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Learning Violin; Beginner Basics
Learning Violin Guide: If you see RED, that means to stop. This is incorrect position! GREEN is good, keep going. You are doing it right!
Learning Violin Step #1
Avoid positioning the violin too far to the left. Also avoid positioning your violin straight down the middle of your body.
Do Not hold your violin in the center as shown below.
Position the shoulder rest of the violin over your left collar bone, resting on the front side of the shoulder.Your violin should be angled slightly left so that can turn your head to the left comfortably and look over the bridge and down your strings.
Do slightly angle the violin as shown below.
Learning Violin Step #2
Avoid having your left wrist bent towards the fingerboard or away from the fingerboard. This will affect your fingering and your vibrato later on.
Do Not touch your wrist to the fingerboard as shown below.
Do Not push your wrist out as shown below.
Position your left wrist under the fingerboard of the violin in a very relaxed, straight, natural position!
Do use good wrist alignment as shown below.
Learning Violin Step #3
Avoid a straight or hyper-extended thumb.
Do Not bend your left thumb out as shown below.
Position your left thumb curved around the fingerboard. This will allow the violin to rest in the space between the thumb and the first finger, and will also allow for good vibrato in the future.
Do curve your thumb outwards as shown below.
Learning Violin Step #4
Avoid holding your violin low. Your elbow should NOT touch any part of your torso, hip or ribs. Good posture is key in making sure this doesn't happen. No slouching!
Do Not drop your elbow as shown below.
Do Not hold your violin too high as shown below.
Position your violin so that the strings are parallel to the ground. The body of your violin will be at a slight tilt up. This posture should be the same whether you are standing or sitting. Developing good posture now will be key in shifting into higher positions and vibrato in the future.
Do hold your violin as shown below.
Learning Violin Step #5
Avoid rotating your left arm outwards. This often happens if the violin you are playing on is too little for you, or if your left thumb is hyper-extended.
Do Not push the elbow outwards from your body.
Position the left elbow slightly under the violin. As you play the lower strings you will want to pull the elbow under even more to give your hand more room to reach.
Do pull your elbow under the violin as shown below.
Step #6 - Intro to Violin Fingering
Avoid smashing (flattening) your fingers down on the strings. Quite often this will happen if your hand is too tense.
Do Not flatten your fingers on the string.
Position your left hand over the fingerboard with rounded fingers. You will be using the tips or fleshy part of your fingers to play the notes. Think of it as coming up and on top of the string rather then 'pushing' down on the string. The closer you can hover your fingers over the strings the quicker you'll be able to place them down, and the faster you'll be able to play.
Do round your fingers over the fingerboard as shown below.
Learning Violin Tips
Learning violin is a little like learning to use a computer. You won't get very far if you're using your elbow to direct the mouse, or the palm of your hands to type instead of the tips of your fingers. How you hold the violin is the most important aspect of good playing. It will make ALL the difference in how you sound, how fast you can play, and how well you can vibrato, shift, and do double stops.
Take Note: Just because it feels right doesn't mean it is right. The flipside of that statement is also true; just because it feels wrong doesn't mean your necessarily doing it incorrectly.
Tip: Correct violin position does not always feel second nature. If it feels slightly uncomfortable it's probably because you are used to doing it a different way. Keep trying the correct way of holding the violin and after a while you'll never want to do it any other way! (Note; Pain and discomfort are two different things. If you feel pain STOP what you are doing, evaluate the problem, and ease into correct way.)
Take Note Becoming aware of how you are holding your violin will make you notice EVERYONE'S violin positioning. You are a violin-holding-critic in the making!
Tip: As you attend concerts or go to violin lessons watch the masters and your teacher carefully. Learn from them, watch how they hold their bow and their violin. Try using their techniques next time you practice.
Take Note Sometimes, from your point of view, it seems like you are doing everything right.
Tip: Change your point of view! You can learn a lot from having others watch you, or from watching yourself. Practice in front of a mirror or video camera to get it perfect.