1 Min, 10 Min, 1 Hour Challenge: PLAYING THE VIOLIN LEFT HANDED | Violin Lounge TV #422

by | May 26, 2021 | Interviews | 10 comments

Concert violinist Vivien Hoffman started playing the violin at the age of 4, but now she’s starting from scratch again as she turns around the violin to play left handed

This is an experiment to test and further develop a self learning method by her teacher Ruggiero Ricci

Violinist Vivien Hoffman now knows exactly how a complete beginner to the violin feels

By turning around and starting to play the violin left handed, she needs to relearn everything she’s learned since the age of 4.

The goal is to test the self correcting method by her teacher and famous violinist Ruggiero Ricci.

We see how Vivien plays normally and after that we follow her left handed violin journey after 1 minute, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 1 day and 3 days.

After the 3 days she encounters a very surprising difficulty she didn’t foresee, so make sure you watch the interview until the end!

Follow Vivien’s experiment on her YouTube channel.

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This interview answer the following questions about learning to play the violin left handed:

  • For those new to the violin: ‘you know how to play, right? why is it a problem?’
  • Ricci’s method of self learning and self correcting based on the violin technique by Paganini
  • How different adult beginners learn vs young beginners
  • How Vivien’s progress is compared to absolute beginners
  • What’s most difficult to learn or relearn? Intonation or bowing?
  • Why it’s suddenly so hard and strenuous to practice long
  • How the fact that Vivien is right handed influences this left handed violin experiment
  • What do you think of people wanting to play the violin left handed from the start? What do you advice?
  • How is the instrument different? What needs to be adjusted to the violin to make it suitable for left handed playing?

What was most surprising to you from this interview? Share it in the comments below:


  1. JD

    Did she use a different violin for left handed play?

    • Zlata

      She explains all about that later in the interview :).

  2. JD

    Very enllightening.

    Re starting “left handed”: like many teachers I have always advised left hand beginning guitar and mandolin students NOT to start “left handed” because the fingering technique is much more difficult than even the most advanced plectrum or fingerpicking technique (with the possible exception of tremolo.)

    When I took up the viola (as an adult and “right handed”) intonation was far less difficult than expected — even with double stops and shifting — presumably because my left hand already had a sense of relative spacing. But bowing still is far more difficult than expected.

    • Zlata

      Yes, exactly!

  3. Sylvia

    Zlata and Vivien your video is very enlightening and it encourages me as well. I have been struggling with how I should practice. I am an adult beginner student seeing my teacher through FaceTime every second week. I find that after 5 to 10 minutes I have to stop playing because my mind can no longer focus. I leave my violin out so that I go back to it a few times during the day. You also spoke of working the hands separately. It has been a great challenge having my hands do different movements at the same time. Thank you for this very interesting talk. Looking forward to hearing more on your progress Vivien.

    • Zlata

      Glad it’s interesting, Sylvia!

  4. Paul

    Is that the same violin, or a specially made left-handed violin? It looks like the strings have been reversed, but are the bass bar and sound post also reversed?

    • Paul

      Oh, I see. I spoke too soon! She does talk about the changes to the violin. It’s still a right handed box, but with the bridge and strings reversed. Thanks!

      • Zlata

        Exactly and she might have more changes made to this instrument in the future.

  5. Zlata

    Hi Alice, thanks for noting. I checked the links and they all seem to work. Maybe try a different browser? Vivien and I have new plans and are coming up with something even more awesome in the coming weeks :).


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