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About 8 years ago, I started learning violin with a tutor for about 5 months but I left it abruptly because of academics. Now, three months ago, I decided to get back to it since I have more free time because of lockdown. Unfortunately I can't get a violin tutor right now both because of the lockdown and also because of financial issues. However, I do remember the little teachings that my tutor gave me and also with the help of YouTube, I am trying to still relearn violin. I know the importance of proper bowing even before I started relearning my violin. But because of lack of a tutor who can correct me on my mistakes which I don't know I'm making, I'm trying to put a small clip of me playing so I can get tips and corrections to my bowing. Also, I know I am way out of tune while playing some of the notes, mostly because I'm still a beginner and partly because I was a bit nervous to play in front of the camera.

Please tell me any improvements that can be done. (Sorry if this question seems personal)

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Some right hand (bowing) comments:

You seem to have used a low resolution which means that a lot of the time your bow hand is blurred. However I managed to find a moment when it was relatively still and pausing the video gave me a good view of your bow-hold.

  1. There is a fair amount of tension in your right hand, which is understandable for a relative beginner, but a lot of it comes from a bad bow-hold. You appear to be pinching the bow between thumb and fingers. Your bow-hold should be relaxed. If someone knocked your bow or bumped your arm there should be a real risk of dropping the bow. There is no chance of that here.
  2. Your thumb is arched in a tense position away from your hand. It should be the exact opposite. Your thumb should be curled towards your fingers. The tip of your thumb should be supporting (not gripping) the bow somewhere round the gap between the end of the leather and the frog.
  3. Your pinky is also reverse arched with the tip on the bow. I also have this problem, caused by having a double joint in one of the finger joints. If you also have this double joint then it is very difficult to fix. Can you bend your little finger the wrong way? If so you are double jointed. If not then you should try and fix this. Ideally your pinky should be curved naturally allowing you to move the bow up and down simply by straightening and bending the little finger. The principle function of the pinky is to support some of the weight of the bow when you are playing near the frog and all the weight of the bow is trying to press the bow down harder into the string.
  4. Your third finger is curved round, particularly the top joint/section, gripping the bow tightly. The finger should be much straighter, exerting much less pressure on the bow.
  5. For the second finger you can pretty much copy & paste the third finger comments. Your fingers should be supporting the bow not gripping.
  6. The function of the first (index) finger is to apply pressure on the top of the bow to press it down onto the strings when you are playing near the tip of the bow and you want more volume. To do this the first bone/knuckle of the finger (the one nearest the hand) needs to be resting on the silver winding ready to press down when needed. You have a gap there because you are gripping the bow tightly.
  7. There is some tension in your right shoulder which is slightly raised. Before you start playing, before you pick up your instrument and bow try and relax shrugging your shoulders up and down and shaking your arms and hands to loosen them up. Pick your bow up with your left hand and lower your relaxed right hand down to meet the bow. Take the bow in the lightest of grips (bad word) with your right hand. Keep hold of the stick lightly with your left hand (so you don't drop it) and with your right hand, while holding the bow, do a gentle, relaxed waving motion. Now you are ready to play.
  8. You overall right arm bowing action is quite good although, because you are playing a completely non-challenging piece (more of that later), your action is short. We don't see you bowing at or near the tip or the frog.

Some left hand comments.

For some strange reason you have music on a stand obscuring your left hand somewhat. I say "strange reason" because surely you don't need to read the music for such a simple piece which is obviously well below your level? As Robert Browning said, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

  1. The first thing that strikes me is that we can tell from your right arm that you play on different strings at different times but there is no hint hint of that in your left arm. Normally we should expect to see your left elbow move towards your right when you move towards the G string and, conversely, to move towards your left when you move towards the E string. This movement makes it easier to maintain the correct "cupped" form of the left hand required for good playing.
  2. Overall the angles between hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm look good.
  3. Your grip of the neck and your finger position looks bad. Your fingers appear to be too flat, too close to the strings. It looks as if too much weight of the violin is resting on the top joint of the first finger and not enough on the first joint of the thumb. The problem that arises is that you are pressing the strings down with the flat part of the top bone of the finger when you should be using the actual tips of the fingers. When you are playing something slow and simple like this then you can get away with this bad technique. You cannot play fast passages like this.

Hope that helps.

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  • Thank you so much for writing out such a helpful response and bringing such details into notice!! I had recorded this video not with the intent of using it in such a way, but in hindsight I do realise I should have used a video focusing on both my hand movements without the stand... Thank you again for this answer – Ruchi May 6 at 19:33

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