Aw! William! I am always so delighted to see a video from you! I think you did so well. In fact, I caught myself smiling at the end of the piece! You bring so much personality and expression to whatever you play. Thank you!
I was reading your own self assessment above, regarding the left hand clutching the neck of the violin a bit, and yes, I do see that too, so Im glad you’re able to recognize what needs work in your own playing. When you can do this, you can teach yourself *~anything~*!
One tell tale sign that the head is not fully holding the violin, without the aid of the left hand, is the thumb creeping toward you as you play. If you watch this video, you will see the left hand readjusts its position after the thumb has crept toward you slightly, a sign that the left hand is pushing the violin against your neck. This explains the tight sounding vibrato. And it is easy to see the base of the first finger is stuck to the neck during vibrato, but now that you’ve freed it, you’ll be able to execute the wide, romantic vibrato this piece cries out for!
I can give you another really tiny suggestion that will improve your overall playing. Let’s examine how you touch/ handle the violin, as you place it on your shoulder. If you grab the violin around the neck, then twist the arm to place the violin on your shoulder, there are already two strikes against you.
Strike One is that the arm can’t turn far enough around to get the violin easily in its proper place, so it reinforces a low placement on the shoulder. Strike Two is that the left hand grasping the neck sets the left hand already in a ‘clutching’ position that you have to consciously fix, drop the wrist down, and relax. So to avoid these two strikes, get into the habit of handling your violin from the shoulder of the violin like this:
I tell my students, “From shoulder (of violin) to (your) shoulder.” Now this is a more secure, less harmful way to handle the instrument. It allows you to place the violin as far over on your shoulder as you wish without any physical restrictions. It also makes you let go to move the left hand into playing position, thus checking the head position. At this point, if your left hand crawls down the neck to assume playing position, do you think it is helping hold the violin? You betcha! So taking the violin at the shoulder reinforces two things. It reinforces good violin placement, holding with head only and good left hand playing position. Make that three things!
Thanks for sharing, as always William!