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Dos and Don'ts of Violin Fingering http://www.connollymusic.com/revelle/blog/dos-and-donts-of-violin-fingering @revellestrings

Dos and Don'ts of Violin Fingering

Posted by Revelle Team on Jun 16, 2016

Learning how to properly place your fingers on a fretless instrument like the violin can be a bit tricky. In fact, many beginner students start off by using tapes on the fingerboard to help them learn the correct placement of their left hand fingers.

However, just learning the exact location of your finger to create the desired pitch isn’t all there is to it. A variety of factors affect how clear and pure your sound will be. As a new student, there are certain practice tips that will help you master this skill faster and easier.

This list of violin fingering do’s and don’ts can help you make adjustments in your technique and illuminate any areas that aren’t exactly right.

#1. Rigid Neck Grip – Don’t

There are three points of contact that your left hand makes with the violin. The finger that is playing the note (of course), the outside portion of your index finger between your first and second knuckle (nearest the thumb) and your thumb, which is used to grip the neck. One of the biggest fingering mistakes that new players struggle with concerns the grip they use. If it is too tight (feels like squeezing) you won’t be able to easily place your fingers correctly. The key is to cultivate a relaxed grip that provides flexibility. A good way to check that you aren’t locking your grip is to occasionally move your thumb along the neck.

#2. Fingering Tapes – Do and Don’t

Fingering tapes are a great way to learn the fundamental positions, but you don’t want to rely on them for too long. To play the violin, you really need to develop your own instincts for the correct pitch. By leaving the violin fingering tapes on for too long, you can stifle your progress.

#3. Lifting from the Base Knuckle – Do

Again, another common violin fingering problem is the result of excessive tension: not lifting your fingers using the base knuckle. When you look at your left hand, each of your fingers (except your thumb) has three knuckles. Proper fingering technique requires that you lift and drop your finger(s) using the base knuckle, the one all the way at the bottom. Using the second joint to drop your finger onto the string is wrong and will negatively affect your progress. Your fingers must be limber and loose, and the motion must originate from the bottom joint.

#4. Crooked Wrist – Don’t

Although in some cases your wrist will need to contort a bit to get your hand in the right position (such as creating certain chords), the general rule is to ensure that your wrist is aligned with your forearm. If it’s bent in any one direction, it will make fingering and playing more difficult. Your wrist shouldn’t lean in or touch the rib of the violin, and it shouldn’t point outward towards the scroll. Keep it in a natural, straight position. If you’re having trouble getting your third and fourth finger into position, it’s probably because of a crooked wrist problem.

#5. Use the Tips of Your Fingers – Do

In their zeal to ensure proper fingering pressure and to avoid a “whistling” sound, many students utilize the pad of their finger to cover the violin string. However, you only need to use the tip of your finger to create the note. If you use the entire ‘pad’ the additional area can alter the pitch of the note.

#6. Omitting Warm-Up Exercises – Don’t

Practicing violin fingering techniques can cause stiffness or cramping in your left hand, especially for beginner students. You can prevent this type of injury by making sure that you do a few warm-up exercises every time your practice. It doesn’t take long, but over time, they will result in extended flexibility in your fingers and help prevent severe, overuse injury.

The violin is a wonderful instrument to learn. You can make sure that your progress goes well by concentrating on the fingering techniques that will create clear, beautiful sounds.finding the right violin