[Video] 5 Tips for a clean articulation on the violin | Violin Lounge TV #276

by | May 23, 2018 | Play in Tune | 4 comments

Does your violin playing sometimes sound sloppy?

By playing with your fingertips instead of your arms, you can create a clean sound with clear articulation on your violin.

I’ll explain the left hand as well as the right hand technique in this video:

1) Strong left hand

Always play with a strong and sporty left hand. Slap your fingertips on the fingerboard, so you can even hear them when you’re not bowing. I don’t mean that you should pinch the neck of the violin or that you should have a tensed left hand. Actually your left hand is quite relaxed, but the action is sporty and determined. This doesn’t only benefit the clarity of your articulation, but learning this technique will benefit your intonation (playing in tune) as well.

2) Bow smoothly

Your left hand should be of steel and your right hand should be of velvet. This is one of the most difficult things of violin playing. While you make strong determined motions with your left hand, your right should make soft, fluent and smooth motions.

Don’t only bow with your (lower) arm. Really move your wrist and fingers along with the straight movement of the bow. It’s not only important to make the right movements and have the right bow hold, but you must perform all this with a relaxed arm and hand. In that way you don’t mute your violin and bow and will create optimal resonance.

Pinching your bow is like grabbing a singer by the throat when he tries singing a beautiful area. This creates a choking sound, while you should release the sound from your instrument.

Click here for some more videos around bowing technique on the violin.

3) Make small fluent string changes

A lot of violinists make string changes with large movements in their upper arm. Making small and compact motions with your wrist and fingers will give you more control and will make you able to do them in high tempo’s. Also it’s easier to maintain a full sound.

Certainly when you have a lot of string changes in a high tempo, make sure you minimize the movement and make the movement from your wrist and fingers instead of your arm.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

4) Let your right and left arm work together

Synchronize your left and right arm by practicing with stops. I’ll demonstratie how to practice fast runs in the video.

5) Always play with a healthy sound

Whether you’re just practicing or playing softly, make sure you make full and healthy tone. Don’t try to cover up mistakes with a soft and vague sound. You’re fooling yourself and getting in the way of your progress. Make sure you can hear what you’re doing, so you’re able to correct and improve your violin playing.

Click here to watch some more video lessons about tone production.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What tip gave you a light bulb moment? What tip are you going to implement in your daily practice first? Share it in the comments below!


  1. Stewart H Holder

    Dear Zlata,

    Thank you so much for sharing so freely your expertise.
    I did live in Soest with my family and work in Hilversum with Philips in the late 1980’s and found the Dutch people to be most welcoming.
    I experienced a very bad car accident in 1995 (the day after my 50th birthday) and re-found the violin and Kato Havas’ books.
    The journey involved finding both the notes and sound of beautiful tones and their vibrations that could literally be felt under the finger tips. Naturally a few workshops with Kato Haves and my self exploration with designated etudes and your video lessons enabled me to find a correct direction for constant improvement.
    Please do not give up since some of us have really benefitted from your kind generousity; zo geel bedankt en wel gedaan Stewart H Holder (age 72 and still making some progress) X

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Dear Stewart,

      Thank you so much for your kind message and I’m happy you benefit from my lessons. I’m definitely not stopping. The e-mail I sent was about a program that closes enrollment, but I’ll even play bigger.

      All the best,


  2. Stewart H Holder

    Sorry late 1970’s not 1980’s

  3. Stewart H Holder

    Sorry Kato Havas not Kato Haves.
    The head injury is still with me sorry for the erros


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *