One of the comments I receive a lot from my teacher is to "loosen my wrist" or my "wrist is too stiff" when I play.
Can anyone recommend exercises that could help my improve my wrist situation? I'm a beginner learner - about a year.
I am also looking for answers on this. I have read some sparse advise on relaxation, but in truth the advise doesn’t offer a whole lot more than “try to hold the violin in a relaxed position.”
Need just a little more info: How much do you practice? Is your wrist completely stiff or does it move at least a little when you bow?
Also, most exercises I have seen are intended more for stretching joints and tendants, which is good, but do not lend much to relaxation.
Oh, Phil I was assuming left hand. Are you talking about your left hand or right (bow hand)?
Ryan: Thank you for the exercises...I practice from 1/2 to 1 hour a day. When I do scales, my wrist usually does move - especially when I try practice in front of a mirror. I do tense up most other times and play with a stiffer hand/arm...
That’s good news Phil. I am stiff on my left and it’s difficult for me to relax. My bow hand is not as much of a problem but I do want to try Ryan’s exercises
If it's your bow hand, make sure your right shoulder isn't raised or tensed, and your right arm isn't too stiff.
Drop your shoulder, drop your elbow, it’ll help relax your wrist. You shouldn’t be pressing down with your wrist. It’s likely your hand is tight if your wrist is tight.
Wrist and finger flexibility (and strength!) Right hand: practice the basketball dribble, both high and slow, and fast and close to the ground. Throw darts. Make sure the little fourth finger is curved. If it is short, then let it come off the stick when playing at the tip--not locked and straight. Left hand; with all four fingers down, in the half-whole-whole-step pattern, with the left wrist straight; Release your left thumb, then put it back where it is most comfortable--it might end up opposite the second finger instead of the first! The left thumb will change position a little when playing on the E-string vs. the G-string. Keep a round hand, both hands, like you are grabbing a baseball-so the knuckles don't rub against each other.
You can also massage your wrist to loosen it up. This is described in detail in the book "The Violin Lesson" by Simon Fischer, a book you need to have anyway Phil!
I second the recommendations of Ella and Jane. I am also working with my teacher on my wrist relaxation and it happenss that a lot of it comes from tense and high right shoulder and an over-active upper arm. I am seeing good improvements just paying attention to it. I remind to myself to "exhale the air of the shoulder", if it makes sense :-)