Violin Tutorials – How to Use Your Left Arm and Hand

Clayton Haslop

When learning violin tutorials and lessons on how to use your left arm and hand, you’ll soon discover that there are many important aspects to be performed with the left arm. Your left arm is responsible for pressing down on the fingerboard as well as holding the actual violin itself and this page will show you violin tutorials on how to correctly hold the violin.

When learning violin tutorials, one of the first examples for beginners to consider is how they position the left thumb when holding the violin. You should not be holding the violin with your thumb. The best way to use your left hand thumb is to use it for maintaining a nice balance for when pressure is exerted downwards from your other four fingers on the fingerboard when fingering.

As you are holding the violin, ensure that you keep your left wrist aligned with the rest of your forearm. Also, it’s best that you don’t bend the wrist much. When the wrist is bent too much towards you, this can result in the violin or fiddle slipping out too far into the palm of your hand. When the violin is in the palm of your hand, your fingers will become tenser when fingering and exerting downward pressure to each violin string.

Similarly, when you bend your wrist in the opposite direction (away from you), you will find it harder to apply the right amount of pressure needed for pressing down on the strings of the fingerboard. Likewise, your fingers will again become tense and they will not manoeuvre as smoothly as they should when pressing down on a string to play tunes.

To overcome the mistake of bending your wrist when learning from violin tutorials and lessons, it’s best to imagine that the point from your knuckles all the way up to your elbow, move and flow together as one.

As you begin playing the violin and learning from violin tutorials, make sure you keep enough of your attention on your left hand and arm. It is very common that people become distracted by their right arm because the right arm is doing a lot of moving back and forth.

This can then result in the left arm being slightly neglected, meaning that it can become stiff and rigid, thereby affecting how you manoeuvre your left fingers and how you play notes on the instrument.

Many beginner violin tutorials highlight the unhelpful effects that can come from the left elbow and shoulder being rigid. If there is not enough freeness and flexibility in these two body parts, the performance will be affected. Having a rigid left shoulder and elbow can also sometimes result in the other parts of your body (such as the right arm, stance and posture), counteracting the bad usage of your left arm.

For correct fingering and use of your fingers on the fingerboard, allow the finger pressing power to come from the base of your knuckles. Imagine that your fingers are the pistons of a machine or engine thumping down on the strings, but with a certain amount of finesse, control and a comfortable sense of ease.

Check out the video above to see violin tutorials and tips on how to hold the bow.

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