Hello, I have searched through the archives and could not get enough information on this so I had to ask:
as I have recently (just in the last couple of weeks) learnt to play without a shoulder rest, and I use no support of any kind, not even a sponge, I now rely totally on the left hand to hold the violin obviously. My neck is normal, not short I'd say and I do have a gap between the body of the violin and my shoulder so there is never a time where my shoulder will keep the violin level, my hand always has to hold the violin, which is fine, I am now used to this and I even forget I am not using any support now so used I am to it :)
I have been watching some different players on youtube and most of them seem to play with the thumb high up next to the neck of the violin most of the time, up to approximately 4th position until when the thumb will then work its way under the neck for higher position playing. But then it depends as well, sometimes they are playing notes quite high up and their thumb is STILL sticking right up by the side of the neck!
I don't play many pieces yet purely because I am not an advanced violinst and also because I am not that proficient without a shoulder rest yet, but I played Meditation last week without a shoulder rest and whilst I usually keep my thumb high up next to the neck of the violin for most things, with Meditation I instinctively placed the thumb UNDER the neck of the violin and it stayed there throughout the piece. I managed to play the piece quite well and had no problem with all of the shifts and vibrato too. I really don't think I could have played it so well if I had the thumb high up next to the neck of the violin.....
so....does it matter where my thumb is? am I thinking and worrying about this too much? am I 'analyzing it' too much? shall I just 'relax' and let my thumb 'do its own thing' and it will instinctively do what it wants to do or do I have to 'teach it' the right thing?
for example: I know there are different ways of shifting up and down the fingerboard, some people when down-shifting will move the thumb first, some will move thumb and hand together. I move thumb and hand together as this is what I was advised to do and now have got used to. So maybe there is here as well different things/schools of thought about the thumb having to be high up by neck or under or let it do what it wants?
Thank you in advance for your kind contributions, I really appreciate it.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.