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Left Wrist position
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rbagdazian
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November 24, 2019 - 5:56 pm
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I have a very basic question that I haven't seen discussed anywhere. When I place my left arm in position to hold my violin, the heel of my palm faces a position at what I'll call 6'clock. I don't seem to be able to turn my wrist any further to the left so that my palm lines up with the neck and fingerboard. As a result I have to do all kinds of contortion to be able to get my index finger over the strings to the E string. Is this a normal problem for beginning players. Are there any good discussions of how to approach this issue?

Thanks in advance

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cid
November 24, 2019 - 7:28 pm
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@rbagdazian 

I am not sure what you are describing, but here is a link to one of the Fiddlerman tutorials.

https://fiddlerman.com/tutoria.....tutorials/

Not sure if this will help, but it will take you to a lot of videos made by Fiddlerman. Maybe watching some of his videos will demonstrate how to hold it?

Hopefully, someone more experienced will be on soon and can help further.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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rbagdazian
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November 24, 2019 - 8:12 pm
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Sorry if I was confusing. If I imagine my head being at the center of a clockface then 12 would be straight ahead. 6 would be directly behind me. Getting my left hand into a position to play say an F on the E string seems to take a huge amount of stress to get my index finger into the right place on the string. I'm just wondering if this is normal for beginners. I've seen videos on bowing technique for beginners, how to hold the violin on ones neck, but nothing on proper hand placement for the left hand to facilitate correct playing technique.

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
November 24, 2019 - 8:41 pm
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Hi @rbagdazian. Seems to me that the heel of your left hand should be pointed at about 5 o'clock rather than 6. Or, in other terms, pointed at your right shoulder, rather than the back of your neck. 

If you've got the violin positioned out in front of your face, that would explain why you feel like you're twisting your hand too much.

But, that's just a guess. Can you post a photo or video of yourself holding or playing the violin? That might help folks here give you definite advice on your technique.

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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rbagdazian
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November 24, 2019 - 11:36 pm
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Thanks @kindascratchy, I'll try to get a pic up in the next day or so

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rbagdazian
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November 25, 2019 - 8:11 pm
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20191125_184044.jpgImage Enlarger20191125_184418_Burst031.jpgImage Enlarger20191125_185346_Burst01.jpgImage EnlargerHere are some pics of my left hand in position to play 'A' on the G string. I seemed to be able to reach it a bit easier today, but would welcome any input regarding problems you might see in my hand position, violin position, etc.

I'm also interested in any recommendations for beginner exercises to begin to build proper technique. 

Thanks!

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KindaScratchy
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November 25, 2019 - 8:59 pm
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Thanks for the photos. That definitely helps. Guess I misunderstood your clock references.

Looks to me like you're holding the violin a little too much out to your left. I think you could bring it a little more to the front, which should reduce the twisting of your left hand.

That's just my opinion, though. We'll see what others -- and maybe Fiddlerman -- have to say.

doneviolin-student

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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rbagdazian
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November 25, 2019 - 10:53 pm
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll give that a try. I remember with the violin in a more forward angle I had a really hard time getting my index finger over to the G string. I'll see if I can find the happy medium.

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Bob
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November 26, 2019 - 8:52 am
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@rbagdazian, I agree with @KindaScratchy that moving the instrument more in front of you would help with the fingering.

Also, my preference is to tilt the violin more forward so that the G string is more accessible with the fingers and  the bow.

But, tilting too far might cause issues with E string access being too low. I try to find the compromise position where everything  works. Now all I need to do is play better 😉

Welcome to the forum.

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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rbagdazian
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November 26, 2019 - 11:25 am
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Thanks Bob, that all makes sense and I'll give it a try.

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Fiddlerman
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November 28, 2019 - 9:59 pm
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rbagdazian said
I have a very basic question that I haven't seen discussed anywhere. When I place my left arm in position to hold my violin, the heel of my palm faces a position at what I'll call 6'clock. I don't seem to be able to turn my wrist any further to the left so that my palm lines up with the neck and fingerboard. As a result I have to do all kinds of contortion to be able to get my index finger over the strings to the E string. Is this a normal problem for beginning players. Are there any good discussions of how to approach this issue?

Thanks in advance

Hey rbagdazian,

Just saw your post and helpful tips from others.
As Bob and Diane mentioned, having your violin more in front of you will help a lot.

I can see how putting down your fingers will be more difficult when your hand cannot face the neck more. Although my next tip will cause you to contort even more, it would bring your fingers closer to the strings. Try carefully bringing your arm (elbow) more under the instrument too. As long as you don't feel pain.

Lastly, give yourself some time to get your arm comfortable with a completely new and strange hand/arm position. Slow and minimal stretches done daily will make it easier and before you know it, you'll be comfortable. I've worked with adult beginners even in their 70's and 80's and most of them get comfortable eventually.

Don't rush it or push it too hard. work on bow technique and perhaps perfecting the fingers that reach the fingerboard much easier such as your first and second finger, using the third minimally until it's easier and finally the fourth.

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

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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November 29, 2019 - 1:56 am
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Violin just takes accustomisation, I think. I remember it felt very uncomfortable and unnatural to begin with. Don't force it or cause yourself pain, but it will come. Get a teacher to show you the correct posture.

Andrew

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DrMike
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January 11, 2020 - 7:51 am
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20200111_071520.jpgImage Enlargerrbagdazian said
I have a very basic question that I haven't seen discussed anywhere. When I place my left arm in position to hold my violin, the heel of my palm faces a position at what I'll call 6'clock. I don't seem to be able to turn my wrist any further to the left so that my palm lines up with the neck and fingerboard. As a result I have to do all kinds of contortion to be able to get my index finger over the strings to the E string. Is this a normal problem for beginning players. Are there any good discussions of how to approach this issue?

Thanks in advance

  

I had a grandfather that played on the Grand Ole Opra years ago and he use to keep a stick in his violin case for helping him with this. He would put the stick forward  and squeeze it in his hand, holding it firmly then twist his wrist into the position like he was playing.  He would place the other end of the stick behind his neck. He held it for about 30 seconds and did it several times during the day.

DO NOT TRY IF IT HURTS!! I am sharing what he did and I am doing now.

Note he also held the same stick while watching TV or reading his bible and moved it like he was bowing. I remember thinking how can he make his fingers go back and forth like that. Now i know!

His stick was slick where he held it for years. (If I could only play like he did)

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