violin into playing position:
1) Stand upright, looking straight ahead of you, keeping your neck, back and shoulders completely relaxed.
2) Rotate your violin up to your shoulder without twisting your back or any other muscles.
3) Place you chin with only a little of the weight onto the chin rest, ensure there isn’t a gap between your neck and the violin and that you’re not tilting your head downwards to the chin rest. Make sure you don’t collaspe the chin onto the rest using your full head weight or
4) It’s important to understand that the hold of the violin is achieved through the balance of weight between the supporting hand and the head, and not through gripping with tension.