FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Fiddlin' Muscles
Tips or exercises to develop the muscles you need to play?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
Avatar
laserbrainz
SLC, UT
Members
August 28, 2013 - 3:07 pm
Member Since: August 16, 2013
Forum Posts: 64
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hey everyone! Another beginner question for ya, and apologies if this is in the wrong section.

 

I know that there's about a billion things I'm working on developing at this stage, i.e. bowing straight, finger placement, form and all that, to help produce a nice sound, and the main thing I'm noticing is that after just a few minutes of practicing my arms and hands and fingers and wrists are TIRED.  I'm a little embarrassed at how weak I am!  Just holding up a bow makes my shoulder burn after a couple of minutes, not to mention my left wrist (the one that holds the violin).  I just feel weak all over.  Does anyone have exercises specific to the muscles used for playing the violin to help build them up?  Weight lifting, etc.

 

It's frustrating because I want to keep playing, but after a half hour of practicing and my arm is so tired that my bow bounces all over the place, and my wrist aches from trying to get my fingers in place on the strings.  I'm sure some strength will come in time if I just keep at it, but I'd like to help it along.  Any tips are appreciated!

Avatar
StoneDog
Members

Regulars
August 28, 2013 - 4:42 pm
Member Since: January 14, 2013
Forum Posts: 885
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I don't know any weight training etc >> I also went through what you are going through. It is not cause your weak, etc. Just takes time. Your using parts of your body that ya just haven't used before. It will dissipate as time goes on. Proper form and most of all a relaxed position are the biggest hurdles to overcome. I was always very tense when I would play and that just didn't help at all. Getting the instrument comfortable on my shoulder without digging into my collarbone was a big one but NOW > these issues are not a problem anymore. Just keep at it > it will pass.

Avatar
RosinedUp
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
August 28, 2013 - 6:30 pm
Member Since: September 7, 2012
Forum Posts: 985
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

One main way I think of the violin is that it is a physically-demanding instrument to play.  That may be good for one's health, as it motivates one to look harder for the causes of health problems that might interfere with playing.  Some of the pains of playing may raise awareness of the effects of things like diet and exercise.

Looking just to conditioning, though, you might consider taking more frequent breaks, say a half minute out of every five, to let your muscles and circulation catch up. I particularly notice that the twist of the left arm is pretty demanding.  Leaving the arm in that position for too long might affect the circulation.

Also you might look out for excessive tension, which indicates that you may be able to operate more efficiently by changing your form. Try to spend the minimum energy to accomplish any little operation.

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 28, 2013 - 9:34 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Kayla, that will change soon. You just started playing a few weeks ago. It's also highly likely that you are holding the instrument wrong. Holding the violin the wrong way will make it very tiresome for both hands.

If you are not embarrassed, why don't you make a video of how you are holding and perhaps what you are doing on the violin as well.

Just by playing a little every day you will build those muscles necessary for playing. Start slowly and build up.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
laserbrainz
SLC, UT
Members
August 29, 2013 - 3:29 pm
Member Since: August 16, 2013
Forum Posts: 64
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Here you go. :)  I had to do it outside cause of sleeping babies, and had to macguyver myself a camera stand out of books, hence the binder spiral at the bottom.  Sorry!  

 

Also, I totally thought I was tuned up before recording, but I must've either knocked it out of tune while setting things up, or it was the heat, or maybe I never had it properly tuned in the first place.  Also also wik, upon viewing I noticed my bowing is ALL OVER THE PLACE.  I thought I was doing so well!  I blame it upon nerves.  

 

feature=c4-overview&list=UUiyL0D-kk0IzN3jhzo5t89Q

 

(Can someone tell me how to get the video to show up in a post, instead of having to link to it?  Thanks.) (Nevermind, I'm an idiot.)

 

P.S. Raise your hand if you hate watching yourself on video. :)

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 29, 2013 - 3:53 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

First of all, congratulations on a FANTASTIC beginning to playing the violin.

Your positions look great and you look very relaxed. I think you said that you've been playing for about two weeks right?

Your right hand fingers could be more flexible but that takes time. This would allow for more relaxation in your right hand.

As far as your left hand is concerned, your wrist is straight and you don't seem to be making any excess movements or grips. Your shoulder doesn't seem to be lifting up. Just make sure you are not pressing too hard. If you loosen your press a bit and notice that the sound is just as good than you can use less energy there. I saw no indication of excess pressing though.

I believe you just need to practice less long intervals a few more times a day rather than playing until you are in too much pain to play. I believe that in a few months, if you play every day, you will not have troubles with weak muscles causing pain.

