Day 9: Left Hand Position
Review everything we've done during your practice: taking out and putting away the violin and bow, checking for rosin, bow hold, windshield wipers, rocket ships, pepperoni pizzas with vertical bow, rest position, play position, and pluck position. Then move on to the new material.
Left Hand Position
The basic things we are looking for are Magic X, Banana Thumb, Mouse Hole, Straight Wrist, palm facing the fingerboard, and fingers curved above the string.
Magic X: This is the crease at which your index finger meets your hand. Its place is on the corner of the fingerboard between your first fingerboard tape and the scroll.
Banana Thumb: If we bend our thumb, our whole hand wants to close. This causes us to squeeze the instrument, which hurts our playing and can cause injuries like carpel tunnel and tendonitis. To make sure our hand stays relaxed and we don't have these problems in the future, we're going to make our thumb look like a banana. It should like like when you're giving a 'thumbs up' to someone.
Mouse Hole: Shake out your hand and relax it at your side. Then bend your elbow and look at how your left hand looks. Our X is high, and our thumb is low. If our Magic X and our Banana Thumb are in the right place on the neck of the violin, there should be space between the neck of the instrument and the part of your hand between your thumb and your index finger. We'll call this the Mouse Hole. Pretend that Fred the Mouse lives there, and we don't want to squish him!
Straight Wrist: Just like with our right hand, we want a straight line from the base knuckle of our middle finger all the way down to our elbow. If we squeeze the instrument so our palm is touch the neck, we'll call it "pizza wrist", and if our wrist is bending in the opposite direction, we'll call it "broken wrist".
Palm Facing the Fingerboard: Our pinky fingers are short! That means we need to put our hand in a position that helps our pinky perform as well as all the others. The farther away the pinky side of your hand is from the instrument, the more time it takes for your pinky to travel to its spot, which means your pinky will never play fast. This means our pinky's base knuckle needs to be close to the fingerboard. Rotate your whole forearm from the elbow so that your palm faces the fingerboard instead of your face and all your fingers are above the same string.
Curved Fingers: Curve your fingers over the string. Your base knuckles will be mostly flat like your right hand, but all the knuckles in your fingers should be bent. When setting your fingers on the fingerboard, you will contact the string with the tippy-tip of your fingers (remember your tapping exercise on the table).