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Hi everyone, I am shifting to 5fth position but I still have a little trouble. When I go up I am fine but going down, my thumb tends to stay. Oh, it does move down,but it does not go completely to it's post. I can still see my 2nd and 3rd finger, but the 1st finger, it is too high. Thanks for any tips!

6 Responses
Posted: May 19, 2011
Last Comment: May 24, 2011

Posted: May 24, 2011
Thanks everyone! Oh yes, I had a chance to see the shifting videos. They helped.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: May 20, 2011
Hi Julia, you've received excellent advice from Jo and Eileen. Have you had a chance to see the shifting videos yet? I have a few on training the shift. They should help.

I'll watch them again to make sure I included "coming down from high positions".

Posted: May 20, 2011
what Eileen suggested was on the right track, only may I suggest that you should not really practice keeping your finger down, you should practice your shifts with 'harmonic pressure', especially if you are advanced enough to play in 5th position, you will still hear where you are going and this is the way you will play anyway, when you play pieces you should ALWAYS use guide notes when you shift and never guess, all professional violinists and all the masters out there they all use guide notes and shift using harmonic pressure in all the pieces the play, they never guess anything, all they do is calculated. If you learn your shifts by keeping your fingers down then when you go onto playing a piece you can't keep your fingers down as otherwise it will sound a mess! so what do you do? you have to lift the pressure and as you have never done that before you will then 'guess'!!! the outcome will be a piece that is not in as in tune as it would have been.... or as technically correct as it would have been.

Posted: May 20, 2011
Julia, are you talking about TWO problems here? one being your thumb being left behind and the other also your 1st finger not quite reaching the spot?? For your thumb I'd advise practicing WITHOUT the bow altogether. Just your left hand. Keep your fingers EXTREMELY LIGHT on the strings, DO NOT press on the strings at all, just lightly caress them.Your thumb next to the neck of the violin also just very lightly touching the neck, very lightly, now stay in 5th position and practice going down to 1st position and back up to 5th position MAINTAINING the correct shape of your hand. BE CAREFUL in 5th position your thumb should beginning to go a little under the neck of the violin, not completely though as it's getting ready for the higher positions...... practice daily for just 2 to 5 minutes going up and down like that with a very relaxed hand, making sure your thumb moves TOGETHER with the rest of your hand/arm in unison and it does not get left behind! watch yourself in a mirror that your wrist does not bend either and your hand stays in a nice straight line with your forearm. You do this diligently and you will soon improve :) as for the first finger not getting quite to the right spot in shifting: you have to practice your shift SLOWLY. Start at your starting point, say you start on A string 5th position so that is F and you want to go down to 1st position so it's a B you want to go down to, play F with your first finger, now lift your finger to release pressure on the string until you have only 'harmonic pressure' (ie the very gentle pressure you would have when you play a natural/artificial harmonic, I think in american people call them flageolet??) now SLOWLY while bowing lightly move down the string keeping the harmonic pressure until you reach the B, go SLOWLY! you MUST NOT go past the B!!! that is why you must go really really slowly!!! I cannot emphasise the REALLY slowly! that is important VERY important when you are learning your shifts! when you got the B SPOT ON then put your finger pressure down and play the B! A good friend of mine who is also a teacher told me a story who her violin teacher told her about this polish boy a long time ago (it's not a real story), but anyway, let's call him Jack....Jack had to bring a glass of wine to the king every day and it was full to the brim, if Jack spilt ONE DROP of the wine he would have his head chopped off! her violin teacher told her to imagine she was Jack and if she went past the note when shifting she would have her head chopped off !!! LOL LOL so....never ever practice too fast your shifting or you'll get your head chopped off LOL LOL LOL

Posted: May 20, 2011
on second thought...I might have a tip...

Try keeping your finger down when you shift back to first...so that you hear the slide. Then you can hear when you find the right spot. If you keep doing that eventually you're hand will just "know" where to stop. Be sure you aren't squeezing the kneck. Hope that helps !

Posted: May 20, 2011
Hi Julia ! I don't have any tips for you, but I thought I would post a reply so that your question would come back up top. If something gets too far down the line, it could get missed. ;-)