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Beginner: Feels like I'm tying my hand into knots.

 
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woodgraintherapy
Junior Member


Joined: 16 Jun 2015
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:41 pm    Post subject: Beginner: Feels like I'm tying my hand into knots. Reply with quote

Hello I'm new to the forums and I look forward to using them. I started playing the violin 2 weeks ago. I'm learning out of the Suzuki book 1 and other teacher instructions. So far I've learned all the twinkle twinkle variations and I'm currently learning lightly row, Ode to Joy (teacher suggestion). and Song of Wind, (but mostly lightly row at the moment).

With lightly row my pinky finger "collapse" on the string and I get a really awful sound from missing the E on the A string. Also I have a really tight hand grip on the violin which I think is because I'm trying to get sufficient pressure on the strings. I have really weak fingers and that is extremely frustrating. After an hour of playing my hand feels like I tied it into a knot.

Also, I'm a little confused about how to the bow properly. I think this causes some bow bounce which goes away after a couple of minutes of practice and adjustment but it is trial and error and I'm still not sure I'm doing it right.

I appreciate everyones help. I really want to get good at this. Thanks.
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Lemuel
Site Admin


Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 509
Location: Mt. Elgin, Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum.

I know how frustrating learning to play the violin can be, especially
if you don't know how to solve it.

The most important thing is to rest once you feel the onset of tension.
The reason is because, playing while you are tense will only cause
you to develop habits of playing while tensed. All music should be
played relaxed, super-relaxed.

Please read my article on left-hand position. It's a simple article on
how to help your pinky finger.

https://www.violins.ca/info/violin_left_hand_position.html

Secondly, beginners use way too much pressure on the fingerboard
and violin bow hold. Try using a lot less pressure, and see if the violin
and bow will stay in your hands. Find the minimum pressure needed
to bring out notes, and then start over with your music. Memorize
the feeling of minimum pressure then start over with your music with
this feeling. It's more mental training than physical.

Tension can spread into other parts of the body. For example, if you
are clamming down on the chinrest you will start to feel tension in the
back of the neck, which can spread down the left arm, wrists and hands.
Do you know that there is sufficient weight in your head to hold the violin
down? Use the natural weight of the head on the chinrest.

The bowing hand, wrist and fingers should be as relaxed and supple as
possible. If not, your bow will bounce, which is caused by tension.
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SJLPHI
Junior Member


Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm unsure if it's too early to recommend it, but when I was re-learning, I had very tight and locked grip on the neck. I kept on "choking" the violin this way.

I started learning Vibrato, in which case, it forced me to relax my grip, my hands feels much looser and relaxed since then.
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SJLPHI
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Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for bow hand,

I learned you're literally balancing the bow with your index, ring/pinky finger and your thumb.

There should NOT be any pressure other than lifting the bow from up bow. Also, this pressure should only be equally balance between the thumb and index.
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Lemuel
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Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 509
Location: Mt. Elgin, Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are different schools of thought on where, which and how to put each
finger on the bow. But the principle is the same as what you discovered
in your left hand "feels much looser and relaxed since then".

It takes very little energy to hold the bow, but often too much energy is used.
Tone quality depends much on the bow. Tension in the hand, wrist and arm
will travel quickly to the bow. Tension means too much energy.

If you let your bow hand completely relaxed and hanging from your wrist, you'll
realize from the start that your fingers curve under to form a cradle. Your bow,
essentially "rests" in this cradle, while your thumb simply functions as a pivot
or stop point.
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jzbosco
Junior Member


Joined: 01 Aug 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lemuel wrote:
...If you let your bow hand completely relaxed and hanging from your wrist, you'll realize from the start that your fingers curve under to form a cradle. Your bow, essentially "rests" in this cradle, while your thumb simply functions as a pivot or stop point.


Thank you Lemuel!! I've been looking for that answer for months. I've asked a couple of dozen people about the bow hold and no one, and I mean no one despite their level of experience, has ever been able to answer the question on how"tight" to hold a bow adequately. "rests in this cradle" - how perfect. I'll be working on a graphic for that later today...
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Mariko
Junior Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2016
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I'm new to this forum. This is really great @woodgraintherapy. I must have started around the same day you started to play the violin. I wonder how you're doing now. Smile

I liked reading this post. @Lemuel Especially the link to the article https://www.violins.ca/info/violin_left_hand_position.html is very interesting. I am about to start my practice session for today and I will definitely try out the suggestion from that article. It's funny that you say that most beginners think their finger are too wide. Wink That's what I think too, so I'll try and see if your exercise helps. Thanks!!
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