The 8 steps to Playing Position

Thanks to Liz Arbus for teaching us trainees this simple process!

(Set-up Step): Stand in rest position – with the violin under the right arm. Then find playing position with the feet. Find your violin hand (left hand) and make a little Duck. Make the Duck “bite” onto the lower shoulder of the violin, with the thumb against the back side of the shoulder.

1) Extend your arm, holding the violin by that shoulder, out in front of you.

2) Twist the left wrist counter-clockwise to flip the violin upside-down.

3) Bend the wrist toward you to make the violin lay flat (almost) against the left forearm.

4) Point your nose at the button. (the little black round thing on the bottom end of the violin)

5) Lift your chin.

6) “Zoom it underneath”! The button should be aimed toward the front-left side of the “Adam’s apple” of the throat.

7) Chin comes down. Heavy-head to hold up the violin. Look for 3 points of contact: the collarbone, the shoulder, and the left side of the jaw- which should sort-of “hook” onto the ledge of the chin rest.

8) Take your violin hand away from the violin’s shoulder and place it on your right shoulder, with left arm under the violin. (Later, after holding the violin up with the head becomes more stable, the eighth position may be replaced by moving the left hand out to the end of the fingerboard.)

Remember, it’s the weight of those “big brains” that keeps the violin up, and also keep the scroll in a straight line (just under) your nose. Happy playing!