What to do if you are too tensed to play the violin?

by | Aug 14, 2013 | Play Comfortably | 2 comments

What if some unfortunate events happen and you are completely stressed out and too tensed to play the violin?

Has it ever happened to you that you are too tensed to play the violin or cannot find the time to practice? Or if something unfortunate happens in your life (I hope it doesn’t!) and you have too much on your head and you are therefore too tensed to play?

Recently I received a question about what to do if some unfortunate events happen and you are completely stressed out and too tensed to play the violin. Therefore, I will give you some tips tips to use violin playing to heal and relax in difficult times.

Music can be healing

Especially in those moments it is good to realize that making music and playing the violin can be very healing and relaxing for both your mind and your body. So I really warmly recommend you to certainly in these times keep on practicing and keep on playing your instrument. Maybe you’ll play it a different time than you normally do- a little bit shorter or longer- or maybe in a different way.. but certainly keep on playing and don’t take that away from yourself too.

Let it go and don’t worry about mistakes

And then it also may be the case that your play when you are tense does not sound like you normally play. This can be confronting, however everything you feel and everything that is going on insight you will be made hearable of you pick up the violin and start playing it. May it be grief, stress or any other emotion you are experiencing, you will hear in when you start playing. Sometimes this can make your music sound stressed, or maybe your bow will shake or your fingers don’t do exactly what you want.. However, just remember to keep playing and that the reason why the sound could be a little bit differently can be an alert that something has to get of your mind and that you can do that while playing violin.

If you notice that you tremble or shake, or something isn’t going as you are used to: don’t fight it because this will only make it worse and become a cycle. You don’t want to be in that circle, but you want to be in that circle where playing music is a healing and relaxing thing to do.

Try to relax and focus on the practise

So try to relax before you start playing, for example by trying some to do some meditation for a few minutes, stretch your arms and back or try to do some relaxing exercises from stretching or yoga (or what you are used to). Do this until you feel like you are ready to pick up the violin and start playing. And maybe your hands will shake or everything you worry about will go through your head, but as long as you play and focus on the music and not on what goes wrong or that you don’t have time, it will be fine.

So don’t fight it but also don’t focus on it; just let it be. And eventually, even if it doesn’t happen the same day, the stress, frustration or tension will disappear. Just keep in mind to focus on the music you are playing and the fact that you are practicing, and not on small things that may go wrong.. This will feel very refreshing and relaxing.

While this blog is a little bit different than normally, it hopefully helped you a little bit in case you are in a difficult situation or will be of help in the future (I hope you don’t need it and have only fortunate events in your life)!

If it was useful to you or if I can help you by answering any other question, please let me know in the comments below.





  1. cathlin nguyen

    When I play the Violin for an upcoming test, I get all tensed up but can still play well when the notes are short. My upcoming test is now with longer beats (8 beats per string) with the metronome at 60 bpm. When I get nervous I start to feel cold and shiver, and when I play slowly, I can feel my heartbeat moving my violin. What do I do to calm myself and play smoothly when I have to play for 8 beats long? Thank you.

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Try to practice the exact movements in the mirror and identify where your bow feels a bit bouncy. Be aware of everything you do. With tension something can suddenly not feel natural and by knowing what you do and how you do it, you can ‘save’ yourself in such a situation.


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