2. Describing the problem
Awkward violin position
Before the research I was always ďlookingĒ for my violin with my chin; I had to twist my neck to find the chin rest with my chin. I realized that I had been looking with my neck for the violin instead of bringing the violin to my neck.
There wasnít good contact between my body and the violin because my shoulder rest pulled the violin away from my throat. There was a gap between my throat and the violin. This meant that I had to push my head forward to hook the violin with my chin. This caused a shortening of my neck muscles, and I hadnít any feeling of freedom in my back and neck.
My back also was not straight because my head was twisted around and pushed forward. As a result my knees were not flexible; I braced my legs and bent my upper body backwards.
I had to hold on so hard to the violin with my chin that I couldnít ever change the position of my head on the chin rest. I had a shoulder rest that was too high so the violin didnít rest on my collar bone; I had never before thought of the collar bone as a contact point for the instrument. Also, the shoulder rest was too wide for my shoulders.
Before the research I had a very bad looking red mark on my neck and now it is not that bad anymore. Now I have a smaller mark on my collar bone where the violin touches. Before, the violin didnít touch my collar bone at all, but only rubbed up under my jaw.
Playing technique suffered
The awkward position of my violin affected my playing technique in both hands. For example, I had problems playing scales backwards because my 4th finger couldnít reach the string easily. I thought that everybody could play scales well except me! My left hand was very tense. I notice now that when my head is in the right place I have more freedom in the left hand. To support the violin against my collar bone also helps me to find the right direction for my hand to move during shifting. Thinking about not shortening the muscles of my upper arm from my shoulder until my elbow also helped me.
With my right hand I couldnít reach the tip of the bow because my violin was too far away, off to the left. Thatís why I used to push my right shoulder forwards to try to reach the tip. This took a lot of effort and caused tension in my back.
Now the violin is more in front of me and to reach the tip of the bow I just think of opening my elbow and letting it go, while trying to avoid any tension in my wrist. It helps me on the down bows to think of throwing a ball.
I knew that everybody had problems but I didnít imagine before the research that they could have a similar cause.