Tips for my Students

Shifting

This space is for discussions about topics that I work on with your student. The idea of sharing information is so parents will understand the techniques and difficulties and accomplishments student take on as challenges…sometimes with great  spirit and sometimes with reluctance.

Shifting is one of these techniques. This is where students have to learn to accurately move their left hands up and down the black fingerboard to create a smooth melodic line and a consistent tone. First position has a bright sparkly sound while other positions are darker. When a player changes string it changes the timbre or color of the tone. By staying on one string it avoids this problem. Also, some passages are easier in a different position or location of the left hand on the fingerboard. To do this, shifting exercises must be repeated to acquire smoothness and accuracy.

Sometimes a student feels almost fearful of leaving first position and will say “can’t I stay in first position forever.” Well, just like learning to walk or go to school, it is a step that is necessary and needs work and encouragement from all around them. Through repetition, students need to learn how each position feels…where there elbow is and hand on the violin and how that feels. Also, having the player slide to the exact spot helps to learn aurally where they are going.

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