Early Left Hand Posture

Kiyoko said: Jan 18, 2018
 89 posts

My child’s teacher wants the side of his left index/first finger to contact the neck, and for his pinky finger to be straight with it bent at the last knuckle, instead of the pinky gently curled along its length. While my child is still early in learning, the teacher has been supporting exploration of shifting, the pinky/fourth finger, and harmonics when it comes up; the interest is motivated by watching me play.

Can someone explain the advantages early left hand training in this way?

Personally, these left hand positioning issues very hard to overcome when I advanced. For my child, the contact with the neck also acts as a crutch to hold the violin with the arm instead of balancing it on the collarbone. It restricts shifting, especially high, and of course, it’s impossible when the thumb eventually leaves the left side of the neck.

The teacher said the pinky will later be retrained to be curled (or it makes movement and vibrato hard), but then the muscles and muscle memory are already established.

Why not start with it in the beginning?

Thanks in advance!

Mary Moser said: Feb 6, 2018
Mary Moser
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Erie, PA
4 posts

Hi Kiyoko,
So you play violin too? Is your son a pre-twinkler, early book 1?
Shifting can be introduced early, but not typically with the bow being involved. But I don’t have enough information to make an evaluation.

Clearly the teacher has an idea/outline of what the Left hand needs to do and when. Dr Suzuki wanted us to use his skeletal frame and include our own thoughts to fill in everything else. But as the parent you want what is best for your child.

I would suggest you inform your teacher that you’ll be taking a lesson with her. And take your next child’s lesson to ask the teacher to walk you through her left hand technique. You may even leave your child home. Discuss and ask her questions. Flesh them out. You have pedagogical concerns and you want them addressed. As a teacher I do have ready answers for my parents. Back in the day, Suzuki parents learned all of book one before the child took a lesson. The parent would know all of this before their child had a box violin in their hand. It will be okay if you take his next lesson and get your questions answered. Then hopefully you will have peace of mind.

Sincerely wishing your triangle peace and beautiful music.
All the best to all three of you!

Mary Moser

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