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Shakey hands new violinist violin beginner

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#1 KieranH960

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 19:32

Hey Everyone,
Firstly I'm new to the forum so hey guys!

So I'm currently learning the violin and I've discovered my shakey hands can be a bit of a problem... So I pose this to you; if you had shakey hands or know of someone who did, how did you or they overcome it? or maybe you just have tips for it?.
Thanks for any replies, its becoming a real issue  :sadvio: .


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#2 BadStrad

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 19:49

Hi Kieran.  Welcome!

 

I suppose the first question is - are your hands normally shakey or just when you play?  If it's the latter then chances are that the shaking is due to tension.  Second question - how long have you been playing?

 

I would guess it's your right hand that's the main problem.  Trying to get a smooth tone while your hand is wobbling about isn't easy.  I have shakey hands due to a wonky thyroid.  It doesn't affect my left hand too much, but it does make my bow arm a bit warbly sometimes.  I found the best thing is to be as relaxed as possible.  If you've ever done tai chi you'll get the idea.  The lower body is solid, grounded and the upper body is very fluid and relaxed.  So what I do is stop playing sometimes and just feel where the tension is.  Are my shoulders high?  Am I gripping everything tightly, rather than using just enough pressure to hold the bow.  Am I gently supporting the violin or strangling it?  Am I pressing down hard on the finger board rather than using just enough finger weight to stop (make) the note?  Tension in one hand can make tension in the other worse and tension (for me) leads to more shakiness.

 

I also found that things got better over time, maybe because I learned to relax more, but it was a conscious effort at first to find that feeling and to replicate it.  If you're just starting out then maybe you are trying to hard to "do it right."  With the violin I have found that the more I TRY to do something the more tense I get.  When I just go for it and hope for the best (or assume the worse) I tend to relax and get better results.  Tension is the enemy!  (at least as far as violin playing goes).

 

Anyway, hopefully you'll get back with some more info and a teacher will come along with some good advice.  I'm a learner too.


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#3 Yuuzuki

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 22:48

Welcome to the forum!  :lol: 

I had bad shakiness when I first started as well. I think my case was half due to bad bow hold and half due to my medical condition. 
I rarely shake now unless my lungs start messing with my heart.  :blush: 

I still have some issues landing the bow without bouncing it though  :ninja:


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#4 JimD

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:19

I had quite a lot of bow shake during the first month or two, but it seems to have gone away on its own. Probably all down to tension in the arm.
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#5 Misterioso

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 10:39

Hi Kieran and  :welcome: to the forum.

BadStrad has really hit the nail on the head; most shakiness is down to tension; the more one tries to control something, the more tension comes into play - and not always where you think it's going to be.  

 

It's worth checking your posture, as anything that isn't quite right can have repercussions elsewhere: feet shoulder-width apart, take care that the knees are not locked, and upper body (as BadStrad mentions) as relaxed and fluid as possible.  Check in a mirror that you bow-arm is working in the right way (ie you should not be taking your shoulder back; most of the work comes from the lower arm).  In between pieces, scales, etc, just stop and make sure that everything is still relaxed.  You might also find it helpful to do some warm-up exercises before you begin your practice, such as those found in The Musician's Body: a maintenance manual for peak performance.  (This book also has a useful trouble-shooting section, and is a very worthwhile purchase for any musician.)

 

I notice you say that the problem is becoming a real issue: do you mean it's getting worse, or just not improving?  Many problems experienced by beginners do settle down with time; you are learning motor skills for something new, and it doesn't happen overnight.

 

Have you a teacher?  If so, do mention that you find this problematic, and ask for some more pointers - your teacher can see what you are doing whereas we can't.

 

Good luck, and enjoy the journey!  


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#6 KieranH960

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 17:33

Hey everyone,
Firstly thanks to everyone that replied :D

In reply to people who commented:
BadStrad - My hands are naturally shakey and about a month now I would say? I'm a violin newbie :3.
Misterioso - 'becoming a real issue' is to mean its not improving so stunting my progress,  and yeah I got a teacher I see her weekly :).

To everyone: My shakey hands are still there they are just slowly reducing whilst I'm playing, which is good!.

I have one more question: I think I've nailed the bow hold almost, its just I have the problem where while I'm playing my hand will slowly climb up the bow so I'll loose my bow hold and it will start to sound weird and as a result i cant use the full bow as my joint just wont let me when I'm not in the bow hold... Wny tips anyone? :(.

Thanks all,
Kieran. 


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#7 Tenor Viol

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 22:20

I'm a cellist and our bow-hold is slightly different - violinists place their little finger on top to counter-balance the bow. Bow-hold is not an easy thing, whilst you don't need a 'Vulcan Death Grip' on the bow, it needs to be firm enough to grip it (without tension).

  • Is your thumb opposite your second finger on the frog?
  • Is your thumb joint bent or straight? You may need to spread your fingers more along the bow so that your fore-finger comes slightly forward.
  • Your wrist should be flexing as the bow moves (think glass of your favourite tipple balanced in the back of your hand - as you move your bow hand up and down, you don't want to spill it...).

Something to talk to your teacher about I think.


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#8 KieranH960

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 11:41

Hey everyone,
Thanks Virtuoso; I was already following all your tips so I took your advice and asked my teacher. She asked me to show her my bow hold and exclaimed that it was perfect! However she identified and we discussed my hand moving up the bow and we moved my thumb between the frog and the comfort pad thing and vola, it stopped moving! YEY.
Thanks for the help!
Also shes identified that I have a 'musical ear'... whats that?
Thanks everyone!
Kieran.
 


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#9 greencat

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 19:18

When I first picked up the violin my bowing was terrible and I was really worried that I would never get a good sound out of my instrument. I used to (not intentionally) be bouncing my bow along the strings, but have now learned to control it. I suggest that you concentrate on holding the bow correctly and making sure you are not gripping too tightly. When I was having problems with my bowing, I went back to just paying open strings at a steady pace until I could get a smooth, clear sound. Hope this helps :)


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