Violin Articles

Tension issues in violin playing

Are you aware of tension when you play the violin? Here's our latest article and tips for dealing with tension problems.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Magnetic violin mute

February product of the month : The Bech magnetic violin mute

Although the Bech magnetic mute has been around for a while and it's such a brilliant addition to any violin that we had to put it as this months violin gadget! Here is a mute that provides a solution to the usual 'buzzing' noises which so often accompanies the standard mutes. It works very simply by fixing the magnetic plastic strip onto the tailpiece which will keep the mute in place and can be bought from amazon for £10.

 

Airline victory for musicians

The Telegraph has reported that small instruments will now be allowed on board airlines, no small victory! Read the full article here.

Geared pegs

January product of the month: Geared pegs

Constantly getting frustated with slipping pegs during tuning? Our new find of the month may just solve this problem- The Wittner Fine Tuned Peg.  Designed to save time and energy, once the peg is fitted it can be tuned through turning the middle section of the peg which brilliantly won't slip. Another benefit is that there is no wear on the peg box as the shaft of the peg doesn't move, thereby avoiding expensive repair bills when issues appear. 

For student violinists the geared peg is ideal and certainly gets our vote! Currently being sold by Guivier's in London.

 


Musical instruments on Eurostar

It was probably only a matter of time before Eurostar introduced costs for taking an instrument on board. After all, Ryanair has been charging ludicrous amounts to allow instruments for some years now- and in some cases requiring the passenger to spend £190 for another seat as reported here.  As far as Eurostar is concerned their policy only affects cello's and double basses for the moment.... see the full article here.

Posture

Unfortunately when beginners first pick up a violin they have a tendency to position their bodies in the most uncomfortable positions possible. For example it’s natural to grip the chin rest for a sense of security which is both unnecessary and will cause neck problems eventually. Another common problem is to hunch the shoulders even with a shoulder rest. It’s important to avoid rounded, hunched shoulders by keeping your frame. This is mainly about conditioning the brain to send the right signals to keep a relaxed body, done frequently enough and in the right manner the body will eventually adapt itself without tensing every muscle used to play the violin. For more comments on this subject please keep checking our articles section!

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