How to Hold Your Violin or Viola in a Comfortable and Relaxed Way?

by | Nov 15, 2013 | Play Comfortably, Start to Play | 16 comments

How to hold your violin or viola?

There are some very basic skills you should know when it comes to violin or viola playing. One of them is the correct way to hold your instrument. In this blog, I will therefore explain you everything you need to know on how to hold your violin or viola in a comfortable and relaxed way.

Step 1: Hold you violin or viola in front of you in a horizontal way, with the strings to the front.

Step 2: Keep your hands in the same position, but move your instrument above your head.

Step 3: Move your violin a bit to the left and downwards. For this, let the end of your violin touch your face when moving it downwards until it sits on your shoulder and in your neck (see the video). Furthermore, make sure the little button at the end of your violin or viola points exactly to the little hole between your collarbones.

Put your shoulders at rest

When holding your violin, make sure your chin and shoulder are at rest; you should have the feeling that you could carry you instrument around all day without using your hands. Also be careful that you don’t pull up your shoulder (which many people do) or make some strange kind of movements to reach your violin. Overall, you should just have to keep standing straight, relax and be flexible.

Lastly, regarding the position of your violin or viola: it should really point to the left in a way your violin fits comfortably in your neck. So not all the way to the back (under your ear), to the front (tension in your neck) or too much to the ground or the ceiling (keep it straight in a horizontal position). Also, when playing, make sure you look at your sheet music or the people around you and not to your violin. If you watch your violin while playing, you will slowly move it downwards to the floor and to the front, which will create tension in your neck.

I hope these tips will help you to hold your violin or viola more comfortably and relaxed, without any pain or tension in your neck or shoulder. Because of course, violin playing should be fun and not cause you any pain!



PS: Do you want to see YOUR question answered in a Violin Lounge TV episode? Post a comment below!


  1. Carolyn Keeler

    I played the violin and viola for one year with a very good teacher, but then stopped when my Mom passed away. I could play hymns and patriotic songs and Christmas music with a few others. Bless this House and Ode to Joy and Sheep may Safety Gaze. Others are God Bless America and Star Spangled Banner. I want to start over but live where there are no teachers, and the nearest town is over 50 miles away one way. I live in the United States, I am on Social Security so there is no Money for teacher. How can I learn to play again? I remember some of where I was. My biggest hurdle is where on the fingerboard are the right places for the notes. I can read music of the treble clef and figure out the viola clef. I have both instruments. I have played alto sax and organ in the past and present and play the same music on all instruments. Can you help me learn to play again?
    Phone 1-928-767-4494 or or mailing address 16021 Pierce Ferry Rd PMB 76 Dolan Springs, AZ 86441

  2. Amir Albaroudy

    Thanks zlata for this usefull video..into the more wrong holding the violin..I learned the right way..thanks again

  3. Ester


    Is there a way of getting videos to my Inbox? I am learning to play for the first time

  4. Melissa

    I have been playing the violin for about 5 years but recently I have felt that I have been getting worse instead of improving. I played very well and things started going downhill. How can I fix this problem? I think my intonation is what I need to work on the most and having a relaxed left arm. Please help!

  5. Ginnie Kenney

    This has been very helpful to me, a REAL beginner!! Thank you so much.

  6. Abriannah

    Hello, I’ve been attempting to learn the violin on my own for a good six years, after my violin teacher quit; I did maybe seven months with her. I just wanted to thank you for giving out these free videos for people like me, who don’t have opportunities to be taught in person. I do have a question concerning holding the violin properly: Every time I try holding it with my shoulder relaxed, my neck feels strained. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Violinist Zlata

      Hi Abriannah, thanks for your comment and I’m glad you like my videos. I can’t give you a good advice on this without being able to analyze what the problem is and what would be the solution in your specific situation. You can be taught in person by me via Skype in the Violin Lounge Academy. See

  7. Ramesh Dilpali

    thank u mam, for this basic video

  8. Debbie

    Thanks for this introduction.You are a great tutor


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