I recently realized I am tipping the violin down when I'm playing/concentrating and wasn't aware I had started to do this until I started having issues with bowing as well. What I've started doing is placing my left thumb more under the neck vs alongside...rather laying the thumb under the neck as a table to support and with the thumb in this position I can't use it to pull down. I'm trying to be more aware of keeping my left arm/hand up at all times and not push my head down into the instrument.
I would appreciate any thoughts on this. I guess I'm still not 100% confident that I am holding the violin in the best optimal position. I know I tend to push my head down into the instrument and this is probably causing me to then tip the violin down because of the increased weight.
I found the following post by Oliver Steiner very helpful and worth including for other's struggling with the same problems, but I would like to ask everyone...how much pressure on the instrument by the jaw is too much? Is the ideal goal to have a tripod of support with jaw-left hand-left collarbone and the violin should be 'floating' or just what IS the key to a proper, problem-free hold of the instrument?
"From Oliver Steiner
Posted on December 3, 2007 at 06:47 PM
Sometimes violinists will unintentionally pull the scroll downward while playing. This sets up a see-saw battle in which the back of the violin, or the shoulder rest, is the fulcrum, and every increment of downward pull is countered by more clamping of the violin between head and shoulder! The higher the chinrest, the more the violin might tend to tip downward toward the scroll, pouring the weight into the left hand.
My advice is:
1. Remind yourself to push the scroll toward the ceiling while you play.
2. Regardless of your neck length, be careful about building up too high a tower on the chinrest end of the violin. Sometimes the highest possible shoulder rest and chinrest may seem to be be a good idea at first, but in fact turns out to cause various imbalances and additional efforts. Remember that the higher the chinrest tower, the more the violin tends to be tipped into the left hand. This is often corrected by *lowering* all the apparatus on the chinrest end of the violin and pushing the scroll toward the ceiling, so as to shift the weight toward your face, rather than into your left hand.
3. Teach yourself to share some of the holding of the violin with your left hand...at least partially and some of the time at first. Be careful to hold the violin with the left hand only as a table would support the object that rests on it....without any grasping at all.
4. Train yourself to feel how light the violin actually is, so you never have more than a very light touch of the head to the chinrest. The more sensitivity to feel the actual light weight of the instrument, the more immunity from clamping it with the head and shoulder.
Visualize the violin as a see-saw in which your goal is to pour the weight toward the chinrest end, by pushing the scroll upward (rather than pouring the weight into your left hand by pulling the scroll downward.)
Visualize your left arm as the table upon which the violin rests, rather than as the weight which hangs from the violin neck."
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