Printer-friendly version

Why Can't Your Left Hand and Right Hand Just Get Along?

Zlata Brouwer

Written by
Published: December 4, 2014 at 9:25 AM [UTC]

Do your left hand and right hand sometimes have a quarrel? In this episode you’ll see my hands quarreling with each other!
R: You always play out of tune!

L: You make a bad tone!

R: That’s because you can’t do vibrato!

L: You are always out of bow and you scratch and squeak!

R: You can never get that high note!

Why can’t they just get along with each other and keep the peace?

In this video I will give you some tips to make your hands work together instead of fight each other like it sometimes seems.

Warm up by playing scales with some different rhythms, slurred bowing (two, four, five, six etc), variations etc. In this way you work on your intonation and bowing at the same time. Doing that you also train your hands to work together.

Besides training the synchronization between your two hands, also try to train your hands separately. By isolating the technique of one hand, your hands won’t be annoyed by each other.

Example: Do some vibrato exercises without bowing. You can focus on the movement you make without being distracted by the sound. After that with the bowing you can focus on the sound you can make with the vibrato.

Example: when you have a piece that is difficult in the area of intonation, you can decide to pizz a passage. When you pizz you can work on your intonation without being distracted by your bowing challenges.

Example: You can practice the necessary bowing technique of a piece in another piece or in a scale. In this way you can focus on the bowing without being distracted by the intonation problems you have in the initial piece.

Example: When you practice your bowing on open strings, your left hand can take a rest. You can make up some open strings bowing exercises yourself. In this way you can focus a 100% on the bowing technique you are practicing.

When your left hand and right hand have a quarrel, you need to train the following:

Synchronization between the two hands. You can do this with rhythmical exercises. A metronome can help!

Train the left hand and the right hand separately, so you can focus on one technique and not several at the same time. Don’t forget to put them together again and see if the good technique remains.

Your left and right hand might quarrel the most in fast passages. When this happens you are going faster than you can technically realize.

You should lower the tempo to a point where your left hand and right hand can work together again. In this tempo you can do some exercises like rhythmical variants (play the piece in a different rhythm) to synchronize your hands well in that tempo. After that it’s a lot easier to increase the tempo again to the tempo you eventually want.

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine