How hard should I press on the strings?
by Ruyuan Yang
I am just wondering how hard you should press on the strings as I would like to be able to play it properly. Do you have to press hard or should you be gentle?
Excellent question. I assume you're talking about the left hand? Regardless, I'll address the role both hands have.
Your left hand should press as lightly as it can and still allow you to get a good sound from the instrument.
This isn't to protect the instrument, though! This is to reduce how much tension there is in your left hand/arm/shoulder.
As an example, hold your left arm loosely up in playing position (without an instrument). Palm up. Make a circle with your middle finger and your thumb. First press them together lightly. Pay attention to how much tension there is throughout your arm.
Now, press your thumb and middle finger more tightly. You'll feel a lot more tension, running all the way up to your neck, probably. That tension will reduce your left side's flexibility, stamina, and even strength!
But what about the right hand (the bow hand)?
The same thing applies here. Hold onto the bow as lightly as you can. Try, for example, to balance the bow using only your thumb and little finger. It's possible, though you can't move much. Add the other fingers lightly. Uncontrolled tension in your fingers, arms, and shoulders is your enemy! You need just enough tension to get good sound from your violin and no more.
Boy is that challenging for a beginner! That's why it's so important to have good form from the very beginning. More information about how to hold the violin is coming soon.
Thanks for your question!
Marie from learninghowtoplaytheviolin.com