Left hand pressure
I am a amateur violinist who has played off and on for 20 years. I have always had a tight left hand and can't relax it. I am a large man who is quite strong and I choke the neck. It is getting to the point where I can't play for long because of pain from the strangle hold. Any tips or ideas?
Do you have a teacher? If not, I would try watching some videos or find other online resources. The problem may lie in your violin hold, as well as your left hand position. It would be nice if you posted a video or picture demonstrating the problem.
Just a few thoughts:
Tension starts in the large muscles and progresses to the small muscles. To reduce tension in the fingers, start with the neck and shoulders (don't clamp, just rest the head), work down the arm (placement, angles, just plain relaxing), then the forearm/finger muscles can relax (do exercises with minimum finger touching, no use of the thumb, etc).
Let's not confuse finger pressure with light, snappy finger-falls...
Is it because your left hand is inherently tight (as i understand your post) or is it that the hand is tightening as a consequence of something else, like the way the violin is being held up for instance (does the hold, with all the points of contact, feel secure?)
Also find Nathan Cole's video about finger pressure and watch that a few times.
I might recommend checking out some Alexander Technique lessons. They have been helpful for me to be more mindful of tension.
Thanks all for the feedback. I think it is an overall inability to relax. I like many of the comments and will try them.