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Top 3 LEFT HAND Mistakes (and how to fix them)

When beginning to learn a musical instrument, it is often easy to become overwhelmed with all of the technical components. You may have even found yourself wondering if you are forming bad habits, and if so, what's the solution? Today, I am sharing with you three common mistakes that I regularly see new violin students of mine making with their left hand, and that could be affecting your progress.

Mistake #1: Changing strings with the wrist or hand instead of the elbow.

It is incredibly common for folks who are new to the violin to attempt to change strings with their hand, putting their wrist in an awkward, crooked position. This also forces them to crowd their fingers on the E string, and reach farther than necessary for notes on the G string.

What to do instead:

Use your elbow! Moving your elbow forward and backward when changing strings will allow for much smoother string changes, and you will be able to keep your wrist straight and neutral, and your left hand technique in tact.

Mistake #2: Pushing too hard, and squeezing with the thumb.

Another common left hand mistake is pushing down onto the strings with too much force, potentially leaving your fingers sore and slowing down your playing. Many people also tend to squeeze the neck between their thumb and index finger, leaving the whole hand sore after practicing.

What to do instead:

Relax. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: relaxing is the best thing you can do for your playing. If you allow your fingers to simply drop down onto the string and not press excessively into the fingerboard, you will have a much easier time moving from note to note, and save yourself some discomfort. Allow your thumb to simply rest along the side of the neck, without squeezing or gripping in any way.

Mistake #3: Positioning the hand too low.

Many new violinists tend to set up their left hand in such a way that half of their index finger is sitting beneath the violin neck. This makes it even more challenging to reach for notes, change strings, and generally move around the fingerboard with ease.

What to do instead:

When approaching first position with your left hand, make sure the base of your index finger lines up with the fingerboard. This will allow you to use the entire length of all of your fingers when playing, and will give you much more mobility. Tip: There should be no gap between your left hand and the neck, so make sure your index finger is in contact with the neck at all times.

And there you have it! Are you guilty of making any of these three common mistakes? If so, I hope you will reevaluate your left hand technique, and work toward breaking these habits for a much better, easier time playing the violin. For more on this topic and a visual demonstration of each of these mistakes, watch the video below!

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