How to Move your Left Arm when Crossing Strings | Violin Lounge TV #228
This episode is specifically about the movement of your left arm while crossing strings.
This episode is an answer to a question from Vinnie:
Hello Zlata. I have a video request for you on a closely related subject: string crossings with the left hand. For some reason I don’t see a single YT video that emphasizes left hand (fretting hand) elbow angle change when crossing the strings. I tend to bend my wrist sideways while I know this is bad. Somewhere else I read about the “steering wheel” concept – it can be shown without the violin and bow: when crossing strings with fretting new notes on neighbour strings both your elbows move in parallel. Why no one addresses this in detail? I think this is very important.
What Vinnie means is that when placing fingers on the strings, she keeps her elbow in the same position and bends her wrist to reach the strings with her fingers.
In the steering wheel concept your elbow moves along with the string changes with your bow arm.
For your left hand fingers to be able to reach the spots on the string easily, you need to move your left elbow a bit. The default position of your left elbow is to drop it under the violin. Your elbow points to the floor and your left arm is relaxed. It can wobble around a bit.
However if you go to the G string, it might be easier to move your elbow a bit to the right. Don’t exaggerate it as I demonstrate in the video. If you go to the E string, you help your fingers by moving your elbow to the left.
See if you can keep your wrist straight or have a slightly giving hand, but don’t bend your wrist when you change strings.
To help your left hand fingers reach the string, move your left elbow from left to right a bit while maintaining a relaxed left arm and a straight wrist.
Find out for yourself if this movement of your left arm helps you reach the strings with your fingers more easily. Experiment with your left elbow position and discover what the ideal movement and position is for you. This is personal.
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PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!