How to Shift Smoothly on the Violin - Learn Thumb Consistency

3rd Position Intermediate Videos

How to Shift Smoothly on the Violin

Learning how to shift smoothly on the violin is very important to progressing as a player. The video below with student Marco should help you with some detailed tips. 

It’s essential to avoid bad habits of grabbing the neck too hard in the first position. You also need to make sure you have a proper hold on your shoulder rest to make shifting smooth.

What I recommend is for students to focus on the thumb position in the left-hand when first starting to shift.

Work on scales like D Major and C Major in two octaves which you can find the sheet music to here. With these scales, focus mainly on what you are doing as you go back from 3rd to 1st position.

The key in how to shift smoothly on the violin, is to make sure the index and the move together.

Never allow the thumb to stay back or to go farther than it should into the first position.

How to Shift Smoothly on the Violin – Additional Tips

1. Don’t press too hard into the fingerboard when playing the violin (especially 4th fingers).

2. Pay attention to how high your fingers pop up in the air in general when playing the violin.

3. Don’t let fingers pop up in the air as you place another one down (implies over-pressing)

If you want detailed help on how to shift smoothly on the violin, I highly recommend my Perfect Vibrato course which covers foundations of setting up the left hand, right hand and detailed steps on how to improve your sound.

This course covers how to learn violin vibrato, and also is an excellent four-week study of how to get rid of many bad habits you may have currently when playing the violin. It is appropriate for beginners as well as anyone under fifteen years of experience who wants to improve their violin sound.


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