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Hello Beth (and everyone!),

I have been changing my posture and bow hold ever since I've been watching your videos... my playing really has improved a lot overall... BUT... I am still having a lot of difficultly with the left hand. I no longer have a "death grip" on with the left hand but I cannot seem to work out how to keep my intonation without touching the neck.  As soon as I try to vibrate (in first position, using scales or songs) my fingers aren't falling where they are used to being (when I am touching the neck with my forefinger) and my notes are terribly out of tune. I can only really do vibrato in high positions. I don't know what I am doing wrong and it is kind of taking the joy away from playing!  Another note... I have been noticing that my arm/shoulder is sore from putting my elbow where (what I hope is) in the proper position. I really thought that once I got secure with a better shoulder rest that the problem would disappear. (I just got a Bon Musica per your recommendation and it really is great! :)  Thanks so much for all the awesome videos and for proving help to those of us who are self-taught!  


5 Responses
Posted: November 21, 2011
Last Comment: November 21, 2011

Posted: November 21, 2011
Thanks everyone.. and yes, I know I should have posted a video for my own good but I am a little shy about my playing. :-/ 
Beth, I did watch the video and your analogy makes sense.. I also saw a few more videos I hadn't seen before that were helpful. I am going to try again and see if I can put that into action. Maybe I will be brave enough and post a video of my playing soon. 
 Ian, I have been playing for about 3 months or so since picking it back up again. I am so determined this time around! 
Elieen, thanks I will be careful.. in fact I believe I caused injury to my neck in the past.. you would cringe at my posture... raised shoulder and cramped neck... ouch! Hopefully the Bon Musica will allow me to re-train myself! 

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 21, 2011
Hi Candace, It's ok to touch the neck at those crucial moments to establish hand position. If you watch the video on "Shifting After an Open String", you'll see how we can come in and away from the neck very fluidly. Using a baseball analogy (sorry) the runner, as he waits on first base will walk away, then quickly run to it again when there's the threat of being "out".  It's also possible you are overcompensating and bringing your hand too far away from the neck. That often happens. As for your arm, Eileen is right. If I could see what is going on, I could help you better. Again. maybe you're overcompensating. Certainly if you feel pain, bring you elbow down to where it feels better.

Ian Renshaw
Posted: November 21, 2011
D'oh! First I ask my question and THEN read your biog on the members' page. So, I can see your time with the violin has been broken up over the years. So, I'll amend my question - how long have you been playing for consistently this time around?

Ian Renshaw
Posted: November 21, 2011
Hi Candace,
Out of interest, how long have you been playing?

Posted: November 21, 2011
Hello Candace,

Be very careful with the soreness part.  Pay attention to that !  I didn't and ended up with tennis elbow in my left arm, which still plagues me a year later.   Is there any way you can take a video of your playing and post it here ?   If Beth can "see" what you're doing she'll be much better able to help you out before you do something to hurt yourself.  I am not qualified to give you much advice except to caution you about any pain you might be feeling when you play.  

I had the same issue, I'm pretty much self taught as far as the technical aspect of my playing......I had that death grip for a long while before I finally loosened up....and I also tend to hold the strings down too hard...you might want to check on that.  Tension in general was and still is my biggest problem and it's most likely the biggest cause for injury while playing.   If you can take a vid and show Beth just what you're doing I'm sure she can help you fix those issues.   Hang in there.....you can do it !   ;-)