Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Violin Position Finder

Some people use sticker strips to help beginner fingers find their way to the places that pitches lie on the violin (or the viola or the cello), and some people use colorful stickers. I find that beginners who have white sticker strips on their fingerboards tend to look at their fingers rather than pay attention to how the instrument feels in their hands when the first finger is in the proper position.

My answer is to put a little round sticker at the point where the thumb rests in first position. The student can feel if s/he is in the right place with the thumb. The ear then reinforces the place that the hand needs to be. The fingerboard also does not get gummed up with stickers and stars, and the fingers learn to feel one another while measuring half steps and whole steps from the first finger. The student, paying attention to both the first finger and the thumb has a strong point of reference from the beginning.

I just started doing this a few months ago, so I haven't yet observed the benefits of early thumb awareness when it comes to shifting positions. I'm excited to find out. I imagine it will make learning to shift a great deal easier.

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