Lora Staples - beginning violin and fiddle expert

The Best, Basic Violin Posture

How to move from a rest position into a comfortable and correct playing position

In this video, violin teacher Lora Staples, teaches you how to move from a rest position into a comfortable and correct playing position. Her helpful tips show you the perfect posture for playing the violin.

Released on April 30, 2013

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Comments, Questions, Requests:

ktc on January 11, 2014 @12:03 pm PST
I really like your understandable manner of teaching. I, too, am one of those 'retired adult learners" and have a question concerning rosin. Some say use almost none and then others believe in working up a white dust. What is one to do? Also,
could you please address the types of rosin and what to use in different climatic conditions? (humid vs dry) Thank you.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on January 12, 2014 @9:41 am PST
You summed it up: some people are minimalists when it comes to rosin, others think the more white dust you have on your instrument, the better! Fiddlers seem to collect more dust on their instruments than classical players....just as a difference in the culture and psyche of the two hemispheres of violin playing.

I mean....white dust on the instrument shows that you have been sawin' on the strings, and it looks cool, right?

But the fact is that rosin dust damages the varnish of a violin, and if allowed to sit on the violin for multiple days, it will adhere chemically to the varnish, to the point where it is impossible to remove without removing some of the original varnish.

My recommendation is to get a soft cloth and religiously wipe off your violin after every practice session....even under the fingerboard, but especially where the rosin dust tends to collect, between the f-holes. It only takes 10 seconds once you get it in your routine....I NEVER put my violin away without a quick wipe.

Regarding rosins, the very general rule of thumb:
Dark rosin = less dust, and is favorable in dry climates. Dark rosin is softer and I imagine that it is like soft sap on a tree, gummy and sticky.

Light rosin = more dust, and is favorable in humid climates, and I imagine it to be less gummy and less sticky, which is why it works well for humidity.
Amber rosins are a happy medium. I LOVE LOVE LOVE William Salchow rosin for that reason...it's top notch, and a nice medium.

Where I live in Arizona, however, I have switched to Pirastro Oliv rosin, which is dark green, almost black, and I love it for this climate.

I do not have much experience playing in humidity, so if you have insight into that, I'd love to hear your input.

Thanks for your question. SEe you around!
Wally oucharek on August 10, 2013 @9:43 pm PST
I just had an opportunity to view a few of your teaching videos and really enjoyed them. I started to learn to play the violin when I retired, have not touched it for some time now. After seeing this I think I will give it a go once again. thanks for your encouragement.
w ouch
Lora - host, on August 12, 2013 @1:42 pm PST
Hi Wally! You are one of THOUSANDS of adults who has decided to pick up this beautiful instrument in your adult years! Some are starting from scratch, and some are coming back to it after many many years! Either way, I salute you! It is the BEST investment of your time that you could make!
Good luck!
Fadjar Bastaman * VSM MEMBER * on June 17, 2013 @12:10 am PST
Hello Lora. Your explanation is very clear and interesting and of course important. But, how do we treat the bow ? Thank you.
Lora - host, on June 17, 2013 @6:08 pm PST
Fadjar, do you mean how do we hold the bow? I can do a video for you about how to hold the bow. I will put that on my list of videos to make!
Fadjar * VSM MEMBER * on June 19, 2013 @2:52 am PST
Lora, I mean while we bow down to audience holding the violin at the right waist where is the position of the bow ? In the video you do not show us the bow. By the way, good if you are going to make video on how to hold the bow perfectly. Thank you.
Lora - host, on June 19, 2013 @5:28 pm PST
Aha. Yes, there is a simple way. I will do a video to explain, but basically, you hook your bow on your right middle finger, so that the horse hair is facing the audience. As you take a bow to your audience, make sure your bow points BEHIND you, so that you don't slam it into the ground! That is a gREAT question, and I will do a video for you!
Fadjar * VSM MEMBER * on June 19, 2013 @7:37 pm PST
Thanks for your immediate answer, Lora. It is clear now, anyhow, I am eager to see the video. It looks like a small thing that can make a big difference.
Elizabeth * VSM MEMBER * on June 4, 2013 @8:17 am PST
Thank you for explaining the "why" of each motion that you demonstrate for getting into playing position. Now I understand much better.
Lora - host, on June 4, 2013 @2:36 pm PST
I learn by knowing "why", so that's how I teach. I'm glad you find it helpful! Thanks for watching!
Val * VSM MEMBER * on May 16, 2013 @7:12 am PST
A video will be great. Thank you Lora. I'm still trying to find a 'perfect' shoulder and chin rest for myself, as I have neck and shoulder problems, and I want to play for ever. I use different ones at different times and they would be familiar to you. For my Viola, an air filled suede bag type is best, but one similar is too low for my Violin. Height of the music stand concerns me too.
Although I'm VERY elderly now, I want to play as much as possible as I love my Violin and Viola. In the next two weeks I'm playing in 2nd Violins for Beethoven's Eroica and Violin Concerto, and Viola in Enigma and R Strauss Flute concerto. I find late rehearsals leave me with some aches. We do sit for a long time, don't we?
Val * VSM MEMBER * on May 15, 2013 @5:25 am PST
Thank you for a great demonstration Lora. Our mall beginners enjoyed having their starter feet positions drawn around their feet on large sheets of paper to take home. Can you review some different shoulder rests please?
Lora - host, on May 15, 2013 @12:38 pm PST
Hi Val
I LOVE to talk about shoulder rests and chin rests!!! I will begin to plan a video on that topic. (unfortunately, I can only show photos of some shoulder rests, because I no longer own them....but you will get the idea. Keep your eyes peeled for that video!
Adam * VSM MEMBER * on May 5, 2013 @12:13 am PST
Actually, very simple advices as in Your video, make the technics of violin play much more valuable.
I did not know about rest handling of violin before. I am one year beginner.
Thank You Smiley Face
Lora - host, on May 5, 2013 @6:35 pm PST
Hi Adam
Every little think you learn on violin adds to everything you already know, and it starts to come together like putting a puzzle together! Pretty soon, you start to see the "big picture"! Keep up the good work!
Trina * VSM MEMBER * on May 2, 2013 @1:37 pm PST
Thank you for this! After not playing since high school (many, many years ago) I've recently begun playing again. At some point I must have learned some of these things, but your lesson has served to make me mindful of important details that I may have otherwise overlooked. I look forward to more!
Lora - host, on May 2, 2013 @3:28 pm PST
Thank you for taking the time to reply, Trina. There is a TON of great resources on this site! If you just take advantage of HALF of it, you will be back in the swing of things in no time! Keep it up!
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