Weird hand/joint/body condition in playing Violin

June 21, 2023, 10:50 PM · Hi everyone,

From time to time, I experience a total different hand/joint/body condition in playing Violin and I'd like to check with more players here to see (1) whether it's normal (2) if so how do you overcome or mitigate it?

To be more specific, with the condition, I meant I found my hands to be dryer, and hand/wrist joints "feel like heavier to move". As a result, vibrato would be much harder to achieve, and intonation would be harder too as the fingers would not be able to follow brain as accurately as it used to be.

I'd try to crack joints to help. Sometimes when my hands start to sweat, it would greatly improve too.

Dear violinists/violin-lovers, is this normal and if so or not so, any suggestions? Your input is much appreciated!

Replies (5)

June 21, 2023, 11:18 PM · There is no "normal" for the way it feels to play the violin. It depends on how you play relative to your physique, health, injuries you may have had, how old you are, how long you have been playing and so on...

I've been playing for 84 years now (since my first lesson) and the changes I have gone through in playing, how it feels, how my hands sweat or don't, etc., are too numerous to describe.

If you are sufficiently concerned you could seek medical advice.

Edited: June 22, 2023, 9:25 AM · Do you find the same symptoms in other (easier?) activities?
Do you practice and play too much, or not enough?
Fear of failure?
Age? Which at 74 I find requires daily review (or re-adjustment) of fundamental sensations.
And a change of chin rest and shoulder rest, and violin placing and angle, can release pressure points which have suffered years of abuse.
June 23, 2023, 11:38 AM · That is not normal. There is probably a long list of ergonomic or neurologic possible causes. My example of that was; partial paralysis of the left arm caused by "thoracic outlet syndrome"-- nerves and arteries being pinched by the neck muscles. It was fixed by months of physical therapy.
We are not designed to play the violin and violins were not designed to be easily played by us. Everyone needs to work out their personal ergonomics by optimizing the choice of chin rest, shoulder rest (or none), posture, and the three angles of the violin; horizontal, vertical, and tilt.
June 29, 2023, 5:07 AM · It is difficult to know if what you describe is the same as what I experience every morning, when I start to play. But yes, it is more difficult to move. What helps me is warming up properly (see the many posts on the subject on this forum) and, if needed, warming my hands in hot water (the Kreisler method). Good luck.
July 14, 2023, 11:30 PM · @Bart, @Joel, @Aarian, @Andrew

I really appreciate your input here. I'll try the warm-up method as some of you mentioned. It could be caused by that. Sometimes it indeed became better when I play for a while.


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