Viewing 8 posts - 11 through 18 (of 18 total)
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  • #2978 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

    I actually talked about this yesterday in the webinar classes. It is very important to have good left-hand technique, and you might be surprised how much more you can reach notes (and be more comfortable), when you make a few adjustments. There have only been a few times that I came to the conclusion that a student’s technique was perfect, and they just couldn’t find the notes because of having too small of a hand. Most likely it is just technique!

    1. Have higher hand contact – When you are playing the large viola, it is especially important to have a high hand so that you can easily drop fingers down with minimal effort on the fingerboard when changing from one string to the next. Try squeezing your fingers back instead of moving the hand when placing notes on a different string. Only fingers should move to find notes, never the hand.
    2. Don’t reach for notes – This relates to the point above. Reaching for notes causes your hand to move, which causes your hand to be positioned more perpendicular to the fingerboard. You want your fingers to point as parallel as possible to to the fingerboard (while the hand is still) which allows you to find notes more efficiently by just letting them fall.
    3. Don’t press down to hard on the fingerboard– Over-pressing on the fingerboard causes tension in the hand which restricts vibrato, shifting, and playing fast. Work on pressing just enough for each note, which will allow you to be more flexible with being able to reach notes on the fingerboard.

    Hope this helps!

    #2986 Reply


    These are all great tips! I keep my violin…uh…I mean ‘fiddle’ on my desk. ..that way I see it when I check email etc…then practice on it while reading the news etc. Or if a good tune comes up on one if the sites I visit, I can try to play it. I try to play at least 30 min every day. Sometimes it’s more and some less…but at least a little every day. After 5 years, I still sound like a beginner!…which I guess I am!

    #2987 Reply


    Practicing every day is a good tip. It seems obvious, but a five minute practice is better than no practice! At the very least, you have formed a habit of getting your violin out and not one of canceling practice at the first sign of a busy day.

    #3000 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

    My suggestion is to approach everything in segments of three. Tell yourself when you are are thinking about practicing that you just have to get three productive things done. This could mean that you do one drill, work on one tough section, and then perform for a friend. It could also mean doing three drills for the day and then you are done. Something is better than nothing, and you will find yourself getting into a positive routine when you approach practice in this way. This is a good tip for the student that gets overwhelmed easily about practicing a long period of time.

    #3005 Reply


    That is my goal to practice eveyday since I am just starting to learn the violin. Once I learn the first lessons and know what I need to do first, I’m going to use the idea of practicing in segments of three. I have a touch of OCD and ADD (lol) so I think this will be a good habit to form. I’m also going to use this process in other areas, I think it will help me plan my day better and get more done. Thanks for the great tips everyone and wish me luck!

    #3007 Reply

    Phillip Sindlinger

    Thanks everyone for all those suggestions and tips.

    I will try to utilize many of them as I have not real excuse for not practicing for the next two months.

    One thing that I am doing now is printing out a page or two of my favorite music (e.g, JS Bach BC#4) that I know is still quite impossible for me yet to play. Then I gaze at a page of it now and then while I try to do other things such as acquire more rudimentary skills like shifting positions while bowing simple arpeggios or sight reading at a quicker pace than what I normally do.

    Towards that end, I purchased a cheap, simple clip-on metronome because I too often tend to forget the beat now and then even for a moderato piece whenever a troublesome accidental comes up in order to break a key signature pattern.

    #3113 Reply


    i keep my violin out where i can see it too. – all ready to go then i practice throughout the day. it’s a great idea. that was also good about what somebody said about playing in second pos.-which i just learned- and relying too much on numbers rather than actual notes. – you can’t really say “well, this is third finger on the d string.” when u play it in other positions because that changes. wish i had known that twenty years ago. =/

    #3329 Reply


    Thanks, Tracye and Jodi, for your great tips about putting the instrument next to you. It’s much better to see your instrument so that you don’t forget to play when you have some free time. I’m planning to use it.

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