What if You Can’t Rotate Your Arm/Wrist/Hand Enough to Play Violin?

by | Sep 8, 2013 | Play Comfortably | 2 comments

In this episode I comment on a video sent in by a viewer who wants to improve her vibrato as a beginner violinist

I’ll teach you how to loosen up your wrist, so you can create a beautiful sounding vibrato and control it’s tempo

In this blog, I will answer the question that many violinist have, namely ‘I just can’t rotate my left hand enough’, what to do? Don’t worry, in this blog I will tell you everything about rotating your arm, wrist and/or hand enough to play the violin or viola.

Also, I will share a simple exercise that will learn EVERYBODY to pivot their lower arm enough to easily play the violineven with a nice round fourth finger.

A common violinist struggle

This a problem violinists struggle with on ALL levels (beginning to really advanced). Especially many beginning adults and male violinists have this problem and lots of teachers don’t know how to solve it… while it is SO simple.

The reason why many violin teachers don’t know how to solve this, is that a large mount of them is used to teach violin playing to children. In general, children are very flexible- generally more so than the average adult and male- so what many people have difficulties with, even very advanced violinists, is to turn their hand far enough.

What is the problem?

People tend to have the problem that they cannot turn their hand as much as necessary to have it in a nice, round position for playing the violin. Your knuckels should be in line with your strings and your hand must be close so you give your fingers a lot of space, especially for the fourth finger.

What can be the problem for people who have difficulties keeping their hand in the right position, is that the muscle in your lower arm is probably not long enough.

Here’s and exercise to solve this problem?

To stretch this muscle, you need an exercise that you can do very easily at home. For this, hold your violin in front of you in a horizontal position, while putting your fingers nice and round around the neck. Then move your violin above your head, and position it on your shoulder in your neck (like you would normally play it, but keep your hands in the original position).

Then imagine that there is a little weight hanging under your elbow, so it points in a straight line to the ground, and keep your arm relaxed. It is important that you don’t do anything with your arm or elbow and that you keep your wrist straight. This makes that you  will probably feel some stretch in your lower arm which is holding your violin.

Hold this position for around 3 to 5 seconds and do this exercise for about 3 to 5 times a day. Don’t do it too much, but just listen to your body and feel how it goes. I leave it to you what is the ideal time, but make sure you don’t go on until it hurts. That will tighten op your muscle and negatively affect your entire  playing position.

When doing this exercise regularly, the muscle in your underarm will become a little bit longer and solve the problems you may have with your hand or wrist while playing.

Hopefully this exercise helps you. Please share this with the world, because I don’t want people to struggle if the solution is SO simple! (it hurts me deeply to see people struggling unnecessary)




PS: Do you want to see YOUR question answered in a Violin Lounge TV episode? Post a comment below!’


  1. Pete Poholek

    Pete Poholek
    Pete Poholek
    2 minutes ago
    I have played violin for many years. I had a stroke in March 2017 a hemorrhagic stroke that left me unable to use left arm, and I need to get my left hand working right again. I can hold the violin but have trouble getting wrist to get back to let my fingers position on strings. Please help me get my wrist twisted back to the right way. I am trying your stretch technique and it appears to stretch the wrist pretty good. Do you think I will get playing again?

    • Violinist Zlata

      I hope this exercise will help you get back into playing again. Unfortunately I can’t judge without seeing you. Also I don’t have the medical knowledge to predict your recovery. I wish you all the best and hope you can play the violin again very soon.


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