These 5 bad habits will slow down your progress on the violin

22 September 2017, 16:59 | Updated: 22 September 2017, 17:24

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Do you feel like you’re struggling to progress with the violin? Try these pro tips from a private violin teacher.

Michael Sanchez is an American violin teacher, who has put a video together of all the common problems he sees in his students, which prevent them for progressing on their instrument.

Do you recognise any of these habits in your own playing?

1. Banana thumb

Michael argues that the ‘banana thumb’ syndrome – in other words, having a stiff, flexed thumb against your bow – can restrict your sound, causing bow bounces, screeches and other unpleasant noises. Violinists should keep their thumb slightly bent, and lightly tucked into the bow groove.


2. Stiff wrist

Playing with a stiff wrist causes tension in your playing, and encourages more of those bow bounces and screeches. Michael advises violinists to play with a flat wrist at the tip of the bow, and a bent wrist at the heel of the bow to prevent this tension occurring.

3. Lazy elbow plain

Encouraging vertical movement in your elbow can stop you hitting your other strings. Michael advises to have your elbow above your instrument while playing on the G string, to keep it even with the instrument while playing the D string, below the instrument while playing the A string, and by your side while on the E string.

4. Not using enough bow

Having a hard bow grip often means you only use part of your bow, because your arm isn’t flowing freely enough. Michael suggests practising slow scales, using a whole bow on each note to open up your sound.


5. Low knuckles in the left hand

Keeping your knuckles low in your left hand can stop you comfortably reaching high notes, causing awkward intonation. Lifting your knuckles will give you more room to reach up to those high notes, improving the tuning of your playing.

Did you find Michael’s tips helpful? Find him on Facebook and YouTube for more videos!