How to Position Your Left Hand to Play Violin

Learn about left hand position from musician Julie Artzt Becker in this Howcast video.


Okay. So now I'm going to teach you how to place your left hand on your violin.

In a previous video, I spoke about how to place your violin on your shoulder the proper way. So once your violin is up and looks beautiful and it's just in the right position, you put up your left hand.

Now, the first thing to think about when you put up your left hand on your instrument is, you're putting it on the neck of the violin. Here's the neck of the violin.

Now the first thing you think about is where your thumb goes, and what it should look like. Your thumb should look like this.

For a beginner, you may even want to pick up something like a sticker, or even like one of those corn removers from the pharmacy, and put it right about there. And your thumb should point, ever so slightly, in the direction of the scroll, which is here. So in this direction. And the thumb should not be too straight, but on the straighter side, but relaxed, not bent. On the straighter side, but relaxed.

Then the other thing you have to think about when placing your left hand, and after thinking about the thumb, is the arm. Your arm needs to be very, very straight. You don't want the wrist coming out. You don't want the wrist coming in. You want it to be perfectly flat like a pancake, all the way from your elbow to your palm of your hand.

And then last but not least are your fingers. Now, depending on which string you're putting your fingers on, you might want your elbow a little bit in, or a little bit out, but we'll talk about that in another segment.

When you put your fingers down, they need to be put down right on the very tip of the fat of the finger. Not on the nail, and not off the tip. The tip of the fat of the finger. So let's say I'm putting my first finger down on the A string. This is the tip of the fat of the finger. Second finger. Third finger. Fourth finger.

Now an example of doing it wrong would be like this. So you want it to be on the tip of the fat of the finger, and if you think about that everything else is in the right position. You have a little platform here. Here's the platform for the second finger, platform for the third finger, platform for the fourth finger.

If it's like this, there's no platform. The pizza will fall right off the platform. So you want it to be nice and tall.

Again, don't move the thumb. And this is the perfect position for the left hand.

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