Shifting on a string instrument gives us the ability to reach higher notes, find harmonics, and make quick passages easier to play. This also makes it so you can play violin faster! When shifting on any string instrument (violin, viola, cello) make sure to move all your fingers at the same time, including your thumb! The hand should slide up or down the fingerboard as one unit — if one finger moves farther than the others, or thumb gets left behind, then the play position is compromised, and the fingers are more likely to get out of tune. Practice shifting in midair first, without your instrument. Hold your hand up as if you are holding your violin or cello, then slowly move your hand and forearm back and forth (or for cello, up and down) while keeping your wrist straight and fingers still. Don’t let your hand be too stiff though! Shifting should feel smooth and relaxed.
If you would like personal assistance with any of the blog concepts, online and on-location lessons are available from Let’s Play Music and Make Art, LLC located in Derry and Londonderry, NH. www.letsplaymusic.com