Left hand technique for pressing on strings
Recently I’ve noticed my third finger popping in and out of its joint at the base of the hand while practicing, which causes pain when practicing, so I’m trying to keep my fingers more curved and looking for ways to play with less tension to see if it helps.
So my question is...When playing a note with your left hand, do you “squeeze” your hand so that the pressure from your finger is counterbalanced by other parts of your hand supporting the violin? Or do you essentially “hang” your hand on the violin without any counterbalance within the hand itself, but then you have to squeeze with your chin to keep the violin from falling down?
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Don't press at all. Just drop the finger with velocity.
Yes to the second question. The left hand isn't supposed to hold the violin, it needs to be totally relaxed. I once had a doubt about it and our good member Christian sent me this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9TiCZMENWI
I learned to hold the violin between my jaw and my collar bone, which I can do with only the normal weight of my head. It is nice if one has a short neck and high shoulders so the violin can rest there when the left hand is at the neck of the violin. When one is not built that way a shoulder rest (and for some, a higher chinrest) can be a big help.
I think that there are often misconceptions in discussing this topic, as if it's exclusively one way or another. However these positions wouldn't arise if they didn't have some validity or value, so the opposite isn't entirely true either.
Thanks for all the responses! I have also watched both videos. I’ve concluded that I definitely play with a lot of tension and will be working on the suggested exercises. Hopefully my joint will stop popping and I will be able to play without pain going forward. :)
Andrew said it well. Another thing to watch out for is thumb tension - If your thumb is pressing too much, it can tend to encourage overpressing in your other fingers as well.
No squeezing. The left thumb and first finger are just touching the neck of violin, don't squeeze it. Relax your hand and place your fingers on the string with good articulation.
Perhaps we should back up to even before you touch your violin.