How to Release the Tension in your Neck when Playing the Violin? | Violin & Viola TV #210

by | Nov 30, 2015 | Play Comfortably | 5 comments

My Violin & Viola Academy student Susan has pain in her neck while playing the violin. She writes…

Hi Zlata,

I am working on the Weight vs Pressure thing but I can’t get rid of the tension in my neck etc. I also adjusted my chin- and shoulder rests and it feels a bit more comfortable.

Thank you so much for your kind attention whenever possible.


Some people spend fortunes and a lot of time and frustration on trying out new chinrests and shoulder rests. The important thing to realize here is that it’s not all in the material. No shoulder rest or chinrest can compensate a bad hold or balance.

People tend to think ‘I know how to hold my violin’, but there is always some improvement to make.

The trick is to find balance between your left hand and collar bone. The weight of the violin should be distributed around 50/50 on your collar bone and left hand.

It’s a common misconception that you should squeeze the violin between your shoulder and chin. Certainly with the viola, being longer and bigger, this can cause quite some injury.

Lots of people, me too, use the expression ‘put your violin on your shoulder’. Actually it’s best to have your violin rest on your collar bone instead of your shoulder. This is another common misconception about violin hold. The pictures you find in books are often exaggerated to prevent children from holding the violin too much down (with the scroll pointing to the floor).

In a comfortable balanced violin hold, the endpin points to the middle of your throat. Your violin rests on your collar bone and in your left hand (this even improves intonation). Your chin doesn’t have to squeeze the violin, but just prevents the violin from wobbling while bowing.

By implementing these tips and relaxing your neck and chin, you can play comfortably for hours a day. Search for a hold that is good for you and doesn’t activate your neck too much.

Is this video helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin & Viola TV episode to answering your question!


  1. Ripton


  2. David Herd

    I have had my father’s violin in the loft for nearly 45 years and whilst I play various instruments I have never tried the violin until the last 2 weeks. I came across your videos and am most impressed by your attitude friendliness and communication skills. I have thus far experienced some problems with tension in my left hand and at 73 I put it down to old age but the suggestions made by you about hand position have proved very helpful. I have handed my violin into a specialist shop to have the set up checked over and look forward to resuming my efforts on its return.
    There is however substantial marking on the wood which I think is rosin residue over the years which has dulled the finish. Can you pls suggest what should be used to remove this heavy soiled material but causing no harm to the underlying finish.

  3. Engineers

    The MOST COMFORTABLE way to hold the violin is to switch to the VIPER-WOOD violin which has a harness and stand supporting it so that the neck and jaw are FREE. OR, Luthers could stop trying to reinvent the chin rest, admit that the chin rest was a bad idea, dump a bad tradition that’s not worth continuing, and collaborate with biomechanics specialists to invent a new support system that uses a harness strap and new shoulder rest combination with thermoformable foam for customisation and stability, specifically designed to support the violin without neck and jaws being needed.



  1. How to Adjust Your Shoulder Rest and Play Comfortably | Violin & Viola TV #218 - Violin Lounge - […] How to Release the Tension in your Neck when Playing the Violin? […]

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