How To Place Left Hand On a Violin
Today's blog post is about proper left hand placement on your violin or viola. Where you place your left hand is very important. However, the shape of your hand may be at least equally or more important. Therefore, we are going to talk about both today.
Finding the Right Placement: The Tape Technique
The easiest way to know where to put your left hand is to place a piece of tape on your instrument where your 1st finger goes. You can use this as a reference until you are comfortable knowing where your hand goes. Simply place a thin piece of tape evenly across your violin where you normally would put your 1st finger on every string. You can use just about any tape.
Fingering tape is available on Amazon, eBay, or Kennedy Violins' website.
Four Pillars of Proper Left Hand Placement
1. Relationship Between Thumb and First Finger
Your thumb and first finger always have the same relationship. The thumb will always be across from the 1st finger and probably slightly behind it. Everybody's hand is different, but consistency is key, and the relationship is the same for all strings. Wherever you are on the instrument, your thumb will always move with your 1st finger. The only exception is in higher positions where it's impossible for your thumb to be directly across.
2. Maintain Hand Shape, Especially When Shifting
It's VERY important to keep the shape of your hand, especially when shifting. The wrist should never be bent, and all the fingers should move together as a unit.
3. Finger Placement on Strings
Make sure that your fingers are all bent and you are placing them on the string on the fingertips. Never place your fingers on the string using the pads of your fingers. Additionally, ensure that your fingernails are trimmed.
4. Thumb Placement
Try not to bend your thumb. Keep your thumb straight and relaxed. You'll place your thumb on the neck of the violin, just above the first joint, towards the pad of your thumb.
Practicing Hand Placement: Use Scales
The best way to practice your hand placement is with scales. Remember, always use the metronome! Use a 1, 2, or 3-octave scale as your usual warm-up routine and never practice faster than you can maintain awesome left hand placement.