Why is it important to keep your violin up?
You probably have heard someone say that it is important to maintain a good posture and keep the violin up. But why is it important? What is the benefit of holding the violin high? Is it bad to hold it low? Let's take a closer look at them.
1. Better mobility of the left hand when shifting to higher positions
When your violin is kept higher, you can make more room between your left elbow and the left side of your body. This room becomes very important when you shift into higher positions. When you shift you have to bring your elbow closer to the middle of your body. If you don't have enough room between your elbow and body, your body gets in the way of your elbow that is trying to make a shift.
Also, you will feel more tension on your upper arm in high positions when your instrument is held low compared to when it is held high. When you keep your violin low and come to a high position, you can feel your muscles in your upper arm get pulled. This causes an inflexibility and tension on your left arm. Tension is a big enemy of a violinist. You want to avoid tension as much as possible while you are playing.
2. Bow does not slide to the fingerboard
When the violin is held low, your bow will naturally slide towards the fingerboard because of gravity. You will be fighting against the gravity just to draw your bow straight. When the violin is held high, the bow will stay in one place without gravity pulling the bow to the fingerboard, making it easier to draw the bow. In fact, when your violin is held high, the gravity will help you keep the bow in one place and produce a full tone.
3. Tone opens up
When the violin is held high, the gravity works with you to get a rich and vibrant tone. The gravity will help the bow sink into the strings, so you don't really have to press into the strings to get a full tone, which means you are more relaxed. When you are relaxed, you can use the natural weight of the bow and your arm to play into the strings. That would allow the instrument to produce a full tone without it being choked.
You will gain a beautiful and full tone when you learn how to use the weight of your arm and the bow in conjunction with the gravity.
4. You will look more confident and assertive.
Keeping the violin high and maintaining a good posture will lead to a better visual presentation of yourself. You look more confident, which is not a bad thing when you are performing on stage. This should not be your main reason to keep a good posture, but it's a nice added bonus.