Above all, make a conscious attempt to be relaxed when practicing at all times.
Great job and thanks for the post.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
screeeech
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
August 29, 2013 - 4:58 pm
Member Since: December 14, 2011
Forum Posts: 196
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

For 2 weeks you got a straight bow stroke. Sounds good too!

Avatar
ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
August 29, 2013 - 7:14 pm
Member Since: October 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 550
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

That was great for just a couple of weeks of learning, lazerbrainz.

Keep up the good work.

 

 

Avatar
laserbrainz
SLC, UT
Members
August 30, 2013 - 11:23 am
Member Since: August 16, 2013
Forum Posts: 64
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks guys.  It's actually been about four weeks now. That relaxation part is difficult; I tend to tense my right shoulder especially which I think lends to bowing crooked, and yes, my right hand is pretty stiff.  Pierre, I've been doing the "silent practice" thing with the bow, where you lift it up and down using just your fingers.  It's tough and my range is limited, but I know in time it'll probably get better.  Even if there were no other benefits to learning the violin (of which there are many), I think practicing patience is definitely one of them. :)

 

I'll keep on truckin.  Today I managed to tune it without a drone, just using my ears and listening for the perfect fifths.  Yay!

Avatar
RosinedUp
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
August 30, 2013 - 12:21 pm
Member Since: September 7, 2012
Forum Posts: 985
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

As people have already stated, you're doing great.

Regarding your bow hold:

There is more than one style of bow hold.  Unless I am wrong, Pierre in his videos teaches what's called the Franco-Belgian hold or a variation on it.  It seems to be the most common hold nowadays, and it's the one I use.  I have found what I think are a few key points that I don't think are mentioned often.  You might want to try them to see whether they help your hold.  This comes from my own experience and analysis.  If I make some mistake, I'd be indebted to whoever would correct me.

I don't think the pinky need be very bent at all times.  Assuming a "paintbrush" bowing action, the pinky will straighten somewhat on the upbow and be more curved on the downbow.

To get some insight into the hold, try holding the bow with just two digits: you can hold the stick with the thumb TIP on one side and the middle bone of the middle finger on the opposite side.  That point on the stick is like a pivot point for the hold as it changes between upbow and downbow. 

The thumb straightens if you put the fleshy part of it on the stick.  Keeping the stick on the very tip of the thumb ensures that the thumb remains bent and that the pivot point is maintained.  So you just have to stay on the thumb TIP.

I've done some bow-hold agility exercises similar to what you've mentioned.  I think of the hold as usually presented as a kind of "central position" or "rest position" or "ready position".  The demands of bowing situations require temporary departures from the central position.  The idea is that regardless of how far from center you go while playing, you are always able to return to it.  So my exercise is to move the bow in every direction and orientation as far from the central position as I can and yet be able to return to it.  I push the hold to its limits in the exercise, regardless of whether those limits are ever reached by anyone when actually playing.

Avatar
Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
Members

Regulars
August 30, 2013 - 4:48 pm
Member Since: October 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 2849
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

laserbrainz said
... That relaxation part is difficult...

I'd say that was the most difficult part in learning for me =)

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 31, 2013 - 10:11 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Actually playing silently, trying to keep the bow just over the strings is pretty advanced for the amount of time you've been playing. :-)

Good for you. Next, implement the finger flexibility in the bow changes while playing silently as well. ;-)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
Robyn.fnq
Queensland, Australia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
August 31, 2013 - 11:39 pm
Member Since: July 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 579
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

How impressive is that?

Firstly, your tone is lovely for such a short time playing.  Don't worry about your fingers bending, that will come soon.  Maybe start out by being physically aware of your left wrist, and your right elbow.  If your elbow is too high you get tired quicker, and if the left wrist is too tense, same.

Bowing is a practise thing ... eventually, and using a mirror and video, you'll learn to use that feedback to correct yourself.

But most impressive is that you actually put a video of yourself on this forum!  Most of us took months to gather the courage to do that, even though that's what we're all here for.  You'll never get negative feedback here, nor will anyone laugh at your efforts even if they sound feeble to you.  (Just check on some of the videos I've posted!  And people were always constructive in their comments.)

Welcome.  Hope you find the forum as helpful as I have.

aussie_flag

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.

Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online: yellowdresses
39 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today HeadCheese
Upcoming Mad_Wed, Prudence, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3560

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6446

Posts: 80400

Newest Members:

Folky fiddler, Morgenes42, stringo, sexymom04, FerSZ, elaine a

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11717, KindaScratchy: 1651