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Todays video 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.
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. You can buy fingering tape from Amazon or Ebay or Kennedy Violins’ web sites.
There are 4 very important things to remember for proper left hand placement.
1. Your thumb and first finger aways 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 the higher positions where it’s impossible for your thumb to be directly across.
2. It’s VERY important to keep the shape of your hand, especially when shifting. The wrist should never be bent and all the fingers move together as a unit.
3. Make sure that you 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. Make sure that your fingernails are trimmed.
4. 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.
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.