How to Get a Violin to Make a Sound

The violin is one of the oldest instruments of the orchestra.

Learning to play the violin requires specialized knowledge of how to hold the instrument. Luckily, almost anyone can learn to make a violin produce sound. The trick is to learning how to do two important things: how to hold the bow, and how to hold the violin itself. The study of the violin is one that will take you through a lifetime of musical enjoyment and provide challenges for even the most accomplished performers in the field.

Step 1 Rest the back of the violin between the jaw and collarbone on the left side of your body. You should be able to hold the violin between your chin and your collarbone without using any hands. This will make it possible to free the left hand to manipulate the strings. It is important that the left hand is mobile and free of the weight of the violin.

Step 2 Place the left hand on the neck of the violin. The left hand serves to nominally support the weight of the violin. The thumb should wrap around the violin and the fingers should each be on an individual string.

Step 3 Add rosin to the bow. The rosin helps create friction between the bow and the strings for proper tone production.

Step 4 Hold the bow with the right hand by placing the thumb underneath the bow and two fingers on top of the bow. This is the correct way to hold the violin bow and you should be able to balance the bow between these three fingers. Once you can balance the bow, wrap the remaining fingers lightly around it for additional stability.

Step 5 Begin to pull the bow across one of the strings and make a firm but not heavy connection with the string. Try to maintain a consistent pressure as you pull the bow across the string. This will take some practice to get right. Listen to the sound produced and adjust the pressure and angle of the bow to get a proper sound. This produces the traditional violin sound.

Step 6 Hold the violin per the instructions in Steps 1 and 2. Place the bow aside and pluck the strings. This will create a pizzicato sound that often is used in orchestral scores.

Use a chin-rest to relieve some tension on your neck. The chin-rest attaches to the back of the violin. Find a private instructor to monitor your progress.

While some instructors do teach violinists to play with their left hands, it is better to learn to play the more common way -- with the right. It will be very difficult to play in an orchestra if your bow is moving in the opposite direction of the rest of the section. Left-handed players will still benefit from the ability to use their dominant hand for fingering.


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