Shifting and Tension
Any tips on how to avoid tension when playing in 3rd position? My teacher and I both noted last night that this leads to a lot of tension in both shoulders. Probably to be expected as it's something quite new, just trying to figure out how not to do that...
Without violin, raise both shoulders up to your ears as far as you can. Then allow them to drop. Try and keep the 'dropped' feeling. https://archive.org/details/apf6961.0001.001.umich.edu/page/4 pg 65. The girl on pg 63 is Myra Hess.
I can understand why shifting could cause tension, it's the old "Gerald Ford" problem of walking and chewing gum at the same time, but why should playing in 3rd position once you are there cause tension?
Playing 2 octave D and C scales are fine. No tension, ease of movement, etc.
Are you holding the scroll end of the violin "up" enough? I've noticed that I tend to get tense with big shifts when I left the scroll drop, because then the shoulder/chin are forced into more "action" than would otherwise be necessary if the scroll were held up a bit higher.
I can play both sections fine pizzicato, interesting comment about my scroll, will look at that. I also tend to have more tension at my lesson anyway, but for this I don't think it any better at home. Thanks, and I look forward to other comments on this.
The other day, my teacher pointed out that I was raising my right shoulder while shifting up an octave from fourth finger b flat on the e string to the fourth finger b flat in eighth position. Unconscious idea that to play higher you have to lift your body higher.
Tension while shifting is a common problem. When we first learn shifting it is on the same finger, which tends to dig into the fingerboard. Changing fingers while shifting, learned next, is usually better because we naturally release the left hand when we switch fingers. Also, when you can arrange it, shifting up on an up-bow, shift down on a down-bow, works slightly better than the opposite motions, because the motions of the two arms complement each other, while the opposite motions throw you off-balance. Press down on the chin-rest while shifting, then release when you are in the next position. The left shoulder stays down while shifting.
You're just tensing up because you're doing something new -- something that is supposed to be hard because people talk about it a lot. Well it's not that hard, you can do it just fine.
Very helpful ideas, thank you! Hadn't thought about giving myself a gap of time, will try that tonight. Because I tense up so much my bowing also goes downhill fast, especially with string crossings.
Do your chinrest and support underneath the violin feel secure? If not, that could be a source of tension.
They do Bart, but my chin rest has fallen apart several times (Wittier Zuerich) so if it happens again it will be replaced.
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